If you're among the 3.5 million Americans who work as truck drivers, you likely already know the importance of protecting your assets. This often means safe driving and cargo protection. However, it also is essential that you protect yourself from financial damages in the event of a disaster.
Hot-shot trucking insurance is critical for keeping yourself safe, avoiding fines, and minimizing damages in the event of an accident. Read on to learn some important things that you need to know about this type of insurance
1. The Necessity of Hot Shot Trucking Insurance
To understand why hot shot truck insurance is necessary, it's important to define exactly what hot shot trucking is. This form of cargo transfer involves moving small loads within a small timeframe. Cargo is time-sensitive and needs to be delivered to a single location.
Many hot shot truckers work for smaller organizations rather than the large commercial chains that other truckers haul for. Some people even begin their own hot-shot trucking businesses and get lucrative results.
The first reason to get hot shot trucking insurance is the legal mandate. US law mandates that all truck drivers purchase commercial insurance before getting on the road. If you do not take this step, you're likely to get slapped with a fine so hefty that it could take your business down.
However, even if you could opt out of trucker's insurance, doing this could be detrimental. Insurance protects you in the event of an accident so you (or your business) don't pay all expenses out of pocket. A single accident can cost tens of thousands of dollars without insurance, so it's important to be prepared.
2. What Truck Insurance Covers
The best truck insurance covers multiple different scenarios that hot-shot truckers may face. Plans can include:
- General liability
- Auto liability
- Physical damage (after an accident or a natural disaster)
- Cargo insurance (when the items you're hauling are destroyed)
- Worker's compensation (in case truckers are injured)
- Umbrella liability
- Commercial property insurance
Of course, the more money you're willing to pay for insurance, the more that things are going to be covered. However, you can usually pick and choose what you want to invest in so that you're prepared for the most likely scenarios. Remember that trucking insurance is an investment and cover all your bases.
3. When to Invest
It's difficult to know exactly when you need to invest in insurance. Generally, you need to get it immediately after hiring your first new driver. After all, it's illegal to do any driving without an insurance policy.
However, since hot shot trucking insurance is generally used for commercial vehicles, you'll need to revamp your commercial policy periodically. Some signs that you might need a commercial policy include:
- Hauling a lot of weight in equipment/tools on your vehicle
- Towing a trailer while driving (especially one filled with cargo)
- Transportation in your truck is done for those who pay a fee
- Ownership of the vehicle is in the name of a company
- Have more dangerous work and need higher liability limits
Most of these things generally apply to hot-shot truckers. Know exactly what you're planning to do with your vehicle and get a policy based on that.
Some people may be more at risk of accidents while others may hold and haul more cargo. The specific situation lets you know which policy areas to emphasize.
4. Realistic Costs and Budgeting
Before you can select hot shot trucking insurance, you need to know how much you can realistically spend on a policy. Look into the funding that you have and allocate a reasonable percentage towards insurance.
Make sure that you don't go over this amount during the initial policy selection process. You don't want to put your business at risk of financial disaster, especially because there are many reasonably-priced policies out there.
You can always revamp your insurance policy later if you want more coverage. Once you know how much you're spending in other areas and how much cargo you actually will haul regularly, you can reassess the situation and get upgrades.
5. How to Choose Trucking Insurance
If you're getting new trucking insurance, you'll need to look into the areas that matter most to you. Select a policy based on your individual commercial needs. Some other things to consider include:
- Whether or not the carrier frequently denies legitimate claims
- Whether or not your current policy is complex/difficult to understand (or how you can avoid an overly complex initial policy)
- The cost of the insurance policy and how it compares with competitor policies
- The quality of the customer service (you can learn about this from online reviews)
- How well the insurance agents understand the trucking industry
- How the carrier copes with changing regulations in the trucking industry
When you find someone who can provide you with all of the services that you need, that's when you know that you've found the best truck insurance to fit your needs. Look more into the company and determine whether or not they will be right for you in practice as well as in theory.
Get Started With an Estimate
While choosing insurance for trucks can be a challenge, the process becomes simple when you do your research and ask the right questions.
Now that you know how to choose trucking insurance and why it's important, it's time to protect your assets. Request a quote for your hot shot truck insurance today so that you can plan for the future.