5 Best Motor Truck Cargo Insurance for 2023

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

Are you a trucker who hauls goods or commodities from place to place? 

It can be a very stressful job! That’s because from the time you pick up a load to when you drop it off, you’re responsible for the things you carry. If they’re stolen or damaged while in your care, you’re responsible for costs related to the incident, including replacing the items, clean up, and legal expenses.

The good news: Motor truck cargo insurance can cover these expenses should you experience a loss.

In this article, we’ll reveal the 5 best motor truck cargo insurance companies and explain what you need to know to secure this coverage.

5 best motor truck cargo insurance companies

Simply Business: Best for comparing quotes from multiple providers

The surest way to get good motor truck cargo insurance while saving money on your coverage, is to get quotes from multiple providers. The easiest way to do that is through Simply Business.

Simply Business is a cutting-edge insurance provider. The firm has developed its own state-of-the-art platform, based on its proprietary algorithms, to ensure it is able to connect truckers with the coverage they need at the most reasonable price. The platform makes it quick and easy to get quotes from several providers at once, making it possible to compare coverage and premium prices from highly reputable insurers all on a single screen.

In some cases, Simply Business may not be able to provide quotes online. In these cases, they will call you to clarify some details of your business and discuss your quote options.

Once you get your quote, Simply Business makes it easy to purchase motor truck cargo insurance online or through an agent. When you get your policy through Simply Business, it’s simple to manage your coverage online, including downloading proof of insurance, filing a claim, renewing your coverage, and more. This is especially great for truckers who spend a lot of time out on the road.

Learn more at the top commercial truck insurance brokers

Progressive: Best for discounted coverage

Progressive may seem like a less than serious company because of its ongoing series of commercials featuring Flo. You might feel concerned about entrusting your cargo to the insurer.

The truth: It’s a reputable company that’s been offering vehicle insurance for more than 80 years and is the top commercial vehicle insurer in the United States, which means it’s doing something right. The company is known for its flexibility, great rates, and top-tier service.

Progressive is famous for its discounts, which could help you save on your motor truck cargo insurance. You can earn discounts for things like:

  • Paying your premium in full rather than monthly or quarterly 
  • Bundling your motor truck cargo insurance with other coverage
  • Agreeing to autopay.

Progressive makes it easy to get a quote online or get coverage through a licensed insurance representative. Learn more at where to get commercial truck insurance quotes.

Sentry: Best for personalized service 

Compared with the first two insurers on this list, Sentry is relatively small, which makes it possible for it to offer a more personalized level of service, especially when it comes time to make a claim. 

Sentry has been in business since 1904 and has a solid reputation.

If you choose Sentry as your truck insurance provider, you can expect:

  • Flexible coverage options
  • An experienced claims team that understands trucking
  • Certified safety directors with more than 20 years of industry experience.

Sentry is committed to the trucking industry. The company is an allied member of the American Trucking Association and several other industry groups. It currently insures more than 37,000 truckers.

Another plus: Sentry has received an A+ rating from A.M. Best, an insurance rating agency, 30 years in a row.

Great American Insurance Group: Best truck insurance specialist

For 150 years, people across the United States have trusted Great American Insurance Group to protect them. It offers innovative insurance solutions and specializes in serving niche industries, including truckers. The experts at Great American Insurance Group have a complete understanding of the trucking industry and can advise you on your coverage needs. 

NITIC: Best for affordable motor truck cargo coverage

National Independent Truckers Insurance Company (NITIC) was launched in 2001 with the goal of offering affordable truck insurance to independent owner operators and small trucking fleets.

NITIC is currently licensed to provide insurance in 48 states. They have a team of licensed insurance agents specializing in trucking insurance. They are available to help you get the motor truck cargo and other trucker insurance you need.

NITIC is organized as a Risk Retention Group. That means its policyholders are also its owners. 

This makes it possible for NITIC to build a stable market for coverage and rates, implement effective loss control and risk management practices, and offer lower premiums than most other insurers.

NITIC maintains a secure rating of B+ (Good) from A.M. Best, the insurance rating company. It’s lower than many other insurers, but it still reflects a solid financial position.

What is motor truck cargo insurance?

Motor truck cargo insurance, often referred to as cargo insurance, provides coverage on the freight or commodities hauled by for-hire truckers while it’s being transported. It covers your liability for cargo that is lost or damaged for reasons covered by a policy such as a collision or fire. It is one of the common coverages that can be added to a commercial truck insurance policy.

For example, if your load is accidentally dumped on a roadway or waterway, the motor truck cargo coverage could pay to replace the damaged items, along with the cost to remove debris or extract pollutants caused by the debris. It could also pay for expenses related to preventing further loss to the damaged cargo (such as storing it), legal expenses to defend or settle claims related to the incident, and additional freight charges your client must pay because your load was not delivered.

Carriers are responsible for cargo when it’s in their possession. While operating under a bill of lading, it’s the trucker’s responsibility to take every possible step to insure the safety of the cargo beginning at the point at which the cargo is taken into their possession until it reaches its final destination and is signed for.

When a loss occurs while cargo is being transported, the policyholder will be covered as long as there are no policy exclusions related to the incident. 

Cargo policies are written to cover the actual types of commodities being hauled and are very specific. In short, a policy written for transporting flowers could not also be used for hauling windows. Cargo insurance policies are customized to meet the specific needs and exposures of the particular carrier for hire. 

Who needs motor truck cargo insurance?

A growing number of risk managers require truckers contracted by their firms to insure the cargo they haul. You can meet that requirement with motor truck cargo insurance. It pays when you are responsible for damage to — or loss of — cargo you haul for clients because of fire, collision, or hitting or running over the cargo with your truck.

What does motor truck cargo liability cover?

Motor truck cargo insurance coverage varies depending on the policy and other factors, but cargo insurance typically covers risks and losses to cargo caused by things like fire, collision, theft, water damage, equipment failure, and refrigeration breakdown. Some carriers include debris removal and pollution cleanup protection as part of their coverage, as well.

What kinds of vehicles and cargo can be covered by cargo insurance?

Motor truck cargo insurance is typically available to for-hire truckers driving:

  • dump trucks
  • tractors
  • trailers
  • box trucks
  • cement mixers
  • cargo vans
  • pick-ups
  • flatbeds
  • car haulers.

Motor truck cargo insurance is typically not available for:

  • garbage trucks
  • limos
  • hearses
  • buses
  • passenger vans
  • ice cream trucks. 

Coverage is available for many types of cargo. Common exceptions include:

  • art
  • jewelry
  • money
  • paper
  • contraband
  • pharmaceuticals
  • tobacco
  • alcohol
  • live animals
  • property while in custody of any other carrier
  • property or goods owned by the insured trucker
  • property not under a bill of lading
  • storage lasting longer than a defined period of time
  • shipping containers
  • explosive or radioactive materials

Is motor truck cargo coverage required?

Legally, all cargo transporters are required to purchase a minimum amount of basic liability insurance, often referred to as carrier liability, but it provides limited coverage. Carrier liability typically only covers injuries to other people or damage to other people’s property, not the cargo being transported. Truckers can purchase more complete coverage through a motor truck cargo policy. This insurance will protect their cargo from loss, damage, or theft while in transit. Most businesses hiring truckers to haul items for them will contractually require you to get this coverage.

Rather than providing ongoing coverage like a commercial auto liability policy, cargo insurance is written  to protect specific shipments, or a series of shipments, in a single policy.

How much does motor truck cargo insurance cost?

Motor truck cargo insurance cost varies depending on the cargo type. It is cheaper if you haul paper towels and a lot more expensive if you haul oils and other riskier cargo.

The shippers or brokers also require a certain coverage limit and the cargo insurance cost also depends on the coverage limits. The higher the coverage limits are, the more expensive cargo insurance is.

Lastly, different insurance companies will provide you with different quotes. Be sure to shop around with a few companies to compare several quotes before making your final decision.

Learn more at how much commercial truck insurance costs.

How to find cheap motor truck cargo coverage?

Motor truck cargo insurance is expensive, but it is usually required by your shippers or brokers. There are ways to find affordable truck cargo coverage:

  • Maintain a clean driving record if you are driving yourself or only hire drivers with clean records
  • Require and monitor driving logs regularly
  • Enroll in a safe-driving program (apps, or other devices to monitor driving), especially if it is offered by your insurance companies
  • Provide continual safety training and monitoring safety best practices
  • Last but not least, be sure to shop around with a few companies to compare quotes to find the best rates. Similar to other coverages, different insurance companies will provide you with different quotes.

What else do I need to know about purchasing motor truck cargo coverage?

When you apply for motor truck cargo insurance, you will select a limit for your coverage. This limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for damaged or destroyed cargo and other related expenses. You will also be asked to choose a deductible. A deductible is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket when you make a claim before your insurance coverage kicks in. Choosing a higher deductible will lower your insurance, but you must always have enough cash on hand to cover it when you need to make a claim.

Motor truck cargo insurance is one of the more complex insurance types. The representatives at our “best” firms will be able to help you figure out exactly what coverage you need and help you secure it at the best possible price.

Learn more at the cheapest commercial truck insurance cost.

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at realtor.com, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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