Chapter Twelve Insurance Requirements For Truck Drivers
Commercial trucking can be a dangerous activity involving bodily injury and property damage. Around 130,000 people are injured each year from accidents involving commercial trucks. Additionally, the average payout for a commercial truck accident in Missouri is approximately $59,000 – but our firm’s is much larger. Given the risk of bodily injury and costly property damage, it is important that truck drivers have adequate insurance coverage.
Truck drivers sometimes do not have commercial truck insurance or do not have enough insurance. Missouri and Illinois mandate that every driver have a certain amount of public liability insurance. This insurance consists of Bodily Injury coverage which pays for hospital bills of motorists hurt in truck accidents, as well as Property Damage coverage, which pays for repairs to vehicles and other property damaged in an accident. For commercial truck drivers, liability insurance requirements depend in part on the freight they transport. For example, if a truck driver transports oil in Missouri then they must carry liability insurance of at least $1,000,000. If a truck driver only transports household goods, Missouri’s minimum liability insurance requirement is $300,000. In addition to liability insurance, Missouri requires Cargo insurance at a minimum of $2,500 per vehicle and $5,000 per catastrophe.
A Missouri truck driver should get an intrastate only USDOT Number and comply with the above minimum insurance requirements. However, insurance requirements are more demanding for truck drivers who work in multiple states. In addition to the insurance limits mentioned above, interstate truck drivers must comply with the semi-truck insurance requirements set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA requires interstate truckers to meet minimum limits of public liability insurance coverage depending on the type of freight they haul, with typical liability limits between $750,000 and $1,000,000. For truck drivers who transport non-hazardous freight in a truck under 10,001 pounds, the minimum required limit of public liability insurance is $300,000. For those who transport non-hazardous freight in a truck weighing over 10,001 pounds, the minimum required limit is $750,000. Truckers who transport oil are required to have a minimum of $1,000,000 in public liability insurance coverage. Finally, truckers who transport hazardous materials other than oil are required to have a minimum coverage of $5,000,000.
Beyond the public liability insurance requirements mentioned above, truck drivers may be required to carry additional coverage such as Cargo insurance, Bobtail insurance, and Physical Damage insurance. Cargo insurance covers the freight truck drivers transport in trailers. While not mandated by the FMCSA, Cargo insurance is demanded by most shippers that truck drivers do business with. Cargo insurance limits depend on the type of freight transported, with the typical limit being $100,000.
Bobtail insurance covers property damage or injuries to others that truck drivers may cause while the trailer is detached from their truck. This insurance may be required if the truck driver is not an owner-operator with primary liability insurance, or if the truck driver owns their truck, is leased onto a Motor Carrier, and drives without the trailer attached. For example, a truck driver may need Bobtail coverage if they have a lease with a Motor Carrier and work under their authority.
Physical Damage insurance is a general term for a group of insurance coverages that protects truck drivers’ personal tractor or trailer from accidents. Physical Damage insurance can include collision insurance, comprehensive insurance, and combined additional coverage insurance. Collision insurance applies when a truck driver’s vehicle is damaged in an accident, while comprehensive insurance applies in situations other than collisions, such as when a truck is stolen.
Regardless of whether a truck driver drives only in the state of Missouri or transports freight through several states, it is important that they have the proper minimum insurance coverage required by law. Being properly insured reduces the problems that arise from trucking accidents, and helps ensure that those injured in truck crashes are properly compensated.