Truck drivers who are owner-operators incur many expenses. The largest expenses include fuel, truck payments, maintenance, and food. Truck insurance is another major expense for owner-operators. But because of the importance of getting the right coverage, you should know as much about truck insurance as possible.
Here are four things owner operators should know about truck insurance.
1. Know Why Truck Insurance Is Important
Unfortunately, accidents involving big rigs are all too common. According to statistics, there are 500,000 truck accidents each year in the United States. Because of the size of the vehicle that’s involved, truck accidents can cause serious injury and even death to passengers of other vehicles. Truck accidents can also cause extensive damage to the vehicles themselves.
Insurance not only protects your person in the event of an accident, but it also protects your greatest asset: your truck. Insurance will help pay for repairs and medical expenses if need be.
2. Know What Truck Insurance Covers
Just as anyone that drives a vehicle is required to carry auto insurance, owner-operators are required to have truck insurance. Also just like auto insurance, there are specific types of coverage that owner-operators are required to have and others that are optional.
Federal law requires all commercial truck drivers to have primary auto liability. This type of coverage provides protection when a third party is injured in a truck accident. Each state requires general liability. This insurance covers property or bodily damage in the event of a crash.
Other types of coverage an owner-operator may want to have include:
- Physical damage. Pays for truck or trailer damage in the event of vandalism, natural disasters, collision, and theft.
- Bobtail. Provides coverage in the event the trucker uses the truck for personal reasons.
- Motor truck cargo. Provides coverage in the event the cargo is lost or damaged.
- Rental reimbursement. Pays for the rental of a replacement truck.
- Medical payment. Provides coverage for medical bills for the driver and passenger.
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist. Provides protection against another driver that doesn’t have liability insurance.
Each owner-operator is responsible for knowing what coverage they are required to have. For coverage that is optional, owner-operators will need to decide which types of coverage they need in order to best protect themselves.
3. Know the Cost of Truck Insurance
Leased owner-operators can expect to pay at least $2,000 for truck insurance. Owner-operators with their own authority can expect to pay around $20,000. These costs can vary greatly as they are dependent upon a number of factors.
Things that affect the price of truck insurance include how many years the owner-operator has been in business, what type of cargo they haul, how many miles they drive, the condition of the vehicle, where they keep the truck, their age, CDL experience, driving history, and credit history.
Because truck insurance can be expensive, many owner-operators try to find ways to reduce the cost of truck insurance. Here are some of the best ways to lower your truck insurance payment:
- Request a three-year policy so that the rate will remain fixed for that time period.
- Pay the premium all at once instead of in installments.
- Pay the premium electronically to avoid check fees.
- Maintain a clean driving record.
- Put together a written truck maintenance plan that proves the truck is well cared for.
One more way to reduce the premium for truck insurance is to increase the deductible. Owner-operators should only do this if they can afford to do so as they will have to pay this amount out of pocket in the event of an accident.
Know Who to Contact for Truck Insurance
Are you an owner-operator in need of commercial truck insurance? If so, contact Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants. Our independent insurance agency has been serving the Chicago area since 1959. We also provide service for owner-operators in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Georgia, and Florida.