Auto insurance exists to provide victims of wrecks the money they need to cover their medical bills and other expenses. Unfortunately, when even an ambulance ride can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and most drivers are only purchasing the minimum amount of insurance legally required, many victims end up maxing out the insurance policy coverage limits of the drivers who hit them.
In crashes involving commercial trucks like 18-wheelers, injuries are usually not just BAD, they are CATASTROPHIC. That means the average insurance policy is not going to be nearly enough to cover it. And trucking companies rarely raise a hand to help out.
So where does that leave victims of big truck crashes?
How Much Insurance Do Commercial Trucks Need?
In Georgia, the minimum auto insurance requirements are $25,000 per person injured and $50,000 per accident, regardless of how many people are injured.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s minimum insurance requirements are the same for all drivers, including commercial truck drivers, when they are operating only within Georgia. That means someone driving a loaded flatbed truck, garbage truck, cement mixer, or large delivery vehicle may only need the same amount of insurance as a driver in a sedan or a parent driving a minivan.
Interstate trucking is different. That means most of the 18-wheelers you see on the highway are required by federal law to have a lot more insurance coverage than passenger vehicles to compensate for any damages.
Interstate trucking requires:
- $300,000 in coverage if the truck weighs less than 10,000 pounds
- $750,000 in coverage if the truck weighs more than 10,000 pounds
- $5,000,000 in coverage if the truck is hauling hazardous material
A semi-truck usually weighs 35,000 pounds empty and 80,000 pounds when loaded. That means all 18-wheelers that are not operating solely within Georgia will have at least $750,000 in coverage and more likely $1,000,000 in coverage.
Trucking companies often purchase MORE than the minimum insurance requirement to save themselves from personal liability if one of their drivers is at fault for a crash.
What Other Insurance Coverage is Available for Commercial Trucks?
While liability insurance is the only auto insurance legally required for drivers of passenger vehicles, there are many other types of optional coverage, including collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist coverage.
Other types of coverage are also available for commercial trucks, but the options differ from those for passenger vehicles. They include:
- General liability coverage: This required coverage covers people other than the driver who are injured, as well as property that is damaged, during loading/unloading (such as at truck stops and loading docks) as well as delivery mistakes.
- Non-trucking, or “contingent” liability coverage—This coverage (which is usually required by trucking companies) covers medical expenses and other damages for people other than the driver in crashes outside of business purposes—i.e., the truck isn’t hauling cargo or being driven to pick up cargo.
- Bobtail coverage—This coverage is essentially the same as non-trucking liability coverage but only applies when the trailer is not attached.
- Physical damage coverage—This covers the truck itself (this may be required, depending on if the truck is still being paid off).
- Motor truck cargo coverage—This covers the cost of the cargo being transported if it’s stolen or damaged.
- Equipment coverage—This covers trucking equipment that is damaged in a crash, such as navigational devices, tarps, chains, and so on.
Related Reading: Who Is at Fault in Truck Accidents Caused by Unsecured Loads?
Truck Accident Claims Are Complicated, But We Know How to Handle Them
Commercial truck insurance is often purchased in amounts far larger than any passenger vehicle policy. It’s necessary to purchase large policies because the damage and injuries semi-trucks can cause are enormous.
However, insurance companies fight HARD to prevent car crash victims from getting even a few thousand dollars. They fight much harder to prevent victims from getting ANYTHING when hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we build truck accident claims for our clients that insurance companies can’t ignore or refute. Contact us today for a free case review and learn what we can do for you.