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Running a fleet of vehicles is a strategic component of many businesses, but it comes with inherent risks. Whether your company relies on delivery vans, trucks, or a fleet of cars, ensuring their protection is vital. Commercial auto insurance is the key to mitigating potential financial losses in the event of accidents, theft, or other unforeseen circumstances. In this guide, we present a comprehensive overview of top-notch commercial auto insurance providers to assist you in safeguarding your fleet effectively.

What information do you need to take out fleet and commercial truck insurance?

Insurance providers typically require various information to underwrite a fleet insurance policy. Here’s a list of frequently requested documentation you’ll need when applying:

  • Current commercial insurance policy declarations page.
  • If you don’t have a declarations page, use your current personal automobile insurance contract or request a copy of the declarations page directly from your prior insurer.
  • Your commercial driver’s license numbers and their relevant driving histories, plus any violations, infractions, or citations. 
  • Vehicle identification numbers (VINs) of every commercial vehicle to be insured, including a summary of each vehicle’s safety features.
  • If you don’t have the VINs at the time of application, give as much relevant vehicle detail as you can, such as the model classification, weight, manufacturer, and the manufacturing year.
  • Specified years of documented loss runs from previous insurance providers for all requested coverage.
  • Audited or reviewed financial statements from a given period, including income through brokerage or trip lease operations.
  • Copies of International Fuel Tax Administration (IFTA) reports (schedule to be specified) indicating vehicle mileage by state and total mileage for a given period.
  • Safety ratings from federal compliance reviews, and copies of fleet safety and maintenance programs.
  • Copies of permanent lease and trip lease agreements.

What types of commercial truck insurance can you get?

Individuals and companies who own fleets of commercial trucks can apply for any of these motor fleet insurance types:

General liability insurance

Also called public liability insurance, general liability insurance in trucking covers property damage and third-party bodily injuries resulting from business activities unrelated to driving commercial vehicles.

The FMCSA mandates freight forwarders, owner-operators with authority, and motor carriers to carry general liability insurance.

Motor carriers also typically insure their commercial drivers with this policy type.

Primary liability insurance

Also known as trucking liability insurance, primary liability insurance is the minimum level of insurance required for operating trucking and transport enterprises.

Primary liability insurance doesn’t cover damages to commercial vehicles or cargo. This policy type requires motor carriers and owner-operators with authority to list or schedule each vehicle on the policy. Otherwise, the insurance provider won’t release claims.

Non-trucking liability insurance

Non-trucking liability is insurance for using vehicles for non-business purposes. Non-trucking liability insurance covers personal use of your vehicle between your return and the next dispatch schedule.

Owner-operators under lease agreements with motor carriers can benefit from this truck fleet insurance type. Although owner-operators have general liability insurance coverage, that policy only covers business operations. Non-trucking liability insurance protects owner-operators from losses during non-business-related incidents.

Bobtail (owner-operator) insurance

This owner-operator insurance protects policyholders after they deliver cargo and when using their vehicle for purposes other than trucking.

Owner-operators under lease agreements can get bobtail insurance when operating for mobility and not while transporting property for the motor carrier under whose operating authority they deliver, and whose liability policy they depend on while trucking.

Bobtail insurance sounds like non-trucking liability insurance. However, there’s one crucial difference.

Bobtail insurance covers owner-operators when using the trucks without trailers whether for personal or commercial purposes. Non-trucking liability protects the owner-operator when using the truck for personal intentions, whether or not they carry the trailer.

Bobtail insurance doesn’t cover damages to the owner-operator’s truck, but only the liabilities arising from an accident.

These liabilities include:

  • Expenses for a lawsuit if one occurs.
  • Hospital bills and treatments for any injuries inflicted on a person.
  • Payment for all property damages.

Motor truck cargo insurance

Motor truck cargo insurance offers protection on the freight or commodity hauled by a for-hire owner-operator. This policy type covers liability for lost or damaged cargo resulting from vehicle crashes, fire, or the striking of a load.

Physical damage insurance

Physical damage protection is a general term for insurance policies covering your commercial vehicles. Physical damage coverage includes collision insurance and a full, comprehensive policy.

Owner-operators can also opt for fire and theft protection with combined additional coverage (CAC), a limited insurance for specific heavy-duty commercial vehicle types.

Contingent cargo insurance

Contingent cargo insurance is coverage for freight brokers involved in complicated claims between a shipper and a motor carrier. This commercial truck insurance covers typical causes of losses, such as cargo theft and damage during transit, for any carrier.

Freight brokers should always carry this type of haulage fleet insurance to be prepared for the following incidents:

  • One or more parties fail to fulfill their duties.
  • The insurance provider declines a cargo insurance claim.
  • The responsible carrier unwillingly or can’t pay for losses incurred to the shipper’s cargo.

Workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance covers costs associated with an employee’s work-related injury or illness. This insurance even covers legal fees should the employee choose to sue the company.

State laws mandate most companies to obtain this type of motor fleet insurance in case their staff gets hurt on the job.

Refer to your state laws for trucking-related injuries covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Regulations usually cover:

  • Work-related illnesses from exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  • Traumatic injuries after a vehicle accident.
  • Stress injuries from repetitive cargo loading and unloading.

Selecting the right commercial auto insurance provider requires careful consideration. Assess your fleet’s specific needs, evaluate coverage options, and consider the provider’s reputation. This guide aims to empower you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision, ensuring that your fleet is not only protected but also positioned for sustainable growth.

In conclusion, protecting your fleet is a critical aspect of managing a successful business. Utilize this ultimate guide to explore the offerings of leading commercial auto insurance providers and secure the longevity of your fleet operations.