Around 3.6 million people drive trucks in the United States for over 711,000 companies. In 2020, these truck drivers moved 72.5% of all freight weight in the United States, according to a study by the American Trucking Association.
These numbers show how important the trucking business is to the U.S. freight transportation system and the economy. Due to the importance of the trucking sector, insurance firms have developed specific policies to cover trucks and their drivers.
Whether you own a trucking business or are an owner-operator, commercial truck insurance is essential. These commercial truck insurance policies vary depending on vehicle type, cargo, driving expertise, and potential threats.
This article will help you understand the ins and outs of the many coverages included in commercial truck insurance so that you may pick the policies that best suit your needs.
- Where to get commercial truck insurance quotes online?
- Where to compare commercial insurance quotes from top providers?
- Commercial truck insurance minimum requirements
- What does commercial truck insurance cover?
- Insurance for different types of trucks
- Who needs commercial truck insurance?
- How much does commercial truck insurance cost?
- How to find cheap commercial truck insurance?
- Which states have the cheapest commercial truck insurance?
- Best commercial truck insurance companies
Where to get commercial truck insurance quotes online
If you are looking to compare commercial truck insurance rates and coverage from many providers, you have probably learned that not many companies offer truck insurance quotes online. It is because commercial truck insurance is more complex and complicated than personal auto or commercial auto insurance. Below are the only three carriers that offer commercial truck insurance online. The online experience is pretty good and fast. It shouldn’t take your more than 10 minutes to get quotes from these 3 companies.
- Progressive: Best Overall as the market leader and several discount programs
- biBERK: Best for low-cost coverage (usually with lower coverage limits), best for truck owner-operators
- THREE: Best for affordable comprehensive trucking policies for small trucking businesses
Where to compare commercial insurance quotes from top providers?
If you need to compare quotes quickly, the following insurance brokers offer commercial truck insurance quotes from leading providers. Please note that they do not have insurance policies. Instead, they help you find the best prices from top providers.
- Simply Business: Best for finding low-cost coverage from multiple providers
- Smart Financial: Best for cheap minimum required coverage
- Tivly (previously commercialinsurance.net): Best if you prefer working with an agent
What is commercial truck insurance?
Commercial truck insurance is a subset of commercial vehicle insurance plans tailored to the unique risks faced by trucking companies. This insurance is intended to give financial and legal protection against personal harm and property damage, as well as coverage for specific cargo and transportation equipment.
In contrast to commercial auto insurance, which applies to a wider variety of vehicles used for business reasons, commercial trucking insurance applies to big trucks(such as semi-trucks) that are often used for construction, transporting commodities, or agriculture.
Commercial truck insurance considers the cargo or commodities being carried as well as the size and kind of the vehicle. There are policies available for a variety of commercial vehicles, including tow trucks, cement mixers, pickups, and tractors.
Commercial truck insurance minimum requirements
Interstate trucking companies must follow federal insurance rules. The FMCSA requires commercial truck drivers to have minimum accident insurance. The quantity of coverage necessary for a commercial truck driver depends on the vehicle’s weight and contents.
The following summary covers federal minimum liability requirements for trucks depending on their cargo.
- Nonhazardous cargo (in trucks under 10,001 lbs.): $300,000
- Nonhazardous cargo (in trucks over 10,001 lbs.): $750,000
- Oil (transported by for-hire and private carriers) $1,000,000
- Hazardous material or explosives (transported by for-hire and private carriers) $5,000,000
At the state level, different states define the minimum commercial truck insurance requirements. For instance, in New York and California, intrastate commercial truck liability coverage minimums are the same as federal rules depending on cargo category (general freight, home products, or hazardous material) and vehicle weight exceeding 10,000 pounds.
California requires $20,000 per vehicle and $20,000 per incident for home goods carriers’ cargo insurance. Texas has a lower coverage minimum for intrastate general freight ($500,000 vs. $750,000).
Many states also require that trucking companies file for insurance. In California, commercial trucks must file an MCP-65 to prove they have liability insurance and a Motor Carrier Permit. Household goods movers must file TL676 to ensure liability and cargo insurance.
You can read more on minimum state requirements for commercial truck insurance here.
What does commercial truck insurance cover?
The following are the most common coverage options in a commercial truck insurance policy:
Trucking primary liability insurance
This covers the other person’s vehicle repairs and medical bills if the truck driver causes damage to the other vehicle or harms the driver in an accident. However, trucking primary liability insurance does not cover the at-fault driver and his truck. This coverage is required by law in all 50 states. If you drive a truck, you must have this coverage. This coverage is also the most expensive in your commercial truck policies.
Trucking physical damage insurance
This covers damage to the policyholder’s trucks. Trucking physical damage insurance has two types, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage.
Collision coverage only covers damages sustained in an accident, while comprehensive coverage covers non-accident losses or damages to trucks, such as theft or vandalism.
Learn more about the best trucking physical damage insurance companies.
Non-trucking liability insurance
This covers damages that occur while using the truck for non-business purposes, such as grocery shopping. In such cases, the insurance would pay for related medical and property damage costs.
Learn more about the best non-trucking liability insurance companies.
This covers your trucks after the cargo has been delivered and the truck is no longer used for trucking purposes, or when there is no trailer attached to a truck when it is involved in an accident.
Bobtail insurance and non-trucking liability can be confusing. However, you can learn more about the differences between bobtail and non-trucking liability
Trucking general liability insurance
This protects trucking firms against lawsuits filed by victims of accidents caused by their drivers. This insurance is a standard requirement for states and risk managers for any business that runs commercial vehicles.
Some companies do not offer this policy to all truckers. As such, you may want to check the list of the top 5 providers of truckers’ general liability insurance if you need it.
Truck cargo insurance
This covers the contents being transported by your commercial trucks. This coverage protects the truck owner-operators and the trucking firm if the products being carried are damaged, lost, or stolen. It is usually required by shippers or freight brokers because they want to protect their goods. Having this coverage may be able to help you increase your revenue. Some shippers and brokers require up to $1 million cargo insurance coverage, which may be costly, but it will help you get more work and increase your revenue.
Learn more at the best motor truck cargo insurance companies
Insurance for different types of trucks
Commercial truck insurance is essential for all truck types. However, the kind of truck you have and the way you use it will determine the type of insurance coverage you need.
Box trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks, semi-trucks, hot shot vehicles, farm trucks, log trucks, and refrigerated trucks, among others, have distinct characteristics requiring specialized insurance policies.
For instance, a box truck may need cargo insurance to safeguard its contents, a dump truck may require liability insurance if it dumps its load on someone else’s property, and a tow vehicle may need coverage for towing accidents.
As a result, commercial truck insurance is usually structured with multiple types of coverage combined into a single policy to offer the most comprehensive level of protection possible for the business or individual.
Regardless of the kind of vehicle you drive, you must have the appropriate commercial truck insurance to protect yourself and your company.
Here is an overview of the many vehicle types often covered by commercial truck insurance.
Box truck insurance
Straight trucks or box trucks are used to deliver bulky objects such as furniture. In addition to primary liability and physical damage coverage, box trucks should carry motor truck cargo coverage to safeguard the items and non-trucking liability coverage to protect the vehicle while it is not on the road. Box truck insurance has become more and more popular thanks to Amazon, who has increasingly required box trucks in their delivery with their third party contractors.
Dump truck insurance
Dump trucks supply construction sites with building materials such as sand and gravel. In addition to primary liability and physical damage coverage, dump trucks should consider non-trucking liability, motor truck cargo, and rental reimbursement/downtime insurance.
Tow truck insurance
Tow trucks are vehicles that move other automobiles or boats from one location to another. Tow trucks should have both liability and property damage insurance. Tow trucks would also profit from on-hook towing insurance, which covers the costs of repairing towed automobiles. Some insurance carriers provide towing companies-specific coverage. If you are looking for cheap tow truck insurance, refer to our comprehensive reference on how to get cheap tow truck insurance for more details.
The semi-truck is a common truck type (also known as a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler). Semis consist of a tractor unit coupled to a semi-trailer to transport cargo. In addition to primary liability and physical damage coverage, company owners that deal with semi-trucks should also seek motor truck cargo and trailer interchange coverage. We have a comprehensive guide on semi-truck insurance with quotes from $49. You can check the article to find affordable semi-truck insurance.
Hot shot trucking insurance
Hot shot trucking is a type of transportation service that uses trucks to move goods short distances. These trucks are typically used for delivering high-value items such as medical equipment, commercial freight, and other time-sensitive cargo.
Since hot shot trucking businesses often transport expensive or sensitive cargo, it’s important that they have the right insurance coverage. Hot shot trucking businesses often need to have trucking primary liability, cargo insurance, and trucking physical damage to protect against damage or loss of the cargo, liability in the event of an accident, and the truck itself.
Most hot shot trucking drivers are new to the trucking industry. They may not have work full time yet, which means they are more likely to drive their trucks for non-business purposes. That would require them to have either non-trucking liability or bobtail insurance coverage.
Food truck insurance
Food trucks are not only a mode of transportation or a method to move commodities. They are also places where business activities occur. As such, these trucks require specialized insurance plans.
If you own a food truck business, you know getting sufficient coverage for your business is critical. They not only need a comprehensive commercial truck insurance policy, they also need general liability and product liability to protect their business from lawsuits that may arise from their business operations. This insurance will help to cover any damages that are awarded in a lawsuit as well as the legal costs associated with defending the business in court.
Refrigerated truck insurance
Refrigerated trucks carry perishable products from one place to another. They usually have refrigeration chambers attached and, as such, require specialized policies, especially for their cargo.
Who needs commercial truck insurance?
Every company that uses trucks for business needs commercial trucking insurance. Ideally, you should consider this policy if the following applies to you:
- You operate as a transportation company.
- You run or own a commercial truck.
- Your state requires you to have commercial vehicle insurance.
- Your vehicle is utilized for professional reasons.
- Your vehicle transports merchandise or people.
Commercial truck insurance for owner-operators
Owner-operators need commercial truck insurance. It covers vehicles, goods, and liabilities in an accident. The coverage and the policies that a truck owner-operator needs may be different from the one that a trucking business need. Learn more details in our comprehensive coverage of commercial truck insurance for owner-operators
Commercial truck insurance for truck fleets
Fleet truck insurance offers coverage for businesses operating several trucks. The coverage is essentially identical to that for single commercial vehicles; however, the price is often decreased for fleets. You can refer to our comprehensive guide on commercial truck fleet insurance for more information.
Commercial truck insurance for new authorities and new ventures
New truck insurance companies may not receive a fair rate since insurers do not know their driving record to reference. As such, new trucking ventures may find truck insurance expensive.
Similarly, if you are a truck driver with several years of experience working for a motor truck company, when you start driving under your own authority for the first time, insurance companies may assess your risks differently as well. As a result, your rates will be more expensive.
New trucking companies can check our suggestions for the best trucking insurance companies for new authorities and the best truck insurance companies for new ventures
Commercial truck insurance for new drivers
Like new trucking companies, new truck drivers may have higher premiums than experienced ones. New truck drivers should check our list of the best commercial truck insurance companies for truck new drivers.
Commercial truck insurance for high-risk drivers
Insurance companies consider drivers with frequent accidents or driving offenses “high-risk” and charge them more for commercial truck insurance. Similarly, hit-and-run or DUI drivers might face discrimination from insurance providers.
High-risk drivers should find low-cost insurance. Multi-policy, up-front payment, and multi-car discounts may help high-risk drivers save on premiums regardless of driving history. Some firms provide price cuts when a policyholder’s driving record improves or as they install vehicle or process safety measures. For more information, you can check our list of the best companies that offer commercial truck insurance for high-risk drivers.
How much does commercial truck insurance cost?
The annual cost of commercial truck insurance ranges from $8,200 to $19,000 per truck, with an average of $12,100. This cost depends on the kind of truck and whether owner-operators operate under a lease or their own authority. This cost is for a comprehensive policy with several essential trucking coverage. Below is the cost breakdown of different essential coverage:
|Commercial truck coverages||Average cost per year|
|General liability insurance||$900|
|Trucking liability coverage||$6,700|
|Non-trucking liability coverage||$500|
|Physical damage insurance||$2,800|
|Motor truck cargo||$1,200|
Keep in mind that these are just the averages. Your rates will be different. Be sure to get online quotes from a few companies such as Progressive, biBERK, THREE, or work with a broker like Simply Business or Smart Financial to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for you.
The average cost of commercial truck insurance per month
The average cost of commercial truck insurance is about $1,000 per month. This is for a comprehensive policy and a good driver of 40 years old with 3+ years of truck driving experience.
Below is the breakdown of the average costs for different coverage in a commercial truck insurance policy:
|Commercial truck coverages||Average cost per month|
|General liability insurance||$75|
|Trucking liability coverage||$558|
|Non-trucking liability coverage||$42|
|Physical damage insurance||$233|
|Motor truck cargo||$100|
Factors that impact commercial truck insurance cost
The following are some common factors that may affect the cost of commercial truck insurance.
Your truck company’s operational size
Simply put, the larger your business and the more cars you own, the higher your insurance costs will be.
Location of your company
Laws and insurance rates for commercial trucks vary from state to state, as do insurance prices. Furthermore, assume you operate beyond state lines. In such a circumstance, you may anticipate paying a higher premium for your insurance policies, as your risks are more than those of enterprises that operate locally on shorter-distance transport routes.
As with personal vehicle insurance, the driving record of your drivers will substantially influence the prices for commercial truck insurance. Since the risks are more significant with trucks, truck drivers with a history of traffic offenses or accidents would see an even more dramatic spike in insurance premiums.
One of the most excellent methods to save money on insurance is to maintain accident- and violation-free driving histories. During the recruiting process, business owners managing a fleet with several drivers should scrutinize past driving records and maybe invest in extra driver safety training.
The kind of merchandise you transport
In an accident, heavier cargo typically causes more damage than lighter cargo; thus, premiums are higher for companies that carry heavier loads. Similarly, insurance premiums are higher for enterprises shipping hazardous commodities. You may need specialized coverage if you carry some cargo, such as animals or medications. Usually, this comes at an extra cost.
Kind(s) of truck(s) you drive
Typically, larger trucks are more expensive to insure than smaller ones. You may also anticipate higher rates for newer automobiles because they require more significant repair costs.
Your claim’s history will heavily influence your commercial truck insurance plans’ premiums. Trucking companies with many claims tend to have higher premiums for their commercial truck insurance.
Coverage amount and deductible:
Increasing your policy’s coverage limitations will raise your premium. You may reduce the cost of your premiums by picking a larger deductible; however, you will need to pay more in case of a claim.
The location in which you park your trucks while they are not in use can also impact your insurance prices. Trucks that are parked in safer areas usually get cheaper premiums. For instance, commercial trucks parked in a garage or enclosed yard will incur more affordable fees than those parked in public places or open lots.
How to find cheap commercial truck insurance?
The following are some ideas to reduce your premium.
If price is a concern, you can compare across providers to have better deals. Some providers offer quality policies at better prices. So check to be sure you are getting a fair bargain.
Some insurers may offer discounts if you qualify for any of the following:
- Truck drivers with a CDL for at least two years may get liability insurance discounts.
- Experience-based discount for owner-operators with over three years of experience
- Some insurance firms provide a discount to subscribers with a year of continuous coverage.
- Some insurance companies give a discount for upfront premium payments.
A high deductible coverage will get you cheaper monthly rates but entails a greater chance of spending a much out of pocket in an accident. Business owners may consider a larger deductible if they have drivers with clean driving records, the cargo is low-risk, and the company can fund the deductible in the case of an accident.
The policy limit affects commercial vehicle insurance costs. Cheaper coverage limitations mean lower rates. Instead of picking the highest insurance limit, business owners should examine how much coverage they need.
More coverage increases monthly prices, while less coverage reduces expenditures. So if you have a large fleet, you may not require some policies. Sticking with just the policy you need can help you save some money.
Commercial truck insurance with no down payment
Insurance companies usually require truck owner-operators or trucking businesses to pay upfront 20-30% as down payment for their annual policies and they can pay the remaining balance monthly in the next 11 months. The commercial truck insurance premium is one of the largest expenses of operating a trucking business. Paying the down payment amount for your truck insurance policy can become a challenge to get your trucking business going.
However, the sad news is that commercial truck insurance with no down payment isn’t an option available. However, by looking for cheaper options, you can reduce the down payment amount significantly so that you can afford it.
Commercial truck insurance down payment assistance
If no down payment isn’t an option to obtain a commercial truck insurance policy. Is down payment assistance available? Yes, just very few. In our intensive research, the only assistance program available is from factoring companies. They can offer you deferred truck insurance down payment by up to 50%, so if you can pay 50% of the down payment amount, they can help you with the remaining 50% to get you started.
If you are currently working with a factoring company, be sure to ask for this option.
Which states have the cheapest commercial truck insurance?
It is helpful to notice which states have the cheapest commercial truck insurance premiums, even if you are unlikely to move to a state with lower rates. The states with the lowest commercial truck insurance rates for interstate truck insurance coverage are Mississippi, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Arizona in that order.
If you are looking for commercial truck insurance in these states, here are our picks for the best companies in these states:
- The best commercial truck insurance companies in Arizona
- The best commercial truck insurance companies in Massachusetts
- The best commercial truck insurance companies in Mississippi
- The best commercial truck insurance companies in Wyoming
- The best commercial truck insurance companies in Iowa
Best commercial truck insurance companies
After intensively researching the companies offering commercial truck insurance, here are the best companies that we recommend:
- Progressive: Best Overall as the market leader with several discounts and easy and fast online quotes
- biBERK: Best for low-cost commercial truck coverage
- InsurePro: Best for part-time truckers with the flexible pay-per-day coverage
- Simply Business: Best insurance brokerage for comparing several quotes
- THREE: Best for comprehensive trucking business insurance at an affordable rate
- Tivly: Best for Comparing Quotes from Leading Companies Through an Agent
- The Hartford: Best for longevity
Best commercial truck insurance companies by state
Truck insurance requirements vary by state, and therefore, insurance companies offer prices differently in different states. However, the following are some of the best insurance companies in all 50 states. Clicking on the state name to learn more about the best companies and other truck insurance requirements in the state.