Commercial truck insurance is coverage that protects trucking businesses, businesses that use trucks, or independent truck drivers. This guide will cover all of the information business owners and contractors should know when buying commercial truck insurance. More specifically, this guide will review how commercial truck insurance works, how much it costs, different coverage options, requirements for businesses, how to get a truck insurance quote, and the top insurance providers.
Before diving into the details, here is a preview of our top picks. Instead of providing a list of the top 10 commercial truck insurance companies, we’ve boiled our research down to the three best providers to choose from:
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Understanding Commercial Truck Insurance
Commercial truck insurance is a significant investment for business owners. Before signing up for a policy, it is important to understand the coverage that your business needs and to adhere to federal and state law. This guide will first provide an overview of commercial truck insurance, including the types of coverage, costs, and legal requirements. Then we’ll review how to evaluate different providers and share some recommendations for top insurance companies that cover commercial trucks.
What Is Commercial Truck Insurance?
Unlike commercial auto insurance, which covers a wider range of vehicles used for business purposes, commercial truck insurance applies to large vehicles often used for construction, transport of goods, or agriculture. Commercial truck insurance takes into account the types of cargo or materials being transported, as well as the size and type of vehicle. Policies are available for the many types of commercial trucks, including tow trucks, cement mixers, pickups, and tractors.
How Does Commercial Truck Insurance Work?
Commercial truck insurance falls under the broader category of commercial auto insurance. However, commercial truck insurance is specifically used by truck drivers and businesses that use trucks.
Truck insurance is purchased to cover specific vehicles, and it is most often purchased by the owner of those vehicles. The insurance also only applies when individuals who are listed on the insurance policy are using the vehicle for business purposes. The individuals listed on the policy will also determine the cost of the policy, as their driving record is an important factor for determining monthly premiums.
The types of businesses and individuals that buy usually fall into the following categories:
- Motor Carriers – This refers to for-hire trucking companies that own a fleet of vehicles. They are responsible for insuring their fleet.
- Owner-operators – These are individuals who own and operate their own trucking business. This phrase most often refers to individuals, and they most often own their vehicles. Sometimes the “owner” is leasing their vehicle from a motor carrier who owns it, and in these cases, the vehicle is usually insured by its owner.
- Private Carriers – These are individuals who use their personal vehicles to transport goods on behalf of their employer. People who frequently transport goods for their company using their personal vehicle may be asked to buy their own insurance or may be compensated by their employer for insurance costs.
Any of these businesses can purchase commercial truck insurance. Coverage is available for a single truck or for an entire fleet. When choosing a policy, the owner must work with an insurance company to define these factors:
- Coverage – defines which damage, incidents, and expenses will be covered
- Monthly Premium – the amount of money that the policyholder must pay to retain the policy
- Deductible – the amount of money a covered company must pay toward their claim before coverage kicks in
- Policy Limit – the defined maximum that the insurer is required to pay toward claims filed on the policy
The policyholder pays a monthly premium for the coverage specified in the policy agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, the insurance company will pay for damages, repairs, and medical or legal expenses associated with a covered incident. Usually, an incident is only covered when the vehicle is listed on the policy, the driver is listed on the policy, and the incident occurs during business operation.
In the event of an incident, such as a collision, the policyholder must contact the insurance company to “file a claim,” usually within a few days. If the incident is covered under the policy, the policyholder will be responsible for all expenses incurred up to the deductible. The insurer will pay for any remaining expenses beyond the deductible and up to the policy limit.
Insurance companies differ in how they handle expenses after an accident. Many have a network of pre-approved repair shops that policyholders must use to assess damages and fix the truck. From there, the insurance company would pay the shop in full and bill you for your portion based on the deductible. Other insurance companies might ask you to shop around for price estimates from different auto repair shops, or even send their own representative to estimate the cost of repair. Keep in mind that some insurers might work on a reimbursement model, in which the policyholder will need to pay all expenses for repair up front and then be reimbursed by the insurance company for costs that exceed the deductible.
The best policy for you will depend on the level of risk of an incident, the type of policy limit you will need, and your business’ cash flow.
Requirements for Business Owners and Contractors
Businesses that operate commercial trucks between states are subject to federal laws regarding insurance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that commercial truck drivers are covered by a minimum amount of insurance in the event of an accident. More specifically, Title 49, Section 387 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations lists the amount of coverage required for a commercial truck driver based on the truck’s weight and cargo. In general, the heavier the truck and more dangerous the cargo, the higher the insurance requirements. This table summarizes the federal minimum liability requirement for trucks based on the different types of cargo being transported:
Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements
|Type of Freight||Minimum Liability Coverage|
|Non-hazardous freight |
(in vehicles under 10,001 lbs.)
|Non-hazardous freight |
(in vehicles over 10,001 lbs.)
(transported by for-hire and private carriers)
|Hazardous material or explosives |
(transported by for-hire and private carriers)
Motor carriers transporting household goods must also maintain cargo insurance of $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence. Furthermore, business owners must send proof of insurance to the FMCSA in order to receive a motor carrier (MC) number, which permits them to transport cargo between states.
Commercial trucks that transport cargo between states are subject to coverage minimums under federal law, while those that remain within state lines are subject to coverage minimums under state law. As with federal laws, the amount of liability coverage that states require will usually depend on the size of the vehicle and the type of cargo it is transporting.
In New York and California, the liability coverage minimums for intrastate commercial trucks are the same as in the federal guidelines based on the type of cargo (general freight, household goods, or hazardous material) and a vehicle weight greater than 10,000 pounds. However, household goods carriers in California require greater cargo insurance, at $20,000 per vehicle and $20,000 per incident. Some states, like Texas, also have a lower coverage minimum for intrastate general freight ($500,000 rather than $750,000).
Many states have their own insurance filings, as well. For example, in California, commercial trucks usually require a Motor Carrier Permit and must submit an MCP-65 filing to confirm that they have the required liability insurance. Household goods movers must also submit a TL676 filing to guarantee sufficient liability insurance and cargo insurance.
Similarly, business owners who operate tow trucks in Texas must submit a Form T to prove sufficient liability insurance. Florida requires that commercial truck drivers convicted of a DUI submit an FR 44 filing, which must be maintained for at least three years, confirming higher insurance limits.
What Does Commercial Truck Insurance Cover?
This guide references the term “covered incident.” So what constitutes a “covered incident” under commercial truck insurance? That typically depends on the people covered under the policy, the people involved in an incident, the type of truck, and the nature of the incident.
Who Is Covered Under a Policy?
Even though commercial truck insurance is purchased by the business owner, it covers expenses for drivers who are named in the policy, their passengers, and individuals who were harmed in a trucking accident. Here’s a look at who is protected under the different types of coverage that typically comprise commercial truck insurance.
Types of Trucks Covered
Almost any truck can be covered under a commercial truck insurance policy, but different insurance providers may only cover certain types of trucks. In addition, some “trucks” may actually be covered under a standard commercial auto insurance policy if they are not used “as a truck” or in ways that this type of coverage is intended. Here is an overview of the different types of trucks that tend to be covered under commercial truck insurance.
Depending on its use, pickup trucks might be insured under a personal auto policy or a commercial truck policy. Construction contractors, landscapers, or any other worker who uses a pickup truck for business purposes will likely need commercial truck insurance that includes liability coverage, physical damage coverage, and uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. For individuals who use a pickup truck as a primary personal vehicle without a business, then a personal auto policy is sufficient.
Cement mixers are vehicles that transport concrete to and from construction sites. These trucks are known for their constantly revolving drum, which holds the concrete and keeps it in liquid form. Cement mixers tend to be at a high risk for incidents because they have a high center of gravity, making them more likely to tip over. The increased risk is reflected in higher costs of coverage. Cement mixers should have coverage for liability, physical damage, medical payments, and uninsured or underinsured motorists.
Tow trucks are vehicles that transport other vehicles or watercraft from one place to another. Tow trucks should have liability and physical damage coverage. Tow trucks would also benefit from On-Hook Towing Insurance, which covers expenses for repairs for the vehicles that are being towed. Some insurance providers will offer specific policies for Tow Truck Insurance.
Box trucks, or straight trucks, are used to transport large items such as furniture. These vehicles are easily identified by their rectangular (“boxlike”) cargo hold. These vehicles are 10–26 feet long and weigh between 12,500 and 33,000 pounds. Different types of box trucks include cargo cutaways, ice box trucks, moving trucks, reefer/refrigerator trucks, and sleeper box trucks.
In addition to primary liability and physical damage coverage, box trucks should also have motor truck cargo coverage to protect the goods themselves and non-trucking liability coverage, which covers the truck when it is not on the road.
Dump trucks are vehicles that transport loose material such as sand and gravel to construction sites. In addition to primary liability and physical damage coverage, dump trucks should also consider policies for non-trucking liability, motor truck cargo, and rental reimbursement/downtime.
While most of the other types of trucks on this list are used for transporting items between two places, tractors are traditionally used in agriculture for tasks such as plowing and planting. Tractors will typically stay on a farm rather than travel on a road. However, since a tractor is one of the most vital pieces of equipment for a farmer, it’s important to insure these vehicles, too. Sometimes insurers have coverage specifically for agriculture, which may also cover tractors. This depends on the insurer, so it is best to speak to an agent.
Another common type of tractor is a semi-truck (also known as a tractor-trailer or 18-wheeler). Semis are composed of a tractor unit that connects to a semi-trailer in order to haul freight. Aside from primary liability and physical damage coverage, business owners who handle semi-trucks should also consider coverage for motor truck cargo and trailer interchange.
In addition to the previously mentioned vehicles, there are several other types of commercial trucks that should be insured. These include:
- Agricultural truck
- Bucket truck
- Car carrier or Rollback
- Catering truck
- Delivery Van
- Flatbed truck
- Front Loader
- Garbage truck
- Pump truck
- Refrigerated truck
- Roll-on Vehicle
- Stake body truck
- Step Van
- Street Sweeper
- Tank truck
Types of Coverage
The different types of trucks and their applications require different types of coverage. For this reason, policies are typically structured using a variety of different coverage options combined into one single policy that provides all the protection the business or individual needs. Below is a list of the different coverage options.
Primary liability policies are often provided as a combined single limit (CSL), which includes both bodily injury and property damages. Suppose a driver covered under the policy causes an accident. If the driver damages another person’s car or causes an injury during the incident, the insurance will cover the cost of the injured party’s repairs, in addition to their medical expenses. However, the driver and the truck who caused the accident are not covered. This is why motor carriers also opt for medical payments coverage and physical damage coverage.
While primary liability covers the cost of injury or damages to other parties, physical damage coverage pays for the costs of damage to the policyholder’s own vehicles involved in an accident. Physical damage coverage encompasses both collision coverage (damage from a crash) and comprehensive coverage (non-collision losses or damage, such as theft or vandalism).
Commercial trucks are often the largest vehicles on the road. If one of your trucks gets into an accident caused by another driver, there’s a possibility that the at-fault driver does not have sufficient coverage to pay for your injuries and property damage. Uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage will cover the costs instead.
Since private liability insurance only covers bodily injuries for other individuals involved in an accident in which your truck is at fault, it’s useful to obtain medical payments coverage, which covers medical bills for you and your passengers who may have also been injured.
Motor Truck Cargo Coverage
Motor truck cargo coverage insures the freight that a for-hire trucker transports from one place to another, in the event of an incident such as a fire or collision. Truckers are legally responsible for insuring their cargo while it is in transit, until it is signed for at its destination.
Only for-hire truckers who drive dump trucks, tractors, trailers, box trucks, cement mixers, cargo vans, dually pick-ups, flatbeds, and car haulers are eligible for motor truck cargo coverage. Other trucking vehicles that are not eligible include garbage trucks, passenger trucks, and ice cream trucks. In addition, not all types of cargo are eligible for insurance. These include art, jewelry, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, alcohol, live animals, and explosives, which would require separate coverage.
While primary liability coverage covers injuries or damages that occur while driving the truck, motor truck general liability coverage covers injuries or property damage that a for-hire trucker or motor carrier causes that are not directly related to driving the truck. Specifically, motor truck general liability covers the following:
- Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability – provides liability protection when a covered incident causes physical injuries to an individual or property, such as if a customer is injured in a slip-and-fall at the truck depot
- Personal Injury and Advertising Injury Liability – covers non-physical injury to a person or entity that resulted from the motor carrier’s negligence
- Medical Payments – provides payments for medical costs associated with a covered incident that physical injuries or death to an individual
- Products / Completed Operations – covers bodily injury or property damage that results from erroneously delivering another person’s goods
- Damage to Premises Rented to You – temporarily covers damage to premises that the motor carrier rents for seven or fewer consecutive days
Drivers under this coverage are limited to a 500-mile radius. It can only be purchased in conjunction with primary liability coverage. Notably, motor truck general liability is not available for individuals who operate a business in addition to for-hire trucking. The following vehicles are also not eligible for motor truck general liability:
- Garbage trucks
- Cement trucks
- Passenger vans
- Ice cream trucks
Owner-operators with a permanent lease to a motor carrier should consider purchasing non-trucking liability (NTL) coverage in order to be insured if using the truck for a non-business purpose. For example, NTL coverage would cover medical expenses and property damage expenses that occur when driving the truck for personal reasons, such as grocery shopping.
NTL does not cover any activities that might fall under “business use,” such as hauling cargo, filling the gas tank, driving for maintenance, and washing the truck. These activities would be covered by the motor carrier’s primary liability coverage.
Rental Reimbursement with Downtime
Business owners who purchase rental reimbursement with downtime coverage are eligible to use a rental truck or receive financial compensation if their commercial truck cannot be used for business purposes after an accident. This is especially important to ensure that the trucking business still receives a steady income if a truck is temporarily out of commission.
When selecting rental reimbursement with downtime coverage, the policy limit you choose determines how much money the insurer will pay per day in the event that the truck is damaged. The insured will receive reimbursement for a maximum of 30 days to cover the cost of a rental truck. Some insurers like Progressive will also assist in finding an adequate rental truck as a temporary replacement.
While many insurance companies offer rental reimbursement with downtime insurance as one coverage option, other insurers offer these as two separate components. When offered separately, rental reimbursement pays for the cost of a rental truck, while downtime coverage pays for lost income if a rental truck is unavailable.
Not all commercial trucks are eligible for rental reimbursement with downtime coverage. Only the following vehicle types are covered:
- Dually Pickups
- Flatbed Trucks weighing more than 16,000 pounds
- Refrigerated Trucks weighing more than 16,000 pounds
- Stake Trucks weighing more than 16,000 pounds
- Tank Trucks carrying more than 1,400 gallons
- Dump Trucks weighing more than 16,000 pounds
- Front Loaders weighing more than 45,000 pounds
- Roll On Vehicles weighing more than 45,000 pounds
- Straight Trucks weighing more than 16,000 pounds
Sometimes motor carriers haul trailers that belong to other companies, under “a trailer interchange agreement.” A trailer interchange agreement is a contract that arranges to transfer a trailer from one trucker to another in order to complete a shipment. Typically, the trucker in possession of the trailer is responsible for paying any damages that are incurred while they have the trailer. Since borrowed trailers are not covered under the motor carrier’s own physical damage insurance, they therefore require supplemental trailer interchange coverage to cover any physical damage due to incidents like collision, fire, theft, explosion, or vandalism.
Only tractors and pickups are eligible for this coverage, and all motor carriers must also purchase primary liability coverage. Note that trailer interchange is not available in Virginia.
What Doesn’t Commercial Truck Insurance Cover?
In addition to listing what’s covered, commercial truck insurance policies will also list exclusions. Exclusions might refer to certain types of incidents or certain types of cargo. Many exclusions for commercial truck insurance are similar to what is excluded in commercial auto policies. These include:
Insurance companies will not cover damages or injuries that result from intentional harm to another person or property. Causing intentional harm with the goal of deceiving the insurance company into paying for damages constitutes insurance fraud, which can lead to financial and criminal penalties.
Property of Others
Many commercial truck insurance policies will not cover damages to property, personal items, or automobiles belonging to others, even if the person in care of the property or automobile is covered under the policy. If your company regularly transports property or automobiles belonging to others, there are additional coverage options you can explore.
Damages Exceeding Policy Limits
Every policy will have a maximum limit that the insurance company will pay toward claims. Any additional damages beyond the coverage limit will not be covered. Business owners may wish to add an excess liability (or umbrella) policy in order to extend coverage limits.
Certain Types of Cargo
Furthermore, certain types of cargo are excluded from commercial truck insurance policies. These include valuables such as money and jewelry; drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals; contraband; live animals; property in another carrier’s possession; and explosive materials. In some cases, additional coverage options, such as Hazmat Insurance and Livestock Cargo Insurance, are available to insure these types of cargo.
To get a better idea of what is included and excluded from a commercial truck insurance policy, request a sample policy from the insurance company. To see what a policy form might look like, here’s a Sample Motor Truck Cargo Coverage Form from North Star Mutual. You may wish to request several samples for different types of coverage (such as primary liability and motor truck cargo coverage) to ensure that all your bases are covered.
Commercial Truck Insurance Costs
The “cost” of an insurance policy typically refers to how much a business owner must pay in monthly premiums. Higher policy limits correlate with more expensive monthly premiums. Costs for commercial truck insurance vary significantly, depending on factors such as the type of truck, truck size, deductible, type of cargo, and location.
How Much Does Commercial Truck Insurance Cost?
Progressive estimates between $795 to $931 in monthly costs for primary liability and physical damage coverage alone (an average of $5,000-$7,000 a year). But for owner-operators with a permanent lease to a motor carrier, the motor carrier usually covers the primary insurance, meaning that the owner-operator will have to pay less out of pocket. However, owner-operators under their own authority are responsible for all of their insurance for their trucks and their drivers, which increases costs. Depending on how much or how little additional coverage is needed, the range can be as significant as $2,000 to $18,000 or more.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Commercial Truck Insurance Policies
There are several factors that determine how much commercial truck insurance will cost. Some can be adjusted by the business owner to reduce the amount of coverage required, while others are an integral part of conducting business and cannot be changed. Below are some of the most influential factors affecting coverage:
Types of Vehicles Covered
Heavier vehicles generally incur higher insurance costs because of their increased risk of causing significant damage in an accident. In addition, newer vehicles are usually more expensive to insure because they would be more expensive to repair or replace in the event of an accident. The greater the number of vehicles in the fleet, the more the policy will cost.
Location and Operating Radius
If drivers are traveling long distances (such as throughout a region or between states, rather than locally), the insurance cost is likely to be higher. Truckers with a larger operating radius often have higher risks of getting into an accident because there may be fewer stops during a route, or a route could be less familiar. In addition, individual states have different commercial truck insurance rates, so drivers in certain states are likely to pay more.
Where you park your trucks when they are not in use can affect insurance premiums. The more secure the area, the lower the insurance cost. For example, commercial trucks that are parked in a garage or closed yard will incur lower rates than trucks parked in public areas or open lots.
Different types of cargo carry different levels of risk. Heavier or more dangerous cargo would likely cause more damage in an accident than lighter cargo, so the price of the insurance policy will reflect that risk. Note that some types of cargo, such as explosives, pharmaceuticals, and livestock, are not covered at all under most types of commercial truck insurance policies and would therefore require additional coverage.
As with personal auto insurance, driving history has a significant impact on how much a business owner pays in commercial truck insurance premiums. However, because the stakes are higher with larger vehicles, a driver with a history of violations or accidents will have an even more dramatic increase in insurance costs. One of the best ways to save money on insurance is to keep driving records free of accidents and violations. Business owners managing a fleet with multiple drivers will want to look closely at driving records during the hiring process, and may also wish to invest in additional training for driver safety.
Amount of Coverage and Deductible
Not surprisingly, the more coverage required, the higher the monthly cost will be. Choosing a higher deductible is one way to lower the cost of monthly premiums. However, this option is not without its financial risks. Having a high deductible on your plan means that in the event of an incident, the company is on the hook for paying more money out of pocket before the insurance policy kicks in.
How to Find Cheap Commercial Truck Insurance
Commercial truck insurance is extremely important and should not be skimped. However, there are still ways to save on insurance and find cost-effective coverage that works. In fact, saving a few hundred or a few thousand dollars a month in insurance means that money can be used on other parts of the business. The main ways to save on commercial truck insurance are to find discounts or choose a policy with less coverage.
Multiple Price Quotes
Usually a business can find similar coverage from different providers, which makes getting quotes from multiple truck insurance providers a worthwhile exercise. If your business needs only basic protection, it’s likely that most commercial truck insurance companies can provide the coverage you need. While some make it easier than others, all insurance companies will provide a quote to potential customers. Shop around, and request price quotes from multiple companies if price is a key consideration.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Discount
For-hire truck drivers who have had a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for at least two years can receive a discount on their liability coverage.
Business Experience Discount
Owner-operators who have been in business for more than three years can receive a business experience discount.
Prior Insurance Savings
With some insurance companies, policyholders who have maintained continuous insurance coverage for the last 12 months can receive a discount on the next year’s insurance.
Paid in Full Discount
Some insurance companies will offer a discount for policyholders who pay their premium in a lump sum at the beginning of coverage. For example, Progressive customers can save up to 15 percent with this discount.
A high deductible policy will result in lower monthly premiums, but also carries a higher risk of paying a lot of money out of pocket in the event of an accident. Business owners may wish to consider a policy with a higher deductible if the drivers have a clean driving record, the cargo transported is relatively low-risk, and the business would be able to cover the full amount of the deductible in the event of an accident.
Lower Coverage Limits
The policy limit is a factor in how much commercial truck insurance costs. Policies with lower coverage limits will incur lower monthly premiums. Business owners should consider how much coverage they will actually need, rather than automatically choosing the high policy limit offered.
More coverage results in higher monthly costs, and less coverage results in lower monthly costs. For example, business owners may not need specialized insurance for cargo, or may not need rental reimbursement because there are many trucks in the fleet. Sticking with the bare bones of state or federal requirements without any add-ons can save money, too.
The Cheapest States for Commercial Truck Insurance
Though you probably won’t relocate in search of a low commercial truck insurance premium, it is interesting to note which states have the lowest commercial truck insurance rates. Quotes from different insurance companies may vary, but based on average pricing data from Progressive, the top 10 states with the lowest commercial truck insurance rates for interstate motor truck cargo coverage are:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
For trucks only being used locally (within state borders), the top 10 states with the lowest commercial truck insurance premiums are:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Finding the Best Commercial Truck Insurance Company
There are many companies that offer coverage for commercial trucks, but it can be tricky to make an apples-to-apples comparison. That is why it can be helpful to enlist the help of a broker or agent. You can also do your own research online to find which provider would be best for you.
Where to Get a Quote: Broker vs. Agent vs. Online
Insurance brokers are individuals or companies that help clients to find the best insurance policy for their situation because they are well-versed in the specifics of different companies’ policies for commercial truck insurance. It is worth noting that the price of the insurance might ultimately be higher with a broker because of the added broker fees. However, using a broker can save business owners a lot of time in the research process and result in the best coverage for the budget, which many clients believe is well worth the investment.
Insurance agents are representatives of one insurance company. They help clients understand different insurance options offered by that one insurer. Agents are the way to go if you have narrowed down your choice to a specific insurance provider, but need more information about different policies and coverage options before making a decision.
Individuals can also forgo the help of a broker or agent and purchase a policy online. In general, this option is best for those who are already familiar with insurance policies or who have conducted extensive research to determine the coverage that their trucking business requires. Business owners can usually sign up directly on an insurance company’s website, although some insurers will also confirm the purchase over the phone.
Comparing Commercial Truck Insurance Providers
When choosing an insurance provider, the coverage options are one of the main factors to consider. While most insurance companies will likely offer the basic general liability and property damage insurance, your business needs might also require additional coverage such as trailer interchange or non-trucking liability. In those cases, it is important to make sure you choose a provider who offers all the types of coverage you need. In addition, it helps to understand the policy limits and terms of coverage for each company so you can choose the plan that is best for you. Also keep in mind that not all insurance companies operate in every state, so business owners with interstate trucking need to ensure they would be covered in each state where they conduct business.
To conduct independent research on different insurance coverage options, the best way to go is to read guides like this one to narrow down a list of your top options. Next, speak with a representative from each company.
Once you’ve figured out which insurance companies offer your desired coverage, another thing to keep in mind is the company’s reputation. A few trustworthy sources to consult for insurance companies’ reputations include J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Every year, J.D. Power compiles ratings from customers of major insurance companies to give an overview of the company’s products, business practices, and customer satisfaction. Similarly, the Better Business Bureau provides customers with a public platform to share their complaints about companies, while also giving those companies a chance to resolve customer issues. Taken together, both J.D. Power and the BBB offer a holistic overview of the company’s reputation among its customers, as well as how the company handles complaints. Our recommended insurance providers have received high ratings from both the BBB and J.D. Power.
Commercial truck insurance is designed to cover incidents that would otherwise result in high out-of-pocket costs. With larger and heavier vehicles, the economic damage from trucking incidents is more significant than with a personal vehicle or smaller commercial automobile. As a result, business owners should always evaluate the financial strength of an insurer, since that will determine the insurer’s ability to pay expensive claims. If you want to conduct the research on your own, public insurance companies are required to make their financial documents publicly accessible. However, to make a direct comparison of different insurance companies (including those that are not public), it helps to reference ratings from the major credit rating agencies: AM Best, Moody’s, and S&P. Ratings from these agencies provide a snapshot of a company’s financial health. The insurance providers that we recommend are well-regarded by all three major rating agencies.
As previously discussed, price quotes vary a lot based on factors such as driving history, location, and the types of trucks. J.D. Power’s insurance industry studies offer some perspective on customer satisfaction with pricing policies, but these studies are somewhat limited because they do not break down customer satisfaction based on specific types of coverage. Because there is so much variation, you will usually need to request a quote from each company in order to compare costs effectively.
Commercial Truck Insurance for New Drivers & Companies
It can be difficult for first-time truck insurance buyers to get a good rate because insurers have no track record of safe driving to reference. Especially if the individual is young, the premiums can be much higher than for experienced drivers. New businesses may face similar challenges finding affordable truck insurance.
For this reason, new drivers and companies should look for commercial truck insurance providers with already affordable rates, as well as numerous discounts that can lower the cost of the policy. Based on our research, the company with the best commercial truck insurance company for new drivers is Nationwide, followed by Progressive. Read detailed reviews of each company below.
Commercial Truck Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Drivers with accidents or moving violations on their record may be deemed “high-risk” by insurance companies, and, thus, find it challenging to find a fair affordable rate for commercial truck insurance. Insurance companies can be especially discriminatory to drivers who have hit-and-run or driving under the influence citations in their past. Even if the history of “high-risk” driving track record is from years ago, it can still affect insurance rates today.
Drivers who might be considered high-risk should look for companies who have generally low premiums. Furthermore, companies that offer discounts for things unrelated to driving history can help high-risk drivers save: multi-policy, up-front payment, and multi-car discounts are all commonly available and great ways to save on premiums regardless of driving history. Some companies will also give additional price breaks as the policyholder’s driving record improves over time, or as they implement safety measures on their vehicle or in their processes.
With all of this in mind, we believe The Hartford is the best commercial truck insurance company for high-risk drivers. Their discounts and focus on safety helps high-risk drivers save and avoid future incidents. Additionally, Progressive is another great option for riskier drivers. Progressive actually began as a company focused on insuring high-risk drivers who had difficulty getting policies with other providers. That along with their great pricing, discount options, and strong reputation makes them a great choice for high-risk drivers as well. Read complete reviews of both The Hartford and Progressive below.
Best Commercial Truck Insurance Companies
Progressive Commercial Truck Insurance (Best Overall)
Progressive was founded in 1937 and is headquartered in Mayfield, Ohio. According to data from SNL Financial (now part of S&P), Progressive wrote the highest number of commercial truck insurance premiums in the U.S. in 2019. It is also our top recommendation for commercial truck insurance providers.
Progressive is well-regarded for commercial truck insurance due to its breadth and depth of policy options. The company insures owner-operators, motor carriers, and private carriers in all 50 states. Progressive offers not only the primary liability insurance required by federal law, but also trucking-specific coverage options such as motor truck cargo, motor truck general liability, non-trucking liability, rental reimbursement with downtime, and trailer interchange. This makes it easier for Progressive to be a one-stop shop for all trucking insurance needs.
As the third-largest auto insurance company in the U.S., Progressive enjoys a strong national reputation. According to J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study, Progressive earned an “About average” rating (831/1000) in customer satisfaction. Progressive also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Progressive has received high marks across the board for financial strength. A.M. Best has given Progressive an A+ (Superior) rating, the highest in its scale. Similarly, Moody’s has rated Progressive with an Aa and Moody’s with an AA, both of which indicate that the company has a very low credit risk and a strong capacity to meet financial requirements.
Progressive makes it easy for businesses and drivers to get price quotes over the phone or online. According to the Progressive website, the national average monthly cost for a new commercial for-hire truck insurance policy (primary liability and physical damage) in 2019 ranged from $795 to $931.
Progressive is also well-known for its variety of discount programs, including a Business Experience Discount for businesses that have been around for more than three years, a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Discount, and the Smart Haul® Program for drivers who use an electronic logging device (ELD) and grant access to the truck’s driving data.
We highly recommend Progressive due to its combination of financial strength, variety of insurance options, and impressive reputation. The discounts available also make Progressive a cost-effective choice for many business owners.
Nationwide Commercial Truck Insurance (Best for New Drivers & Companies)
Nationwide was founded in 1926, making it one of the oldest auto insurance companies in the U.S. With more than 32,000 employees in offices around the country, Nationwide makes it easy for customers to request a quote and find the coverage that works best for them.
Nationwide’s commercial auto policy is comprehensive, including coverage for auto liability, medical payments, collision and comprehensive insurance, and uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Furthermore, business owners can purchase additional coverage options for their trucking company, including motor truck cargo liability insurance. Covered vehicles include box trucks, pickup trucks, and utility trucks. Nationwide also offers a specific policy for farm truck insurance.
Nationwide has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. In addition, Nationwide was named J.D. Power’s top insurer in the 2019 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Provider Study. Nationwide scored 868/1,000, 24 points above the industry average.
This almost century-old company has a long history of financial strength. Today, Nationwide enjoys an A+ rating from A.M. Best and S&P, as well as an A1 rating from Moody’s. Nationwide customers can be assured of the company’s ability to pay claims in the event of an incident.
Nationwide makes it easy to request an insurance quote from their website. Customers are also eligible for discounts if they purchase multiple policies with Nationwide, pay their annual balance in full, or install anti-theft devices on their vehicles. Nationwide also boasts some of the best rates for young drivers.
Nationwide is highly respected in the industry for its customer satisfaction. Nationwide’s low cost options for new and young drivers, along with their plentiful discount options, are the reason we rate Nationwide as The Best Commercial Truck Insurance Company for New Drivers and Companies.
The Hartford Commercial Truck Insurance (Best for High-Risk Drivers)
The Hartford is a Fortune 500 company known for providing insurance to more than one million small businesses. The Connecticut-based company puts an emphasis on safety and risk management to help companies prevent accidents.
Founded in 1810 as a fire insurance company, The Hartford has since expanded its portfolio to include business, home, and auto insurance policies. In addition to general liability and property coverage for commercial automobiles, Hartford offers a number of insurances that are useful for commercial trucks. These include Livestock Transit Insurance, Property in Transit, and Carrier Logistics (Motor Truck Cargo). The Hartford is also known for its FleetAhead program, which takes a data-driven approach to driving safety to help fleet and risk managers identify risks and reduce costs.
The Hartford has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Furthermore, in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Shopping Survey, The Hartford ranks highest among mid-size auto insurers for customer satisfaction with purchase experience, with a score of 895/1000. According to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, The Hartford also has the highest customer satisfaction among its peers in the Southwest region.
With more than 200 years in business, The Hartford has earned an A+ rating from A.M. Best and S&P, as well as an A1 rating from Moody’s. Because the Hartford is a publicly traded company, its financial statements are readily available online for potential customers to review.
Business owners should request a quote online, since costs will vary based on location, driving history, and types of coverage required. Discounts are available for customers who pay in full and implement additional safety measures on their trucks.
The combination of The Hartford’s financial strength and company reputation make it a strong contender for commercial truck insurance. Its FleetAhead program can be useful for owner-operators with numerous vehicles to manage, in order to improve driver safety and reduce the chance of an incident. The Hartford’s discounts and focus on improving safety practices are the reasons we rate them The Best Commercial Truck Insurance Company for High-Risk Drivers.