With more than 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States, it is important to have the right insurance coverage. Commercial truck insurance is a necessity for owner operators or if you are working under your own authority. Insurance will help protect you, your business, and your truck. If you are filing for an operating authority, you must have the specific trucking insurance requirements before the FMCSA will issue the authorities. Depending on the registration of a company, the types of filing will vary.
Trucking insurance requirements by FMCSA
Public Liability Insurance
Public Liability Insurance is an important and necessary coverage for truck drivers. Not only does it protect the driver, it also protects the public when the truck driver is at fault. Public liability insurance covers both bodily injury and property damage. For bodily injury, public liability insurance will help cover expenses if someone gets injured. For property damage, public liability insurance will help cover damages to a third party’s property.
To receive the benefits of public liability insurance, the minimum requirement of the FMCSA must be met. Your minimum required limit depends on the freight you haul. According to the FMCSA, the truck driver will receive minimum benefits of up to $300,000 if the freight they are carrying is non-hazardous and under 10,001 pounds. If the driver is hauling non-hazardous freight over 10,001 pounds the minimum requirement goes up to $750,000. When hauling hazardous freight, you may be subject up to a minimum requirement of $5,000,000. Depending on how hazardous the freight is, the minimum requirement could be anywhere between $1,000,000 to $5,000,000.
Note: The above are just minimum requirements. Most shippers will require you to have a limit of at least $1,000,000 worth of coverage when hauling hazardous or non-hazardous materials.
More Insurance Options for Truck Drivers
While public liability insurance insurance is required for truck drivers, it does not provide maximum protection. Take a look at other insurance options for truck drivers.
Cargo insurance covers the goods hauled in your vehicle. This specific type of insurance is not required. However, truck drivers need to have cargo insurance to avoid problems with shippers.
Physical damage insurance protects your vehicle. It will not protect damage done to cargo. Physical damage is required for all truck drivers who are financing their truck.
Bobtail insurance covers you and the semi truck when you are not hauling a load or a trailer. For example, if you drop off a load and drive to your next destination to pick up a load, bobtail insurance will cover that portion of the trip.
Although non-trucking insurance is not federal or state required, your trucking company may require it. Non-trucking insurance protects you while you are using your truck for personal use. For example, if you take your truck to get food, grocery store, or any other personal errands.