Getting truck insurance for new drivers isn’t easy. First of all, it’s hard to find. Many commercial trucking insurance companies simply won’t provide coverage to anyone with less than several years’ experience driving a commercial vehicle. And even if a new driver is able to get coverage, he or she will pay two to three times more for it than experienced drivers.
It’s a conundrum: How can a new truck driver become an experienced one if they can’t get affordable truck insurance so they can gain experience?
The good news: There are steps new truckers can take to get trucker insurance at a fair cost and we’ll reveal them in this article.
- The 6 best commercial truck insurance companies for new drivers
- What commercial truck insurance coverages do new truckers need?
- What does commercial truck insurance for new drivers cover?
- Factors that influence the commercial truck insurance cost for new drivers
- How much does commercial truck insurance for new drivers cost?
- How to find cheap commercial truck insurance for new drivers?
The 6 best commercial truck insurance companies for new drivers
Here are the 6 best truck insurers for new drivers and the pros and cons of each:
- Simply Business: Easy to compare several quotes from several providers
- Progressive: Easy to get quick, relatively inexpensive coverage online
- biBERK: Best for low-cost coverage from a reputable carrier
- InsurePro: Best for flexible pay-per-day trucking coverage
- State Farm: Great for coverage discounts
- The Hartford: A highly ethical and reputable insurance company
- Smart Financial: Best for connecting new truckers with the most knowledgeable agents
Simply Business: Easy to compare several quotes from several providers
- Work with several leading commercial truck insurance companies to provide several quotes in one place
- Provides top tier customer service and support.
- Offers coverage from many well known providers through a single online brokerage.
- Good support from licensed insurance experts.
- Sometimes quotes are not available online given the complicated nature of commercial truck industry
- If you want to get coverage from a particular carrier that they don’t work with, you are out of luck
Progressive: Easy to get quick, relatively inexpensive coverage online
- One of the largest commercial insurers in the United States.
- Easy to get coverage for virtually any kind of truck online.
- Known for offering significant premium discounts.
- A large insurer may not provide all the personal support a new trucker may need.
- Many of the discounts Progressive is famous for may not be available to new drivers.
- Progressive has relatively high overhead because of its big and expensive national advertising campaigns.
biBERK: Best for low-cost coverage from a reputable carrier
biBERK is a direct-to-customer carrier, ie. they sell commercial truck insurance policies directly to truckers and trucking businesses online. They offer an excellent digital experience. You can get quotes and buy a policy online in just. a few minutes.
This direct business model helps them save costs and they pass savings to their customers. In fact, they claim that their customers can save on average 20% on their premiums which buying insurance form or switching policies to them.
biBERK is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of Geico. So you can rest assured that they have. a great reputation and excellent financial strength to lean on when they need to pay the claims.
- Low cost coverage thanks to its direct-to-customer business model. At least 20% cheaper on premiums
- Excellent digital experience from getting quotes online, buying a policy, and managing the policy entirely online
- Excellent backing from Berkshire Hathaway with a great reputation and excellent financial strength
- Coverage limits may be less than traditional policies from traditional carriers like Progressive or the Hartford
- Not available in all 50 states yet
InsurePro: Best for short term and flexible coverage
InsurePro is a newer broker. They offer innovative business insurance coverage, which they call insurance on-demand. This means that you have the flexibility of buying trucking coverage for a short period of time, even just a day. And you only pay for coverage when you are on the road.
This is perfect for part-time truckers or trucking businesses that may not haul every day of the month. Buying trucking coverage for a few days when you need it will help you save a lot of money since you don’t pay for the coverage when you are not driving your truck.
InsurePro also offers one of the best digital experiences. You can get quotes and buy the policy directly on their website, which only takes about 10-15 minutes. After buying the policy, you can manage your policy online using their dashboard with many useful features.
State Farm: Great for coverage discounts
- Second most popular insurer in the United States.
- Nation’s largest vehicle insurer.
- Easy to get a quote online or to find an affiliated agent to get coverage from.
- Customer service scores aren’t as high as other top tier insurers.
- May need to speak with a customer service representative to complete an online quote, which can extend the time it takes.
- Online systems aren’t as up-to-date and easy to use as those of newer insurance companies.
The Hartford: A highly ethical and reputable insurance company
- One of the oldest, most established insurers in the United States.
- You can get a quote online or through an affiliated agent.
- Offers coverage for many types of trucks and trucking operations.
- A relatively high cost insurer.
- Online quoting and claim systems are not as advanced as those of newer companies.
- Coverage may not be available for all new truckers.
Smart Financial: Best for connecting new truckers with the most knowledgeable agents
- Work with the most intensive network of agents across the country
- Agents are most knowledgeable about trucking business and its different nuances
- Agents represent 60+ carriers
- Easy to compare quotes from these agents and select the best one with the best services and the lowest prices
- No quotes available online
- If you don’t prefer working with agents on the phone, this is not for you
What commercial truck insurance coverages do new truckers need?
Let’s start with the basics and go over the typical trucker insurance coverage new drivers typically get.
If you drive a truck for a company, ask your employers what insurance they require and at what levels. All commercial vehicles need to be covered by commercial auto or truck insurance. If you’re directly employed by a business and not working as an independent contractor, the company will likely provide the insurance coverage you need. It’s one of the benefits of giving up some of your personal freedom to work for someone else.
Leased owner operators
Owner operators leased on to a motor carrier can typically expect the carrier to provide them with liability insurance. However, this isn’t always the case. Beyond liability insurance, leased owner operators are usually required to get their own physical damage, cargo, and bobtail insurance. Check with the motor carrier you work with or read your lease agreement to ensure you get the coverages you need and don’t purchase too little or duplicative protection.
Owner operators with their own authority
Owner operators with their own authority are responsible for securing all their trucker insurance coverage. This could include liability, physical damage, cargo, and non-trucking liability insurance. There are several other coverages which independent owner-operators should consider, as well. They’re explained in the next section.
Learn more at the best owner-operator truck insurance companies
What does commercial truck insurance for new drivers cover?
Novice trucker coverage falls into two categories. Essential coverages are those that are necessary to get. Optional coverages are those new drivers could benefit from having.
Essential insurance coverages for new truck drivers
Below are the four main coverages that every new truck drivers should have: trucking primary liability, trucking physical damage, truck cargo insurance, and non-trucking liability insurance.
Trucking primary liability insurance.
This coverage is legally required in all 50 states. It pays for damage you do to other people’s property or the bodily injury you call to them when you’re found to be at fault in an accident. Almost all states require a $1,000,000 limit.
Learn more at trucking liability coverage: everything you need to know
Trucking physical damage
This coverage pays for damage or harm done to your truck. It essentially protects your most valuable asset and your livelihood. This coverage comes in two parts:
- Collision coverage. Covers damage that happens because of an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage. Covers harm caused outside of collisions. This includes theft, vandalism, and damage done by animals or the weather.
Physical damage coverage is typically not required, but all drivers get it to secure their livelihoods.
Truck cargo insurance
This coverage pays for damage that happens to the things you haul in your trailer. Even this coverage is not required. by law, almost all companies (brokers and shippers) and motor carriers will require you to carry cargo insurance for the types of goods you haul for them.
Non-trucking liability insurance
A type of liability insurance that covers your tractor when it’s disconnected from a trailer. This is another coverage that’s not required, but most truckers purchase it.
Optional coverages for new truck drivers
- Loading and unloading coverage. Cargo insurance doesn’t always cover items when they’re being loaded into and unloaded from your trailer. This coverage fills the gap.
- Combined deductible. After a major accident that causes significant harm and damage, unless you have a combined deductible, you’re responsible for paying the deductible of all the individual coverages that pay for accident damages. With a combined deductible, you only have to pay a single amount, no matter how many coverages are involved.
- Loss mitigation. Any accident losses in excess of your policy limits after an accident or incident are paid for with this coverage.
- Debris removal. Pays for removal of cargo spilled or scattered during an accident.
- Earned freight. – Pays back any lost income when you’re in an accident and your shipment can’t be delivered on time.
How much does commercial truck insurance for new drivers cost?
In general, commercial truck insurance for new drivers is a lot more expensive than experienced drivers. The average cost of commercial truck insurance for new drivers is $1,250 per month, or $15,000 per year. This is for a comprehensive trucking insurance policy, including trucking primary liability, non-trucking liability, trucking physical damage, and occupational accident coverage. Below are the breakdown costs for different coverages:
|Commercial truck insurance coverage
|Average costs in Texas
|Trucking primary liability coverage
|$850 per month
|Non-trucking liability coverage
|$65 per month
|Trucking physical damage coverage
|$250 per month
|Occupational accident coverage
|$85 per month
Most brokers and shippers will require you to have cargo insurance as well. Cargo insurance cost varies significantly depending on the types of cargo that you haul. On average, you will pay around $105 per month for cargo insurance. Learn more at How Much Does Truck Cargo Insurance Cost and the best motor truck cargo insurance companies.
You will learn that different carriers offer different rates. Be sure to shop around with a few companies to compare several quotes before making your final decision. Being able to get quotes online makes it easier to compare. Progressive and biBERK are the only two carriers offering truck insurance online. It should take less than 10 minutes to obtain a quote online on their websites, so may be worth a try.
Working with a top broker like Simply Business or commercialinsurance.net is another good way to get and compare several quotes since they can pull quotes from companies that they work with at once, making it convenient for you to compare several quotes.
If you do not have enough business to drive every day yet, you may want to consider pay-per-day trucking coverage, offered by InsurePro. With this flexible coverage, you only need to pay when you are on the road.
Factors that impact truck insurance costs for new drivers
Here are some factors that can impact your truck insurance costs and what you can do to keep premium prices in check:
Leasing versus driving under your own authority
Leasing to a company is much less expensive than running under your own authority. It’s because leasing companies typically cover the liability exposure of their drivers. Drivers often need to secure their own bobtail and other insurance to cover gaps, but it’s less expensive than having to pay for primary liability coverage.
Certain trucking contracts require more — and more types of — insurance than others. If you check contracts carefully, you can avoid having to unexpectedly raise your coverage levels — and types of coverage — and your insurance premiums.
Cargo that you haul
Commercial truck insurance costs are heavily impacted by the type of cargo you haul. Some types are simply riskier to carry than others. For example, an accident that involves a truck transporting heavy tractor parts will likely cause more harm than one carrying pillows and bedding. If you want to save on your coverage, consider the types of loads you plan to haul.
Tip: When getting truck insurance quotes, it’s important that you accurately disclose the types of cargo you will be carrying to reduce the chances of having a claim denied.
Truckers who drive longer distances are typically exposed to higher risks because of longer drive times between stops and driving less familiar routes. A newbie truck driver who travels longer distances will usually pay more for insurance than a driver who handles local routes.
Instate or interstate trucking routes
Interstate trucking routes require filing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (or FMCSA), and this will increase your commercial truck insurance cost significantly. It is highly advisable for new truckers to start with in-state routes first for 6 to 12 months to establish credit with insurance companies. Getting interstate commercial truck insurance is substantially expensive for new drivers.
Type of vehicle
All things equal, including hauling the same types of cargo, a heavy semi truck will justify a higher commercial truck insurance premium than a lighter pickup truck because of its potential to cause more damage in an accident and higher cost to repair.
Accidents and violations have a much bigger impact on commercial truck policy prices than on standard auto policies because large trucks transporting heavy cargo can cause significantly more damage. Even a minor speeding ticket on a trucker’s driving record could result in a big increase in insurance costs. Maintaining a clean driving record could save a new trucker hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in insurance costs each year.
Commercial insurance rates vary by state. You could end up paying more or less for insurance depending on where you operate. It’s possible for newer drivers to save on trucker insurance by driving in lower cost states.
Coverages and levels
More insurance coverage at higher levels gets you additional protection, but it will cost you more. Work with your insurance agent or company representative to come up with the correct amount of coverage to protect you that you can afford.
You can lower your truck insurance costs if you get coverage with higher deductibles. That’s the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. If you decide on a higher deductible, always make certain you have enough cash on hand to pay it. Otherwise you may not be able to get your truck repaired, which could very negatively impact your livelihood.
As a new truck driver, it’s unlikely you’ll qualify for many insurance discounts, but it’s always worth checking that you’re receiving all you qualify for.
Different insurers price their policies differently. That’s why it’s important to get quotes from multiple providers to find the best combination of coverages and premium prices for you. You owe it to yourself to get quotes from several of the providers in the next section.
How to find cheap commercial truck insurance for new drivers?
Starting off a new career as a truck driver is exciting, yet trucking is also one of the riskiest business out there. Having the proper insurance protection as a new driver is essential. Commercial truck insurance for new drivers is expensive. However, there are some things you can do to find the insurance you need at a fair price:
Shop around for the best value
Get quotes from several companies or an online insurance marketplace that represents multiple carriers so you can compare coverage and premium prices. Progressive, biBERK, and THREE offer fast online quotes which only take less than 10 minutes. If you want to compare several quotes in one place, Simply Business is a good broker to work with to obtain and compare several quotes.
Take advantage of discounts
If they’re not offered to you when getting a quote, ask about them, whether you’re buying online or through an agent. Many carriers offer different discount programs, especially for new drivers. Progressive offers several discount programs that you should consider.
Starting off by working for a trucking company
Even if you end goal is to drive your own truck or be your own boss, gaining a few years of experience working for a trucking company comes with a lots of benefits, including not having to pay for your commercial truck insurance in the first few years as you are building your truck driving record.
Starting off with in-state trucking route for 6 months to 1 year
If you are a new truck driver, focus on the in-state trucking routes for the first 6 months or a year will save you a lot of money in commercial truck insurance. Interstate trucking routes require you to fill BMC-34 form with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (or FMCSA). While this allows you to haul goods across states, it will also increase your commercial truck insurance cost significantly, especially for a new driver.
Taking these steps will help ensure you’re not paying too much for your Texas commercial truck coverage.
Learn more at the cheapest truck insurance companies.
Commercial truck insurance for new ventures
If you are a new truck driver, it is unlikely that you would start a new trucking venture because it is a very high risk activity. You should start by working for a trucking company to gain experience and establish your truck driving record before pursuing your own trucking venture.
Even for experienced truckers with excellent driving record, when you pursue a new trucking venture, insurance companies will still consider your new venture high-risk and your premiums will be likely to be very high.
Commercial truck insurance for new authorities
New truck drivers usually work for other trucking companies for a few years to gain experience and establish good truck driving record. When working for other trucking companies, new truckers do not need to have their own authorities.
When truckers apply for their own authorities and drive under their own authorities, insurance companies will consider you with a different risk profile and will apply different rates.
Learn more at the best commercial truck insurance for new authorities