Commercial Truck Insurance for Owner Operators: Everything You Need to Know

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

Truck owner-operators are a vital part of the trucking industry. There are about 350,000 truck owner-operators out of 3.9 million truck drivers. Most owner-operators lease on with a motor carrier. They are responsible for their own vehicles but the carrier provides the main insurance coverage. Independent owner operators are small business owners. They operate under their own authority with their own Department of Transportation (DOT) or Motor Carrier (MC) number and are responsible for their own vehicles and truck insurance.

Commercial truck insurance is critical for truck owner-operators. It provides coverage for damage to the truck, cargo, and liability in case of an accident. Without commercial truck insurance, a truck owner-operator could be facing significant financial losses.

Commercial truck Insurance for owner-operators under permanent lease to a motor carrier

Typically, a motor carrier provides primary liability insurance coverage while you’re working for them under a permanent lease. It covers injuries to other people or damage to their property if you’re found responsible for an accident.

You might also need additional owner-operator truck insurance coverages on top of your primary liability insurance protection, including:

Some motor carriers offer these specialized types of trucking insurance. However, you can usually get a better deal by buying them yourself. This allows you to customize your owner-operator insurance policy to meet your specific needs. At the very least, you owe yourself to get several quotes from different insurers to ensure you’re getting the right owner-operator insurance coverage for you at the best possible cost.

Commercial truck insurance for owner-operators with their own authority

If you work under your own authority, you must have your Department of Transportation (DOT) or Motor Carrier (MC) registered under your name and you must carry your own commercial truck insurance coverages, including:

This isn’t a complete list. Many contracts and business situations may require additional coverages and different levels of them. Check your contracts and work with an insurance professional to ensure you always have the right coverages — and amounts — for every situation.

If you are a new trucking authority, be sure to check out our article for the best commercial truck insurance for new authorities.

How much does owner-operator truck insurance cost?

As we see above, there are two types of truck owner operators: one operating under their own authority and the other leasing on with a motor carrier. These two are paying very different premium amounts for their commercial truck coverages:

Owner-operator types Average owner-operator truck insurance costs
Owner-operators with their own authority $9,000 – $12,000 per year
Owner-operators leasing on with a motor carrier$3,000 – $5,000 per year

What does the average owner-operator truck insurance cost?

Owner operators who lease on with a motor carrier pay an average of $400 per month for their commercial truck insurance while owner-operators with their own authority pay an average of $920 per month. The main difference is that owner-operators who have their own authority have to pay for trucking primary liability coverage which is the most expensive coverage.

These are just the estimated averages. You will get different rates. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or work with a broker like Simply Business to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for you. Getting quotes from digitally friendly companies is another good way to compare several quotes easily. Progressive, biBERK, and THREE all offer fast online quotes.

Learn more at how much does owner operator truck insurance cost?

What affects the owner-operator truck insurance costs?

Many factors impact the owner operator truck insurance premiums, including:

  • Business types
  • Vehicle
  • Location
  • What you haul
  • Coverage needs
  • Driving history
  • Years in business
  • Operating radius
  • Insurer.

What’s important is that you get several owner-operator insurance quotes from different insurers to make sure you get the right coverage for you at the best possible premium price.

The best owner-operator truck insurance companies

Hundreds of companies offer commercial truck insurance, which can make it confusing to find the best and cheapest one for you. On top of that, commercial truck insurance for owner operators is very expensive. If you don’t spend time comparing several quotes to find the cheapest one for you, you are leaving money on the table. We have researched more than 30 companies and here are our recommendations of the best owner operator truck insurance companies for your consideration.

  • Progressive: Best for discounted coverage
  • Simply Business: Best for comparing quotes from multiple providers
  • biBERK: Best for low-cost trucking coverage
  • THREE: Best for affordable comprehensive trucking business insurance coverage
  • The Hartford: Best for owner operators looking for a sound and ethical insurer
  • Best for a wide network of knowledgeable agents
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, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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