Whether you are embarking on a career as an OTR truck driver or you are launching a business as an owner-operator, one of the many legal considerations you will need to deal with is purchasing the insurance you need to drive commercially. This can be a complicated and confusing topic, so you may feel at a loss as to where to begin.
We went to help you understand and I am going to break it down for you: the requirements, the major companies out there, how to go about getting quotes, finding the best rates, and exploring the different options available. By the time you finish visiting our site, you should have a pretty solid idea what you need to do to buy the insurance you need to be on the road legally. Let’s begin.
How Can You Shop for the Best Commercial Truck Insurance Rates?
By now I’ve used the phrase “shop around” enough times that you have probably gotten the message: commercial truck insurance is expensive. And you simply cannot afford to skimp on your policies.
So how can you find the best semi-truck insurance rates?
Here are some tips:
- First, familiarize yourself with all the factors which can impact the cost of your insurance. While you cannot control all of these factors, you do have some control over some of them.
- Call around and talk to a variety of companies. This is important. You cannot simply go with the first company you check into, even though you may feel daunted by the process of researching one carrier after the next. All the hard work will be worth it when it ends up saving you thousands of dollars every year in premiums.
- Fill out a form to compare quotes from a number of carriers. If you want to shortcut through this process, look for forms you can fill out which allow you to input some basic information and get quotes back from a variety of commercial truck insurance companies.
- Read the coverage details and exclusions carefully. Don’t just compare each truck insurance quote. Make sure you also compare the policies themselves. Your goal is not to get the most inexpensive policy out there—it is to get the best value you can find. You do not want a policy which is not going to pay out what you need to cover your liability if something actually does go wrong. In the long run, that will end up being a lot more expensive than paying slightly higher premiums every month.
- Be upfront about your record. When you talk to insurance agents about your needs, be clear, specific and thorough in discussing your driving history, radius, operation type and other factors that could influence your costs. You do not want to miss out on a break.
- Operate safely going forward. As with your regular driver’s insurance, being careful on the road pays off. If you have a long, safe record, you may qualify for discounts. If on the other hand you are clearly a high risk driver, you are going to pay more in premiums every month.
- Read reviews to make sure the company really delivers. Slow payouts and other issues can become quite a hassle if you find yourself with a sizeable bill. Make sure you are dealing with a company that has a reputation for paying quickly and in full.
Key Takeaway: Finding affordable truck insurance isn’t easy, but if you follow the tips above, you can find some great rates.
What Factors Which Influence Cost
Why might your quote from a commercial truck insurance company be higher or lower than another trucker’s quote? Here are some factors which may raise or lower your truck insurance costs:
- Operation type. Some freight businesses are riskier than others, and insurance companies know this. So depending on the type of shipping operation you are in (hazmat, steel hauling, logging, livestock, etc.), you might receive a higher or lower quote.
- Types of coverage you need. You already have an idea for the cost ranges for different types of policies if you read through the previous sections. Some types of coverage are significantly more expensive than others. It is important however to make sure you buy everything you need. Hopefully you will never need to call on all of the policies you buy, but if you ever do, you will be thankful you didn’t opt out of them.
- Operation radius. The rates you are quoted will vary depending on whether you are making local, intermediate or long distance hauls.
- Size of your fleet. The more units you have to insure, the more expensive your policies will be.
- Experience. Whether you are an OTR trucker or an owner-operator, your experience level will have an impact on how much you pay. A new, inexperienced trucker is more likely to make costly mistakes than an experienced one with years on the road. Younger drivers are also perceived as riskier.
- Penalties and infringements like MVR reports and OOS violations can make your insurance more expensive.
- If you have a low credit score, that reflects negatively on you, and may result in your insurance rates being higher.
- Have you had past collisions or other incidents which required you to use your insurance to pay for damages? This can result in a significant rate increase in the future.
- If you have any history of reckless driving, alcoholism, wrecks, or so on, you may be seen as a high risk driver. This will jack up your rates.
Assuming you have specialized in a particular type of trucking, you probably cannot do much about how that will influence your rates. The same may be true for the size of your fleet, not to mention your past driving infractions. But you can work on improving your credit score, and you can also observe safe driving habits going forward. Over time, that may mean you will have access to lower rates.
Key Takeaway: A variety of factors influence the cost of commercial trucking insurance. Over time, if you prove to be a safe driver, your rates should decrease compared to what you start out with.
Ready to Shop for Truck Insurance?
Now you know everything you need to in order to get started searching for the best commercial truck insurance rates. Sit down and do some planning. Think about the type of operation you are in and what types of policies you need to make sure that you are fully covered, and then fill out the form below. We’ll search through dozens of carriers to bring you the most competitive quotes. Let’s get you on the road with the coverage you need!