"Big Rig" Insurance – What to Look For in a Commercial Truck Insurance Policy

"Big Rig" insurance is essential for the independent owner / operator. In today's highly competitive commercial trucking industry, an owner / operator has to be a shrewd businessman, and get the best insurance for the lowest premium.

Are you a person that loves sun-drenched afternoons cruising on mountain roads or along the coastline? Can you close your eyes and see the highway stretch out before you all the way to the horizon?

Your big rig may be your family business. Do you hit the road with your wife as a driving team?

Are you a person who enjoys the freedom of being your own boss as an independent owner / operator? Or are you a leased operator?

Do you own more than just one truck?

No matter what your motivation is for owning and operating a commercial semi truck, you will need commercial truck insurance. But all commercial truck insurance policies are not the same.

Here are some features and coverages you should look for when shopping for commercial truck insurance:

o Only accept an A-rated insurance company so you'll have peace of mind knowing that your insurance company has the financial strength to take care of you when covered losses occurs.
o Comprehensive Coverage – protection for non-collision losses, such as fire, smoke, windstorm, theft, lightning, hail, animals, vandalism, even low branches and overhangs.
o Replacement Cost coverage – on your personal property that is stolen, damaged or destroyed.
o Physical Damage / Collision coverage – when your vehicle runs into something.
o Replacement Cost Coverage on the vehicle, which pays to replace your vehicle with a brand new one of like kind and quality. Most policies only pay the Actual Cash Value for a total loss.
o Liability limits – buy high liability limits, it's inexpensive coverage. Skimp on other coverages but do not skimp here. Personal injury attorneys love truck accidents and get big jury awards.
o Attached Accessories Coverage – includes running lights, antennas, chrome, custom wheels, custom paint, satellite dishes, and such. Many insurance policies do not cover customizing equipment. Make sure yours does.
o Non-Trucking Liability, or "Bob-Tail" coverage – takes care of you when you're using your rig at times you're not under dispatch.
o Motor Truck Cargo Legal Liability – covers your load against damage from certain causes.
o Trailer Interchange coverage – if you have a trailer interchange agreement, you need this coverage to protect you while you're in possession of a container or trailer that you do not own.
o A trailer exchange agreement is a contract that arranges to transfer a trailer from one trucker to another in order to complete a shipment.
o Refrigeration Breakdown Endorsement – provides coverage up to a separate limit shown on the schedule for spoilage of perishable stock while the stock is in transit on a vehicle.
o Non-owned trailer – this is third party coverage for a trailer that you are hauling owned by another entity.
o Emergency Expenses Coverage – pays for lodging or travel back home if your unit is damaged or destroyed by a covered loss more than 50 miles from home.
o Towing and Roadside Assistance – first dollar coverage, no out-of-pocket costs for towing, flat tire changes, fuel delivery and locksmith services.
o Occupational Accident Coverage – pays your medical bills for certain covered accidents while you're working. Crucial coverage if you do not carry health insurance for yourself.

We may need more information from you such as driver and equipment lists, MVR's and loss runs.

Commercial trucking insurers also offer a variety of discounts, such as:

o Multi-Unit
o Multi-Policy
o Safety Course
o Prior Insurance
o Renewal discount for maintaining continuous coverage

You will also find a wide choice of deductibles and payment plans available. Choosing higher deductibles will lower your promotions. Flexible payment plans will help you manage your budget.

By using these strategies, you'll have the best chance at having fun cruising the roads in your "Big Rig!"