Everything You Need To Know About Insuring Your Big Rig

In the US, semi trucks (also referred to as 18-wheelers or tractor trailer) are known to carry a lot of weight. Logically speaking, the more weight carried by vehicles, the more damage is caused in case of an accident. For this reason, there are special insurance requirements to operate semi truck vehicles.

Types of Insurance for Semi Trucks

Commercial Truck Insurance

Semi trucks are designed to carry different weight categories for long distances. Because of this each insurance policy is categorized according to the weight category. The weight categories are A, B and C where C-class semi trucks carry the least weight.

Commercial Truck Insurance is a requirement by federal law and can protect you against liability resulting from:

  • Property damage caused by the Truck.
  • Bodily injuries.
  • Freight damage.
  • Legal cost in case of a lawsuit.

In New Jersey, if you have 5 semi trucks, this can be considered as a “fleet” and be eligible special insurance discounts.

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance (MTCI)

At times, the semi truck may not be the cause of damages but the cargo or freight carried in the semi truck. By law, this type of insurance is not mandatory. Consequently, the semi truck vehicle owner determines whether or not to have it and also the coverage limits required by type of freight or cargo carried by the truck.

Closely related to Motor Truck Cargo Insurance is the non-tracking liability/bobtail insurance. In addition to what is offered by the MTCI, non-tracking insurance covers you against liability that can occur when the truck is off duty (not on the road). Non-liability insurance is recommended where the driver takes the semi track at home.

Primary Liability Insurance

This insurance is mandatory for all drivers or business operating semi trucks. It covers you against liability resulting from injuries and damages after an accident. Legally, primary liability insurance depends on weight of the semi truck and the type of cargo it carries.

Requirement to Operate Countrywide

ICC/MC Authority

You are required by 2 federal agencies – Interstate Commerce Commission and Motor Carrier Authority – to obtain a license that allow you to travel countrywide.  Though this license is not an insurance policy, it provides guidelines that affect insurance. Here is how:

  • Semi truck that weigh 10,000 or more pounds and at the same time carry hazardous cargo are required to have primary liability insurance of not less $1 million.
  • Semi truck carrying general commodities and weighing less than 10,000 pounds need primary liability insurance of not less than $300,000.
  • Semi trucks carrying explosives and weighing less than 10,000 pounds need primary insurance of not less than $5 million.

Factors Affecting Semi Truck Insurance

  • Driving record – speeding fines and traffic offenses increase your premiums.
  • Where the truck is parked – you pay higher premiums if your truck is parked in risky places especially at night.
  • Radius of operation.
  • Vehicles related factors such as age, condition, and safety features that the vehicle has.

Reasons Why Semi Track Insurance is Generally More Expensive

  • Trucks are expensive. The insurer may have to replace the whole truck.
  • Semi trucks are heavy and also carry heavy weight. These two weights combined cause extra damage in case of an accident.
  • In general, semi trucks are more likely to be stolen because they are worth more. In addition, they often carry valuable cargo.

Tips to lower Semi Truck Insurance

  • By paying your premiums upfront, you can save up to 15%.
  • You could save up 5 % on premiums by providing the insurer a written maintenance plan for the semi truck.
  • For older semi truck, remove comprehensive insurance – the cover could cost more than the actual cost of the truck.

This article was provided by the insurance experts over at californiaautoinsurancehq.com.

Submitted by Nick LeRoy.