Acquiring semi truck insurance is very important for both individual operators and businesses. Especially if you are just getting started or haven't checked up things in a while, it can be beneficial to review the basics of dealing with commercial truck insurance. Here's a look at four things you should know before you purchase trucker insurance.
Covering the Truck and the Cargo
Insurance for the vehicle is expected to cover both the semi and the load it's pulling. Proof must be provided to both the state where you will be based and to the federal government.
Note that coverage here goes well beyond the replacement costs of the vehicle and the cargo. Liability for catastrophic injuries that might potentially arise from a wreck is the main reason that commercial truck insurance exists.
One of the biggest factors in determining cost is how far the truck will be traveling. A business operating coast-to-coast is going to have to pony up for interstate trucker insurance, for example. Unless you're 100% certain you'll be operating in a tight local area, it's always wisest to purchase a policy that provides slightly more operating space than you'll need.
Getting the Right Policy
Different arrangements require different policies. In many cases, a motor carrier-lessee will assume full responsibility for the vehicle as long as it is in the employ of the lessee. This can create odd situations, though, especially when a vehicle is bob-tailed and heading home or going to the shop. In this scenario, the owner-operator may need a separate commercial truck insurance policy to cover the vehicle under conditions where it isn't covered by the lessee's policy.
It's best to sit down with an insurance agent and explain to them what your situation is as either an operator or as a business. They can then help you make sense of what policy provisions will be necessary to keep you insured every step of the way.
Note, too, that it's unwise to assume a lessee is properly insured in a way that covers you as an operator. If you have any concerns, request a copy of their policy and ask for a contact with their insurance carrier so you can sort things out.
Rising Awards in Injury Cases
Coverage has always been important, but recent trends make it even more essential. Jury awards have pushed claims and judgments to all-time highs so make sure you have sufficient coverage for catastrophic scenarios.