Trucking is undeniably a risky gig. Accidents happen and vehicles that are maximum on the road are likely to get hurt the most. Not only do mishaps end up impairing your trucks and drivers but also do physical, property, or both damages to the third party.
Obviously, you have no control over unforeseen circumstances but you can give yourself a financial cushion in such situations in form of commercial truck insurance. This policy protects the insured against physical injury and property damages to own as well as third parties in the event of an accident.
However, before buying this coverage you need to know some commercial truck insurance facts before purchasing it. Let’s learn them!
Commercial truck insurance facts that every driver must know
Commercial truck insurance is broad and you need to understand it thoroughly to get the right coverage for your business. For example, motor truck cargo insurance offers financial support for the damages caused to the shipment due to fire, theft, vandalism, explosion, etc. If the hauled cargo is valuable, this insurance is beneficial to have.
Buying the right commercial truck insurance matching your unique business takes a lot of time. Apart from researching it, here are some of the important things that you should know as a commercial vehicle driver.
1. FMCSA and DOT requirements
After buying a commercial truck and getting your own trucking authority, the first thing is to get the DOT (Department of Transportation). It is an 8-digit unique identification number assigned by FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) to vehicles that operate interstate.
Whether you carry cargo or people, you need to obtain DOT numbers to function smoothly between states. Trucking businesses that have FMCSA DOT numbers are considered more reliable in the industry.
2. Factors affecting the cost of the policy
As a trucker, you should know what factors affect your policy rate. Commercial truck insurance is undeniably expensive. You will find a great variation in the coverage cost of every insurer. If you want to save money on your policy, you should be aware of the factors that impact the rate of insurance.
Factors such as the type of vehicle, its usage, the experience of the driver, your operating radius, credit score, nature of cargo, etc. highly drive the cost of your commercial truck insurance.
3. Understand the deductibles
Deductibles are an integral part of any trucking policy. A deductible is an amount or a percentage of money that you agree to pay to the insurer at the time of the insurance claim before receiving the rest money. You have a choice to adjust the rate of deductible according to your preference.
The higher deductible you choose, the lower your premiums are going to be. Whereas if you pick a lower deductible then expect to pay a high premium rate. You can modify the amount of deductible in your trucking policy. Make sure that you choose a decent figure to avoid straining your pockets at the time of the incident.
4. Vital questions to ask the Insurer
People often forget to ask questions to their insurer at the time of taking the policy and end up regretting it. To avoid being in a repenting situation, consider asking some important questions to your insurer before putting your initials on the policy papers.
Your questions should include:
- Is the commercial truck policy limited or unlimited?
- Does this policy offer wider coverage? If not, what things are covered?
- Am I supposed to pay an additional deductible?
- Do you offer 24X7 support to settle the claims or answer other queries?
These are a few important questions that you should ask your insurer before giving a thumbs up. Asking questions also project your image as a knowledgeable buyer and help your insurer understand your requirements even better.
5. Get the right coverage
Whether you own one or multiple commercial trucks, it is essential to carry adequate coverage. You can decide what amount of coverage you need according to your risk exposure. A policy should cover you and your drivers both on and off the road.
It is you who decide what suits your requirement. However, if you take adequate truck insurance, it covers:
- Physical injury and property damage of the third party.
- Bodily injury of own drivers and passengers.
- Damages and repair cost of own truck.
- Medical bills of your truckers.
6. Types of coverages
As commercial truck insurance is extensive, you need to know the different types of coverage that come under it. This helps you choose the right coverages for complete protection from the risk that you encounter daily.
The major types of commercial truck insurance are:
- Primary liability: It is a state-mandated coverage that protects other people’s vehicle damages and physical injuries in an accident.
- General liability: This coverage protects the insured against property and bodily damages happening to the third party along with the lawsuit expenses.
- Physical damage coverage: Not mandatory but covers the cost of repairing and replacing own truck after an accident.
- Cargo insurance: This coverage protects against the damages and loss of shipment caused by fire, extreme weather conditions, theft, collision, and equipment breakdown.
- Bobtail insurance: This policy protects the insured truck against damages happening while it is not attached to the trailer or operating during off-dispatch.
- Workers Compensation: It covers the medical expenses of the drivers/employees who get physically affected after the incident.
- Trailer interchange: This coverage protects against the physical damages caused to trailers pulled under a trailer interchange agreement.
As your commercial truck runs more on the road, it is comparatively more prone to dangers than other private vehicles. Even after taking countless precautions, roads are risky and unforeseen incidents can strike your business any day.
Other than taking adequate commercial truck insurance, there is no better way to protect yourself from liability that arises after an accident.
Every vehicle that is operated for commercial purposes needs to obtain this insurance coverage for its own good. You just need to find the right insurer to get the most out of the policy.