Running a business is quite challenging, and many potential roadblocks can get in the way of your success. Part of being a responsible business owner is being proactive about managing risks and preventing massive financial losses that can put a major dent in your bottom line. One of the best ways to do that is by having the right insurance coverage for your own protection.
Whether you’re an owner-operator driving your own truck or a small business owner responsible for your own fleet, insurance can help keep your business going when the unexpected happens.
If you’re looking for full coverage truck insurance (or even a tailored policy that suits your exact needs), here are a few things that can help you make the best decision for your business.
What are the Coverage Minimums?
Those in the trucking and transport industry are legally required to have liability insurance, but just how much exactly?
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requires you to meet a minimum of $750,000 liability coverage if there’s no passenger or hazard exposure. However, a lot of shippers require a minimum of $1,000,000 coverage to secure jobs. Many shipping job boards and platforms also require a similar coverage amount to bid on jobs.
What Coverage Do You Need?
As you start your business, you may find that there are a few types of coverage required, and some that might be good to pick up. Primary liability, physical damage insurance, and cargo insurance are required coverages if you want to operate legally. You might be able to get away with not having physical damage insurance in certain circumstances. Still, it’s recommended to have it anyway to prevent financial hardships in the event of damage.
If you’re an owner-operator, you might find yourself required to have bobtail insurance or contingent liability coverage. This type of coverage ensures you’re protected as you drive your tractor without a trailer, such as in between jobs or during personal use unrelated to business.
You may need other coverage as well — your insurance provider may be able to help you figure out what you need depending on your particular risks.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Insurance?
If you want to secure insurance and start driving commercial vehicles, you must be at least eighteen years old.
However, getting a driver’s license is a little different.
Some states have different requirements before you can apply for an interstate class A driver’s license. For example, in some places, you’ll need two years of local class D license beforehand. Other states allow you to get a class A license by 18, but you’ll be restricted to intrastate use until you get to 23 years old.
What Kind of Freight is Classified as High-Risk?
Certain freight or cargo are high-risk, which means they cost a bit more to insure. Premiums may be higher for goods like hazardous materials. High theft items such as vehicles and electronics also qualify as high-risk.
Refrigerated cargo is another type of high-risk freight. It’s not so much what the cargo is that makes it high-risk, however — it’s more so the risk of the refrigeration unit breaking in transport, resulting in losses.
Can You Still Get Insurance with a Bad Driving Record?
If you have a bad driving record, you may be worried about your ability to obtain commercial truck insurance. However, your record may affect your insurance premiums. Some insurance companies will consider bad driving records over the past three years, while others count the past five years (especially in the case of a major infraction like a DUI).
Final Thoughts: Seek Multiple Quotes
Getting your insurance policy can be somewhat confusing if you don’t know where to begin. However, the best way to do it is to seek quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you can compare each and see what will work best for you. Make sure that you are prepared with all of your info, including potential risks that you might face in your line of work, as this can help you get more accurate quotes.