Minimum Insurance Requirements for Trucks


Whether you are a commercial trucker or own a business that incorporates commercial trucking for the transportation of goods, you need to know the minimum insurance requirements for trucks first and foremost. When a truck accident occurs, you’ll need to know how to ensure that insurance covers as much of the damage as possible.

Commercial trucking insurance requirements vary from personal auto insurance policies just like a commercial driver's license varies from a personal driver's license. You need to find an insurance company that covers commercial trucking issues, not just personal motor vehicle insurance. Your insurance policy also varies depending on the type of business trucking companies conduct. 

What Insurance Do Commercial Vehicles Need?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a registration period of 90 days to acquire trucking insurance after the notice to apply. The question is what kind of insurance commercial vehicles need.

There are multiple types of minimum insurance that commercial motor vehicles need. They will depend on the type of business conducted by the trucking company. These types of insurance not only serve the driver of the truck but also serve as business owner’s insurance. The common forms of insurance required by the Insurance Services Office’s (ISO) motor carrier policy include:

Cargo Insurance

Cargo insurance covers shipped goods if they are lost or damaged in transport. It is often used for sea freight, as many freight containers are lost at sea every year. However, trucking companies can also invest in cargo insurance to protect from freight loss while transporting important cargo across the country by truck. This is not often legally required, but it can protect your business from heavy losses due to freight loss.

Physical Insurance

Physical insurance, or physical damage insurance, covers several different types of physical damage that could happen to your vehicle. This includes damage from another vehicle. Physical insurance also covers damage from:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Rollovers
  • Collision with an animal
  • Earthquakes

It’s important to note that physical insurance only covers the cost of the damage to the vehicle itself, so this is not an all-in-one form of trucking insurance. It will not cover medical expenses in the event of a bodily injury, nor will it cover damages to another car in the event of a collision. Physical insurance covers property damage to the vehicle. It does not cover possessions stolen from the vehicle.

Bobtail Insurance

It’s one thing to cover a truck that's currently transporting cargo from one location to another. But what about accidents that fall within the gray areas, such as when picking up a new load or driving home after the last dropoff? For this, the right semi-truck insurance for you is bobtail insurance.

Bobtail insurance covers the truck even when there is no current haul. This insurance can help to cover medical expenses after a personal injury, legal fees, vehicle repairs, and any property damage to the other vehicle. It covers property damage to the truck as a whole but does not cover damage to the rig. This is why you’ll also want to talk to your insurance carrier about cargo insurance and a physical insurance policy.

What Your Minimum Limit Depends On

Just like with individual motor vehicle insurance, there will be a minimum limit of insurance that you are required to have to operate a commercial truck. You may be asked to provide proof of insurance before taking on a new job or if pulled over. Aside from things like driving record, the minimum limit of trucking insurance required typically depends on two factors:

What You’re Hauling

Hauling 10,000-plus pounds worth of mattresses is a far cry from hauling 10,000-plus pounds of oil or other potentially hazardous materials. If an accident occurs and those hazardous materials leak, there could be massive environmental damage. Trucks that haul hazardous material tend to have higher minimum limits because of the high risk involved in their hauls.

How Much You’re Hauling

The weight of your haul also matters. For instance, in the above example, a truck hauling over 10,000 pounds of mattresses would have a lower minimum limit than a truck hauling the same weight worth of hazardous materials. However, a truck carrying 5,000 pounds of oil will have a lower minimum limit than a truck hauling over 10,000 pounds of mattresses. 

Typically, hauls under 5 tons (10,000 pounds) have a lower minimum limit, which goes up if the haul exceeds 5 tons. From there, hazardous hauls over 5 tons have the highest minimum limits, while non-hazardous hauls under 5 tons have the lowest minimum limits. 

Need Help With Your Truck Accident Case?

No one wants to find themselves in a commercial-truck accident. This can be much more dangerous than a typical car accident case just based on the size of commercial trucks. It can also be dangerous for your business, and even for the environment. But nothing can be worse than getting into a truck accident without the proper insurance.

A truck accident lawyer in Ohio can help you understand your legal obligations, as well as your right to compensation in accidents where the driver was not at fault. The Moore Law Firm has decades of experience dealing with insurance companies on your behalf. We work on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to pay us a cent unless we win your case. Contact us today to learn more about insurance requirements for truckers or to schedule a free consultation. 

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.