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Semi Truck Insurance

A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi or semi-truck, is the backbone of America’s trucking industry,

The Complete Guide to Semi Truck Insurance: Protecting Your Truck and Business

A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi or semi-truck, is the backbone of America’s trucking industry, hauling goods across the country and driving major industries. As the old adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and operating a semi-truck carries inherent risks. This is where semi truck insurance comes in, offering vital protection to businesses and truck drivers operating these heavy-duty vehicles.

Understanding the Semi Truck

A semi-truck, also known as an eighteen-wheeler, big rig, or tractor-trailer in other parts of the US, is a combination of a tractor unit and a detachable trailer. The tractor unit pulls the trailer, which can be loaded with a wide variety of goods, from food and electronics to machinery and construction materials. These heavy-duty commercial vehicles are essential for transporting goods across long distances, contributing significantly to economic growth and development. However, due to their size and complexity, semi-trucks also pose a higher risk of accidents and associated claims.

What is Semi Truck Insurance?

Semi truck insurance is a specialized form of commercial auto insurance specifically designed to cater to the unique risks associated with operating a semi-truck. It goes beyond the coverage offered by standard auto insurance policies, providing comprehensive protection for the vehicle, owner operators, cargo, and other third parties involved in an incident. This insurance covers accidents caused by the commercial truck driver, as well as those caused by other vehicles or factors such as weather conditions. It can also cover theft and damage to the truck or its cargo, breakdowns and towing expenses, and even legal costs and medical bills associated with accidents, which saves your business some money.

Why Businesses Need Semi Truck Insurance

Investing in semi truck insurance is crucial for businesses operating this kind of vehicle for several reasons:

  • Protection against financial losses: Accidents, breakdowns, and cargo damage can result in significant financial losses for a business. Semi truck insurance helps mitigate these risks by covering repair costs, replacement costs, and cargo losses.
  • The Law of Deep Pockets: This is the legal concept which, in simple terms, means that when a company has deeper pockets, it should pay for any damages regardless of fault. Another term for this is deep pocket jurisprudence.It means that in court, the semi truck is often found at fault even when it is not the semi truck’s fault.
  • Compliance with regulations: Various federal and state regulations mandate minimum insurance requirements for trucking companies. Having adequate insurance ensures your business remains compliant and avoids penalties.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that you are protected against unexpected events provides invaluable peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your core business operations.
  • Competitive advantage: Clients and partners often require proof of adequate insurance before engaging trucking services. Having a robust insurance policy can give you a competitive edge and attract more business opportunities.

Common Types of Semi Truck Insurance Policies

Semi truck insurance address a range of different liability coverage to acknowledge the diverse risks associated with these heavy-duty trucks. From non trucking liability insurance to trailer interchange insurance, here are various types of semi truck insurance policies available, each catering to the trucking business’ specific needs and risks. Some of the coverage types include:

Non-Trucking Liability

Non trucking liability insurance provides coverage for these trucks when they used in non business-purposes, such as when the truck is driven for personal use. It offers protection during personal use to fill gaps in coverage that primary liability insurance might not address. This type of coverage requires that the owner operator be leased onto another trucking company that has their own DOT number. The coverage cannot be purchased as temporary insurance.

Primary Trucking Liability

Primary trucking liability insurance is a fundamental coverage that protects semi truck owners against bodily injury and property damage liability when the truck is actively engaged in business operations. This coverage is a common commercial vehicle insurance, which is also commonly referred to as commercial auto liability insurance

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance provides broader coverage, protecting semi truck owners against third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, reputational harm, advertising injury and personal injury that may occur during business operations, not just while driving. 

Cargo Liability

Cargo liability insurance specifically addresses the materials being transported by semi trucks. It protects against damage or loss of the cargo, ensuring that the value of the materials is covered in the event of an accident or other covered incidents. Any time that a trucking company has care, custody or control of someone else’s property they have a legal liability if anything were to happen. Additionally, various specialized coverages can be added to meet specific needs, such as towing and roadside assistance, environmental pollution liability, and trailer interchange coverage.

Other coverage types

Owner operators and business owners can explore additional trucking insurance for semi trucks tailored to their specific needs, which includes, but not limited to, physical damage and, UIIA/Intermodal Endorsement, and more.

Physical Damage Insurance

Physical damage insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing a semi truck if it gets damaged in an accident, regardless of fault. This includes both collision and comprehensive coverage.

MCS-90 Endorsement:

A federally mandated endorsement for motor carriers involved in interstate commerce, ensuring a minimum level of financial responsibility for motor carriers operating in interstate commerce. The endorsement basically states that in the event that the insurance company denies coverage, they still agree to pay out uncovered claims to the federal government, while reserving the right to go after the customer for the uncovered claim. When this endorsement is applied to a policy it requires the insurance company to give the Federal government a 35 day notice before cancelling commercial auto liability insurance (primary trucking liability) referred to as commercial auto liability insurance

BMC 91 & 91x

Required filings with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), demonstrating compliance with insurance requirements for motor carriers involved in interstate commerce. The BMC 91x is simply the electronic filing proving that an insurance policy has the MCS-90 endorsement. When an insurance company makes this filing, they will not allow you to cancel your primary trucking liability coverage without a 35 day notice because the insurance company must provide the Federal government with that much notice.

How Much Does Semi Truck Insurance Cost?

The commercial truck insurance cost depends on several factors, including:

  • Type of truck and trailer: The value of the truck and trailer, as well as their specific configuration and type of cargo transported, will affect the premium.
  • Age of the equipment: Insuring trucks and trailers that are more than 20 to 25 years old can be more expensive.
  • Coverage needs: The type and amount of coverage chosen will directly impact the price; higher limits and additional coverage options will increase the cost.
  • Business size and experience: Larger fleets and those with positive safety records may be offered lower premiums. Companies that have been in business more than 3 to 5 years get large discounts with most insurance companies. 
  • Driving history and claims record: The driving record and past claims history of the operator will significantly affect the cost.
  • Liability limits: Higher liability limits will increase the cost of insurance.
  • Radius of Operation: The longer the radius that a trucking company travels increases the price. The cities and states you travel through can also impact your prices. The experts at CTI carefully review your IFTA’s (International Fuel Tax Agreements) to work closely with insurance companies so they offer the best rates based on where you actually travel. 

It is important to work with a reliable insurance agent who understands your business needs and can tailor a bespoke insurance plan that provides your company with comprehensive protection at a competitive price. For a commercial truck insurance policy for semis tailored to your trucking company’s needs, contact us and request an INSTANT quote for your Premium Control Plan. We shop through 30+ carriers to get you the best commercial trucking insurance deal we find. By investing in the right semi truck insurance, businesses can protect their employees and themselves from a wide range of risks and ensure their continued smooth operation in a competitive market within the trucking industry.