If you are a truck driver and you are thinking about buying your own rig to become an independent operator, you will be your own boss. You will be paying for all of the repairs and maintenance on your semi-truck and will have to carry your own insurance. Assuming that you will be hauling non-hazardous materials, the following are the types of insurance you will need.
Public liability insurance
This type of insurance is to protect the public when a truck driver causes an accident. Similar to car insurance, it is to pay for those injured in an accident as well as damage to vehicles and other property. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), you need to carry $300,000 if your truck is carrying freight under 10,001 lbs. If carrying greater weight than this, you will need $750,000. Keep in mind that these are legal minimums and you will quickly find that your clients may require more than this. It really depends upon the customer. So you can start with the minimums, and then be prepared to increase your coverage if needed.
Physical damage insurance
This insurance is to cover your truck in case of an accident that is your fault. If you are financing your rig, your lender will require this insurance. But even if you own your truck, you should consider getting this type of insurance because your truck is your livelihood.
Non-Owned Trailer Physical Damage and liability insurance
As an independent trucker, you will often be hauling another company's trailer. This type of insurance will protect the trailer for both damage that it may sustain in an accident or liabilities from the damage it causes.
This is insurance that covers damage to the freight that you will be hauling. Exactly how much you will need will depend upon what you will be transporting. It is not a legal requirement, but you can be sure that you will not get any business without it. You can, however, wait until you have your first client, and then add the amount required to your policy. You can do this with a phone call. After a few different clients, you will get a an idea of what you need to cover all of your cargo because, like most independent operators, you will begin to specialize in certain types of freight.
Semi-truck insurance is one of the highest costs associated with independent trucking. You need to get several quotations, so you can keep this cost down. But you also need to make sure that you have sufficient coverage to operate your business. Having too little coverage can lead to incurring liabilities that can mean losing your business.