Becoming an owner operator is an incredible step that can help you advance your trucking career, start your own business, and reach a much higher pay ceiling.
Just like with passenger vehicles, insurance is legally required to operate your semi-truck. As an owner-operator, you'll be in charge of choosing your own insurance and covering the cost. By purchasing the right insurance, you will increase your chances of connecting and partnering with reputable brokers and shippers, and you will be protecting yourself and your property against potential accidents and injuries.
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Insurance for Owner Operators Who Operate Under Their Own Authority
These types of insurance are the bare minimum for working as an independent owner operator:
Primary Liability - This insurance covers potential losses due to injury or damage potentially caused by operating your vehicle.
Physical Damage - This insurance pays for physical damage that may occur during a collision or other potential damages to your truck.
Motor Truck Cargo - This insurance covers the cost of cargo you’re hauling in case it gets damaged.
Motor Truck General Liability - This type of insurance covers injuries or property damage that may occur because of business activities not necessarily related to your truck, such as cargo damage or loss.
Passenger Accident - This type of insurance is necessary for owner-operator drivers who travel with a passenger. This coverage provides a financial blanket in case of an accident that requires medical assistance for a non-driving passenger.
Insurance for Owner Operators who Lease
If you are an owner operator who is leasing their truck, the title, registration, and insurance of the truck are typically taken care of by the company you’re leasing from. However, there are other types of insurance you can get to further protect yourself. These policies are not mandatory; it is up to you to decide if you want to enroll in these types of policies.
Physical Damage - This may or may not be covered by the company’s insurance policy.
Non-Trucking Liability - This insurance covers you when you are operating your truck for personal reasons or for convenience.
Bobtail Liability - This insurance provides coverage when you are driving without a trailer attached.
Unladen Liability - This insurance covers you when you are driving without a trailer or when you're driving and your trailer is empty.
Passenger Accident Coverage - This insurance covers you in case a passenger gets injured while you’re driving.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of insurance coverage you can buy. Contact an insurance broker to see what types of coverage and policies you need.
How Much Does Owner Operator Insurance Cost?
The cost of your insurance will vary based on your driving history, location, coverage needs, what kind of business you have, where you plan on conducting business, and the type of truck you intend to use. For reference, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a minimum of $750,000 in Primary Liability Coverage for drivers operating under their own authority.
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