Commercial trucking owner-operators know that every commercial vehicle in Georgia must be licensed and insured by the state. Each insurance company has an array of policies, but which items are required and which are optional?
There is much more to a commercial vehicle insurance policy than simply checking off the boxes. You may want to choose additional coverage for your fleet. But you also don’t want to leave off something important that is mandated by state law. Here, you’ll find out what the requirements are for commercial trucking insurance.
What Are the Commercial Trucking Insurance Requirements?
All truck owners in Georgia are required to get owner-operator insurance, also known as primary liability insurance. This coverage provides both bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
Bodily Injury Liability
If your driver was to cause an accident that led to someone else’s injury, they may be legally responsible for the damages. This type of policy covers the costs of the damages and provides some legal defense for your drive in the event the other party initiates a lawsuit.
This coverage should be at least $25,000 to $50,000. Simply put, the $25,000 is the highest cost your insurance can give the injured party while the $50,000 is the minimum paid to several people if the accident led to multiple parties becoming injured.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability covers the damages to any property from the accident. This could be another vehicle, building, or structure. The minimum coverage needed is $25,000, which would cover you per Georgia’s laws.
However, that coverage is often insufficient, and adding more to it will prevent you from having to pay extra in the event of an accident.
Additional Trucking Insurance Coverage Options
You must have both bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance to meet Georgia’s legal trucking insurance requirements. You may also decide that adding on additional coverage will come in handy for your trucking business. Options to consider include:
If you add cargo insurance, it provides compensation for damaged or lost cargo in transport.
Even though your requirements require you to have property damage liability, adding collision coverage can help out. Regular liability coverage may not be enough to cover the other driver’s damage. But with this addition, it will cover your own damages, too.
Comprehensive or physical damage coverage covers your truck for accidents that don’t involve collisions. For example, if a deer ran in front of the truck while driving or things like vandalism and theft occurred, you’d be covered.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Injury
Unfortunately, not everyone on the road has the insurance they’re required to have. This coverage can help you in the event of an accident with a driver that either has inadequate insurance coverage or none at all.
How Much Is the Average Cost for Commercial Truck Insurance?
For trucks in Georgia that weigh over 10,000 pounds, owner-operators are looking at an average annual cost of $8,500 to $14,000 per year. Coverage is $750,000 or more on average for a truck hauling non-hazardous freight. Georgia’s minimum insurance liability coverage is $100,000 for a person and $300,000 for an accident. For commercial trucks that carry over 12 passengers, the costs are higher. The same is true if you haul hazardous materials, where you will minimally need $5,000,000 in coverage.
Trucking companies don’t need general liability insurance as per Georgia law. But it may be better for your trucking company if you have it just in case. It’s better to be adequately insured to protect your assets—and your bottom line.
To ensure you have the right level of insurance for your trucking company, you may want to work with a company that specializes in handling permits, insurance, taxes, and other trucking aspects. This way, you will be sure you’ve got not just what is required by the laws in Georgia but also enough to protect the assets of your business.
Too many small trucking companies find this out the hard way. The bare minimum won’t do if your truck is vandalized or your cargo is stolen. It’s always better to err on the side of caution to ensure your trucking fleet and business are covered.