Whether you're a trucking company, work for a motor carrier, or are an owner-operator with your own rig, you need truck driver insurance before you can ever hit the open road. Commercial truck insurance protects you, your cargo, and other drivers on the road from traffic incidents and liability.
The cost of truck driver insurance varies depending on what you are hauling, how far you drive, the age and experience of your drivers, credit history, what your truck is worth, and more. These factors are how insurance companies determine your insurance rates—but not all insurance companies charge the same rates for the drivers they insure. Here are some of the average costs of commercial truck insurance on a yearly basis:
Primary Liability: $5,000-$7,000
General Liability: $500-$600
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist: $50-$100
Umbrella Policy: $500-$700
Occupational Accident: $1,600-$2,200
Bobtail Insurance: $350-$400
Physical Damage: $1,000-$3,000
The average price of commercial truck insurance also depends on who you drive with. If you drive with a carrier, you may only be responsible for bobtail insurance while the carrier picks up the tab for primary liability. Alternatively, if you have your own trucking authority and operate as an owner operator, you will be responsible for all of your insurance costs.
Trucking companies easily pay the most for their truck driver insurance, especially if they are a new trucking authority. The average insurance rate for a trucking company falls between $12,000 to $16,000 yearly per truck for their insurance. The longer you’re in business, the lower your insurance costs will be. Many insurance companies offer discounts to trucking authorities over three years old.
Starting your own trucking company is difficult and owner operators, male or female, must have a minimum coverage limit of $750,000. Hazmat hauling requires as much as $5,000,000 in coverage. Because they are responsible for all of their own costs, owner operators with their own trucking authority average $9,000 to $12,000 per year for each insured truck.
Owner operators that lease their truck through a motor carrier can expect regular loads from their carrier as well as health insurance and pay through their employer. Working through a motor carrier can also reduce the overall cost of commercial truck insurance. Many owner operators who work through a lease agreement are only required to pay bobtail insurance, physical damage, and non-trucking liability. Working through a lease agreement typically costs drivers $3,000 to $5,000 per year in insurance costs, but older trucks are less expensive to insure and average from $1,500 to $2,000 per year.
Despite the fact that commercial insurance is expensive, there are things you can do to save on your insurance premiums. Here are a few tips to keep your insurance rates down:
Keep a clean driving record: Make sure you have a clean driving record, or hire truckers who have clean driving records—it's less expensive to insure a good driver.
Pay for yearly insurance upfront: Many companies offer 10 or even 20 percent discounts for paying yearly insurance costs in one payment.
Compare rates: Rates vary from insurer to insurer. Shopping around for the best rate now will save you money in the future.
Build good credit: A higher credit score translates into more savings all around.
Get CDL experience: Insurers may offer discounts for additional experience.
Change to a higher deductible: A higher deductible allows you to pay less for insurance, but this means more will come out of pocket if something happens.
Check your FMCSA record: Insurance agencies look over your company record. Make sure it’s up to date and free of errors.
Keep your log book up to date: Log book errors are common and can cost you on your insurance if you have violations.
Get quotes from different insurers before you purchase your insurance to make sure you're getting the best deal and coverage possible.
There are different types of commercial truck insurance for different situations. Aside from general insurance, you may consider other types of truck driver insurance to protect your truck and cargo should you have an incident on the road. Research what type of coverage you need so you can spend your time focusing on your job without the stress of finances if something happens to your truck.
Non-Trucking Liability: Coverage when you’re using your vehicle for personal use.
Bobtail Insurance: Coverage when you’re deadheading for business purposes.
Gap Insurance: Covers truck depreciation in the event that you need to replace your truck.
Cargo Insurance: Covers your freight. Shippers often require fleets to have $100,000 in coverage.
Damage Insurance: Covers you if your truck is damaged. Make sure towing fees are included in your insurance coverage—towing a truck is expensive.
General Liability: Covers business liability outside of truck driving.
Trailer Interchange Insurance: Covers trailer damage when the trailer is not attached to the owner’s truck.
Workers Compensation: Covers workers injured on the job. Required by state and federal regulations.
Trucking Umbrella Insurance: Covers gaps in your insurance policies.
There are many other types of truck driver insurance coverage you can add to your policy depending on what kind of trucking you do and the types of cargo you haul. Check the regulations for your cargo to make sure you’re properly insured for the loads you carry.
You need to be properly insured to protect your company, drivers, cargo, and other drivers on the road. Insufficient commercial truck insurance can mean the end of a trucking company if you have to pay your expenses out of pocket. Look at different options for coverage and any rates or discounts your insurer offers. Some truck driver insurance companies offer discounts for paying your yearly insurance upfront, combining multiple policies, hiring responsible and licensed drivers, staying with your insurance company, and for how long you've been in business.
Be careful of who you choose for your insurance company. There are fraudulent commercial truck insurance companies out there. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true—it probably is. One great way to get a feel for a company before you purchase is to talk with their customer service. If their customer service is poor initially, it won’t get better when you have a real problem on your hands. Here’s a list of some great companies that offer truck driver insurance.
Progressive: Provide custom truck insurance, including motor truck cargo, non-trucking liability, trailer interchange, rental reimbursement, and downtime compensation. They offer discounts and assistance with government insurance filing. You can get your quote online.
Nationwide: They offer policy discounts and allow you to choose for yourself from qualified repair shops. They are known for their great claims service and offer flexible billing to their customers.
Hiscox Insurance: Known for being cost-effective, this company helps drivers meet their $750,000 minimum coverage and offers discounts.
Farmers Insurance: They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and offer comprehensive damage coverage, spills, and more. You can get your quote online.
StateFarm: They operate through 19,000 independent agents and offer comprehensive collision, liability, trailer interchange, and personal injury truck driver insurance. You can get your quote online or call an agent to get started.
Allstate: They offer fast, personalized quotes, commercial truck insurance, and a mobile app where you can check the status of your claims. Allstate also offers reward points for safe driving. Reward points can be used for travel, gift cards, and more.
Titan Insurance: Known for their transparent service, they offer good rates, discounts, and different coverage options to suit your needs.
HUB International: As a top insurance and risk management firm, HUB International offers excellent customer service and good pricing, and helps companies get the appropriate coverage for their business.
Esurance: They provide insurance quotes from other providers so you can compare on the spot. They also offer a lot of flexibility and provide different options for discounts.
Travelers: A commercial truck insurance company, they also have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They cover both small and large trucking companies with commercial truck insurance and offer a variety of coverage options.
The Hartford: They offer comprehensive truck driver insurance coverage including accident forgiveness for small trucking fleets, and they have flexible payment plans and international coverage if needed.
Liberty Mutual: With Liberty Mutual, you can process your claim through their mobile app. They offer customized policies to suit your company and drivers.
Take the time to research and get quotes from multiple insurers so you can find the best commercial truck insurance coverage at the best prices.
Commercial truck insurance is a major expense for trucking authorities and finding the right insurers can mean thousands of dollars in savings—not only in coverage but also if something goes wrong on the open road. Do your homework, evaluate all your options, and don’t get pressured into a contract that doesn’t work for you. Getting truck driver insurance doesn’t have to be difficult. Find a great company and get back to work doing what you love. Find more great truck driver resources and get the knowledge you need to have a great career in the trucking industry.