Streetsmart insurance Blog
Whether you own a well-established commercial trucking company or are just getting started as an owner-operator, you probably already know that semi trucks can’t be covered under a general auto insurance policy. Finding a company that can sell you truck insurance can also be more difficult than shopping for auto owners insurance, simply because there are fewer truck drivers or truck companies out there than there are people driving passenger vehicles. Don’t worry, though: with some searching and research, you can find an insurance carrier that will be happy to write up a policy for your truck.
Finding a Company to Insure Your Truck
For the sake of shopping for truck insurance, you can more or less divide insurers into two groups: the companies that specialize in selling commercial trucking insurance and the ones that don’t. Some insurance companies are huge and multi-faceted, selling coverage for everyone from homeowners to businesses and beyond. These companies might be willing to draw up a truck insurance policy for you, but truck insurance is not their forte or their focus.
Other companies, meanwhile, have a specific focus in the trucking industry. Some of these insurance carriers may skew toward larger businesses, making most of their revenues from insuring huge nationwide trucking companies. Others target owner-operators with their coverage. In other words, not every client looking for trucking insurance is going to fit in with the same specialized carrier. However, every trucking company or owner-operator should focus their insurance shopping efforts on these specialized insurance companies, rather than try to work with a more general carrier.
What to Look for in a Specialized Trucking Insurance Company
Why is it so vital for you to opt for a company that specializes in commercial truck insurance? There are various reasons, but the big overarching one is that, when your insurance provider knows your industry as well as you do, they can provide better service. A specialized insurance carrier will know all about state and federal government trucking regulations, or about why your coverage might need to be adjusted slightly based on the cargo you are carrying.
As you might expect, then, focusing on experience and reputation will be your key pathways to find the perfect truck insurance company. You want an insurance carrier that knows the trucking industry well and can use that knowledge to write you a better policy and furnish you with superior customer service. To find those qualities, you need to know how long your insurance company has been focusing on the trucking industry. There are exceptions, of course, but a carrier that has been insuring trucking companies and owner-operators for three decades will generally be able to offer you a more specialized service than a carrier who has only been in the trucking industry for three months.
Reputation, meanwhile, can help to steer you toward the insurance companies that are genuinely beloved by truckers. The trucking industry is something of a big community, and truck drivers talk to one another all the time. If you have friends in the business, reach out and ask which truck insurance companies they would recommend. If you notice the same insurance carriers coming up in one conversation after the next, it’s a pretty good bet that you’ve found a company you can count on.
Know the Coverage You Need
Once you have a few tips for different insurance carriers, you can start reaching out and getting coverage quotes. Before you place any calls, though, be sure to know what you are basically looking for out of your insurance. In most cases, owner-operators will be looking for a policy with these three types of coverage:
Physical Damage: This coverage is essentially the part of the policy that will insure your truck itself and cover any repairs or replacements in case of damage.
Primary Liability: Primary liability will cover any injuries or property damage that your truck causes to others in an at-fault accident. There are laws against driving without this type of insurance coverage.
Cargo Insurance: Physical damage coverage insures the truck itself in the case of an accident; cargo coverage insures the cargo you are carrying. If a client’s cargo is damaged or destroyed in an accident, this policy will pay to replace it.
There are also a few less-essential forms of truck insurance, including medical payments coverage (which usually overlaps with personal health insurance policies), general liability, and workers compensation. Once you’ve found an insurance provider that you trust, chat about these optional coverage options to find out if they are right for you.
As a truck driver, you can officially call yourself a professional driver. Ideally, you will learn to be safer and more conscious on the road than you have ever been before. Still, accidents happen, and when they do, it’s good to have a strong truck insurance policy to serve as your safety net.