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Commercial Truck Insurance Quotes — The Basics
Every semi truck on the road needs insurance. It’s the law. So whether you’re a new driver who just got his CDL or an owner/operator with thirty years experience under his belt, you need coverage. As you begin reaching out to commercial truck insurance companies, it’s a good idea to learn the basics. Let’s start with whether you actually need insurance in the first place.
Who Needs Commercial Trucking Insurance?
For-hire owner/operators with their own authority are responsible for every aspect of their business. It makes sense then that they’d have to take care of their insurance as well. They typically need trucking liability insurance, cargo insurance, and physical damage insurance for each truck they own. These three coverages keep you protected from lawsuits and sudden financial burdens.
Carriers usually cover their leased drivers’ liability and cargo insurance. The O/O is only responsible for his own physical damage insurance and bobtail insurance.
What Does Truck Insurance Cover?
Damage Done to Others
A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh as much as 40 tons. When something that big crashes, it causes serious damage. Commercial truck liability insurance ensures that you won’t be held personally responsible if your semi causes damage to the property of others. This includes everything from getting into an auto accident to backing into a lamp post.
Damage Done to Freight
Shippers expect their loads to be delivered in one piece. If something happens on the way, they will hold the trucker accountable. Cargo Insurance pays for any damage done to the freight you haul. Most shippers and brokers will only hire an owner-operators whose truck has commercial insurance. Keep this in mind as you’re looking for a quote.
Damage Done to Your Rig
You paid a lot of money for your truck. It’s important to protect it. Physical damage coverage will pay for repairs to your truck if it’s damaged in an accident or a fire. Or if it’s totally wrecked, this coverage will pay for a replacement vehicle so you can stay in business. It also covers theft, vandalism, and weather damage.
What Are My Legal Requirements?
The FMCSA — the federal organization that issues MC numbers — places certain insurance requirements on commercial trucks. You must insure yourself up to a certain dollar amount. This is called your limit. A limit of $1,000,000 pays for damage totalling up to $1,000,000 and not a penny more. Shippers, brokers, and state governments ask O/O to keep a minimum limits for liability and cargo coverages. The typical limits are:
- $750K in Liability Insurance
- $100K in Cargo Insurance
If you’re leased to a motor carrier, you will need a certain amount of bobtail coverage in place of these two coverages. How much you need depends on your state.
What Filings Do I Need?
New ventures applying for their own authority must make certain filings with their federal and state governments. The filing forms have bureaucratic-sounding names like the “BMC-32 filing form” or “Form MCS-90.” These forms are taken care of by your insurance company after you’ve gotten a truck insurance quote and have signed up for a policy. You are not responsible for filling them out personally.
You will, however, be responsible for making sure your insurance company fills them out and submits them. Agents experienced in commercial trucking insurance don’t need to be reminded to do this. They do it so often that it’s become part of their process. But if you talk to an agent who is new to truck insurance, you might run into some snags. That’s why it’s so important to compare policies from agents who know what they’re doing when it comes to trucking.
How Much Does Commercial Truck Insurance Cost?
So you’ve applied for a commercial truck insurance quote and you want to know what to expect price-wise? Well, it depends. Here are the average rates for each type of owner operator:
- Leased on owner operators: $1,500 to $3,500 a year
- Experienced for-hire owner operators: $7,500 to $12,000 a year per truck
- New Motor Carriers with less than 2 years experience: $10,000 to 16,000 a year per truck
What Affects Price?
Driving Record – If you have few moving violations and tickets, you will pay less
Location – You are statistically less likely to get into an accident in certain parts of the country. If you live in one of these areas, your rate will be lowerer.
Experience – New Authorities will often find it hard to get insurance at an affordable price. After two years experience, though, your price should drop by a few thousand dollars.
Freight hauled – Insurance is less expensive for, say, dry freight than car haulers.
Radius of Operation – The farther you drive, the more you pay. Insurance companies typically charge less for truckers with a less than 500 mile radius. So if you’re regional or local, you’ll pay less; OTR costs a little more.
The Four Best Ways to Save
1. Pay in yearly installments
You can save up to 20% overall if you pay your entire premium at the beginning of the year instead of splitting it up into monthly installments. So start saving now! It’ll pay off in the long run.
2. Piece out your coverages
Truckers can often get discounts if they bundle all their coverages with a single insurance company, but sometimes it pays to find the best company for each coverage.
3. Comparison Shop
With so many variables in play the only way to make sure you get a good deal is by having several agents quoting you at once. That way you can find the company that is most competitive for your specific type of risk. Why wouldn’t you get same coverage from another company if it’s cheaper?
4. Get a trustworthy agent
Your agent should be there when you need him. Many truckers need to add or drop endorsements on the fly. They need certificates faxed to them. They could lose a load opportunity — and therefore money — if their agent is slow to the draw. And if they ever get into an accident, they need someone there, at that moment, ready to defend their interests. A good agent is responsive, honest, and experienced in commercial trucking. They will help you save money throughout your relationship with them.
The Three Things That Drive Up a Quote
- A Bad Driving Record – OOS violations, DUIs, tickets and accidents can all lead to very high insurance quotes.
- Bad Credit – This is a major factor that insurance companies use to price your premium.
- Inexperience – Most companies want to see drivers at least 25 years of age. While a 21 year old driver can find truck insurance, it will be higher. It’s tough being a young driver
That said, it is possible to find agents who write insurance for high risk drivers.
What Agents Look At When Quoting Your Trucking Operation
- Vin number of your trucks and trailers
- DOT number history
- GVW and value of your truck
- Your loss history, MVR reports and CDL drivers license
- Personal info (credit score, address, etc)
- Details on your operation – radius, cargo carried, etc
Insurance Tips By Operation Type
The umbrella of “Commercial Truck Insurance” covers a lot of things. If you want more specific information on your operation, we have guides devoted to the different types of trucks on the road.
Get 3 Quotes on Insurance for Your Commercial Truck
Need to get covered today? Whether you are from Florida, Texas, California or anywhere in between, just fill out one form and we connect you with three insurance agents who do commercial trucking. They send you their best quotes and you choose the policy that meets your requirements. It’s fast and free. Get started now!