The trucking industry is a high-demand field that has been struggling with a shortage of drivers for a long time. If you have decided to become an independent operator, you need to familiarize yourself with the trucking insurance basics first. Insurance is crucial for independent truck drivers because you won’t have a corporation managing the policy. Here are some of the coverage solutions you need to think about.
For truckers, primary liability is an automatic thing. It’s required by FMCSA, so you’ll have to obtain it. This coverage is for the costs incurred if you hit another vehicle, a guardrail or a building, as well as if you cause injury to another person as a result of that accident. These policies do have payout limits, so make sure you understand your policy limitations.
Independent operators also need general liability coverage. This type of policy extends coverage for damages caused while you’re not driving. For example, if you go into the office to sign loading or unloading paperwork and you break a lamp or the door inadvertently, your general liability coverage will pay for the damage. Usually, the company you drive for carries liability insurance for things like this, but independent operators need to get a policy as well.
As trucking insurance basics go, equipment damage is one of the fundamental policies, too. Equipment damage coverage pays for damage to your truck and trailer in the event of an accident. Think of it like the collision coverage of your personal auto insurance on a grander scale.
As an independent operator, you are taking on all of the responsibility and liability not only for your truck and your actions but also for the cargo that you haul. If the load you are hauling is stolen, lost or damaged in any way, you need coverage to help you offset those costs. Cargo insurance does just that. Your premiums will vary based on the average and maximum cargo load values of the things that you haul; hauling high-value cargo, such as pharmaceuticals, jewelry or electronics, will require higher premiums.
In most situations, trucking equipment damage coverage only covers damage to your truck that occurs when you are actively under load. That means you have no direct insurance coverage for the times when you are traveling to and from service calls or after dropping off your trailer when you are headed home for downtime. If you want to cover all of the trucking insurance basics, you need bobtail protection for those times. When you add bobtail insurance to your commercial trucking insurance package, you can be confident that your truck is covered for damages no matter when they occur, even if it happens on your way home or back to the yard to pick up your trailer.
Reefer units are a critical part of the trucking industry, not just for food service but also for transporting certain pharmaceuticals, electronics and more. While it isn’t a common occurrence, these trailers are vulnerable to losing refrigeration. If that happens, the failure can damage both the load and the trailer itself. That’s why most independent operators invest in reefer insurance. This coverage provides reimbursement for damages associated with a failed reefer unit, provided the unit has been properly maintained. Keep all of your service records for your reefers just in case you ever need to file a claim on your reefer insurance.
This is a look at the trucking insurance basics. For more information and to explore your options, check out the policies available through Rev Insurance. They offer industry-specific insurance policies for truck drivers, including independent operators.