Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements in Texas

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

Insurance is a necessity for anyone who drives anywhere. Commercial trucks are required to have coverage just as privately-owned vehicles are. The main difference between personal insurance policies and commercial insurance policies is the policy limits. 

Some coverages also differ between the two. For example, most privately-owned vehicles don’t need cargo insurance or general liability coverage. Of course, that could be different if the car is used for business, but that’s another topic for another day. For now, let’s focus on commercial truck insurance requirements in Texas. 

Commercial truck insurance requirements in Texas

Texas law requires that motor carriers file proof of automobile liability insurance for every registered vehicle. The minimum amount of coverage you need depends largely on the cargo you haul and the type of vehicle you drive. The requirement to maintain liability coverage is outlined in 43 Texas Administration Code (TAC) §218.16(a).

Insurance requirements help to ensure that truck drivers are covered if there is an accident. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established the minimum liability insurance requirements that truck drivers must follow. Long-haul truckers, in particular, must pay attention to the FMCSA requirements. 

The minimum amount of insurance required for truck drivers depends on the weight of the vehicle and the cargo being transported. Texas state law requires $500,000 worth of liability insurance (this is particularly for trucking primary liability) for trucks that weigh over 26,000 pounds and carry household goods. A truck weighing less than 26,000 pounds must still have at least $300,000 worth of liability insurance. 

Trucks that weigh over 10,001 pounds and carry non-hazardous materials are required to maintain $750,000 of liability insurance. Those trucks of the same weight that carry hazardous materials must carry $5,000,000 in liability coverage. Those rules are set by FMCSA for interstate truckers. 

Commercial truck insurance requirements for car haulers in Texas

Truckers who transport automobiles are required to maintain cargo insurance liability coverage. The FMCSA requirement is $100,000 of cargo coverage. Auto haulers must also maintain at least $1 million of liability insurance. Still, due to the risk of damage to one of the cars, it’s recommended that these truckers have larger limits. 

Workers comp insurance requirements for truckers in Texas

Motor carriers are also required to provide trucker workers’ comp insurance coverage for their employees or accidental insurance coverage that equals at least $300,000 for medical expenses for at least 104 weeks. They must also provide $100,000 for accidental death or dismemberment, which includes 70% of an employee’s income pre-injury for at least 104 weeks. The maximum weekly benefit is $500. 

Commercial truck insurance requirements for truck owner-operators in Texas

Truckers who work for a motor carrier may have liability and cargo policies provided by their boss. The trucker must then carry their own non-trucking liability policy that covers injuries and damages they may cause when they aren’t working.

Those truckers who drive under their own authority are truck owner-operators and must purchase their own primary liability policies. Below are the list of coverages that owner-operators in Texas may need:

Commercial truck insurance coverageRequired in Texas?
Trucking primary liability coverage Yes, required by laws
Trucking general liability coverage Not required. Owners-operators are unlikely to have it
Trucking physical damage coverage Not required
Non-trucking liability coverage Not required
Bobtail coverage Not required. This coverage is similar to non-trucking liability, but different. Learn more about how they are different here.
Cargo coverage Not required by laws. However, your shippers or brokers are likely to require it
Workers comp insuranceYes, required by laws. You can opt to have occupational accident coverage instead to save money. It is cheaper.

Cost of commercial truck insurance in Texas

The average cost of commercial truck insurance in Texas $1,120 per month, or a little less than $13,500 per year. Most truckers in Texas pay from $11,000 to $15,500 per year for their comprehensive truck insurance policy. The policy includes the following coverages:

Commercial truck insurance coverage Average costs in Texas
Trucking primary liability coverage $820 per month
Non-trucking liability coverage $37 per month
Trucking physical damage coverage $218 per month
Occupational accident coverage $45 per month

These are the averages. Your rates will be different. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or work with a broker to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for you. We recommend the following approach to compare several quotes:

  • Progressive, biBERK, and THREE: These companies offer fast online quotes. You can get quotes within a few minutes.
  • Simply Business: A good broker to compare several quotes in one place

Factors that affect the cost of commercial truck insurance in Texas

Multiple factors influence the final cost of your commercial truck insurance in Texas. Below, you’ll find some of them. 

  • Your profession: Each industry has its own risk. Some of them are riskier than others. For example, a contractor with tools and equipment in his truck on the job site incurs more risk than someone who uses their pickup to deliver food. 
  • Your vehicle: The size and use of your vehicle contributes to your policy rate. A refrigerated truck will likely cost more than a small delivery vehicle with little or no equipment. 
  • Your driving history (and the driving history of anyone driving your vehicle for work): Everyone with access to your commercial vehicles will be subject to a motor vehicle report. If a driver has a poor driving record, it will generally cause rates to increase. Usually, the insurance company looks at the last three years of driving history. 
  • Your location: If your business is based in a larger city, your insurance coverage is likely to cost more. Locations that have a higher-than-average number of claims will also have higher premiums. 
  • Your travel radius: How far you routinely travel influences the rate you will pay for your commercial insurance coverage. Vehicles that travel locally will have lower premiums than those that travel regionally or nationally. 
  • Your coverage needs: How much coverage you need affects the cost of your premiums. If you only carry the minimum liability limits, you will pay less than if you need a higher limit. 

Best commercial truck insurance companies in Texas

Tens, if not hundreds, of companies, offer commercial truck insurance in Texas. We have researched them intensively and here are the top providers that we recommend:

  • Progressive: Best Overall
  • biBERK: Best for low-cost coverage
  • Simply Business: Best for comparing several quotes
  • THREE: Best for affordable comprehensive coverage
  • Best for working with knowledgeable agents
  • Smart Financial: Best for cheap minimum coverage

Closing thoughts

Truck drivers in every state must carry minimum insurance coverage. States dictate coverages for local and regional routes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the limits for interstate drivers. 

Various factors affect the cost of your insurance premiums. Remember that the risks associated with your trucking business help to determine the amount of insurance needed as well as the cost. To ensure you purchase the appropriate amount of insurance based on Texas regulations, consult your insurance agent or broker.

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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