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6 Best Commercial Truck Insurance in California

You may haul things or do work in Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco in 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 6 best commercial truck insurance companies in California

We’ve done the homework for you. Here are the six best commercial truck insurers in California for different reasons.

  • Progressive: The best overall provider of commercial truck insurance in California
  • Simply Business: Best for truckers who want to compare quotes quickly
  • State Farm: Best for customer satisfaction and quick claims resolution
  • Sentry: Best for personalized service 
  • biBERK: Best for low-cost coverage
  • Smart Financial: Best for connecting you with knowledgeable agents

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.

Pros:

  • The largest provider of commercial truck insurance
  • Comprehensive coverage for all types of truck operators from owner-operators with 1 truck to a trucking business with a fleet of tens or hundreds of trucks
  • Online quotes are always available
  • Several discount programs help make the rates competitive

Cons:

  • Rates can be a bit higher, but they are also for higher and more comprehensive coverage
  • Customer satisfaction ratings can be improved

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.

Simply Business: Best for truckers who want to compare quotes quickly

Simply Business 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 and you can compare several quotes. Commercial truck insurance is generally more complex than other business insurance coverages, so you may not be able to compare quotes online, but they can definitely help you compare several quotes on the phone after clarifying some details of your trucking business.

Once you get your quote, Simply Business makes it easy to purchase a commercial truck policy online, on phone with an agent. When you get your commercial truck policy through Simply Business, 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.

Pros:

  • Best option to get and compare several quotes in one place to find the cheapest one for you
  • Provide access to carriers which may be otherwise difficult to get
  • Knowledgeable and experienced agents that help you consider and choose the best option for your business

Cons:

  • If you prefer a particular carrier that they don’t partner with, you are out of luck
  • You have to file a claim with the carriers directly

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.

biBERK: Best for low-cost truck insurance coverage

biBERK is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Geico’s parent company. They specialize in providing low-cost coverage for small businesses. They are able to provide coverage at a cheaper rates by selling directly to the customers and providing a completely digital experience.

Pros:

  • You will be able to get a policy that fits your needs perfectly, as Biberk offers a range of policies to choose from.
  • Biberk has a team of experts who are available 24/7 to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.
  • You will be able to take advantage of great savings, as Biberk offers some of the best rates in the industry.

Cons:

  • You may not be able to find a policy that fits your needs if you are looking for coverage outside of Biberk’s range.
  • If you need to make a claim, you may have to wait a while for it to be processed.

Smart Financial: Best for connecting you with knowledgeable agents

Smart Financial is a national broker specializing in small business insurance, including trucking businesses. They offer a wide range of small business coverages for all industries. For trucking businesses, they offer all coverages that a truck owner-operator or a trucking business would need. Whatever coverages you might need for your trucking business, you can find at commercialinsurance.net

One of the unique aspects of Smart Financial is that they partner with hundreds of agents across the country, who represent hundreds of carriers. These agents are experts in their field, knowledgeable about the specifics of each industry as they have accumulated years of experience helping tens of thousands of customers. Regardless of how unique your trucking business is, you can count on Smart Financial to connect you with the most knowledgeable about your situation who will help you find the right coverages for your business at the most affordable prices.

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. 

>>MORE: Why Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

>>MORE: Commercial Auto vs. Personal Auto Insurance: Why Do You Need to Know The Difference?

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
  • MCP-65
  • Form H
  • BMC-91.

What coverages are required for interstate truckers?

Some other coverages you may need include:

Trucking primary liability insurance:

This is the main coverage that all truckers must have. It is required by all state and federal regulations. It pays for the third party’s bodily injuries and property damages if you are involved in an accident and you are at fault. It can also include medical payment coverage and noninsured/underinsure coverage as well. Learn more at trucking liability insurance.

Cargo insurance

Truck cargo insurance 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. Learn more at the best motor truck cargo insurance companies.

Bobtail insurance

Bobtail insurance covers you when you drive your truck without a trailer attached to it. If you drive under your own authority, you will need this coverage. If you lease on with a motor carrier, you can find out whether you need this — or other — coverages on your lease agreement. It is likely that the motor carrier only covers your trucking primary liability insurance, but you need to confirm with them. Learn more at bobtail insurance cost and the best bobtail insurance companies.

Non-trucking liability insurance

Non-trucking liability insurance covers you if you are involved in an accident when driving your truck without cargo on it. Learn more at the best non trucking liability insurance. Sometimes it is confused between bobtail and non trucking liability. They are similar but subtly different. You can learn more about the differences between the two and what you would need more here.

Trucking physical damage insurance

Trucking physical damage insurance 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 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:

Semi truck insurance

Semi truck is probably the most popular truck type used in commercial activities. Semi trucks are also known as tractor trailers or 18-wheelers. They are usually used to haul different types of cargo or goods across the country. When people talk about commercial trucks, without mentioning the specific truck types, they usually refer to semi-truck. Semi truck insurance requirements are, in general, similar to commercial truck insurance requirements. However, it has some subtle differences.

Learn more details at semi truck insurance cost and the best semi truck insurance companies.

Box truck insurance

Box truck insurance is something that is commonly purchased by businesses that use box trucks for commercial purposes. This type of insurance can provide coverage for the truck itself, as well as any property that is being transported in the truck. In addition, box truck insurance can also provide liability coverage in the event that an accident occurs.

Box truck has been used widely for commercial purposes such as moving trucks or Amazon delivery trucks. Box truck insurance may come with different requirements and other specifics.

Learn more at box truck insurance cost 

Tow truck insurance

Tow truck insurance is a type of commercial vehicle insurance that provides coverage for tow trucks and the businesses that operate them. This type of insurance can provide coverage for property damage, liability, and accidents that occur while the tow truck is being used. It can also provide coverage for the tow truck driver and any passengers who are in the tow truck at the time of the accident and coverage for the business in the event that the tow truck is damaged or lost in an accident.

Similar to box trucks, commercial tow truck insurance has its own requirements in different states. Towing businesses have their own characteristics and unique operations, which results in different coverage requirements in commercial tow truck insurance. Learn more at tow truck insurance cost and the best tow truck insurance companies in California.

Hot shot trucking insurance

Hot shot trucking refers to a special type of commercial trucking businesses. Hotshot truckers are needed when brokers and shippers need small loads that must be delivered fast. Hot shot drivers specialize in this kind of work and often ship items like construction materials, agricultural equipment, and heavy machinery from one location to the next, usually in shorter distance and in the same state.

This special commercial trucking operation comes with its own risks that hot shot trucking insurance is designed to cover. If you operate a hot shot trucking business, you need to have the proper hot shot trucking coverage to protect your business. Learn more details at hot shot trucking insurance cost and the best hot shot trucking insurance companies.

Dump truck insurance

Another type of commercial truck is a dump truck. Commercial dump trucks are mostly used in construction and mining businesses. Construction businesses have been on the rise in the US in the past decade, which also leads to the growth of dump truck businesses. There are more than 28,000 dump truck businesses in the US and it has been increasing by 2.5-3% annually in the past decade.

These dump trucks require to have dump truck insurance or commercial dump truck insurance. Dump trucks have their own insurance requirements and coverages. Learn more details at dump truck insurance cost and the best dump truck insurance companies.

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 intensive research, the average cost for commercial truck insurance in California is around $1,167 per month or $14,000 per year. That’s for liability, cargo, bobtail, and physical damage coverage for a single truck, and occupational accident coverage for one trucker. Coverage can range from under $9,000 to more than $18,000 per year.

Below is the breakdown of the average cost of different coverage:

Commercial truck insurance coverage Average costs in California
Trucking primary liability coverage$680 per month
Trucking physical damage coverage $270 per month
Bobtail insurance $52 per month
Cargo insurance $135 per month
Occupational accident coverage $30 per month

These are just the averages. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or work with a top broker like Simply Business or Smart Financial to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for you. Getting online quotes from Progressive, biBERK, or THREE is another way to get and compare several quotes easily.

What affects the commercial truck insurance cost in California?

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 in California

Commercial truck insurance for new drivers in California

Commercial truck insurance is a must for new truck drivers in California. The cost of cover can vary depending on the size and weight of your truck, the type of goods you’re carrying, and your driving history, but it’s important to get cover in place as soon as possible.

When looking for commercial truck insurance, be sure to compare policies and rates from a range of insurers. Ask questions about the cover offered and make sure you understand what’s included. You may also want to consider adding extra protection, such as roadside assistance and breakdown cover.

If you’re involved in an accident, your commercial truck insurance policy will provide you with financial protection. This can help to cover the costs of repairs, medical expenses, and any other expenses that may arise as a result of the accident. Make sure you read through your policy document carefully so that you know what is and isn’t covered.

Commercial truck insurance for new authorities and new ventures in California

New authority truck insurance and new venture trucking insurance in California are expensive. The main reason they are expensive is because of the high number of accidents that occur involving trucks. Because trucks are larger and heavier than other vehicles on the road, they can cause more damage in an accident. New truck authorities and new trucking ventures have little experience in operating trucks, thus are more likely to be involved in an accident. This means that insurance companies are more likely to pay out claims for truck accidents, which drives up the cost of premiums.

In addition, trucking is a heavily regulated industry, and insurance companies must comply with a variety of state and federal regulations. This adds to the cost of doing business in the trucking industry, and it also drives up the cost of premiums.

When buying commercial truck insurance, new truck authorities and new trucking ventures in California need to be aware of the different types of coverage that are available. In addition to liability coverage, which is mandatory in most states, businesses should consider coverage for property damage, collision, and theft. Coverage for accidents that occur while the truck is in transit is also important, as is coverage for injuries or death that may occur as a result of an accident. Finally, businesses should make sure that they are covered for any potential legal costs that may arise from an accident

Commercial truck insurance for owner-operators in California

Owner operators in California need commercial truck insurance to protect themselves and their businesses. Owner operator truck insurance coverage should at least include liability insurance, property damage insurance, and collision insurance since these are the minium requirements by California law.

In addition, truck owner operators should also consider the following coverage: trucking physical damage insurance, bobtail insurance, non-trucking liability coverage, workers comp insurance for truckers or occupational accident for truckers.

No down payment commercial truck insurance

No down payment commercial truck insurance in California may not be available. However, it is possible to find the cheapest truck insurance rates in the state for your trucking business. Comparing several quotes is the best way to find the cheapest rates.

We recommend getting quotes from Progressive and biBERK. Another option is to search for an online broker that offers a variety of policies and rates. We recommend Simply Business and Smart Financial. They are the two top brokers specializing in helping truck drivers and trucking businesses find the cheapest coverage.

Commercial truck insurance in San Diego, CA

There are almost 5,000 trucking businesses with their DOT number registered in San Diego, CA. As one of the most important ports in the country and connecting with Mexico, trucking businesses are thriving in this beautiful city. There has been a huge shortage of truck drivers in San Diego in the past 2-3 years and the shortage is expected to continue is the next several years.

Hiring new drivers to join the trucking businesses in San Diego is a new challenge. When these new drivers join in, finding them affordable commercial truck insurance is critical for trucking business to manage their expenses and remain profitable. Check out our recommendations of the top 6 providers above. And if you are mostly interested in finding truck insurance coverage for new drivers, here is our recommendation of the top providers of commercial truck insurance for new truckers.

Commercial truck insurance in Sacramento, CA

According to the latest statistics, 4,059 trucking businesses with DOT registered in Sacramento, CA. As the main hub in Central California, Sacramento has an essential role in connecting between North California and South California. Similar to other regions of the state and the country, trucking businesses have been thriving in Sacramento in the past years. As a result, the industry has attracted more local workers and average salary for truckers has increased.

For trucking businesses to manage their overall costs well while recruiting new truckers, finding affordable commercial truck insurance for these new truckers is critical. Be sure to check out our recommendations of the top truck insurance providers in California above.

Thanks to its geographic location, Sacramento offers a lot of opportunities for hot shot trucking. It is also advisable for new drivers to start in hot shot trucking to gain more experience before moving to long haul trucking. If you are looking for hot shot trucking, be sure to check out to recommendations of the top providers of hot shot trucking insurance.

>>MORE: How to Find the Cheapest Commercial Truck Insurance

Commercial truck insurance in Los Angeles, CA

There are an estimated 100,000 truck drivers in the Los Angeles area. Many of these truckers are self-employed or own small businesses. Trucks are a common sight on Los Angeles’ busy streets, and accidents can happen quickly and without warning. That’s why commercial truck insurance is so important. It can help protect truck drivers and their businesses from the financial costs of an accident.

Learn more at the best commercial truck insurance in Los Angeles, CA

Commercial truck insurance in Bakersfield, CA

There are around 16,000 truck drivers and trucking businesses in Bakersfield, California. They all need commercial truck insurance to protect their business and assets. The most common coverage that they need is liability insurance, which will protect them if they are sued for damages in a car accident. Other common coverages include property damage, collision, and comprehensive insurance.

Learn more at the best commercial truck insurance companies in Bakersfield, CA

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