If you've always driven for a fleet, purchasing your own commercial truck insurance for the first time can seem overwhelming. Where can you shop for rates and coverage availability? What types of coverage do you really need? And above all, how do you know whether you're getting the best price for the insurance you buy? Read on for a few of the things you should know when purchasing commercial truck insurance for the first time.
What Types of Insurance Do Commercial Truckers Need?
Like auto drivers, commercial truck drivers must be insured against liability—that is, for colliding with another vehicle, person, or piece of property. The truck must also carry general liability insurance under federal law; failure to maintain this insurance can land truckers in hot water with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and their state's Department of Transportation.
Other types of insurance that truckers should consider include:
- Physical damage insurance, which can cover vandalism, collision, theft, and natural disasters;
- "Bobtail" coverage or non-trucking liability, which can cover the value of the truck when the driver is off-duty;
- Cargo protection, which insures cargo against damage or loss;
- Trailer interchange insurance, which offers physical damage coverage for certain non-owned trailers;
- Medical payment coverage, which will cover the medical bills incurred by you or any passengers in your truck;
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) coverage, insuring you against damages incurred by someone who doesn't have their own liability insurance policy; and
- Rental coverage, which can protect your livelihood while your truck is out of commission or being repaired.
Except for general and driver liability coverage, truck drivers aren't required to carry any of these coverages. However, because semi trucks can be incredibly expensive to repair or replace, and an out-of-commission truck can affect a trucker's ability to earn income, these types of insurance policies can be a wise investment.
How Do You Know If You're Paying Too Much?
Trucking insurance tends to be more expensive than auto insurance simply because of the size and destructive power that a fully-loaded semi trailer can have. But there's still no reason to overpay for coverage. You may be able to submit an online request for quotes so that you can compare rates and coverage options among a variety of different insurance providers, choosing the policy that provides the coverage you need at a price you're comfortable paying. You may also want to survey fellow truck drivers in your area to get an idea what others are paying.
For more information, contact a company that offers trucker insurance.