truck insurance requirements

What Are the Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements?

As a trucker, it is vital to offer excellent transportation services but it is imperative to protect all those tools and drivers who make the entire process smooth each day. That is why truck insurance is not optional. It is an essential part of your trucking business that not only keeps it safe but enables you to operate without hiccups.

Trucks are responsible for moving more than 10.5 million tons of goods every year. 

More trucks on the road mean great odds of accidents and property damage. Keeping that in mind, FMCA (Federal Motor Safety Administration) has set strict rules for insurance coverage. This is because freight-carrying trucks not only weigh tons but are capable of causing costly damage to other people on the road. Plus, they carry valuable cargo and have a high chance of getting stolen.

To comply with regulations, trucks must meet some federal insurance requisites. But finding the right coverage is like increasing your confidence while decreasing potential risks. 

Apart from basic primary liability coverage, there are some commercial truck insurance requirements that every trucker should meet, no matter how experienced or novel they are in their business. In this post, we have rounded up some essential commercial trucking insurance requirements that every trucker should be aware of and follow as well. 

Let’s learn them and make trucking even better!

Want to insure your fleets? Get free truck insurance quote now.

Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements That Every Truckers Should Know

Whether you drive under your own authority, work on a lease, or run a trucking company, here is the list of commercial truck insurance requirements that you should know to operate hassle-freely on the road.

Insurance Requirements by State

Insurance is not the same for all truckers who are operating in different states. Every state truck insurance requirement differs from the other as it is contrasting in all states. Let’s quickly look at the varying requisites of commercial truck insurance coverages in some states to gain a better understanding.

StateCoverageAmount (Approx)
AlabamaBodily injury liability per person$25000
Bodily injury per accident$50000
Property damage$25000
CaliforniaBodily injry liability per person$15000
Bodily injury per accident$30000
Property damage$5000
IllinoisBodily injury liability per person$30000
Bodily injury per accident$60000
Property damage$15000
IndianaBodily injury liability per person$25000
Bodily injury per accident$50000
Property damage$10000
MassachusettsBodily injury liability per person$20000
Bodily injury per accident$40000
Property damage $5000
MichiganBodily injury liability per person$20000
Bodily injury per accident$40000
PennsylvaniaBodily injury liability per person$15000
Bodily injury per accident$30000
TennesseBodily injury liability per person$25000
Bodily injury per accident $50000
TexasBodily injury liability per person$30000
Bodily injury per accident$60000
Property damage$25000

FMCA Requirements

Commercial truck insurance is required by FMCA. This coverage should protect the insured against incidents that cause property damage and bodily injury to other people on the road. The amount of coverage is decided based on the type of vehicle you own and the freight that you haul.  

Without adequate insurance, trucks are not allowed to operate on the roads. For example, truckers who haul hazardous materials like toxic gases, chemicals, inflammable gases, explosives, etc. carry a high level of danger to the passengers, drivers, and public (in case of leakage). Rules for such carriers are comparatively stringent from others. Plus, they need a high level of coverage or specific insurance like hazmat insurance to shield their operations and operate legally on the road.

If a trucker causes $100,000 in damages in an accident, FMCA requires that his coverages pay for the complete expenses. Truckers who are carrying less than $500000 or less coverage should think of increasing the limit. 

Cargo Insurance Requisites

The goods that are transported from one location to another must be covered in the event of any damage. This aspect of your business is taken care of by cargo insurance. If your daily operations encompass the movement of different types of goods then obtaining this coverage is the right and financially smartest thing to do. 

Although, cargo insurance is not mandatory coverage for motor carriers, if you haul cargo across different state lines, obtaining this coverage is a requisite by Federal Law. Moving companies need to purchase a minimum of $5000 of cargo insurance per vehicle and $10000 per occurrence. 

Liability Insurance

Federal-mandated liability insurance is determined by the nature of the cargo you haul and the weight of your truck. Liability insurance is also called public liability insurance as it protects other people in the event of accidents. It covers property damages and bodily injury done to the public in an incident.

If your truck carries normal goods or non-hazardous material and weighs 10,001 pounds or more, then you are required to carry a liability policy of $750000. If your truck happens to cause damage on the road, the federal government will collect the repair expenses from your liability insurance.

Whereas, if your truck hauls hazardous materials, the amount of policy will go higher as the danger level is too high. It includes the expense of cleaning spilled hazardous material as well. Trucking businesses that transport explosives, toxic gases, radioactive material, etc. are required to carry a $5 million policy to cover the damages (if any).

FMCA Minimum Coverages

FMCA has some minimum liability coverage requisites for truckers. If a truck causes an accident, their policy should cover 100% of the damages. The following is the liability limit of policy for interstate drivers based on the transported cargo:

  • Non-hazardous cargo under 10,000 pounds can be hauled for $300000.
  • Freight weighing over 10,000 pounds can be transported between $750000 to $500000.
  • Hauling home items can be done with cargo insurance of up to $5000 per vehicle.
  • Insuring transported home items is for $10000 per incident.
  • Commercial and private carriers transporting oil need to carry $100,000 insurance.

Voluntary Truck Coverages

There are a few coverages that are not mandated by the legal authorities but offer excellent protection for your trucks. Coverages like cargo insurance, general liability insurance, and physical damage are not law-mandated but are strongly recommended to carriers. Some other voluntary truck coverages include:

  • Physical damage: This coverage protects your truck and trailer against damages arising from theft, vandalism, collision, and natural disasters. 
  • Non-trucking liability: This coverage protects your truck against damages when the truck is operated for personal use or during off-dispatch.
  • Trailer interchange: This coverage is best for non-owned or leased trailers. It covers the damages that happen to the trailer due to theft, vandalism, collision, etc.
  • Reefer breakdown coverage: This coverage is best for refrigerated trucks that haul perishable goods, seafood, ice creams, etc. 
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: This coverage protects you against property damage and bodily injury done by a motorist who is not carrying adequate insurance. This coverage proves beneficial in hit-run cases.
  • Rental Reimbursement coverage: This type of coverage offers a rental reimbursement for a vehicle that you use when your own truck is undergoing repair after an accident. This helps you carry out your operations smoothly without a hiccup.
  • On-hook coverage: This coverage reimburses for the damages that happen when your truck is hauling or towing another vehicle. On-hook towing insurance also covers the risk of theft, vandalism, collision, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the commercial truck insurance requirements in Texas?

The DOT (Department of Transportation) requires commercial truckers to carry insurance coverage between $750000 to $1000000 in Texas.

What are the trucking liability insurance requirements for new truckers?

Whether you are a new trucker or have been in the trucking business for some time, all the above-mentioned commercial truck insurance requirements apply to you.

What is the commercial truck insurance minimum requirement?

Primary liability coverage is the minimum commercial truck insurance requirement that is mandated by the law. It pays for the property damage and bodily injury of other people arising out of an accident.

Are commercial truck requirements different in states?

Yes, commercial truck requirements vary from state to state. You can call us to check the exact cost of your policy in your state.

What is the insurance requirement for commercial vehicles?

All commercial vehicles need to carry liability insurance to operate legally on the road. However, coverages like physical damage and cargo insurance are highly suggested if hauling goods is the major part of your operations.

Want to insure your fleets? Get free truck insurance quote now.

The Bottomline

We know that the cost of truck insurance is skyrocketing but this policy provides you peace of mind and minimizes the likely dangers which can put your business on an extended halt.

The trucking business involves the transportation of goods using trucks and needs a good amount of protection against likely dangers but some requisites coverage applies to all types of vehicles that are used to carry out business operations. 

Even if you have been in the business for quite some time, it is recommended to reassess your existing policy and make it comply with mandated commercial truck insurance requirements to make your business legitimate and risk-free.

Truck insurance that aligns with the rules of government authorities makes your business more credible and helps you gain more customers. Let us help you find the best coverage that falls within your budget, complies with the law, and gives you complete protection. Call us today!