What is Commercial Trucking Insurance?
Sometimes, we may not anticipate the outcome of a car accident. When life moves quickly, the best thing we can do is protect ourselves. That’s what car insurance policies are for. In our various insurance articles we provide readers everything they need to know on personal insurance policies. Now, we will look at another form of insurance: commercial trucking insurance. These insurance policies are in place to protect Florida’s truck drivers. Those big, monster, eighteen-wheelers traveling I-95 or the Turnpike every morning? Those guys!
How does Florida protect truck drivers?
The same principle of necessity applies to those in the automotive and trucking profession. Whether contracted independently or employed by a federal carrier, those who deliver our Amazon packages, transport cargo to and from warehouses safely, and make it easier for us to buy the things we need without a second thought are all considered trucking operators. Most people don’t know this, but there’s very specific insurance coverage that protects these hard working citizens in the event they come to harm.
Insurance that protects these drivers on a daily basis is Public Liability insurance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides a step-by-step process a company must complete in order to gain Authority to Operate. The process requires every Operating Authority (Motor Carrier) to carry Public Liability insurance before drivers can operate company vehicles.
What is “Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay”?
When a driver sustains bodily injuries due to the negligence of another on the road, insurance companies must offer sufficient compensation. However, it’s never that simple. Insurance companies play a common game of Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay before a victim ever sees the money they rightfully deserve. Not only is this scenario unfair, but causes further mental anguish to accident victims dealing with pain and suffering.
Lawyers with years of trucking experience can ensure those who sustain injuries in an accident receive sufficient compensation. During a truck accident trial, a judge hears facts of the case. These can include: FMCSR or FMCSA regulations violations, Hours of Service violations, and loose cargo. Afterward, a verdict is rendered and a victim receives their compensation. This process is necessary to obtain “damages”. When a Personal Injury lawyer accepts a case, any victim who sustains injuries is entitled to pursue them.
What is trucking insurance?
Public Liability insurance has its minimum limits that vary by state. These limits are subject to regulation to avoid misuse. Unlike the average auto-insurance policy, Public Liability insurance minimum limits are soaring. Due in part to the nature of negligence on the road. This hikes the price of commercial trucking insurance all the way up! Thus, it also leads to the tightening of the United States’ FMCSA regulations.
To give readers a better idea of what “very expensive” is, let’s look at the numbers. In relation to “freight”, this can be long haul, or simply a very large truck carrying multiple tons of cargo.
The following weight limits vary depending on the carrier:
- Non-hazardous freight under 10,001 pounds: $300,000 minimum
- Non-hazardous freight over 10,001 pounds: $750,000 minimum
- Oil: $1,000,000 minimum
- Hazardous materials: $5,000,000
As you can see, trucking companies are paying the price to keep drivers safe. In turn, this protects the public. These minimums are in place for a reason: they act as a deterrent of negligence on the truck driver’s behalf. When the insurance company pays after an accident, these rates skyrocket!
What is Public Liability insurance?
Public Liability insurance is a must-have for commercial trucking. Not only is preferable, it’s legally required. A truck driver cannot drive under the FMCSA without this coverage. The expensive premium on this coverage protects both the driver and the public from accidents in which the truck driver is at-fault. Under this coverage, there is a “Bodily Injury” clause. The clause stipulates there is coverage for medical bills.
The price of this coverage is expensive due to the nature of commercial trucking. A trucking operator is often interstate, thus these insurance policies provide coverage outside of their home state. The policy takes into account the cost of medical bills and damages to the truck. It also covers things such as property that may be sustain damage in an accident. In regard to the latter, there is a specific “Property Damage” portion of the policy. This takes other people’s property and any repairs necessary into account.
What are some lesser known commercial trucking insurance policies?
There are several forms of insurance coverage that a trucking operator needs before they can actively perform their duties:
Cargo insurance. Cargo insurance covers goods, or “cargo” in a truck or trailer. There are weight limits and minimums for this type of policy.
Bobtail: this form of insurance is only required if you do not have your own auto-insurance. If you, however, work for a motor carrier or trucking company, you most likely will not need to obtain this level of insurance. Your employer will inform you of the ins and outs of this type of policy on a case-by-case basis, as it is not the same for every carrier.
Physical damage. When financing a vehicle as a private contractor, drivers need this form of insurance for commercial trucking purposes. This policy protects a personal trailer, truck, or tractor from accidents.
Commercial trucking insurance review
- Public Liability insurance has two basic sections. “Bodily Injury” and “Property Damage”
- The cost of Public Liability insurance is considerably more than the average car insurance policy. This is due to the nature of commercial trucking.
- Public Liability insurance protects both driver and public from any accident in which the truck driver is at-fault.
- There are certain minimums that must be met under Public Liability insurance policies. These limits range from $300,000-$1,000,000 or more.
- There are other insurance policies necessary outside of the standard Public Liability policy: Cargo insurance, Physical Damage insurance, and Bobtail insurance