A trucking companies carry more insurance coverage than your average driver. However, the amount of insurance they carry depends on the size and operations of each individual trucking company.
A trucking company’s insurance coverage can range from the minimum under federal law ($750,000), up to $100 million.
Other trucking companies don’t even carry liability insurance, which covers the company in the event of a lawsuit. Those companies are what we call self-insured.
In this article, we will explore different types and amounts of liability coverage that trucking companies can hold.
Basic Trucking Insurance: FMCSA Minimum Coverage
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Transportation) issues regulations that govern all trucking companies that operate in commerce between states.
The vast majority of states have adopted the FMCSA’s regulations on a state-level for trucking companies that only operate within one particular state.
Under the federal regulations (FMCSRs), most motor carriers must carry a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance. The $750,000 minimum requirement has been in place for 35 years despite inflation greatly increasing medical and litigation costs.
In 2014, the FMCSA announced plans to raise the minimum financial responsibility levels. It had seen studies showing that many severe trucking cases result in damages far exceeding $1 million.
Over the years, our truck accident cases at Shannon Law Group have demonstrated these findings. In many cases, $750,000 simply does not come close to fully compensating our clients after a life-altering injury.
In 2017, the FMCSA back-peddled on its 2014 announcement. It decided against raising the minimum insurance coverage requirements because it could not determine the impact this change would have on the trucking industry.
Fortunately, many trucking carriers recognize that $750,000 is inadequate insurance coverage. Many of these companies carry liability insurance for several million dollars.
Many trucking and transportation companies have excess or umbrella insurance coverage. The amount of excess coverage a company maintains is up to them.
Self-Insured Trucking Companies
Another option for large trucking operations is to be self-insured. Self-insured means that the trucking company doesn’t have any third-party insurance.
Instead, the trucking company chooses to bear the risk of claims and lawsuits itself. For a motor carrier that does business between states to legally be self-insured, it must obtain permission from the FMCSA.
The large trucking companies that elect to be self-insured will typically have enough assets to cover large damages after a catastrophic truck accident.
Other Insurance Policies Covering a Truck Accident
If you’re in a truck accident, it’s important that your attorney finds all insurance policies potentially available to you. In some cases, these insurance policies may cover companies other than the motor carrier itself, including third-party logistics brokers.
A little over a decade ago, SLG attorneys Joe Shannon, Jack Cannon, and Patrick Anderson tried a case against a logistics broker. The broker claimed they had nothing to do with a shipment that resulted in a devastating truck crash.
For years, the insurance companies told our lawyers that the broker had no liability, and there was no insurance coverage available.
A jury awarded a record verdict in Will County, and the appellate court affirmed the verdict. Finally, the broker and its insurance company paid the victims tens of millions of dollars.
That case highlighted the importance of making sure you hire truck accident attorneys that are willing to turn over every leaf and find ALL of the available insurance coverage.
Injured in a truck accident? Contact us today
If you have been seriously injured in a truck crash, the lawyers at Shannon Law Group are ready to help you. We know what we’re doing when it comes to truck accidents. Our lawyers are with you from start to finish.
Call us today at (312) 578-9501 or message us here to get started. Our consultations are always free. We’re just a phone call or message away!
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