May 27, 2015

Understanding Commercial Truck Insurance [Updated 2021]

It’s required by law for a small business or an owner operator offering trucking services to have commercial truck insurance coverage. This insurance can be a costly item for a company that owns only one or two trucks. In fact, you can expect to pay on average of $3,000 just for the down payment. However, there are options available that can alter the cost, based on:

  • The type of truck
  • The loads/goods carried
  • The risks
  • The number of years of experience the driver has

Understanding the different packages insurance companies provide will help choose the best option for your business. If you want to learn more about the process of getting a quote and finding the right package, make sure to listen to our podcast Haulin Assets. We talk more about insurance and what to expect during the purchasing process.

While we are not insurance experts, we do know insurance is an important part of the trucking company process and want to provide a basic overview of what to expect. Make sure you find an insurance agent who specializes in commercial truck insurance and has your best interest in mind to help you make smart insurance decisions.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Insurance and Insurance for a Trucking Company?

The biggest differences between regular insurance and what you get for your company is that you are not only obligated to cover your truck, but whatever loads you choose to haul as well. And, because you have to have more coverage, it costs a lot more than what you would get for your car.

Most Common Trucking Insurance Terms

When it comes to insurance, there are a lot of different terms that you need to know and understand to make the most out of your investment. Some are different types of trucking insurance, others are what anyone should know when purchasing insurance in general.

Non-Trucking Coverage

Non-trucking coverage is a type of coverage not related to the transportation of cargo including:

  • Bobtail
  • Occupational accident coverage
  • Non-trucking liability coverage
  • Coverage for personal items in the truck.

Bobtail insurance applies after the truck’s load is delivered and the vehicle is traveling without cargo or a trailer. It is also for owners that use the truck for personal use.

This is similar to non-trucking liability coverage, which applies when the truck is not transporting cargo. Occupational accident insurance covers the owner operator for accidental death or dismemberment that occurs in the course of the truck driving.

Basic Coverage

This coverage consists of collision coverage and comprehensive insurance. Collision damage in basic coverage covers the costs of the other vehicle from an accident if you were at fault, as well as the damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance is similar to regular motor vehicle insurance. It covers the cost of repairs to your vehicles, up to the maximum value, that’s covered by something other than a collision.

Specialized Coverage

Because you need coverage for every possible scenario, companies that offer commercial trucking insurance have a variety of specialized options to choose from without increasing the price to an unaffordable amount. In addition to basic coverage, the trucker who transports cargo on behalf of customers needs commercial auto liability. This will provide coverage for bodily injuries and damage to the property of others. Cargo insurance covers the loss or damage of the cargo, and the cost depends on the type and value of the cargo.

The back of a semi truck


Drivers who have multiple accidents on their record have a higher deductible because of the risk to their insurance company. Deductibles vary from $500 to $2000 and are paid first in the event of the claim. This means if your deductible is $1500 and your repairs are $2000, you would pay the repair shop first and the insurer will pay the remaining $500.

If you prefer not to have a high deductible, you can pay a higher premium. For companies with experienced, accident-free drivers, a higher deductible and lower monthly premium is usually the best option.


Premiums on the insurance package you choose typically require a down payment and the remaining balance is payable monthly. The payments can be combined with the truck payments if you buy the insurance through the dealer, but it could be more expensive than buying from an insurance company. You can cancel your policy at any time and it won’t affect your credit score. However, you will be liable for the payment of all premiums due prior to the date in which the cancelation takes effect.

Premiums and deductibles may be higher if you or your driver has a bad record.

Get the Assistance You Need To Start Your Trucking Company

If you’ve ever thought about starting a trucking company, listen to our podcast Haulin Assets. We talk more about insurance in episode 9, specifically on how to get an accurate quote and ultimately purchase it. We also cover this topic more in depth in our blog how to purchase commercial truck insurance. If you have any additional questions or want to learn more how to start your own trucking company, get in touch with our coaches by calling 866-739-2032. We’d love to help you out and create a game plan to get your company on the road!

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