Truckers in Texas are more likely to be involved in fatal and non-fatal crashes than drivers in any other state. This leaves many professional truckers wondering how to handle the risks and costs associated with being involved in a truck accident in Texas.
The answer: Commercial truck insurance.
It can help you handle the costs associated with damage to your truck, other vehicles, and lawsuits related to injuries and deaths resulting from collisions.
This article will explain everything you need to know to get commercial truck insurance in Texas.
- Where to buy commercial truck insurance in Texas?
- What is commercial truck insurance?
- Am I required to purchase commercial truck insurance in Texas?
- What coverages are required for truckers that drive in Texas and outside the state?
- What paperwork needs to be submitted when I get commercial truck insurance in Texas?
- What kinds of trucks can be covered with commercial truck insurance in Texas?
- How much does commercial truck insurance cost in Texas?
- How do I find cheap commercial truck insurance coverage in Texas?
- What type of coverage is needed for pickup trucks in Texas?
Where to buy commercial truck insurance in Texas?
Commercial truck insurance is expensive. The good news is that there are many providers in Texas that you can choose to buy commercial truck insurance from. There are three categories of providers that you can choose from:
- Traditional insurance companies
- Specialized commercial truck insurance companies
- Brokers or agencies
Buy Texas commercial truck insurance from a traditional and well-known insurance company
There are many well-known car insurance companies offering commercial truck insurance as well such as Progressive, Geico, Travelers, Nationwide, State Farm, and AllState. These companies offer a wide range of coverages that any trucking business, from an owner operator with just one hot shot truck or a national trucking company with a large fleet, might need. Below are pros and cons of buying commercial truck insurance from a traditional insurance company:
|– Usually offer many other coverage types a trucking business might need, so you can get everything you need from one company
– Some offer pay-as-you-go coverage
– Established companies with excellent to superior financial strength
– You can combine your personal auto insurance policy with your commercial truck insurance with one provider, which will give you discount and make it easy for your to manage them.
|– Most don’t allow you to buy insurance online: you have to call and work with an agent
– There is less innovation in the product and service that they offer. It is very likely that the same product and its underwriting have been used for decades.
– Rates can be expensive
Learn more at the best commercial truck insurance companies in Texas
Buy Texas commercial truck insurance from a specialized provider
There are a couple specialized commercial truck insurance providers such as Sentry, NITIC, and OOIDA. They are good options if you strongly prefer buying commercial truck insurance from a specialized provider :
Here are the pros and cons of buying commercial truck insurance from a specialized provider:
|– Provide more dedicated customer support
– Their customer support are more knowledgeable about commercial truck insurance since that is the only product they deal with
– May provide coverages to drivers who have difficulties getting it elsewhere
– May offer competitive rates
– Provide comprehensive trucking coverages to all types of trucking businesses, from owner operators to large trucking businesses
|– Lesser known compared to traditional car insurance companies
– Most do not offer quotes online. Require you to work with their agents
Buy Texas commercial truck insurance from a broker or an agency
If you want to compare several quotes from many providers to choose the cheapest one for you, you may consider working with a broker or an agency. Commercial truck brokers or agency work with many insurance companies and help owner operators and trucking companies to compare several quotes for the best coverages at the most affordable rates. Some of them are Commercialinsurance.net, CoverWallet, or SimplyBusiness.
Below are the pros and cons of buying Texas commercial truck insurance from a broker or an agency
|– Easy to compare quotes from several providers to select the cheapest one for you
– Once you’ve purchased insurance, you can manage all your policies on one website
– Super responsive and dedicated customer support. They compete for your business.
|– They can only provide quotes and help you buy from the insurance companies that partner with
Learn more at the best commercial truck insurance brokers
What is commercial truck insurance?
Commercial truck insurance is a type of protection usually purchased by trucking businesses, people who primarily use trucks for work, or companies that depend on trucks for doing business.
Commercial auto insurance covers all kinds of vehicles used for conducting business, including certain types of trucks. Commercial truck insurance is different in that it exclusively covers larger vehicles typically used for construction, contracting, or hauling freight.
The owner of a company usually purchases commercial trucking insurance, but it covers the driver, passengers, and any individuals harmed in an accident.
Am I required to purchase commercial truck insurance in Texas?
Texas law requires truckers working in the state to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance depending on what they transport in their trucks. Liability insurance pays for medical care if you injure someone else in an accident and accident-related damage to vehicles and property belonging to others. If you don’t cross state lines, you must get a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Number and keep a minimum amount of liability insurance depending on what you haul:
- Household goods — $300,000
- General freight — $500,000
- Oil — $1,000,000
- Hazmat — $5,000,000.
Any trucker who drives exclusively in Texas is required to also carry $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per catastrophe of cargo insurance, which covers the things you haul in your trailer.
What coverages are required for truckers that drive in Texas and outside the state?
The insurance requirements for truck drivers who drive outside of Texas are governed by federal law. Most federal liability limits are $750,000 or $1,000,000.
Some other coverages you likely need include:
- Bobtail covers you if you’re leased on to a motor carrier and are running under their authority. You can find out whether you need this — or other — coverages on your lease agreement. Learn more at the best bobtail insurance companies.
- Physical damage protects a tractor or trailer if damaged in an accident. This coverage is required if you finance a truck. Even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to purchase it. Your truck — or trucks — are your livelihood. If a vehicle is seriously damaged in an accident, you could be forced to pay for repairs out of pocket. Truck repair is expensive, and the cost of an accident could jeopardize the future of your trucking business. Learn more at the best trucking physical damage insurance companies.
Other insurance that truckers often get includes non-trucking liability, uninsured motorist coverage, and rental reimbursement.
Most insurers can customize coverage for:
- Car carriers
- Loggers – Learn more at the best log truck insurance companies
- Livestock carriers
And other specialized types of transporters.
What paperwork needs to be submitted when I get commercial truck insurance in Texas?
Both Texas and federal guidelines require certain forms to be submitted by your insurer. Your insurance agent or company should take care of these filings for you. The documents prove to the government that all the United States Department of Transportation truck insurance requirements have been met. These forms must be submitted before you can receive your authority. Some common forms are:
- Form H
- The BMC-99
- Form MCS-98
- Form E.
Your insurance carrier can help you complete and submit these forms.
Why should I get a higher level of commercial truck coverage than the minimums required by Texas or U.S. regulations?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the Lone Star State tops the United States in fatal truck accidents. According to the most recent statistics available, in 2020, there were 513 fatal commercial vehicle crashes in Texas. Just under 600 people died in those incidents. There were more than 32,500 commercial vehicle accidents in Texas during the same year. Texas is home to less than eight percent of the people in the U.S., but an outsize 13 percent of all fatal trucking incidents in the country happened on Texas roads.
While specific numbers for the state of Texas aren’t available, across the United States, 97 percent of all deaths in trucking accidents were people in passenger vehicles.
Think about it: Could you afford to pay for legal costs, settlements, medical costs, and property damage if you were involved in an accident while driving your truck?
The answer for most truckers is NO.
That’s why they don’t just get the commercial truck insurance required by Texas law. They get enough coverage to protect their operations from all the risks they face.
What kinds of trucks can be covered with commercial truck insurance in Texas?
Some of the types of trucks in Texas that can be covered include:
- Box trucks – Learn more at the best box truck insurance companies and the box truck insurance cost
- Hot shots – Learn more at the best hot shot trucking insurance companies
- Vacuum trucks
- Oil and gas trucks
- Crude oil haulers
- Saltwater haulers
- Frac sand haulers
- Cement mixers
- Tow trucks – Learn more at the best tow truck insurance companies and tow truck insurance cost
- Dump trucks – Learn more at the best dump truck insurance companies and dump truck insurance cost
- Semis – Learn more at the best semi truck insurance companies and semi truck insurance cost
Trucks can be insured whether used for local, intermediate, or long haul purposes.
Texas is unique in that it’s home to many oilfield contracting businesses. Some of the types of truckers that are part of the oil industry that can be covered by commercial truck insurance include:
- Oilfield servicing contractors
- Wireline operators
- Well loggers
No matter what industry you drive a truck for in Texas, you owe it to yourself to get coverage customized to your individual needs.
What doesn’t commercial trucking insurance cover in Texas?
Commercial trucking insurance doesn’t cover intentional damage to your vehicle. For example, if you purposely damage a part of your truck to get it replaced with a newer or better one, your insurance company won’t pay for it.
Truck insurance usually won’t cover personal losses or theft of personal items like cash, jewelry, or clothes. Contraband and explosives aren’t protected either. And if you haul live animals, they won’t be protected unless you get special insurance for them. Connect with your insurance agent or insurance company representative if you’re not sure about what’s covered by a commercial truck policy.
How much does commercial truck insurance cost in Texas?
Based on our research, the average cost for commercial truck insurance in Texas for a one-truck operation is just over $13,500 per year. That’s for a single truck’s liability, cargo, and physical damage coverage. Coverage can range from under $11,500 to more than $15,500.
Use these costs as benchmarks. Many factors impact the price of coverage, including:
- Vehicle value
- Number of trucks
- What you haul
- Number of drivers
- Driving history
- Years in business
- Where you drive in Texas and beyond
- And more.
It’s a good idea to get several commercial truck insurance quotes and compare them to get the coverage you need at the best possible price.
How do I find cheap commercial truck insurance coverage in Texas?
Trucking is your livelihood, so you don’t want to skimp on your coverage. 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.
Taking these steps will help ensure you’re not paying too much for your Texas commercial truck coverage.
What kind of coverage is needed for pickup trucks in Texas?
Pickup trucks are unique in that three types of insurance could cover them:
- Personal auto: Personal auto coverage should be adequate if you drive a pickup because you prefer them and use them for things like hauling garden supplies from a nursery to your home.
- Commercial auto: If you’re a contractor or landscaper and use your truck for everyday business purposes, you should cover your pickup with a commercial auto policy.
- Commercial truck: If the pickup is part of a more extensive trucking fleet, it should be covered by a commercial truck policy.
An insurance agent or company representative can advise you on the best coverage for your pickup truck.
Why are there so many truck-related accidents in Texas?
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the top causes of truck crashes in Texas are:
- Failure to prevent accidents. This happens when truckers make poor decisions while attempting to avoid crashes. It also occurs when truckers are distracted and respond to traffic problems too late.
- Not paying attention. One of the top causes of truck accidents is distracted driving. The most common distractions are cell phone use, eating food, drinking coffee, and changing radio stations or other types of entertainment.
- Violating safety rules. This includes things like driving more than the number of hours allowed and failing to get trucks properly inspected.
- Unsafe lane changes. The blind spots on tractor-trailers make it extremely challenging to shift lanes safely.
- Not yielding the right of way. Accidents can occur when large trucks don’t yield to drivers in cars, SUVs, and smaller vehicles.
No matter the reason for an accident, the weight of trucks makes incidents involving them more extreme and deadly than those with only smaller vehicles.