Tow trucking is a risky business, yet it has its rewards. It is one of those businesses where you get to help people when they need help the most. But the joy you give comes with a lot of risks.
For instance, it is said that tow truck drivers are twice likely to be killed or injured while at work. Usually, these injuries are resold from car accidents. When these accidents happen, tow truck drivers face additional risks for the cars they carry.
Because commercial drivers face so many road hazards, there are many coverage options. In this article, we’ll show you some of the best companies where you can buy tow truck insurance for your company in California.
- The 7 best tow truck insurance companies in California
- How much is the average commercial tow truck insurance cost in California?
- How to find cheap tow truck insurance in California
- What are the requirements of tow truck insurance in California?
- Who needs tow truck insurance in California?
The 7 best tow truck insurance companies in California
- biBERK: Best for low-cost tow truck insurance with online quotes
- Progressive: Best Overall and fast online quotes
- Simply Business: Best for comparing quotes
- Allstate: Best for excellent customer satisfaction ratings
- The Hartford: Best for tow truck fleets
- Smart Financial: Best for high-risk drivers and tow truck companies
- THREE Insurance: Best for a simplified tow truck insurance buying experience and fast online quotes
biBERK: Best for low-cost tow truck insurance with online quotes
biBERK is an insuretech subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaways, the owner of Geico, a household name in the insurance world. So this means that they have the best of both worlds: great digital experience, great product innovation and features that benefit consumers, solid financial backing and a wealth of insurance experience that come from Geico/Berkshire Hathaways and few companies can match. The great digital experience allows biBERK to sell directly to the truckers, not going through agents or brokers, resulting in significant savings for truckers and trucking companies. In fact, biBERK claims that they can save truckers up to 20% on trucking insurance.
biBERK offers a great digital experience. In fact, they are one of the three insurance companies that can offer truck insurance quotes online (besides Progressive and THREE insurance, another Berkshire’s subsidiary). It only takes 10 minutes or less for you to get a tow truck insurance quotes on their website. You can also buy the policy online with biBERK if you are happy with the quote. After buying the policy online, you can manage your policy completely online using their dashboard.
biBERK is also known for excellent customer satisfaction rating. They earn 4.22 rating out of 5 on BBB.
Progressive: Best Overall and fast online quotes
The insurance company called Progressive is one of the best and most trusted trucking and towing insurance providers in the US. Their tow truck insurance packages cover third-party liability, medical payments (fire and theft with CAC Insurance), collision, and comprehensive.
Progressive offers On-Hook insurance for towed vehicles. Their policy also covers the vehicles stored in your garage. Another advantage of using Progressive is that you can get discounts when you buy the policy.
Progressive is one of the three companies offering tow truck insurance quotes online, besides biBERK and THREE insurance. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to get a quote on their website. You may want to start with that.
Simply Business: Best for comparing quotes
Comparing quotes online can be difficult since you have to visit different websites or agents. However, Simply Business is an insure-tech company that makes it easy to compare quotes before shopping for your insurance.
Simply Business helps businesses in all industries, including towing, find the right policies for the right prices.
Even though simply Business is new in the industry, they have a 4.1 Trustpilot rating, which is higher than most insurance providers that have been in the industry for long.
Allstate: Best for excellent customer satisfaction ratings
Allstate is another top-rated company that offers top tow truck insurance. All state was founded in 1931, and it is an Illinois-based company that operates nationwide.
Allstate tow truck insurance offers liability, collision, comprehensive (fire, vandalism, hail, etc.), and underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
Allstate Insurance’s Advantage program provides easy access to local insurance agents who can assess your risks, help you choose the best custom package, and adjust it to suit your business.
Even though they do not have an online quote system, they have the best customer rating in the industry. They are ranked number 1 on JD Power Small business insurance survey reviews.
The Hartford: Best for tow truck fleets
The Hartford is a 200-year-old business insurance provider that has insured over a million businesses. You can trust them because of their longevity and exceptional commitment to ethical business practices.
In the course of history, the company has helped trucking companies, including tow truck companies, get the right coverages at affordable prices.
The good thing about using The Hartford is that you can customize your tow truck business’s coverages.
Plus, The Hartford takes pride in being one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. They have received this award about 12 times.
Smart Financial: Best for high-risk drivers and tow truck companies
If you tow cars of high value or your drivers generally have bad records, finding insurance may be difficult. Some companies may not offer you insurance, while others may offer you insurance at exorbitant prices.
To prevent that, you can check Smart Financial for your insurance policies. Smart Financial does not sell policies; instead, the website acts as an aggregator and digital broker where high-risk drivers can find suitable policies at the best rate.
THREE insurance: Best for a simplified buying insurance experience and online quotes
THREE insurance is another subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaways, the owner of the insurance household name Geico. THREE was founded with a core belief that business insurance can be simplified and made easy to understand for customers. They believe that the entire business insurance policy should be fit into three pages with no insurance jargons or fine prints.
With that philosophy, THREE insurance has become more popular by making insurance simple for small business owners. They offer a great digital experience. They are one of the three carriers offering truck insurance quotes online, besides Progressive and biBERK. The quote process is simple and fast, and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. You may want to get a quote from all these three providers to compare and select the cheapest one for you.
It is clear that their simplified approach has earned applaud from small business customers. They earn a whopping 4.7 rating out of 5 on BBB, the highest customer satisfaction rating we have seen for small business insurance providers.
What is commercial tow truck insurance?
Tow truck insurance is commercial truck insurance with specialized coverage for vehicles you tow or store at your service station.
Towing company owners frequently require non-truck-related business insurance such as general liability, workers’ compensation, and commercial property insurance.
Here’s what common tow truck insurance covers:
Auto liability insurance
covers injuries and property damage if you cause an accident. It covers legal fees if you’re sued after an accident.
This policy covers repairs or replaces damaged tow trucks.
This policy repairs or replaces your tow truck if it is damaged by fire, theft, falling objects, or animals. It covers you and any passengers injured in an accident, including customers who ride along while their car is towed.
This policy is also called garage keepers’ legal liability insurance. This policy covers repairs or replaces a vehicle damaged while being towed.
Uninsured motorist insurance
This policy pays for injuries caused by an uninsured driver or hit-and-run.
How much is the average commercial tow truck insurance cost in California?
Tow truck insurance isn’t fixed. Depending on the specifics of your towing business, costs range from $300 to 2,500 per month or $4,000 to $30,000 per year. It is a wide range because tow truck insurance is expensive and varies significantly depending on several factors that we are discussing below. The biggest factor is the types of coverages you will get for your tow truck insurance policy. Below are the average cost breakdowns of different coverages:
|Tow truck insurance coverages||Average costs in California|
|Primary liability||$650 per month|
|Trucking physical damage coverage (collision and comprehensive)||$300 per month|
|On-hook coverage||$120 per month|
These are just the average. Be sure to shop around with a few companies to compare quotes. Getting quotes online from Progressive, biBERK, and THREE shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes so that you can compare three quotes from three reputable companies immediately.
You can also work with a top broker like Simply Business or commercialinsurance.net if you want to compare more quotes in one place conveniently.
Learn more at tow truck insurance cost
What factors can affect the cost of commercial truck insurance in California?
Different factors affect the cost of tow truck insurance. This is why the cost varies largely from one company to another. Some of these factors are within a business’s control, while others are almost out of control.
When you understand these factors correctly, you will be able to plan ahead and maybe reduce costs in some areas. That said, here are some major cost factors:
Business size and experience
Business size is a major factor that affects policy structure and cost. Businesses that insure more tow trucks will have to pay more overall but should pay less per truck. The company’s experience is another important factor. Younger companies (less than two years) are riskier and have higher insurance costs.
Like personal auto insurance, the drivers’ records of your tow truck drivers affect insurance rates. The reason is that experienced tow truck drivers are less likely to crash. Drivers that have accidents, speeding, and other reckless driving issues on their records will attract high insurance costs. Pay attention to drivers’ Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) and invest in safety training to keep premiums low.
Tow trucks usually come in several shapes and sizes. The larger trucks typically have higher premiums. The age of the trucks can also affect insurance costs, with newer trucks costing more to insure. That’s because it’s more expensive to replace new trucks.
Insurance requirements vary depending on the services provided by your towing company. Your services will, in turn, impact the price of your tow truck insurance. For instance, if your company offers repossession, your insurance policy may be high. The high fee is due to the high risk of repossession. In fact, not all insurers will provide you with this type of insurance.
Tow vehicle type
The type of vehicles that your company tows are another factor. Companies that tow newer, heavier, or expensive vehicles/equipment cost more to insure.
Insurers will be interested in your company’s loss-run history from the past three to five years. The more claims on the policy, the more expensive it is. Even minor claims can cause an insurer to raise premiums or deny coverage.
Planned safety programs
Towing companies with safety programs like vehicle inspections, GPS tracking, and driver training may get lower insurance rates. This is a best business practice that can also benefit insurance purchases.
If you move long distances in California when towing cars, the chances of accidents increase. Therefore, the more your travel radius in California, the more your Tow Truck insurance. More so, tow trucks that travel out of California will pay higher insurance rates than local drivers. Drivers that move long distances will need higher liability insurance minimums for interstate commerce, increasing their costs.
How do I find cheap tow truck insurance in California?
If you have a tow truck insurance company, you must balance adequate coverage with cost-effectiveness. The following are some ideas that may be helpful.
Invest in driver safety
Driver safety affects tow truck insurance costs similarly to auto insurance. You should check driving records for accidents or tickets that could raise insurance costs to ensure safety. As part of your company’s commitment to safety, invest in frequent driver training and pre-trip vehicle inspections. Business owners may also install GPS devices on tow trucks to monitor driver speed and prohibit distracted driving and cell phone use.
Pay premiums annually
Towing companies can save money by using alternative payment methods. Depending on the insurer, “pay-up-front” may save money. Customers can save up to 15% by paying their annual premium in advance at Progressive.
Buy the right insurance policies
Ensure you only purchase the necessary coverage without overdoing it. Tow truck operators with few trucks and basic services (no repossessions) may benefit from the minimum coverage limits.
Compare multiple quotes
Get quotes from multiple insurers to compare and select the cheapest one for your business is highly recommended. If you settle on the first quote you receive, you definitely leave money on the table. Potential insurers may be limited for businesses with specialized needs, like wrongful repossession insurance. You may need to check around to get the right policies and prices.
If you want to compare quotes online easily, get online quotes from Progressive, biBERK, or THREE. They are the only three carriers offering truck insurance quotes online. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to get quotes on their websites.
Insurance companies give tow truck drivers discounts based on their driving records, safety programs, and experience. For instance, a tow truck operator with a CDL for two years may qualify for discounted liability coverage in some companies. A good example is progressive, which offers a Business Experience discount to tow truck companies in business for more than three years.
What are the requirements of tow truck insurance in California?
According to the laws of the United States, tow truck companies must have insurance. Since tow trucks are commercial trucks, they are subject to Title 49, Section 387 of the US Code of Federal Regulations. The minimum liability coverage required is often expressed as a combined single limit (CSL). “Single limits” describe the individual amounts of coverage required for bodily injuries or death of one person, multiple injured persons in an incident, and property damage.
The laws of California also have a similar and even strict view towards tow truck insurance. It is illegal to use your commercial tow truck in California, except you have obtained a tow truck liability insurance policy or policies insuring said operator and covering such vehicle.
The minimum limit of such insurance must be a million dollars for bodily injury and property damage per accident. More so, you must include members of the public as insureds for damages and defense of claims arising from Incidents. Any affected persons will be able to make claims irrespective of the person at fault and the status of ownership of the tow truck.
Before starting a business, you must provide the city with certificates of insurance and original endorsements evidencing the coverage required. The insurance policy’s certificates and endorsements must be signed by a person authorized by the insured to bind coverage on its behalf. You must complete the certificates and endorsements on authorized forms. At any time, the state government reserves the right to require complete, certified copies of all required insurance policies.
Interstate trucking companies must file certain documents with the FMCSA (FMCSA). Interstate truckers must file a BMC-91 to prove adequate liability insurance, a BMC-34 to prove cargo insurance, and an MCS-90 to prove both liability and cargo liability insurance.
In addition, tow truck drivers in California must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Tow truck drivers operating outside California must have a CDL if the tow truck and the towed vehicle exceed a certain weight threshold.
If the weight of the tow truck and the towed vehicle is 26,001 pounds or more and the towed vehicle alone is over 10,000 pounds, the driver must have a Group A CDL (GVWR). A driver needs a Group B CDL if the tow truck alone weighs 26,001 pounds or more and is driven without a towed vehicle or with one under 10,000 pounds. When towing a hazardous materials vehicle, a Group C CDL is required.
Learn more at tow truck insurance requirements
Who needs tow truck insurance in California?
This policy covers three types of tow trucks.
- A car’s mechanic Trucks can only haul cars on city streets.
- Highway-permitted car-hauling trucks; licensed companies can do that.
- Private tow trucks for a collector or car dealer.
Flatbed trucks hauling cars are also considered on-hook but may require different coverage due to larger, more expensive, or multiple vehicles.
Auto haulers, the big tractor-trailers that carry multiple cars, can be covered under this policy. Since they’re hauling multiple cars, they’ll need more coverage.