The open road, independence on the job, and a second home on 18 wheels – the life of a trucking owner operator isn’t always easy, but for many, it’s worth it. You are your own business, and if something happens to you or your truck, you’re out of work and out of money. Protect yourself, your family, and your business by making sure that you have the right kind of insurance for your truck, your trailer, and you.
TYPES OF INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR OWNER OPERATORS
All commercial truck drivers are required to carry liability insurance, which covers you when you’re at fault in an accident. To adequately protect you, your truck, and your livelihood, other forms of insurance are recommended.
- Medical payments coverage pays for the medical expenses of you and any passengers.
- Physical damage insurance protects the truck itself. Good coverage to have, especially if you’re still paying for your truck.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you when the other driver is at fault but has no coverage or very little coverage.
Those are the basics of insurance coverage that are recommended for nearly every type of commercial truck driver. For owner/operators, you have other coverage options to consider.
- Rental coverage pays for the cost of renting a replacement truck while yours is out of commission due to damage.
- Towing insurance covers the cost of towing your rig away from an accident. Note: it does not cover the towing expenses if you break down somewhere.
- Trailer insurance pays for the losses from any damage or destruction to your trailer.
- Trailer interchange insurance is good if you participate in a trailer exchange service. It covers you from possible losses of trailers that don’t belong to you.
- Cargo insurance pays for the cost of replacing or repairing any cargo you were carrying in an accident.
- Unattended truck coverage protects you against losses due to vandalization or theft when you’re not with your truck.
- Accessories coverage repairs or replaces the expensive accessories like GPS and weigh station automation equipment when it’s damaged or destroyed.
- Occupational accident insurance covers you in the event of a work-related accident or illness, especially useful if you don’t have your own health insurance coverage (but, you really should have your own health insurance).
- Bobtail insurance pays for damages or injuries caused by you while the trailer is detached from your truck, whether or not you’re on the job. It’s often required if you’re under a lease to another motor carrier.
- Non-trucking insurance is similar to bobtail but not the same. It covers damages or injuries you cause while the truck isn’t on the job – driving to and from home, taking the truck to be cleaned, and other instances when you’re driving but not working.
HOW TO SAVE ON YOUR OWNER/OPERATOR INSURANCE PREMIUMS
Good insurance coverage, while necessary and good for business, is not cheap. There are ways to save on your premiums so that you’re protected without paying too much.
- Monitor your credit score. Lower credit scores mean higher insurance premiums.
- Watch out for logbook violations. The more violations you have, the higher your premiums.
- Make sure you have the correct cargo insurance for the loads you carry.
- Consider a higher deductible.
- Ask about available discounts for things like fog lamps, deer guards, and even completed defensive driving courses.
- Make sure you have the right signage on your truck.
A good insurance agent will be able to tell you how to save the most on your premiums.
You’ve worked hard to build your trucking business, even if you are a one-person operation. Don’t let it all go to ruin because of the wrong commercial truck insurance. At Charlotte Insurance, we want to make sure you’re completely protected with the right insurance for your business.
Contact us today. We’re here to help.