As a commercial trucker, you are an integral part of America’s interstate commerce system. Wherever you drive, you need to be able to protect yourself, your vehicle and the cargo you carry from the ramifications of accidents. You also have a responsibility to always operate safely and professionally. One of the ways that you will meet this obligation is by carrying appropriate trucking insurance.
Trucking insurance is a conglomeration of policies that offer different benefits for different types of risks and liabilities. Among the coverage that you always should carry is liability insurance. Liability policies vary, and most drivers have to buy this coverage to operate legally. Therefore, you will probably need several types of coverage in order to meet your liability coverage requirements. Here’s a brief overview of these policies and their benefits.
What is Liability Insurance?
A liability insurance policy protects the policyholder when they cause harm to someone else. In the motor vehicle insurance sphere, liability policies pay when an operator is at fault for accidents or other mishaps and have to repay others for their injuries or property damage.
Truckers face liability risks when driving (both while empty and while hauling cargo) and when loading and unloading their trailers. Therefore, they will need to procure the appropriate amounts of specific liability coverage to address these risks.
Understanding Trucker Liability Insurance
Most states require drivers to carry minimum amounts of auto liability insurance and truckers are no different. However, truckers usually face very specific liability insurance requirements as required by both states and the National Motor Carrier Safety Administration (NMCSA). Often, these include:
- Owner-Operator (Primary) Liability Insurance: This coverage pays for third-party bodily injuries and property damage. At a minimum, most truckers have to carry at least $750,000 of coverage.
- General Trucking Liability Coverage: When a trucker is not driving, but loading or unloading their truck, this coverage pays for injuries or property damage that might occur. This is different from cargo insurance, which is the coverage that specifically applies to the materials you carry.
- Non-Trucking Liability Coverage: There are times when you might drive your truck during hours when you are not officially working. This is liability insurance that will apply to these excursions.
- Environmental Liability Insurance: If you haul hazardous materials in your truck, then an accident might cause significant environmental contamination. This might be your responsibility to clean up. Therefore, this coverage can help you meet this obligation.
Keep in mind, if you haul passengers or carry other specialty materials within your vehicle. Therefore, additional liability insurance requirements might apply. By working closely with your trucking insurance agent, you can ensure your policy offers you adequate liability protection.
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