You may haul things or do work in Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco; all over California; across state lines or long distances. Maybe you’re a new trucker or experienced professional. Perhaps you lease your truck or own a large fleet of them. Maybe you haul refrigerated foods, clothing or heavy equipment. Or run a cement mixer or dump truck.
No matter the case, if you depend on a truck or trucks to conduct business, you will likely need commercial truck insurance if your operation is based in California.
Finding the right commercial truck coverage in California can be challenging. In this article, we’ll cover:
- The 5 best commercial truck insurance companies in California
- What is commercial truck insurance?
- Do I need commercial truck insurance in California?
- What coverages are required for interstate truckers?
- What types of trucks are covered by commercial truck insurance in California?
- What kind of coverage is needed for a pickup truck?
- What doesn’t commercial trucking insurance cover?
- How much does commercial truck insurance cost in California?
- How do I find cheap commercial truck insurance coverage in California?
The 5 best commercial truck insurance companies in California
We’ve done the homework for you. Here are the five best commercial truck insurers in California for different reasons.
- CoverWallet: Best for truckers who want to compare quotes quickly
- Progressive: The best overall provider of commercial truck insurance in California
- State Farm: Best for customer satisfaction and quick claims resolution
- Sentry: Best for personalized service
- Nationwide: Best for insuring smaller trucks
CoverWallet: Best for truckers who want to compare quotes quickly
CoverWallet is a cutting-edge insurance provider. The firm has developed its own state-of-the-art platform, based on its own algorithms, to ensure it is able to connect small businesses with the commercial truck and other business insurance 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.
The firm’s experts have used their extensive experience to make sure you only have to input the information needed to generate quick and accurate quotes. The entire process should take less than ten minutes, even for coverage as complex as commercial truck insurance.
Once you get your quote, CoverWallet makes it easy to purchase a commercial truck policy online or through an agent. When you get your commercial truck policy through CoverWallet, it’s simple to manage your coverage online, including downloading a certificate of insurance, filing a claim, renewing your insurance and more. This is especially great for truckers who spend a lot of time out on the road.
Progressive: The best overall provider of commercial truck insurance in California
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 truck or fleet 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 commercial truck insurance. You can earn discounts for things like:
- Having significant driving experience
- Earning a CDL certification
- Paying your premium in full rather than monthly or quarterly
- Bundling your commercial truck coverage with other coverage
- Allowing Progressive to electronically monitor your driving habits
- Agreeing to autopay.
Progressive is able to cover anything from a small single truck to a complete fleet of semis. Here is a sample quote for a single driver based in Los Angeles with a box truck who has had no accidents or moving violations in the past three years.
State Farm: Best for customer satisfaction and quick claims resolution
State Farm has earned top customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Powers, a company that monitors and reports on the insurance industry.
Even though the company provides top level service, commercial truck coverage from State Farm is quite affordable because the firm offers discounts for things like:
- Insuring multiple vehicles
- Driving accident free
- Installing anti-theft devices
- And more.
You can’t purchase commercial truck insurance direct from State Farm, but it does have a wide network of agents across California, so it should be easy to find one in your area.
You can rest assured knowing State Farm has been in business since 1935 and is a solid and stable company.
Another plus for truckers: State Farm is known for its simple claims process, which helps get trucks back on the road quickly after an accident.
Sentry: Best for personalized service
Compared with many of the 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. If you have unique commercial truck insurance needs, your agent may be able to work with Sentry to get you the coverage you need.
Sentry has been in business since 1904 and has a solid reputation.
If you choose Sentry as your commercial 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.
Nationwide: Best for insuring smaller trucks
Nationwide is a highly reputable insurance company and one of the oldest vehicle insurers in the United States. It provides a high level of customer service and has earned the top customer satisfaction rating from J.D. Powers, a company that monitors insurers and reports on them.
Nationwide specializes in insuring smaller trucks and doesn’t cover semis or tractor trailers. Still, it’s worth asking your agent to get a quote from them because they offer significant discounts that could save you money.
What is commercial truck insurance?
Commercial truck insurance is a type of insurance that is 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 that are used for conducting business, which could include certain kinds of trucks. Commercial truck insurance is different in that it exclusively covers larger vehicles that are typically used for construction, contracting or hauling freight.
Commercial trucking insurance is usually purchased by the owner of a company, but it covers the driver, passengers and any individuals harmed in an accident.
Do I need commercial truck insurance in California?
California state law requires truck drivers and businesses in the state that are dependent on trucks to maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance. How much that’s needed depends on the type of freight hauled and where you haul it.
If a truck doesn’t cross state lines and t’s over 10,000 GVW, you must get a California Intrastate ID Number (T#) and be insured up to the following levels:
- Liability insurance (oil transport): $1,000,000
- Liability insurance (hazmat): $5,000,000
- Liability insurance (household goods): $300,000
- Liability insurance (general freight): $750,000
- Cargo insurance (intrastate household goods movers and interstate contract carriers): $20,000 per vehicle and $20,000 per catastrophe.
California trucker’s insurance requirements are among the most stringent in the United States. If the trucks in your fleet cross state lines, it’s likely that you have enough coverage. Your insurance agent or a commercial truck insurance expert at your business insurance company will let you know for sure.
Be aware: These are minimum levels. Some shippers and brokers could require you to have higher levels of coverage.
Both California and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) require certain documents must be submitted by you or your insurance agent when you get coverage including:
- Form MCS-90
- Form H
What coverages are required for interstate truckers?
Some other coverages you may need include:
- Cargo insurance, which covers the things you haul in your trailer. It’s not a coverage required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), but most for-hire interstate owner operators will make you purchase it. If you don’t have it, they won’t hire you. The standard limit for cargo insurance is $100,000, but you may need a higher one if you haul particularly valuable cargo.
- Bobtail, which 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.
- Physical damage, which protects your personal tractor or trailer if it’s damaged in an accident. This coverage is required if you finance your truck. Even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to purchase it. Your truck is your livelihood. If it’s seriously damaged in an accident, you could be forced to pay for repairs out of pocket. Repairing trucks is expensive and the cost of an accident could jeopardize the future of your trucking business.
Your insurance agent or rep at your insurance provider can advise you on the and levels you need.
What types of trucks are covered by commercial truck insurance in California?
It’s possible to insure any type of truck. Different insurers offer coverage for different types of vehicles, so you may need to shop around to find coverage for yours.
Some common types of trucks covered by most insurers include:
- Cement mixers
- Tow trucks
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Tractor trailers
What kind of coverage is needed for a pickup truck?
Pickup trucks are unique in that they could be covered by three types of insurance:
- Personal auto: If you drive a pickup because you prefer them and use them for things like hauling garden supplies from a nursery to your home, personal auto coverage should be adequate.
- Commercial auto: If you’re a contractor or landscaper and use your truck for every day business purposes, you should be able to cover your pickup with a commercial auto policy.
- Commercial truck: If the pickup is part of a larger trucking fleet, it could be covered by a commercial truck policy.
An insurance agent or company representative can advise you on the coverage you need.
What doesn’t commercial truck insurance cover?
Commercial truck 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 cover it.
Truck insurance usually won’t cover personal losses or theft of personal items like cash, jewelry or clothes. Contraband and explosives aren’t covered either. And if you haul live animals, they won’t be protected unless you get special insurance for them. If you’re not sure about what’s covered by a commercial truck policy, connect with your insurance agent or insurance company representative.
How much does commercial truck insurance cost in California?
Based on our research, the average cost for commercial truck insurance in California is around $14,000 per year. That’s for liability, cargo and physical damage coverage for a single truck. Coverage can range from under $12,000 to more than $16,000.
Use these costs as benchmarks. There are many factors that impact the cost of coverage including:
- Vehicle value
- Number of trucks
- What you haul
- Number of drivers
- Driving history
- Years in business
- 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 California?
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 a service like Coverwallet that represents multiple insurance 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 commercial truck coverage.