The Basics of Commercial Truck Insurance

Insiders Guide: Commercial Trucking Insurance Coverages — How to get affordable coverage at the best cost


Commercial Trucking Insurance Coverages — How to get affordable coverage at the best cost

Evaluating your commercial trucking insurance policies is vital. Cost containment is an important goal of every trucking business. But if you are a bargain hunter when it comes to purchasing owner operator or long haul trucking insurance you must exercise caution: it is possible to get semi-truck insurance that does not provide your over the road trucking operation with adequate limits and appropriate deductibles with the proper type of policy for your specific insurance requirements.

The different commercial trucking insurance companies provide polices that sometimes differ greatly in their coverage terms. For instance: some Motor truck Cargo policies cover certain commodities while excluding others. Some policies might provide coverage but then limit it through endorsements; such as a “wet steel’ endorsement on a flat-bed cargo policy that will exclude claims for rust damage on loads of steel. Or a “reefer breakdown” limitation on a policy for refreigerated freight. Also, there are discount policies available from non-US domiciled insurance carriers that provide very low rates for very limited coverage. You need a knowledgeable commercial truck insurance agent who knows the difference in order to be secure in the knowledge that you have the protection you need.

Its important to keep in mind that when it comes to your cargo insurance, if there is a problem getting a claim paid, you might wind up with a very unhappy shipper breathing down your neck, and not paying their freight invoices. That’s one of the last things a commercial trucker needs.

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Trucking Insurance is not for hobbyists.

When you are asking yourself questions like: How can I get affordable coverage for my commercial truck? What is an average premium I should expect to pay for truckers’ liability or cargo insurance or automobile physical damage? Who is the best truck insurance agent? What are average insurance rates? How to get 18-wheeler insurance? Your commercial trucking insurance company should know the answers. If they don’t you’ve got a potentially expensive problem; one that could put you out of business. So pick your trucking insurance broker wisely and make sure they are placing your coverage with reliable, reputable insurance carriers who will charge you a fair premium and will do a good job of adjusting and paying your claims when an accident occurs.

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Unfortunately, Commercial Truck Accidents Happen

Consider this scenario of the type of accident that, unfortunately, occurs on our nation’s streets and highways almost every single day: Let’s say there is a moderately serious accident involving an 18 wheeler (we’ll call it the IV, short for “insured vehicle’) and a private passenger car (we will call this the OV or ‘other vehicle’). The accident occurs at moderate speed on a state highway with light traffic. The OV passes the IV, abruptly pulls in front of IV and immediately slams on their brakes. The IV collides with the rear of the OV while a semi-truck travelling behind our IV takes evasive action as a result of the sudden braking by our IV and goes off the road into a ditch on the side of the road.

Who is at fault? Whose insurance will pay the claim.? How many different insurance policies will be ‘triggered’ by such a claim and possibly be called upon to provide financial payments?

First, our IV would seem to be liable for a rear-ender, right? Unfortunately, this seems to be the usual case, even where we know the OV ‘caused’ the problem by driving without proper care. Now sometimes in these cases - and especially where we have video evidence - we can sometimes find shared liability or even shift the liability over to the OV. And what about damage to the semi-truck? What if the freight inside our trailer shifted and was damaged? What if passengers in the OV claim injury? Is our driver OK? And what about that semi who went into the ditch? Questions of causation that triggers liability as well as questions about coverage often abound in these scenarios. An accident of this nature will undoubtedly result in one or more lawsuits and ultimately might result in judgments or settlements being paid under several different insurance companies and policies. Commercial Automobile Liability; Workers Compensation or Occupational Accident Insurance, Automobile Physical Damage, Motor truck Cargo; environmental liability and even others.

And before these questions are asked and answered, the insurance carrier has important duties to perform at the time of the loss in adjusting the claim by swiftly responding to the scene of the accident, if possible, and trying to 1) accurately assess the circumstances and evaluate the damages and also 2) try to mitigate or minimize the total claims paid by reaching to the possible claimants in order to crate goodwill and possibly obtain releases early in the process before the matter gets litigated by aggressive plaintiff’s attorneys.

As you can see, specialized expertise is essential to the proper handling of claims when they occur Not every commercial trucking insurance company has the abilities required to protect you when it really counts.