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Commercial trucking is a difficult business to get into and be successful at. The day-to-day operations of driving a commercial truck are also problematic for many owner-operators who drive their own vehicle.
According to federal data, over 400,000 crashes in the U.S. in 2015 involved commercial vehicles, and over half of those crashes are caused by the driver’s error or negligence—and that makes it harder for commercial truckers to get insured.
Commercial truck insurance is necessary for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s required by law. It also protects drivers and owners in a loss of cargo situation, liability in an accident, or even during overhaul repairs if a rental truck is temporarily needed to continue operations.
On this page:
- What is Required to be Eligible for Commercial Truck Insurance?
- How Much Is Commercial Truck Insurance?
- Top Commercial Truck Insurance Companies
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What is Required to be Eligible for Commercial Truck Insurance?
Trucking companies must file proof with the state and federal government that they have enough coverage on their trucks to cover both the value of the truck itself and the cargo, as well as protect against any liability claims, such as an accident that was the trucker’s fault.
Making that a bit difficult, especially for new drivers, is the “two-year rule,” an unofficial policy that many commercial trucking insurers have against insuring drivers with less than two years of commercial driving experience.
There are, however, a few companies that will still insure a new driver.
How Much Is Commercial Truck Insurance?
Like consumer auto insurance, commercial truck insurance has no set price. Each policy cost is dependent on individual risk factors such as any traffic tickets, convictions for driving while under the influence, past accidents, operating radius, and what your typical cargo is.
Car haulers, for instance, need more coverage than the minimum. Several companies offer commercial truck insurance for all types of cargo.
Top Commercial Truck Insurance Companies
Compare the top commercial truck insurance companies to find an option that best fits your needs.
Progressive bills itself as the #1 commercial trucking insurer in America and they specialize in owner-operators, motor carriers, and private carriers.
The company offers general liability, non-trucking liability, rental reimbursement, trailer interchange, and cargo insurance, including state and federal filings so that you can prove that you are covered. They also have a robust heavy truck claims department.
For features, Progressive is hard to beat. All claims are processed in-house by their own adjusters and they have a wide variety of coverages. Their customer service, however, leaves much to be desired, only earning a 1-star rating with the Better Business Bureau.
State Farm Insurance
Aside from their consumer, home, and life policies, State Farm also has commercial vehicle coverage. Their policies include bodily injury, liability, and more – but they don’t cover your cargo, which would be a deal-breaker for most commercial trucking companies.
Their commercial coverage mostly offers the same protections you would get with a consumer auto policy without many of the additional things that Progressive has specifically for large trucks.
State Farm misses the mark in terms of both features and customer service. Consumer Affairs rates the company at only 3 stars based on over 3,000 reviews. If you need to insure a commercial truck, you’ll want to go elsewhere – especially if you’re hauling cargo.
EIB Direct, or Evolution Insurance Brokers, is a lesser-known company that specializes in trucking insurance to include both long- and short-haul trucks, fleets, motor truck cargo, and more.
EIB Direct has coverage for truck liability, physical damage, hired and non-hired vehicles, motor truck cargo, and even non-owned trailer liability for companies that rent or lease trailers. Coverage exceeds the federal limits of $750,000, and they’re partnered with such high-end insurers as Lloyd’s (formerly Lloyd’s of London).
EIB’s strength is in their ability to do specialized policies for “difficult risk,” or those who may not be able to get insurance elsewhere due to past legal issues, hazardous cargo, or other situations that make insurance procurement difficult.
The flip side of that coverage availability, however, is the price. EIB can be more expensive than other insurers. For those who can’t get a standard commercial trucking policy with a more traditional insurance company, however, EIB should be considered as a viable option.
In the area of customer service, however, Better Business Bureau only gives EIB a C+ rating due to the company not answering its complaints.
The National Independent Truckers Insurance Company offers a wide variety of coverages for everything from tractor trailers to box trucks, pickups, vans, and even dump trucks. Their specialty is owner-operator trucking companies and small commercial fleets.
They’re licensed in 48 states and maintain a current B++ rating with A.M. Best and an A+ rating with Better Business Bureau. NITIC’s coverages range from $35,000 all the way up to $5 million, with the cost for those coverages dependent on risk, region, and other factors. They also offer short-term policies to cover a truck that’s just been purchased or is being moved for repairs and just needs coverage for 24 to 72 hours.
NITIC’s customer service rating is far above any other companies’ who offer commercial trucking insurance. Their depth and breadth of policies span the entire spectrum of what a commercial hauling operation may need, and their coverage is comparatively affordable as well. In addition, they specialize in smaller operations that need coverage but don’t have a lot of operating capital to put toward insurance.
OOIDA Truck Insurance
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association offers several policies and coverage options for small business truckers.
Whether you’re an owner-operator with authority or a lease, OOIDA has a full range of options. All underwriting is in-house with fast turnaround and competitive rates.
Since its total focus is commercial truck insurance, OOIDA has some of the best and most specialized policies on the market. Their A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau, however, may not give the best picture of their customer service. In fact, they have an entry at Ripoff Report from 2004.
Before choosing any truck insurance policy for your commercial trucking needs, make sure to look at customer ratings, offerings, and any price quotes. A little work now in comparing truck insurance quotes can save hours and money later.