For decades, the best selling auto has been the pickup truck. It’s utility, configurations for tough terrain, and symbol of the American lifestyle have only added to its popularity. From times gone by when the American truck’s main purpose was for use on the farm, to newer trucks which have Bluetooth technology, improved gas mileage, and car-like handling, truck owners have needed insurance. Owning a truck, as compared to a sedan, means that you’ll need a specific type of truck insurance to cover your unique needs.
Types of Truck Insurance
There are different types of truck insurance policies. This all depends upon the type of truck, its usage, and its usual cargo.
1) Commercial Insurance
If you own your own business, whether it is large or small, and you use your truck as part of daily operations, you’ll need to have a commercial insurance policy. Often, this policy will be around the same price as if you owned a utility van. If you carry hazardous materials, specialist equipment, or have modifications to your truck, like a winch, then your policy should extend to cover these items.
2) Private Use Insurance
If you don’t use your truck for your business, then you need to insure your truck accordingly. It is still considered commercial auto insurance, but it’s for small or pickup trucks. This covers a variety of incidents including:
- Bodily injury: any injuries caused to other people because of an accident with your truck.
- Property damage: expenses to replace or repair other people’s property because of an accident with your truck.
- Comprehensive: pays for the damages to your truck in the event of an accident.
- Collision: pays for your losses in the event of a fire, theft, vandalism, or property damage.
- Uninsured/Underinsured: pays for the damages incurred to you and your truck as a result of an accident with a person who has little or no insurance coverage.
Other Types of Trucks
Although this article is mainly about pickup truck insurance, auto drivers also own a variety of different types of trucks for business and personal uses.
If you live in a cold climate, than you may know someone in your neighborhood who owns a pickup truck with a detachable snowplow blade in case a storm blows in to town. If you’re the owner of this snowplow and generate an income from clearing the roads, than you may want to consider specialty insurance. The coverage is much the same as with regular pickup truck insurance, although with possibly higher levels of protection on bodily injury, property damage, collision, and comprehensive protection. You may want to consider seasonal coverage as well. DMV.org states, “If you store your vehicles during the off-season, you could save on premium costs by only having your comprehensive coverage on a year-round basis, and all other coverages on a seasonal basis.”
2) Box Truck
If you own a box truck for transporting goods, you’ll need specialty insurance. These types of trucks include:
- Ice box
- Moving truck
- Cargo cutaway
- Tilt cab
Each state has minimum liability coverage that a box truck owner must have. Check with your state’s Department of Transportation for further information. There are different types of insurance that you may want to purchase, including:
- General liability (for bodily injury, property damage, and physical damage)
- Primary trucking liability
- Non-trucking liability (for bodily injury to another person, their vehicle and/or their property)
- Motor truck cargo (to protect the goods you’re transporting in instances of fire, theft, or natural disaster)
- Occupational accident
- Umbrella liability
3) Dump Truck
If you own your own dump truck and are not under another business or organization’s authority, such as your state’s Department of Transportation, then you should purchase dump truck insurance. This will protect you in the incident of a spill or accident that causes personal or property damage.
The types of insurance available to dump truck owners are:
- Non-trucking liability (pays for property damages, medical bills, bodily injury and property expenses for other people involved in the accident). DMV.org provides the following example:
“If you drive your dump truck off work hours to attend your child’s softball game or to drive downtown to pay an invoice and debris falls of the truck and cracks another driver’s windshield, non-trucking liability insurance would cover these damages. Of course, the amount of coverage you would receive depends on the auto insurance limits set in your dump truck insurance policy.”
- Physical damage
- Motor truck cargo
- General liability
Depending upon the insurance company that you choose for your dump truck’s protection, you may be required to purchase physical damage, collision, fire, and theft insurance.
If you transport gravel, asphalt, or sand, it is recommended that you contact your insurance agent. You may need specialty insurance.
4) Tow Truck
There are many different types of professions that require tow truck insurance, including:
- Commercial truck drivers
- Independent tow truck operators
- Auto repair shops
- Auto body shops
- Fleet motor carriers
- Roadside service providers
- Auto salvage
- Auto club contactors
- Rotational towing
- Full-service gas stations
If you don’t have liability insurance, it may end up costing you thousands of dollars. DMV.org states, “For example, if you are involved in an auto accident and a car you are towing skids into a school van, you would be responsible for paying medical expenses and property damages related to the accident out of your own pocket.”
Other types of insurance coverage that you may want to consider include:
- Bodily injury (standard liability, required by law)
- Property damage (standard liability, required by law)
- Physical damage (fire and theft)
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage (theft and non-auto related accidents like fire or weather-related causes)
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage (protection in case the other driver involved in the accident doesn’t have any insurance or enough insurance to cover the damages)
Tow truck insurance is like any other insurance: shop around for the right policy and the best deal for you. Talk with your individual insurance agent for advise.
Car vs. Truck
Generally, trucks and SUVs cost more to insure than cars, often up to 20 percent more, depending upon the company. This is often because truck owners use their vehicles differently than they would a car, and this leads to greater risks:
- Hauling goods increases the possibility for liability or damages
- Pulling a trailer (horse, utility, medium-duty) can increase the potential for liability and may require additional, separate insurance.
- Using the truck for business purposes, whether it be to haul tools for a construction company or sod and trees for a landscaping company, means the potential for damage to the truck bed or additional damage to other vehicles if there is an accident.
Amount of Coverage Needed
Aside from meeting all state insurance requirements for covering your truck, you may want to consider additional protection depending upon various factors, especially if you own your own business:
- Business size
- Number of pickup trucks
- Number of employees
- Ability to handle accident-related losses.
You may want to consider a commercial umbrella policy which would give you additional protection beyond your pickup truck insurance limits.
In 2013 in Wausau, Wisconsin, a pickup truck collided with a school bus. Thankfully, there were no children on board the bus and only one driver suffered minor injuries. As a result of the crash, the bus driver steered off the road and damaged some property in its path. This type of crash could have been much worse, and hopefully both drivers had insurance. The pickup driver, in particular, has been cited for causing the incident. Hopefully, he has the proper truck insurance to cover the damages to the vehicles, bodily injuries, and additional property.
While you may hesitate to have the coverage you truly need just to save on costs, having the right protection will be the right choice if anything unexpected should happen. There are a multitude of considerations that insurers examine when determining the cost of your truck insurance. Below, types of truck models, as well as general factors will be discussed.
Some trucks are more expensive to insure than others. Before you buy, insurance costs should factor into your considerations. The most recent data from Edmunds.com includes lists of the most expensive and least expensive trucks to insure. Their research is based on five-year projections and is for 2010 models only.
Those that are the least expensive, in order, are:
- Chevrolet Colorado
- GMC Canyon
- Ford Ranger
- Toyota Tacoma
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Ford F-150
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Honda Ridgeline
- Chevrolet Avalanche
- Dodge Dakota
The most expensive, in order, are:
- Ford F-350 Super Duty
- Dodge Ram Pickup 3500
- Dodge Ram Pickup 2500
- Ford F-250 Super Duty
- Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
- GMC Sierra 2500HD
- Hummer H3T
- Toyota Tundra
- Nissan Titan
- Dodge Ram Pickup 1500
As you will notice, those trucks that are most expensive to insure are often the heavy duty models. Edmunds.com states: “the takeaway is, don’t invest in one of these pumped-up pickups unless you really need the extra brawn.”
Kelley Blue Book notes that why you buy impacts how much you pay for insurance. They highlight the reasons behind the cost differences as follows:
A) Truck size
The size of your car or truck can influence the amount your pay based on statistical data on accidents. The smaller the vehicle, the more likely it is to be driven by a younger driver and/or at higher speeds. They usually have more maneuverability and have a higher likelihood of being involved in an accident. However, larger SUVs and trucks could raise your liability premium, which is the damage coverage to vehicles involved in the accident. Because a truck is bigger, it can inflict more damage to your own truck and the other cars involved in the accident, therefore increasing the rate of your repair and insurance bills.
B) Original cost
The original manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of your truck has a big influence on the amount you will pay for insurance. As stated by Kelley Blue Book, “And as a general rule, more expensive cars cost more to insure because of the increased costs associated with repairing them, replacing parts — especially on foreign brands — or replacing the vehicle in the event of a total loss.”
When you’re shopping for a truck, many companies tout the number of horsepower that each model has. To them, the more horsepower, the better. And this may be true when you’re considering towing capabilities, speed, etc. However, insurance companies see it a different way: the more horsepower, the more you’re likely to drive at higher speeds and, therefore, get into an accident. Consider the size of your truck’s engine when considering how much you’ll have to invest into insurance.
There are some trucks that are more popular to thieves than others. Unfortunately for you, if you own one of these trucks, that means that your insurance rates will be higher. Of Kelley Blue Book’s rankings for the most stolen cars of 2008 (applicable for model years 2005-1007), trucks dominated the list:
- Cadillac Escalade ESV
- Ford F-250 SuperCrew
- Cadillac Escalade
- Dodge Charger
- Ford F-350 SuperCrew
- Hummer H2 SUT
- Dodge Magnum
- Hummer H@2
- Dodge Durango
- Honda S2000
E) Safety Features
Having additional safety features on your truck can be to your advantage. Items such as side airbags, traction control, and proximity alerts can often qualify for insurance discounts.
F) Your age, driving record, and residence
Though this is not related to the type of truck you drive, it still influences the amount insurers will charge you. Your rates will increase if you are:
- A younger, less experienced driver
- Have had more accidents in the past (regardless of MSRP or engine size in your truck)
- You live in an urban area where vehicle theft is more common
- The distance between your home and work is far, increasing the likelihood that you’ll get into an accident.
Truck insurers will consider all of these factors (A through F) when determining your premiums. Talk with your individual insurance agent to determine the best policy for you.
Other Enhanced Insurance articles related to Commercial Auto Insurance:
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