July 2, 2019

How to Purchase Commercial Truck Insurance

A semi truck wrecked after an accident.
Purchasing commercial truck insurance is a huge and expensive step, so you want to go into it armed with knowledge. First thing we would recommend is to listen to the Haulin Assets Podcast episode on purchasing insurance. Just listening to that episode will put you 10 steps ahead of most other people. Read through this page for more tips.

Get Multiple Quotes

First and most important, only get quotes from insurance agents who specialize in truck insurance. Commercial truck insurance is complicated enough that you will get yourself into trouble and cause yourself unnecessary headaches if you work with a run-of-the-mill insurance agent.

Most insurance agents can get quotes from multiple insurance companies, but not all insurance agents will be able to quote from every insurance company, so go to at least two agents and you should be able to end up with quotes from two to 5 or more insurance companies.

Keep in mind that most insurance agencies are insurance brokers. The agency you work directly with is not the actual company providing the insurance; they are a middle man. Here are some of the most common insurance companies in the commercial truck world that actually provide the insurance your agent quotes.

Be Prepared When You Call

When you go to get an actual quote you should have your MC and/or USDOT numbers. Carriers won’t give you an actual quote until you have one or both of them. They may give you an estimate without them but not an actual quote.

Be cautious if the person you are working with says they will give you a quote without them, as they are probably shady. Here are some other things they will probably ask you for:

Personal Info

  • Name, address & phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Driver’s license info

Business Info

  • Business Legal Name
  • EIN (the business’s tax ID)
  • Business address
  • What states you will haul in
  • What type of cargo you will haul

Vehicle Info

If you have not purchased a truck or trailer yet, let them know what kind you think you’ll get and how much you think it will cost. You can even give them a VIN for a vehicle similar to the one you think you will purchase. If you do have a truck, you’ll want the:

  • VIN
  • Year/make/model
  • Purchase price/value

What Limit Should You Get?

This is a super important thing to consider. There are several coverages you will need and the limit you get for each of the coverages will depend on several factors. Let’s talk about three of them: auto liability insurance, cargo insurance, and physical damage insurance.

Auto Liability

This is the insurance that covers damages to other people’s property if you cause an accident. The FMCSA requires different limits depending on what you haul. Your insurance agent should be able to walk you through this. I do have one very important recommendation. For most of you, you will only be required to have $750,000 in coverage, however, most brokers are going to require $1,000,000 in coverage in this category.

To make things easy, you want to have the FMCSA’s website for your company show that you have $1,000,000 in coverage. There are some questions you have to answer correctly when you apply for your authority, or they are going to default you to $750,000, and that is going to cause you problems.

If you don’t know which questions to answer and how to answer them, let us apply for your authority for you. It will be well worth the money you spend, and we don’t cost you much more than doing it on your own.

Cargo Insurance

The most common amount of insurance for cargo is $100,000. That is what most brokers require unless you are hauling some kind of specialized load. If you do need a higher amount for just one load, your insurance agent can probably get you a policy that will do that.

Physical Damage Insurance

This is the insurance that covers damage to your truck and/or trailer if you get in an accident that is your fault. Talk to your agent about the amount you should get. You don’t want to over-insure or under-insure your truck or trailer. Just like with Goldilocks, you want it to be just right.

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