Auto Insurance

A handy guide on truck insurance basics and coverage


Truck insurance is one of the necessary mandates that states impose on all types of owned, rental, or loan lease vehicles. Commercial business owners and private truck carriers are expected to take insurance cover for every vehicle operating under their name. The cost will vary depending on the type of vehicle owned, cargo hauled, and current state requirements. In hindsight, insurance offers a smart way to protect all your assets and prevent incurring heavy losses. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect.

Liability coverage
Commercial truck insurance offers protection for both primary and general liability. Primary liability protects truck owners from legalities that arise on account of the third party being injured in the accident. General liability will provide additional cover for property or bodily damage that may happen during regular trucking operations. Some insurance policies also account for loading mistakes, meaning they are liable to pay for damages to your vehicle caused by improper or unsafe cargo operations.

Coverage for owned and leased vehicles
Any physical damages to owned or leased trucks that occur due to collision, vandalism, or in the event of a natural disaster are mostly covered under this insurance. This even includes cover for theft, wherein the total cost of repairs and replacements is determined after an evaluation of the policy. Semi-trucks and long-haul commercial vehicles also tow large trailers for interstate goods transport. In such cases, owners can take trailer interchange insurance that covers the damages, particularly for leased trailers.

Bobtail insurance
In cases where the driver has to return home empty, it pays to have bobtail insurance. This is an additional cover to protect the owner and truck from liabilities that may incur off-dispatch. Semi-truck owners can benefit from this coverage when the truck is at the garage for servicing or the driver is resting at truck motels from a long-haul trip. Any personal or property damages during off-duty hours will be covered under the bobtail clause.

Cargo insurance
Freight is a valuable commodity, and truck owners are solely responsible for its handling during long-haul trips. Cargo insurance will offer truckers extra protection from damage or theft of goods. Not all types of freight are covered, but it is nevertheless a benefit as the owner or driver of the semi-truck can use their truck insurance to compensate for the loss.

Reefer breakdown insurance
Truck owners hauling perishable goods on a long-distance trip can benefit from reefer breakdown coverage. In case the refrigeration unit on the trailer malfunctions or stops functioning completely, reefer protection will pay for the damaged freight. Note that not all types of perishables are included in this policy. The insurance can also be claimed for lost cargo or damage to freight due to a collision.

Additional protection
One major risk for commercial and semi-truck owners driving long-haul cargo is dealing with uninsured or underinsured motorists. In the event of an accident that results in significant damage to property or even personal injury, underinsured or uninsured motorists cannot be held liable for damages incurred on your part. For such instances, the additional cover will pay for any damages or loss and protect the truck owners’ primary interests.

Other payments and reimbursements
Truck owners must return the vehicle to the garage for regular servicing. This is to ensure the optimum running condition of the automobile and also takes care of passenger safety as the vehicle is also inspected for repairs and replacements of essential parts. This does not necessarily mean the trucker has to stay idle for the duration of the service. Rental reimbursement insurance can help pay the hiring cost of a spare truck to continue business as usual. Moreover, truck insurance can help pay for the medical expenses of the owner and even passengers, depending on the insurance policy.

Best truck insurance providers of 2021

StateFarm is one of the leading truck insurance providers for commercial vehicle owners since 1935. Small businesses and individual owners can benefit from their comprehensive covers for all kinds of commercial vehicles. The insurance is valid for owned trucks, leased vehicles, and even short-term rentals for smaller delivery jobs. With one-on-one agent consultation and a wide range of customizable truck insurance options, StateFarm ranks among the top three brands for commercial automobile policies. The benefits are all tied into a single policy to avoid confusion.

Nationwide understands that most states mandate a number of rental autos and commercial vehicle insurance requirements. This is one of the main reasons why it ranks among the top three providers in the country. Depending on the type of vehicle, Nationwide requires truck owners to take a minimum of $100,000 coverage per vehicle and offers a maximum cover of $1 million. Their policy will pay for primary and secondary liabilities, bobtail, cargo, breakdown, and additional liabilities that can arise on the road.

Progressive® Commercial
Progressive is one of the best truck insurance companies for heavy-duty semi-trucks and long-haul commercial vehicles. The company offers customized quotes for owner-operators, motor carriers, and privately-owned carriers. Exclusive truck-specific coverages include motor truck cargo, general motor liability, trailer interchange, and rental downtime reimbursement. The policy premium will vary depending on factors like USDOT authority limits, vehicle, and cargo type, coverage requirements, operating radius, and driving history. However, Progressive offers quotes starting at approx. $640 to $980 per month for different types of trucking and trailer units.