Your fleet’s protection is likely at the top of your priority list if you’re a business owner who uses commercial trucks. If you don’t have a commercial truck insurance policy (or a policy that doesn’t cover all of your trucks), you might be leaving your business at risk of a financial disaster.
Commercial truck insurance is different than standard personal auto insurance. If you use any kind of truck in your business (including standard pickup trucks), consider a commercial truck insurance policy immediately.
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The Best Commercial Truck Insurance Companies:
- The Best Commercial Truck Insurance Companies:
- What’s Commercial Truck Insurance?
- How Much is Commercial Truck Insurance?
- Do You Need to Get Commercial Truck Insurance?
- How to Get Commercial Truck Insurance
- What to Look for in a Company
- The Best Commercial Truck Insurance Companies
- Take Your Business Higher With Commercial Protection
- Frequently Asked Questions
What’s Commercial Truck Insurance?
Commercial truck insurance is an essential type of insurance that protects you from expensive bills if your truck is involved in an accident. If you drive a personal car or truck, you probably already know that you need some form of car insurance to legally stay on the road.
Commercial truck insurance covers situations in which you use your truck for transporting customers, animals, materials or products. If you use your truck for both personal and professional purposes, a commercial insurance policy fills in the gaps left by your personal auto insurance.
Commercial truck vs. regular insurance
Whether you use an entire fleet of commercial flatbed trucks or a single pickup truck, as soon as you clock in for work, you need commercial insurance. The difference between commercial insurance and personal car insurance seems simple on the outset — personal insurance covers personal trips, while commercial insurance covers commercial trips and vehicles.
But if you leave a job site with a truck full of tools to go pick up fast food for lunch, how are you covered?
Certain types of trucks need commercial insurance no matter how they’re used. This is because personal auto insurance policies are rated to account for the average auto accident. As soon as you start shopping for commercial truck insurance, you’ll immediately notice that policies are much more expensive than what you pay on your personal vehicle.
This is because commercial trucks tend to be heavier and more difficult to maneuver — which increases their chances of being involved in a costlier accident. Your commercial truck insurance policy will include limits that are much higher than your standard auto policy.
In addition to higher limits, commercial truck insurance also has a number of other benefits for business owners and independent operators. Your commercial insurance is considered a business expense and you may be able to deduct your premium from your insurance. If you own a vehicle that’s only used for work, you can deduct 100% of the cost of your insurance from your federal income taxes.
Commercial policies may cover either named employees or blanket coverage for all of your employees. This is different than standard personal policies, which require you to name all of your insured drivers. This can be especially beneficial for large business owners who need to maintain their insurance with a high turnover rate.
Finally, commercial truck insurance covers structures and fixtures that aren’t covered by standard auto insurance. For example, if you have your own towing company and you have a pickup truck with a crane attached, a commercial policy will cover damage to both the body of your truck and your crane. A personal auto insurance policy would likely not cover this type of vehicle.
What Is and Isn’t Covered
Like with your personal auto insurance policy, there are a few different types of commercial truck insurance. What is and isn’t covered under your commercial truck insurance depends on the type of coverage you buy.
Some of the most common types of commercial policies you’ll see with both cars and trucks include the following.
- Personal and property liability coveragecompensates other property owners and drivers if you’re involved in an accident. You’re legally required to have liability insurance to drive a car or a truck. Most insurance companies sell personal and property liability together as a single policy.
- Collision coverage provides you with compensation for repair bills if your truck is involved in an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage protects you against damage from non-accident related incidents. Some of the most common comprehensive insurance claims include damage from vandalism, theft and natural disasters like fires and thunderstorms.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays you for medical and repair bills if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have coverage.
Here are some coverages you may only see only for commercial trucks.
- Non-trucking insurance covers you when you take your truck on personal trips. If you have a truck that requires a commercial policy due to weight but you still use it on your off days, you should get non-trucking insurance coverage.
- Motor truck cargo insurance covers the value of the product or materials you carry in your truck. If your vehicle is involved in an accident and your product is destroyed, motor truck cargo insurance will reimburse you for what you’ve lost.
- Rental reimbursement insurance. If you depend upon your truck for your day-to-day business, a serious accident can mean days or even weeks of lost income. Rental reimbursement coverage provides you with money to rent a replacement truck while your vehicle is being repaired.
Commercial truck insurance usually doesn’t cover:
- Intentionally-caused damage. This is damage you intentionally cause to your truck and it isn’t covered under any policy.
- Personal items. Most commercial truck insurance policies don’t include coverage for personal items in your vehicle.
How Much is Commercial Truck Insurance?
Commercial truck insurance is significantly more expensive than both personal car insurance and commercial car insurance. Experts estimate that the average semi-truck owner pays between $9,000 and $15,000 per year for insurance. Higher policy limits, specialized license laws, awkward truck bodies and high weights are just a few of the contributing factors that make commercial truck insurance so expensive.
Like personal auto insurance policies, the amount that you’ll pay for your insurance depends on a number of factors, including:
- How long you’ve been driving your truck
- How many years of driving experience you have
- Your age and gender
- Your credit score
- The average length of your trips
- Where you drive
- How much your truck is worth
As you get more experience behind the wheel, you’ll usually end up paying less over time for your insurance as long as you aren’t involved in an accident.
Do You Need to Get Commercial Truck Insurance?
Not many drivers would argue that a commercial policy isn’t necessary on a semi. But what if your landscaping business only uses a single pickup truck?
Do you really need to pitch for a commercial policy? If you only have a single pickup truck and you use the vehicle for both personal and professional use, you may be able to get away with a single personal policy. However, this depends on exactly how and where you use your vehicle. Before you buy a commercial policy, consider the following factors.
Personal policies don’t cover trucks that require a special license to drive. If you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate your truck, you need a commercial policy.
What you carry
If you use your truck to carry clients, materials, products, or equipment during the workday, you need a commercial policy.
Your vehicle’s weight
Part of the reason why commercial policies are so expensive is that they cover very heavy vehicles that can cause more damage. If your truck weighs more than 10,000 pounds or has a load capacity of over 2,000 pounds, you need a commercial policy.
Your vehicle’s modifications
If your truck has a special modification like a ladder rack or a cement mixer, your vehicle won’t be protected under a personal auto policy.
How to Get Commercial Truck Insurance
Getting commercial truck insurance is very similar to signing up for personal car insurance or private health insurance. If you already have car insurance, you’re probably already familiar with the process of getting commercial insurance.
First, research insurance providers that operate in your area. Note that not every insurer that offers commercial car insurance is also certified to offer truck insurance.
Next, start collecting quotes. A quote is a professional estimate of how much you can pay in monthly premiums and deductibles with each company. Insurance providers offer quotes for free online and over the phone. The best way to make sure you’re getting the best offer possible is by getting more than a few quotes, so try to get several.
After that, compare and read policy options and choose the one that’s right for you.
Finally, contact the insurance company. A representative will help you get signed onto your new policy. Write down the date that your new policy goes into effect — most new commercial policies have a waiting period of 7 to 30 days, during which you can’t file a claim and may be dropped for poor driving habits. If you already have a policy, wait to cancel it until your new policy goes into effect.
What to Look for in a Company
Some things that you should look for in a great commercial truck insurance policy include the following options.
Discount options. Commercial truck insurance can be very expensive — especially if you’re an independent owner-operator and you don’t have a corporation that foots your insurance bills. Look for policies that offer you ways to save. From maintaining a safe driving record to discounts for getting additional safety licenses, the best policy providers offer you plenty of ways to save.
Coverage for your current truck. While every insurance provider will offer coverage for pickup trucks, some providers might have limitations on specialized vehicles like dump trucks and semis. Understand the exact make and model of your vehicle and look for an insurer who offers protection for your investment.
Coverages across the country. Every insurance company isn’t authorized to operate in every state — and with a commercial truck, you may have areas of the country excluded from your policy. Look for companies that provide coverage in as many states as possible for greater protection.
The Best Commercial Truck Insurance Companies
Once you decide you need commercial car insurance, make sure you pick the best possible company.
1. Best Overall: Progressive
Progressive offers customized commercial truck coverage that perfectly balances protection and affordability. From independent owner-operators to motor carriers, Progressive has a wide range of policies and optional protections that are perfect for business of every size.
Add-on protections from Progressive include motor truck cargo, non-trucking liability, trailer interchange protection and much more. Progressive says that in 2017, the average independent truck driver paid between $561 and $795 per month for commercial insurance — less than the national average.
In addition to lower rates, Progressive also offers truck operators a number of ways to save. You can get a discount just by maintaining your CDL.
If you own a heavy truck, you’ll love Progressive’s in-house team of adjusters who manage repairs. Progressive works directly with drivers and repair providers to offer truck owners protection from start to finish. With a range of customizable policies and affordable rates, Progressive is our top choice for commercial truck insurance.
2. A Classic Plan Inc.
A Classic Plan might not be as well-known as Progressive, but its services focus on what they do best — trucking insurance. The company offers coverage in most states like major insurance providers and has a number of customized insurance policies that can be individually changed to include the coverages you need.
A Classic Plan specializes in commercial truck insurance, so representatives are able to give more personalized advice than larger competitors. The company also employs Spanish-speaking representatives, a rare inclusive measure that can be invaluable to native Spanish speakers who have trouble understanding their policy options in English.
With nationwide coverage and a focus on trucking, A Classic Plan proves that smaller insurance providers can offer service on-par with the big names.
Esurance is a nationwide insurance provider that also offers commercial coverage for trucks and automobiles. Esurance offers a wide range of standard commercial truck protections and a number of unique add-ons.
The company is one of the only insurance providers to offer personal effects coverage that compensates you for personal items stolen from a commercial vehicle, and there are also special protections available for glass repairs if you use a truck that has a number of windows.
In addition to unique coverage options, Esurance also offers you plenty of ways to save. From paying your premiums in full to becoming a member of a registered business association, there are lots of ways for business owners to lower the cost of their insurance.
Take Your Business Higher With Commercial Protection
You’ll feel a sense of relief after you finally choose an insurance provider — but don’t think that finding insurance is a one-time experience. As your business grows and changes, your insurance needs will, too.
Reevaluate your insurance needs every year, and don’t be afraid to shop around for quotes every so often. You might be able to save even more as you gain more experience on the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Q: Is there any way I can lower my insurance premiums?
2) Q: How do I ensure that I’m properly covered?
The best thing you can do is talk to your insurance carrier or agent and be honest about your car and driving history. If you have made any modifications to your vehicle, let your insurance company know so that you will be covered in the event of a loss. It’s a good idea to maintain more than the state minimum coverage — you want to replace your car for the full value if you have to.
3) Q: Does auto insurance cover business use?
In most cases, the business use of your vehicle is not covered by your auto insurance policy and can lead to denied claims. However, where you’re most likely risk losing coverage is when you are transporting products or passengers, which insurers define as livery. If your job requires traveling from point A to point B or C to visit customers, attend conferences, or perform other tasks, your personal auto insurance is likely to provide coverage. Get a customized quote now for the best deal.
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