Commercial vehicles play an important role in the economy. Truck drivers use them to transport goods all across the state and the entire country. While these large vehicles have an essential purpose, they also pose a higher risk of injury or damage to property if they experience an accident. California commercial truck insurance requirements are put into place to minimize financial liabilities should an accident occur.

What Are the California Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements?

Commercial truck insurance is a legal requirement. It is available for single vehicles and entire fleets. The strict requirements in California are there to protect drivers and private citizens alike. Commercial truck drivers and companies must remain in compliance with all of them to avoid fines, loss of their commercial driver’s license, and other penalties.

In-State Only

The exact insurance requirements vary depending on the freight the driver hauls. Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage. For drivers operating a vehicle of 10,000 gross vehicle weight within the state of California, the following liability insurance guidelines apply:

  • $20,000 liability insurance per vehicle plus cargo insurance of $20,000 for each catastrophe
  • $300,000 for household goods transportation
  • $750,000 for general freight
  • $1,000,000 for oil transport
  • $5,000,000 for hazardous materials


California Drivers Who Cross State Lines

The California commercial truck insurance requirements to travel outside of California are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You must meet these and the California guidelines. The minimum liability insurance by freight type is as follows:

  • $5,000 for transporting household goods
  • $10,000 for each incident involving household goods transport
  • $300,000 for all vehicles that carry non-hazardous materials and weigh under 10,000 pounds
  • $750,000 to $5,000,000 (depends on freight type) for vehicles weighing in at over 10,000 pounds

Proof of insurance is also required to obtain a motor carrier permit, another essential required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to stay legal.

What Types of Commercial Truck Insurance Are Available in California?

The two essential coverage types required for every driver are property damage and general liability coverage. We’ve already discussed the minimums for liability coverage above.

Some drivers and companies prefer to purchase additional insurance. The minimum liability insurance required by the state doesn’t always cover all financial obligations if you are at fault for an accident. These options provide additional protection.

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

Transporting goods across the state or country is a big responsibility that involves a certain amount of risk. What happens if the expensive cargo you are hauling gets damaged or stolen? This is where motor truck cargo insurance provides protection.

Bobtail Insurance

Bobtailing refers to any time when you drive your truck without the trailer. Most liability insurance is specifically designed to cover freight hauling, leaving you vulnerable if you detach the trailer. Bobtail insurance is a good option to cover those periods when you are on your way to pick up a new load or after you drop one off.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance

This type of trucker insurance is for when you are driving off-duty. Normally, standard liability insurance covers you on specified routes only. Non-trucking liability insurance is there when you need to take a detour, run an errand, or use your truck for personal reasons.

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

Not all road incidents are accidents that involve other vehicles. Mechanical breakdown insurance helps to cover the cost of services needed if you break down while driving and need a tow or repairs.

Limited Depreciation Insurance

This option gives you coverage if you are involved in a serious accident that results in a totaled vehicle. Regular insurance policies usually pay only the fair market value of a vehicle. If you owe more on the vehicle or need more money to cover the cost of a new truck, limited depreciation insurance helps to fill the gap.

Physical Damage Insurance

As it sounds, physical damage insurance is a type of commercial insurance for truckers that protects in the event of damage from a weather event, vandalism, theft, or fire.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

No one wants to think about getting into an accident, but you can never predict when the unthinkable happens. Workers’ compensation insurance is another coverage option that pays medical, disability, death, and dismemberment benefits.

Commercial motor vehicles are huge financial investments, so it can make sense to spend the money on extra coverage. Even if you have adequate liability insurance to pay for third-party injuries and damage, the cost of fixing your vehicle is often prohibitive if you don’t have insurance to help cover it.

How Much Does Commercial Insurance for Truckers Cost?

The cost for coverage that complies with California commercial truck insurance requirements depends on the type of freight you haul and if you travel out of state. Other factors influencing pricing are the type of vehicle, the age of your truck driving business, and your driving record. The average cost is around $14,189, with the majority of premiums falling between $12,094 and $16,563.

Prices also vary widely between carriers. You can get the best rate by comparing quotes and working with a reputable company specializing in insurance specific to your needs, like Rev Insurance.

Complying With California Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements

California commercial truck insurance requirements are set in place to protect you from financial losses if you get into an accident. You must carry an active policy and update it as needed if your situation changes. Call us at Rev Insurance to get started with a quote. We look forward to discussing your needs and providing you with the best coverage around.