Commercial Truck Insurance Basics: Easy Guide To Simplifying Your Policies

By Patrick Winchester

If youre like me, you dread the day each year that your car insurance expires. Even for good drivers with no accidents its almost impossible to find great coverage at really competitive rates.

In the world of commercial truck insurance, the difficulties are compounded immenselynot only are you dealing with a much higher price tag and greater specialization, but youre paying to protect your livelihood, not just your car!

There are tons of truck insurance options available to drivers and fleets and which ones you choose will depend on your employment situationcontractors require different policies than motor carriers, different types of cargo require different coverage, etc.

This article is designed to help you simplify the process while ensuring youre getting great coverage. Well let you know the policies you need, dont need and help you cut through some of the confusing specialized terms agents may attempt to over-sell you.


Truck Insurance you Need by Law

If youre an independent truck driver, the only type of insurance you truly need is primary liability to protect against injury and property damage your truck may cause as a result of an accident.

Coverage levels vary between about $15,000 and $1,000,000, depending on what type of truck you drive and what state you are licensed ina fuel tanker or hazardous materials hauler, for example, will have higher dollar amount requirements than a semi truck hauling normal commercial goods.

Policies Every Driver Should Consider

Comprehensive coverage, also a form of truck insurance that protects your actual truck, will pay you out even if accidents are your fault, or if your truck is damaged due to theft, vandalism or other external forces.

A Note to the Independent Owner/Operator

If youre an independent trucker who always operates under contract to other motor carriers, chances are the only policies you need to effectively protect your business and other motorists are comprehensive coverage and bobtail insurance. Bobtail insurance is a less-expensive form of primary liability that covers your truck during the times you are not under contract.

Bobtail insurance can save you some money because it doesnt charge you for times youre protected under your motor carriers commercial truck insurance policy.

A Note about Specialization and Motor Carriers

The truck insurance industry can get really confusing because it is so specialized, but it doesnt have to be. While dump truck insurance differs from tow truck insurance that differs from big truck insurance, these names all really refer to primary liability coverages geared toward the application of those specific vehiclesthey arent separate policies you need to worry about.

Just knowing they exist can be helpful in making sure you arent overpaying for coverage amounts based on the capacity you operate your truck.

If you have several trucks operating under your authority or are an actual motor carrier, you will need additional forms of insurance by state law and commercial demand. These include, but arent limited to, workers compensation policies, cargo insurance, trailer insurance and primary liability for your business.

About the Author: Patrick Winchester is a freelance writer with

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