Commercial Auto Liability

From Liability to Cargo, we keep you covered

If you own a small trucking company, you know that trucking is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Each company is required to have multiple permits and forms of insurance in order to operate. 

Commercial auto liability insurance is one of the most critical things a trucking company needs. When a trucker gets behind the wheel of a big rig, they take on a huge responsibility. If they have an accident, they will not only cause injury to a person and damage to their car; they might cause a major highway disaster, extensive damage to the property of several people, environmental damage, and death.

Simplex Group is very familiar with trucking insurance laws. We have over 20 years of trucking experience and know what a comprehensive commercial auto liability policy will cover.

We will do everything in our power to make your company succeed by finding a policy that covers anything that can go wrong but does not cost a fortune.

How Much Insurance Does My Company Need?

If your company operates entirely in one state, you will follow the rules of the government agency that regulates intra-state trucking in that state. For example, in Texas, the Department of Public Safety regulates local truckers. In California, the California Department of Motor Vehicles regulates intrastate truckers.

Each state will require its truckers to have a certain amount of insurance. Commercial truckers will always be required to purchase more insurance than drivers of personal vehicles.

Photo of a truck driver

Insurance Requirements for Interstate Truckers

If your trucks operate across state lines, are of a certain size, or carry certain products, they are under the authority of the United States Department of Transportation.  The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration) is the office within the DOT that regulates trucking. 

You will need to get a DOT number if your truck meets any of the following criteria:

  • Carries enough hazardous material to require a placard.
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 10,001 pounds or more.
  • It is used to transport more than eight passengers, including the driver, for money. 
  • It is used to transport more than 15 passengers whether for money or not.

If your truck meets any of those standards, you will have to get a DOT number before you can operate. In order to get a DOT number, you will have to attain the appropriate amount of insurance.

How Much Liability Insurance Do I Need?

If you are operating an interstate vehicle that requires a DOT number, you will need to buy public liability insurance. If you carry freight, you will need a minimum of $750,000 to $5,000,000 in insurance, depending on what you are transporting. You will need to have $300,000 of coverage for non-hazardous freight that is transported in vehicles weighing under 10,001 lbs.

Vehicles that carry under 15 passengers must have a minimum coverage of $5,000,000 to $1,500,000.

What Public Liability Insurance Will Cover

Public liability insurance covers claims made against a business by the public. If you operate a trucking company, it will cover harm caused by one of your drivers if they are responsible for an accident. 

Most businesses can get away with just having one liability insurance policy. The policy would cover any physical harm suffered by visitors to their business. It may also cover damage done to a visitor’s property, such as repairs to a car if it was damaged while it was parked in the lot. 

A trucking company will need auto liability insurance to cover any accidents one of its drivers causes on the road. It will also need general liability insurance to cover accidents in the trucking company’s garage or offices.

Public auto liability insurance will cover many of the same things that personal auto insurance will cover. 

Medical Bills 

Most trucking accidents might result in serious physical injury to at least one person. In many cases, several people will be injured. Public liability insurance will cover their medical bills and pay for any surgeries or medical treatment an accident victim needs. It should also cover any psychiatric treatment that is needed after an accident.

Property Damage 

It is very easy for a truck to do major damage to sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks when it causes an accident. Personal vehicles are often totaled when they are involved in an accident with a truck. Your insurance should be able to cover the repair and replacement of any vehicle that is damaged if your driver is at fault. 

Damage to Roads

When a commercial truck has an accident, it can cause multiple cars to pile up and could spill its cargo. If the cargo is something messy like candy or glue, the highway department may have to spend thousands of dollars cleaning it up. If you are towing hazardous material, they may need special equipment to clean up dangerous chemicals. Your insurance may not cover everything, but it can certainly offset the cost of damage.

There may also be damage to the environment when hazardous materials are spilled. Damage to the environment may be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.