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The 5 Best Commercial Truck Insurance for New Drivers

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 5 best commercial truck insurance companies for new drivers 

Here are the 5 best truck insurers for new drivers and the pros and cons of each:

  • CoverWallet: Easy to compare several quotes from several providers
  • Progressive: Easy to get quick, relatively inexpensive coverage online
  • Nationwide: A leading U.S. business insurer
  • The Hartford: A highly ethical and reputable insurance company
  • State Farm: Great for coverage discounts

CoverWallet: Easy to compare several quotes from several providers

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • Sometimes quotes are not available online given the complicated nature of commercial truck industry
  • Relatively new and small company is not as established as other providers
  • May not be able to cover all types of trucks or trucking operations.

Progressive: Easy to get quick, relatively inexpensive coverage online

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

Nationwide: A leading U.S. business insurer

Pros:

  • Strong and established company that’s been in business for more than 90 years.
  • Known for providing excellent customer service.
  • Solid financial strength and stability ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

Cons:

  • If you prefer to get coverage online, you may feel uncomfortable buying insurance through a Nationwide affiliated agent.
  • Coverage is not available in all locations.
  • Policies can be pricier than other carriers.

The Hartford: A highly ethical and reputable insurance company

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

State Farm: Great for coverage discounts

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons: 

  • 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.

What commercial truck insurance coverages do new truckers need?

Let’s start with the basics and go over the typical trucker insurance coverages new drivers typically get.

Company drivers

If you drive a truck for a company, ask your employers what insurances 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.

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

  • Liability insurance. Pays for damage you do to other people’s property when you’re found to be at fault in an accident. Almost all states require a $1,000,000 limit.
  • Physical damage. Pays for damage or harm done to your truck. 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.

  • Cargo insurance. Pays for damage that happens to the things you haul in your trailer. Almost all companies and motor carriers will require you to carry cargo insurance for the types of goods you haul for them.
  • Bobtail (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.

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. 
  • Contractual requirements. 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. 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.

  • Operating radius. 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.
  • Driving history. 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.
  • Location. 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. 
  • Deductibles. 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.
  • Discounts. 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.
  • Insurers. 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 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 a month.

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.

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.
  • Don’t stop shopping around. Make sure you get new quotes before you renew your policy every year.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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