Are you an owner-operator? One of the most frequently asked questions by new truck drivers is the insurance costs around their vehicle and operations. What is the average cost of 18-wheeler insurance, and is it affordable?
Your insurance premium price depends on several factors. The make and model of the truck you drive, your driver history, and even your credit score come into play when signing up for 18-wheeler insurance.
An average policy plan covering all your insurance needs may set owner-operators back anything from $8,000 to $12,000, depending on the criteria specified in the insurer’s risk management process. It’s important to note that owner-operators under permanent lease already get general liability cover from the motor carrier, and some carriers even offer bobtail insurance.
As a result, you get most of your insurance premiums taken care of by the carrier. However, there are several other policies you’ll need to take to get comprehensive coverage of your vehicle in all situations. The cost of these policies adds a significant expense to your monthly or annual insurance costs.
This post looks at the average costs surrounding the insurance for your 18-wheeler.
How Do I Find Insurance Companies for 18-Wheeler Quotes?
Many owner-operators make the mistake of going with a recommended insurer instead of getting multiple quotes. The reality is that insurers operate on a risk-based model to assess you for your premium costs.
Even if you have a colleague recommending a specific policy to you, you might get a better deal with another insurer. Find a reputable broker and ask them to secure you three to five quotes from leading insurers.
Your broker will ask you about your requirements, bringing you options from several providers. However, it’s important to note that going with the lowest-cost provider isn’t always the best option. Look for insurers offering the best balance between affordability and cover.
What are the Accident Risks Facing Truck Drivers?
Your risk profile affects your premium costs. When assessing you for a policy, the insurer considers the following.
According to federal data, there are over 400,000 accidents involving commercial vehicles each year. Road hazards like bad weather play a significant role in causing these accidents. Since time is the most precious resource for truck drivers, many keep rolling in hazardous weather conditions.
Sleep deprivation is another leading cause of trucking accidents. When a driver is tired, it impairs their judgment, and they may end up in an accident. Since sleeping in your truck or at a rest stop is uncomfortable, many drivers decide to continue when they’re feeling tired, regardless of the consequences.
A fully-loaded 18-wheeler is a heavy vehicle. Many accidents involve drivers failing to gauge the right stopping distance or traveling too fast when they have to take an evasive maneuver.
What are the Types of 18-Wheeler Truck Insurance?
Federal law in the United States requires all truck drivers to have general liability insurance. This insurance protects the company, owner-operator, and third party in the case of an accident. Motor carriers typically issue owner-operators with general liability cover when signing a lease agreement.
Coverage for bodily injury will pay for all medical expenses arising from an accident. This policy covers the medical bills of the injured party up to a certain limit. The policy also stipulates maximum payout amounts per accident, as per the Combined Single Limits (CSL).
Property damage cover provides you with coverage for any damage to other people’s property or vehicles. This comprehensive coverage is essential for owner-operators leasing trucks or those that have a lien on the vehicle.
Specific peril insurance covers you in the event of hazards, like fire damage. The coverage you receive depends on the particular terms and conditions set in your policy by your insurer.
Cargo insurance covers whatever you’re hauling, preventing financial loss to third parties.
What are the Factors that Determine My Policy Cost?
Your insurer bases your risk profile on several factors. Essentially, your risk profile tells the insurer what they need to know when assessing you for a policy. Drivers with high-risk profiles receive higher premiums than those with a low-risk profile.
Some of the primary factors Insurers look at when assessing you for a policy include the following.
- Your driver experience and driving record.
- Your truck and trailer value.
- Your radius of operation.
- Where and how you store the truck at night.
- Your age.
- The type of cargo you haul.
- Your credit score.
What are the Average Costs of 18 Wheeler Insurance?
Since each driver’s risk profile is different, it’s challenging to nail down trucking insurance costs. However, we put together these average costs based on information we found on trucking forums and other reviews from leading insurance companies.
- Primary Liability $5,000 to $7,000
- General Liability $400 to $600
- Umbrella Policy $500 to 700
- Physical Damage Around $2,500
- Bobtail Insurance $375 to $600
- Uninsured Motorist Around $75
- Occupational Accident Variable
- Cargo Insurance Variable
How Can I Reduce My 18 Wheeler Insurance Premiums?
Fortunately, the price you pay for your insurance policy can change as you improve your risk profile with your insurer. Here are some tips to help you get the best price for your 18-wheeler insurance.
Pay Your Premiums Annually
When you’re talking with your broker or insurance agent, ask them about discounts for paying your premiums annually. This action significantly reduces your risk profile, dropping your premium costs. By paying for the year upfront, you could save anywhere from 10% to 20% of your annual insurance costs.
Discuss a Discount with Your Provider
You can negotiate with your insurance agent for a better price. IF your truck has a deer guard, it will improve your risk profile. Additions like guards and trackers help you get lower premiums.
Get Quotes from Several Companies
When you’re looking for your insurer, shop around. As mentioned, each insurer follows a different risk model when assessing you for your policy and premium. By getting quotes from several insurance companies, you can compare pricing and policy details.
What is the Average Cost of 18 Wheeler Insurance FAQ
Why do I get different policy prices from different insurers?
Insurance companies don’t adhere to any central risk model when evaluating you for a policy. As a result, you’ll probably receive different prices from different companies. It’s tempting to go for the cheapest option, but that might not be the best choice. Make sure you read through your policy details and compare the offers from several companies before selecting your preferred insurer. Understanding your policy can save you plenty of heartaches when things go wrong.
Is bobtail insurance the same as non-trucking liability insurance?
No, bobtail insurance is an entirely different policy from non-trucking liability insurance (NTL). Bobtail insurance only covers you and your truck when you’re driving without a trailer attached. Bobtail insurance protects you when you’re traveling between depots or going home at night after work. However, the cover stops as soon as you connect a trailer and start moving loads. NTL insurance covers you for other accidents when you’re on or off the job.
Why do insurance companies use the “two-year” rule?
The two-tear rule only applies to new truck drivers with less than two years of holding a commercial trucking license. Insurers view these drivers as high-risk, and many won’t accept drivers with this kind of track record. You can expect to pay a heavy premium if you’re within the first two years of holding your CTL. After you enter your third year, call the insurer and ask for an adjustment of your premium.