What Are Box Truck Insurance Requirements?

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

Box trucks are one of the most, if not the most in-demand commercial vehicles for transporting freight. The trucks are smaller than a tractor-trailer, so they are more easily maneuvered on city streets and in traffic situations. Various industries utilize box trucks to transport goods, and several rental agencies rent box trucks for those who need a truck for the day or the weekend.

Like other auto insurance, whether private or commercial, there are minimum legal requirements for box truck insurance. Regardless of whether you operate a box truck in the daily operations of your business, or you rent them to people who need a truck, there are box truck insurance requirements that you must meet. Before we discuss the minimum box truck insurance requirements, let’s look at the definition of a box truck. 

What is a box truck?

Box trucks are in high demand for freight transport. A box truck is an enclosed truck that is used for short-haul transporting. Typically, box trucks transport things that are too heavy for a customer to transport on their own. 

For most box trucks, you aren’t required to have a CDL to operate them, and various industries use them. Moving trucks, furniture delivery companies, and retail establishments use box trucks daily. 

Typically, box trucks are used in short-haul trucking. Short-haul operations are generally home each night which can be an attractive lure to new drivers. That means that most box truck drivers stay within a short radius of home and end the day in the same place they began it. 

Types of box trucks   

Box trucks are known by several names. Those names depend on the cargo they haul or how they are used. Here are a few of those names: 

  • Ice box
  • Reefer truck
  • Moving truck
  • Cargo cutaway 
  • Sleeper box
  • Tilt cab

Are box truck operators required to have an MC authority or MC number? 

You might think that because box trucks operate as short-haul trucking operations, they wouldn’t need an MC number. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. Authority isn’t based on distance but rather on the cargo within the truck. There are two kinds of authority to be considered.

  • Interstate authority—Required when the cargo travels interstate. This is necessary for those objects that travel via more than one mode of transportation. The shipment could have been from anywhere with a railway nearby, so it may have traveled across state lines. 
  • Intrastate authority—This authority only covers cargo delivered from start to finish within the state.  

In addition to these considerations, it’s essential to note that a short-haul route is not always an intrastate route. In some areas, you could travel less than 500 miles round trip and cross multiple state lines. For this reason, among others, it’s wise to consider obtaining interstate authority to expand the cargo your business can haul. 

Box truck operators who choose to obtain interstate authority must adhere to the box truck insurance requirements instituted by the FMCSA. Before getting the interstate authority, operators must have minimum liability coverage of $750,000. They must also have truck cargo coverage, but those limits are dependent on the kind of cargo being transported. 

Standard box truck insurance requirements

Federal law and each state require trucking primary liability insurance at the bare minimum before you operate your box truck operation. Some shippers, brokers, and even some states have other box truck insurance requirements as well. The potential coverages you could be required to have include:

FMCSA interstate box truck insurance requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a website with interstate insurance requirements included. If you need an MC number, the FMCSA requires that you have public liability insurance that covers both bodily injury and property damage claims. Minimum coverage limits depend upon the freight you haul and the size of your trucks, including box trucks. The absolute least amount of coverage you could have and still maintain minimum limits is $300,000. 

Types of freightMinimum coverage limits
Non-hazardous freight & vehicles under 10,001 lbs.$300,000
Non-hazardous freight & vehicles over 10,001 lbs.$750,000
Oil moved by For-Hire & Private Carriers$1,000,000
Other Hazardous Material moved by For-Hire & Private Carriers$750,000

Remember that these are just the federal minimum requirements, your states or your shippers and brokers may have higher coverage requirements.

Amazon box truck insurance requirements

Amazon has a huge effect on practically everything, and the trucking industry is no different. Amazon now owns 40,000 semi-trucks, 30,000 vans, and 70 planes. If you want to drive for Amazon, there are a number of requirements you’ll have to meet. 

  • An active DOT number with interstate authority
  • A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rating of “Satisfactory,” “None,” or “Not Rated.”
  • Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) scores:
  1. Unsafe driving below 60%
  2. HOS compliance below 60%
  3. Vehicle maintenance below 75%
  • Commercial general liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate. 
  • Commercial truck primary liability from at least $1,000,000 million per occurrence, and at least $50,000 for trailer replacement coverage
  • Cargo coverage of at least $100,000
  • Workers compensation insurance in compliance with the state your company operates from
  • Employer liability insurance of at least $100,000 per occurrence

Who needs box truck insurance? 

If you drive a box truck, you need box truck insurance. Every state requires box truck insurance, and each state can set its minimum liability requirements. Your minimum liability requirements are dictated by whichever state you’ve chosen to register your truck. 

Which businesses typically purchase box truck insurance? 

  • Couriers
  • Movers
  • Furniture delivery professionals
  • Transportation companies
  • Retail and wholesale distribution
  • Contractors and builders

Those are just some of the typical companies that need straight truck or box truck insurance. While you can typically operate under minimum box truck insurance requirements, it makes sense to purchase coverages over the minimums. 

How much does box truck insurance cost ?

Box truck insurance, similar to other commercial truck insurance, is expensive. The average box truck insurance cost is $1,500 to $2,500 a month. This includes all coverages a box truck business might need, primary liability insurance, non trucking liability, trucking physical damage, trucking general liability, and bobtail coverages.

Learn more about the details of box truck insurance cost.

Best box truck insurance companies

Many insurance companies offer box truck insurance. It can be overwhelming to research and find the best box truck insurance companies for your needs. We have done the research and here are our recommendations of the top providers of box truck insurance for your consideration:

  • InsurePro: Best for flexible pay-per-day trucking coverage
  • Progressive: Best for discounted coverage
  • biBERK: Best for low-cost box truck insurance coverage
  • Commercialinsurance.net: Best if you want to work with knowledgeable experts for your own situation
  • THREE: Best for comprehensive box truck insurance policy at affordable rates
  • The Hartford: Best for box truck operators looking for a sound and ethical insurer
  • Simply Business: Best for comparing quotes from multiple providers

Final thoughts

At the bare minimum, box truck operators must maintain liability insurance. If operators are applying for an authority number, they must maintain a minimum of $750,000 liability limit. Minimum box truck insurance requirements might not be enough coverage to protect your business fully, so it makes sense to purchase coverages that surpass the minimums.

Thang Truong
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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