Frequently Asked Questions About
Commercial General Liability Insurance
How much does commercial insurance cost?
Costs can vary widely based on industry and are also determined by zip code and often payroll and/or gross sales. Request a free quote to get an exact number.
What kind of business insurance do I need?
Most business owners need General Liability Insurance at the very least. If you have any non-owner employees, you will need workers compensation insurance too.
What is a Certificate of Insurance?
A Certificate of Insurance is proof of coverage. It lists the type and amount of liability coverage you have and other policy information when a third party requests it.
Is business insurance tax deductible?
Yes. you can deduct the cost of commercial insurance premiums. The IRS considers insurance a cost of doing business as long it benefits the business & serves a business purpose.
Truck Insurance. Whether your business owns a single truck or 100 trucks, commercial truck insurance that matches your particular risks and the perils your drivers face on the roadway is important to the success of your business.
Maybe you have just one commercial truck that is used for deliveries, or perhaps you have an entire fleet of trucks that deliver freight throughout the country.
Either way, your insurance needs for commercial trucking are unique, and your coverage should reflect just that.
Truckers transport cargo from its initial loading and pickup at the shipper's location to final delivery and unloading at the receiver's location. The cargo can include raw materials, work in process, and finished goods. The trucker may assist customers in the packing and unpacking of freight. Many trucking companies have warehouse facilities for both temporary and long-term storage of customers' goods. While some truckers transport freight to the same destinations over and over, others transport single shipments to a particular destination. The trucking industry is regulated by a number of federal agencies.
Commercial trucking can be dangerous. Around 130,000 people are injured annually in accidents involving commercial trucks. Around 70 percent of accidents result in property damage only, while approximately 22 percent of truck accidents involve ideuries to others on the road or the drivers of the trucks. Regardless, accidents in commercial trucks in can be expensive, with the average payout for a commercial truck accident adding up to an average of $59,000. Truck insurance can deflect those costs from you to the insurance company.
If you own large commercial trucks - including dump trucks, auto trailers, car haulers, garbage trucks, box trucks, tank trucks, flatbed trucks, and tow trucks - you need to make sure that the Truck insurance you purchase for your trucks is adequate enough to cover your liability so as to limit loss in the event of a covered peril. While each of these truck types has a different job, the risk you face is a constant one. The amount of time the truck is on the road, the employees that drive the truck, the number of miles logged annually, and the freight being hauled all factor into how much you will pay for the insurance you buy.
Insuring Your Commercial Truck
Like most commercial auto products, commercial truck coverage is available in a number of iterations. Each iteration is designed with the specific goal of protecting the owner of the policy from loss. Some types to consider include:
- Liability insurance. While most states require that owners of commercial vehicles maintain liability insurance, you should purchase the maximum amount of liability coverage you can afford. This insurance mitigates the risks that you face if you or someone driving your truck is found to have caused an accident. This type of policy usually covers bodily injury to other parties, property damaged during an accident, and the costs of defending the claim in court.
- Physical damage coverage. The cost of repairing a vehicle involved in an accident can be exorbitant, but this type of coverage handles the repair costs up to your specified policy limits. While collision coverage pays for damages due to colliding with another vehicle or object, comprehensive coverage pays for non-collision damages. For example, a truck that's damaged when the wind blows it over.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you are involved in an accident with another vehicle that lacks adequate coverage to pay for repairs or that has no insurance at all, this coverage takes the place of the other party's insurance.
- Cargo coverage. Theft or damage of the freight you haul is covered by this type of policy.
Risks & Exposures For Truckers
Commercial auto exposure is written on a motor carriers' policy. The exposure is very high because it includes loading and unloading of freight. There is considerable opportunity for contact with the client, who can be injured should the movers drop or overturn items being carried. Children may be present during loading or unloading operations at residences or schools, requiring additional caution. All drivers must have training in lifting and handling of items being carried.
They must have a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) for the trucks being driven and the cargo being moved. MVRs must be acceptable and checked regularly. Manipulating a large semi-trailer rig in a residential or commercial area requires training and awareness of surroundings. All drivers must be well trained and attend continuing education courses to maintain and improve skill levels. Driving logs must be maintained, and drivers must not be permitted to exceed regulatory limits on their hours of service. Random drug and alcohol testing should be required. Vehicles must be maintained and records should be kept in a central location. Accidents can result in the spillage of diesel fuel or other operating fluids from within the truck, requiring cleanup.
Property exposure can be high if the risk repairs, refuels and maintains its own vehicles on premises. Exposures include flammable liquids, including gasoline and diesel fuel, and heat-producing activities such as welding. Flammable liquids and heat-producing activities must be separated from combustibles to prevent fire and explosion. All spray-painting should be conducted in a spray booth with approved fixtures.
The condition and controls of fuel tanks, whether above or below ground, are important for both property and environmental liability. Fire hazards can arise from the combustibility of items stored for customers. There must be adequate aisle space to allow firefighters to carry out their duties. If items in storage include any flammables or ignition sources, they must be properly controlled. As stored items are attractive targets for theft, there should be appropriate security including physical barriers to prevent entrance to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station or the police department.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty and from money and securities. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees handling money. Trucking operations involve a number of transactions and accounts that can be manipulated. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling deposits, billing, ordering, disbursements and reconciling bank statements. Regular internal and external audits should be conducted. As drivers, loaders and unloaders have access to customers' premises, the exposure to theft of customer property or customer identity theft increases.
Inland marine exposure is from accounts receivable, computers, motor truck cargo, valuable papers and records, and warehouse operators' legal liability. Customers' property may be damaged while being transported due to overturn, collision, or theft. Cargo containers should have locks and appropriate alarm systems. Most truckers are subject to minimum cargo legal liability requirements.
The bill of lading spells out the terms of the agreement that must be honored. Insurance coverage will vary, but may exceed these minimums if customer satisfaction is important to the trucker. Any items in storage must be marked to prevent incorrect release. Records should be duplicated and be stored off site.
Premise liability exposure is extremely low due to limited public access to the premises. Cargo containers stored outside may present an attractive nuisance to minors. Fencing and lighting help reduce this exposure. Most off premises exposures relate directly to truck operations, such as loading and unloading, and are covered under the motor carriers' liability policy. Contracts may expose the operation to additional liability.
Environmental impairment exposure can be high due to underground fuel tanks and waste disposal of fluids used for servicing and repairing trucks. All underground fuel tanks must meet state or federal regulations and be routinely tested for leakage. Contracts should be in place to dispose of all environmentally dangerous chemicals. Spill procedures must be in place to prevent the accidental discharge of sludge from water reclamation systems used in washing trucks.
Workers compensation exposure comes from driving, loading and unloading customers' goods, and repair and maintenance activities. Drivers must operate in adverse traffic conditions such as inclement weather or road construction. They must be monitored to ensure that an appropriate amount of time is allocated for sleep. The operations of unloading and unloading have a very high potential for all forms of back injury, hernia, sprain, and strain losses from loading, unloading, and warehouse operations.
The training, material handling devices, and equipment are important to review. Garage employees can be injured by vehicles falling from hoists, strains, sprains and other lifting injuries. Good housekeeping is critical to reduce injury from slips, trips, and falls. Burns, eye injuries, and respiratory problems can occur with the welding and painting. Dermatitis can result from employees coming into contact with harsh cleaning detergents. Repair areas should be properly ventilated. Proper safety equipment is required. If independent owner-operators are used, responsibility for workers compensation coverage must be specified by contract.
Commercial Truck Classificaton
Commercial trucks are classified according to the Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) classifies commercial trucks with eight classes:
- Class 1 - GVWR ranges from 0 to 6,000 pounds (0 to 2,722 kg)
- Class 2 - GVWR ranges from 6,001 to 10,000 pounds (2,722 to 4,536 kg)
- Class 3 - GVWR ranges from 10,001 to 14,000 pounds (4,536 to 6,350 kg)
- Class 4 - GVWR ranges from 14,001 to 16,000 pounds (6,351 to 7,257 kg)
- Class 5 - GVWR ranges from 16,001 to 19,500 pounds (7,258 to 8,845 kg)
- Class 6 - GVWR ranges from 19,501 to 26,000 pounds (8,846 to 11,793 kg)
- Class 7 - GVWR ranges from 26,001 to 33,000 pounds (11,794 to 14,969 kg)
- Class 8 - GVWR is anything above 33,000 pounds (14,969 kg)
Getting Quotes for Commercial Truck Insurance
Because Truck insurance for your commercial truck can be as varied as your individual business, it can be hard to get multiple quotes for coverage. Following are common classes for commercial truck insurance:
- Box trucks
- Semi trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Front loaders
- Garbage trucks
- Pickup trucks
- Tank trucks
- Dump trucks
- Auto hauler trailers
- Flatbed trailers
- And many more...
Working with an agent who is adept at deciphering the legalities of commercial insurance can help. The agent can analyze the way that you use your vehicle and gain understanding of your business to determine the right policy for your specific situation.
A variety of factors influence your rates. Your credit history and your business' credit rating are important when determining how much insurance will cost. Insurance companies also look at the make, model, and year of your trucks, the number of trucks you have on the road, any accidents that your business has been involved in, how far your trucks journey away from home, and how often they are driven.
Your agent will need to know a few specifics about your business, your drivers, and your typical cargo to get you the best Truck insurance quote. Some questions you may need to answer:
- Does your truck cross state lines?
- Where will your truck be garaged?
- What do you haul?
- Will you haul hazardous materials or heavy equipment?
- Are your driver's certified?
- Is your truck financed?
Using your answers and analyzing your driving record and the driving histories of your employees can help the agent to determine which options suit you best. A local agent is a good place to start looking for the necessary Truck insurance coverage you need to mitigate your risks as a commercial truck owner.
Insurance Classification Of Truckers
Insurers classify trucking businesses using several coding systems. You can wind up paying more for your insurance if your trucking company is not properly classified - like a general freight carrier being coded as a hazmat carrier. Below are the three most commonly used coding systems for truckers insurance:
- ISO General Liability Codes: 99793
- NAICS CODES: 484110 General Freight Transit, Local, 484121 General Freight Transit, Long-Distance - Truckload, 484122 General Freight Transit, Long-Distance-Less than Truckload, 484220 Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Transit, Local, 484230 Specialized Freight (except Used Goods) Transit, Long-Distance
- SIC CODES: 4212 Local Trucking without Storage, 4213 Trucking, Except Local, 4214 Local Trucking with Storage
- Suggested Workers Compensation Codes: 7228, 7229, 7230, 7231, 7232.
Truckers SIC Code Descriptions
4212 Local Trucking Without Storage
Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing trucking or transfer services without storage for freight generally weighing more than 100 pounds, in a single municipality, contiguous municipalities, or a municipality and its suburban areas. Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing local courier services for letters, parcels, and packages generally weighing less than 100 pounds are classified in Industry 4215; those engaged in collecting and disposing of refuse by processing or destruction of materials are classified in Industry 4953; those engaged in removing overburden from mines or quarries are classified in Division B, Mining; and construction contractors hauling dirt and rock as a part of their construction activity are classified in Division C, Construction.
- Baggage transfer
- Carting, by truck or horse drawn wagon
- Debris removal, local carting only
- Draying, local: without storage
- Farm to market hauling
- Furniture moving, local: without storage
- Garbage, local collecting and transporting: without disposal
- Hauling live animals, local
- Hauling, by dump truck
- Local trucking, without storage
- Log trucking
- Mail carriers, bulk, contract: local
- Refuse, local collecting and transporting: without disposal
- Rental of trucks with drivers
- Safe moving, local
- Star routes, local
- Truck rental for local use, with drivers
- Trucking timber
4213 Trucking, Except Local
Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing "over-the-road" trucking services or trucking services and storage services, including household goods either as common carriers or under special or individual contracts or agreements, for freight generally weighing more than 100 pounds. Such operations are principally outside a single municipality, outside one group of contiguous municipalities, or outside a single municipality and its suburban areas. Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing air courier services for individually addressed letters, parcels, and packages generally weighing less than 100 pounds are classified in Industry 4513 and other courier services for individually addressed letters, parcels, and packages generally weighing less than 100 pounds are classified in Industry 4215.
- Long-distance trucking
- Over-the-road trucking
- Trucking rental with drivers, except for local use
- Trucking, except local
4214 Local Trucking With Storage
Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing both trucking and storage services, including household goods, within a single municipality, contiguous municipalities, or a municipality and its suburban areas. Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing warehousing and storage of household goods when not combined with trucking are classified in Industry 4226. Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing local courier services for letters, parcels, and packages weighing less than 100 pounds are classified in Industry 4215.
- Furniture moving, local: combined with storage
- Household goods moving, local: combined with storage
- Trucking, local: combined with storage
Small Business Economic Data & Insurance Regulations
Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. Maybe you want to contribute to the economic growth of your community. Whatever the reason is, if you're thinking about starting a small business, it's important to understand pertinent information relating to small businesses in the United States; namely economic information and insurance regulations. After all, if you want your small business to succeed, you have to understand the economic trends organizations of a similar size in your area.
Likewise, you want to ensure that your small business is well protected with the right business insurance and that you are in compliance with the rules and regulations that pertain to commercial insurance in your region.
Read up on economic statistics and insurance information that relates to small business owners in the United States.
Small Business Economic Data In The United States
Here's a look at some information that was compiled by the Small Business Association (SBA) regarding the economic data that pertains to small businesses in the United States:
- In 2015, small businesses in the United States employed an estimated 58.9 million American workers, or 47.5 percent of the nation's private workforce.
- Largest shares = fewer than 100 employees. The small businesses that employed 100 people or less had the largest share of employment amount small businesses.
- Employment increased by nearly 2 percent. In 2018, employment amongst small businesses increased by 1.8 percent, which is an increase of 1 percent from the prior year.
- Increase in proprietors. In 2016, the number of small business proprietors increased by 2.3 percent.
- In 2015, small businesses were responsible for creating 1.9 million net jobs. Organizations that employed 20 people or less had the largest gains, as they added an estimated 1.1 million net jobs.
- There were 5.7 million loans that were value less than $100,000 issued by lenders in the United States in 2016. These loans were issued under the Community Reinvestment Act.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the incorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $50,347 in 2016.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the unincorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $23,060 in 2016.
Small Business Insurance Information
In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.
The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.
Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.
According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage. The SBA recommends the following insurance plans for small business owners:
- Commercial Property Insurance: In the case of an unplanned disaster - fire, flood, vandalism, theft, etc. - this type of coverage will help you avoid paying for the damage out of your own pocket. Even if you rent the property, you should still carry commercial property insurance.
- Commercial Liability Insurance: In the event that a legal situation arises - a negligence lawsuit, for example - commercial liability coverage will provide financial protection. It will cover the cost of legal defense fees, court fees, and even moneys that may be awarded.
- Commercial Auto Insurance: If you operate a vehicle for any activities that are related to your business - transporting and/or delivering goods, or meeting with clients - commercial auto insurance is legally required for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses.
Additional Resources For Commercial Auto Insurance
Learn about small business commercial auto insurance which includes liability and physical damage protection for vehicles that are used for business purposes.
- Big Rig Truck
- Bobtail Non-Trucking Liability
- Commercial Auto
- Commercial Van
- Dump Truck
- Food Truck
- Non-Owned and Hired Auto Liability
- Owner Operator
- Pizza Delivery
- Tow Truck
The person injured in an vehicle accident may be a child, a wage earning single parent, a brain surgeon, or even a homeless person. The costs of the accident may be relatively small or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the victim and his or her injuries. Do you have the assets to handle such costs?
The insurance company pays amounts an insured is legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage and certain types of pollution events covered by this insurance caused by an accident and resulting from ownership, maintenance or use of covered vehicles.
The obligation to pay is triggered only by accidental occurrences involving vehicles covered under the Business Auto Coverage Form. An eligible pollution event is covered only if it is connected to a covered bodily injury or property damage loss.
It is important that you have the proper Limit of Insurance to protect your operations. This limit is the most the insurance company pays for the total of all damages, including any covered pollution cost or expense resulting from any one covered accident, is the Covered Auto liability limit of insurance on the declarations.
This limit applies regardless of the number of insureds, autos covered, vehicles involved in an accident, premium paid, or number of claims made.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Information
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) - The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and ideuries.
- Safer System - The FMCSA Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System offers company safety data and related services to industry and the public over the Internet. Users can search FMCSA databases, register for a USDOT number, pay fines online, order company safety profiles, challenge FMCSA data using the DataQs system, access the Hazardous Material Route registry, obtain National Crash and Out of Service rates for Hazmat Permit Registration, get printable registration forms and find information about other FMCSA Information Systems.
- FMCSA Forms - All forms needed for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Update MCS 150 - Form MCS-150 and Instructions - Motor Carrier Identification Report.
- How does CSA work? - CSA (Compliance - Safety - Accountability) re-engineers the former enforcement and compliance process to provide a better view into how well large commercial motor vehicle carriers and drivers are complying with safety rules, and to intervene earlier with those who are not.
Quotes from leading small business insurance carriers including: ACE, AmTrust, Chubb, Cincinnati, CNA, Colony, Employers, Evanston, Fireman's, Foremost, Guard, Hanover, Hiscox, Liberty Mutual, LLoyd's of London, Markel, MSA, Nationwide, Penn America, Philadelphia, Prime, Progressive, Scottsdale, The Hartford, Travelers, USLI, Utica First, Western World, Zurich & others.