A Truckers Guide to High Risk Commercial Truck Insurance

High Risk Commercial Truck Insurance

Have you had your insurance recently cancelled?

Is your CSA score high?

Are you a new commercial truck driver?

Have you recently had an accident while driving your truck?

An insurance underwriter may consider you a high risk, if you answered yes to any of the above questions.

An insurance underwriter looks at several factors when considering insuring a commercial truck for insurance. Your CSA score, loss history, type of cargo, and driver experience are all taken under consideration when evaluating a risk.

Sometimes an underwriter will not write a policy, or cancel your insurance just because the risk doesn’t fit the company’s requirements.

Ten high risk commercial truck insurance facts.

10 Facts about Truck Insurancehigh Risk Truck Insurance

1.Tell your story   An insurance agent needs to know all the facts when considering a new risk. Be up front about your area of operation, type of commodities hauled, company history. Being vague or unspecific will raise red flags with the agent, and will not help you find the best insurance for your truck or fleet.

2. Plan ahead   As the saying goes, “you plan next year’s taxes on the first day of this year” you should start planning your insurance well in advance. However, insurance companies will not quote more than 30 days out. Still this should not keep you from contacting companies, researching your options, and talking to other drivers about their insurance. Insurance is a major cost, and careful consideration needs to going into your insurance needs.

3. Not all insurance agencies shy away from insuring high risk trucking accounts. Some agencies like the Morgan Company specialize in high risk insurance, and work hard to keep everyone on the road, and making a profit. 

4. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set a liability limit of 750.000 if there is no hazard or passenger exposure. Most shippers require $1,000,000. As a result a $1,000.000 liability is the standard amount needed to secure loads. 

5. Motor Truck Cargo  This insurance is not required unless you are a household mover. However, most shippers will require a cargo limit based on the actual cash value of the commodities hauled. The average limit is $100.000.

6. Physical damage insurance pays to repair or replace your equipment. For example, if you hit an object on the road, and damage the entire front of the truck, the physical damage insurance covers the repair of your truck. In addition, you can add coverage for any non-owned trailer attached. This coverage is available for all trucks, and risk levels.

7. Most companies will add freight brokers, direct shippers, or lease purchase finance companies as an additional insured on a primary liability insurance policy. This is very important coverage to secure in order to get loads. Some companies will charge to add an additional insured. It may help to ask your shipper, or broker if they require this insurance.

8. Every state has an assigned risk set up to insure all drivers, even high risk truck drivers. Although you will not pay the lowest rates, the rates of assigned risk are surprisingly competitive.

9. Workers comp insurance provides medical and income protection if you are injured while working. Each state has different workers comps requirements so when shopping your insurance ask the agent about your states requirements. This could save you some money.

10. Work hard to improve your “Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA).” Anydriver can secure commercial truck insurance, but you may have to pay a premium. Improving your CSA will improve your bottom line.


Bonus: An underwriter may even check your credit score. Don’t be alarmed, the underwriter is trying to get a picture of who they are insuring.


Questions and Answers covering High Risk Truck Insurance

I am just starting my trucking business; what coverage's do I need?

Primary Liability, Motor Truck Cargo, and Physical Damage Insurance are, for practical purpose, required coverage if you operate as a DOT approved motor carrier. Federal highway requires liability. Shippers require motor truck cargo insurance.

You could slip by without Physical Damage but unlikely. A loss payee will require physical damage if your equipment is financed. Physical Damage could be required if you pull a non-owned trailer or container.

Contingent liability insurance referred to as Non Trucking - Bobtail or Unladen Liability and Physical Damage insurance will be required if you operate as an owner/operator company. The motor carrier lease agreement will specify the type of contingent liability insurance you will be required to have.

Physical Damage insurance could be required if your equipment is financed. Physical damage coverage on a container or non owned trailer should be the responsibility of the motor carrier company .

Workers Compensation and Occupational Accident Insurance are other considerations. Requirement for work comp will vary by state but depending on the number of W-2 employees you pay - average is three- work comp insurance could be required.

Occupational Accident insurance is not required but you should consider this coverage if you are the only driver or if you start your company with 1099 drivers.

Is it possible to obtain truck insurance with a DUI or a "not so good" driving record?

Yes. Each state has a system to assign a motorist with not so good driving record to an insurance company. The system is called Assigned Risk.

What does the term "unidentified trailer coverage" mean?

Applies to physical damage coverage on any trailer attached to your tractor that you do not own or operate under a lease agreement.

How long will a claim affect my premium?

Most insurance companies go back 3 years. Some might go 5 or 7 depending on the activity shown on your driving record.

What are some of the problems with the Motor Truck Cargo policy?

"Exclusions" Some exclusions are standard but exclusions on a cargo policy will vary by insurance company. Read, memorize every exclusions. This applies to any insurance policy. The first thing a claims adjusted looks at when he gets a claim are the exclusions. Is this claim covered?

What type of freight is considered high risk?

High theft items. Hazardous Materials - Refrigerated loads. The item is not the problem. Maintenance of the refrigeration unit is the problem. Container business unless you can identify the items in the container.  

What is the youngest age that someone can obtain insurance and drive a commercial vehicle?

This will vary by State but minimum in most States is 18. Some some States require two years as local class D driver license before you can apply for a interstate class A license. Some states will issue Class A license at age 18 but restrict use to intrastate use until age 23.

Is there an age at which you are considered high risk because you are too old?

A medical exam is part of the commercial driver license continuance process and this has extended the age for many drivers. Most standard markets will not cancel due to age as long as you have a good medical history. Even if they do cancel you can go to the assigned risk in your State. How many years must you drive before you are considered an experienced driver? Two years seems to be the benchmark.

How long will a bad driving record affect my insurance premium?

Could vary by company but most do not go back more than three years. Some might go 5 if major violation like DUI.

What is assigned risk?

Assigned risk is the name given to the state agency that assigns a driver or company that cannot purchase insurance through conventional means to an insurance company. Auto for the high risk driver that does not meet the Insurance Company’s underwriting guidelines. Workers Compensation for s business who have had unsatisfactory loss performance or whose employee perform such hazardous work that standard insurance companies will not insure them. Trucking is considered hazardous work by many insurance companies.

Can anyone apply for assigned risk insurance?

The State is required to make available a way for you to purchase insurance if they require the coverage. The name Assigned Risk has gotten a bad rap over the years. When we say Assigned Risk we think of something terrible and that is not case at all. The coverage you get through the Assigned Risk is most time better than the coverage you get from those nonstandard insurance companies that advertise for bad accounts. Same is true for the premiums. Ask for a comparison quote. You might be surprised

In summary, the trucking industry is a highly regulated industry. You cannot drive without proper insurance. Liability and cargo insurance are required in all states. Physical damage is required by almost all carriers, and brokers, along with occupational insurance and workers compensation.