Buying your own rig and entering the world of owner-operators can be an exciting step on your career path as a truck driver, but now you will also have to enter into the world of self insurance. When you drove the company truck you were likely covered underneath their insurance policy. As an owner-operator, you will need to purchase your own trucker's insurance. The following can help you choose the right policy.
What type of coverage do you need?
There is no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to truck insurance, but there is a primary coverage that all truckers must carry in order to drive. This is the primary liability policy. This policy is similar to the collision coverage on a passenger vehicle – it covers other vehicles, property, and persons in the event you are found at fault in an accident.
Do you need secondary coverage?
The short answer is yes, but the type you need varies. Once a company leases your truck and services, you will work out a contract that stipulates coverage needs and responsibilities. For example, cargo coverage is a common secondary coverage that protects the trailer and load. Bobtail coverage is also necessary if you won't have one of the company trailers permanently hitched to your truck, since this covers you between loads.
Who pays for the coverage?
Generally, you will be paying for the coverage either directly or indirectly. When you are not under lease you must have primary liability in your name, which means you will pay out of pocket. When driving under lease, primary liability and all secondary coverages will be procured in the name of the company leasing your services, but they will likely pass the cost on to you via the contracted pay rate. You will also want to carry your own physical damage coverage to cover the truck itself against fire, theft, and damage.
Is bobtail insurance always necessary?
No. If you are not under a lease agreement and are hauling under your own authority, then your physical damage coverage will cover your rig in the event of an accident. The only time bobtail coverage is necessary is when you are driving without a trailer on company time while under lease to someone else, such as driving between warehouses to pick up and move trailers. This is why bobtail is usually paid for by the company you are leased to.
You can discover more here or by contacting a trucking insurance company in your area.