If you are new to the transport industry, truck insurance may seem like another language. With all of the varying degrees of coverage and all of its many aspects, it is difficult to understand what you need to be legally covered and what you need to be adequately protected. Let’s take a look at some various types of coverage and what they mean to you as an owner operator.
First off, physical damage coverage is used to protect your truck and your trailer in the event of an accident. The premium that you would pay for this protection primarily depends on the value of your equipment. This cost, in fact, is usually a percentage of the total value of your equipment. Federal and state law does not require physical damage coverage for you to legally be on the road, but if your equipment is financed, then your lien holder most likely will require it. If you do purchase this coverage, it is smart to only acquire enough protection to cover the value of your equipment. Purchasing less coverage could leave you with significant out-of-pocket expenses, and purchasing too much is the same as throwing your money away since truck insurance companies will only pay you the amount that your truck is valued at in the case of an accident.
The next term to be aware of is primary auto liability coverage. This type of truck insurance is required by federal and state regulations. Primary auto liability coverage protects you in the event that a third party is injured in an accident that you and your vehicle are involved in. Along with primary auto liability is general liability protection. This coverage protects you against the cost of any property damage or bodily injury that might occur which does not involve your rig. Some examples of incidents that are covered by general liability protection are slips and falls at a place of business, property damage or injury caused by faulty advertising, and contractual exposure that you might assume as an owner operator or even as a driver for a company.
Other important types of liability coverage that you may consider are non-trucking liability, non-owned trailer liability, and trailer interchange liability. Non-trucking liability, also called deadhead coverage, pays for an accident that occurs while the driver or the rig is not under dispatch or in the process of making a delivery. Non-owned trailer liability protects the trailer that you are pulling if another party owns it. This type of coverage is essential for owner-operators that carry the trailers of various companies at any given time. $20,000.00 is a standard protection amount for this type of coverage. Trailer interchange liability, on the other hand, is used when there is an interchange agreement being observed between two parties. An example of this would be a partnership with a steamship line.
There are a few other important trucking insurance options to consider if you are beginning a career behind the wheel of a big rig. First off is cargo protection. As the name suggests, this type of coverage protects the cargo that you transport. This type of coverage usually has a number of exclusions such as unattended freight, electronics, and even theft. Because of this, it is important to read the policy carefully before agreeing to it. Along with cargo coverage, terminal protection covers freight that is stationed at a specific terminal for a specified period of time, which is usually 72 hours or less. Finally, warehouse legal coverage protects goods stored at specified locations in the event of loss.