6 Ways to Get Owner-Operator Insurance in California
Life as a commercial vehicle owner-operator is full of potential risks, which means insurance coverage is crucial. Cheap truck insurance can be a game-changer for your company.
California state law has a number of insurance requirements for truck drivers, depending on the type of vehicle, ownership of the vehicle, and other factors.
Here are some tips on choosing the best, most affordable insurance option!
1. Cover Your Legal Obligations
As a business owner, it’s essential to keep legal considerations in mind. Following the letter of the law makes it easier for your business to thrive, and you can avoid fines and other issues.
Before you move on to other forms of insurance, it’s important to determine the types of insurance you are legally required to have in order to operate your truck. There are detailed insurance requirements for different vehicle classes and weights.
Trucks carrying hazardous waste or heavy loads, for example, may need to meet a higher insurance minimum than others. If you travel long distances, you’ll also need to account for the potential riskiness of long mountain routes or inclement weather.
Ultimately, meeting the legal requirements is a good starting point for your insurance policy. The faster you can meet these requirements, the sooner you can get on the road with your truck.
2. Find Out What Your Carrier Provides
If you are leasing your truck from a motor carrier, you may be able to use the insurance provided by that carrier. Ask them for detailed information on the insurance policy so you can make an informed decision.
It’s common for carriers to provide liability insurance, which covers damage caused by the truck. There may be some very specific terms for your insurance, such as only providing coverage while you are on the job for that company. In that situation, your drive home would be uninsured. You may want to seek out a different plan if the one provided doesn’t match up with your needs.
Coverage varies widely between providers. The option they provide may not be ideal for your needs, or they might not offer any at all. If you’re planning to buy your own insurance, it’s best to know as soon as possible. That preparation will give you more time to search for an insurance alternative.
3. Learn What Affects Your Insurance Premiums
As you research insurance and consider your options, it’s a good idea to learn more about how different factors can affect your insurance premiums, such as your vehicle type and size. A large vehicle has more destructive potential, so it’ll likely have a higher premium.
Just like with personal automobiles, your driving history is one consideration. Accidents and traffic violations could lead to higher insurance costs.
Most companies look at the past few years of your driving history. They might also take your age into consideration if you’re particularly young or old. Your location, the distance you travel for most trips, and even the amount of coverage you need will all affect the premium you’ll pay.
Understanding these factors will help you set realistic expectations for your premiums and get a better idea of what you can expect to pay.
4. Choose Insurance that’s Right for Your Type of Cargo
If you carry special cargo, adequate coverage is essential. The goods you are carrying are valuable, and it’s important that you’re able to replace them if they get lost, stolen, or damaged.
Federal requirements for cargo coverage have a $5,000 minimum, but your clients may require more. Some prefer to buy insurance policies for specific shipments. If you’re specializing in expensive or heavy cargo items, you’ll need more coverage to cover the potential losses.
Hazardous cargo generally requires a specific type of insurance, since it’s excluded by most other policies. It includes items like pesticides, fuel, flammable liquids, and gases. Any of these can cause unique complications, which is why insurance minimums hover between $1 and $5 million depending on the specific cargo being transported.
Risky loads like alcohol, tobacco, and livestock are excluded from most motor cargo insurance plans. Keep in mind that the driver’s personal items are not included, either.
5. Work With Commercial Trucking Specialists
While there’s no shortage of insurance companies out there, most of them do not specialize in trucking. They may not have the industry knowledge that’s necessary to help you get the best deals that provide the insurance you need.
General insurance companies may offer truck insurance, but they won’t have the same resources or expert insight as a trucking insurance specialist.
Insurance companies that specialize in commercial vehicles can often provide the best prices and coverage options. Consider specialist companies before moving on to other options, and you may find that they have unique benefits to offer your business.
6. Look for Customizable Insurance Packages
Insurance needs will vary greatly between different truckers. Some may need extra coverage for special circumstances, while others might be fine with meeting the insurance minimum requirements.
As you consider different insurance companies, you can ask for quotes on different policy options. This makes it easier to compare your choices and select the plan that has the best value.
Choose a Trusted Cheap Commercial Truck Insurance Provider
You have a better chance of finding commercial truck insurance if you choose an insurance provider who will work closely with you to customize your insurance package according to your needs.
SoCal Truck Insurance has a program designed to help you find the perfect coverage solution for your trucking business. We understand how integral insurance is to your work as an owner-operator.
We provide insurance quotes that give you an accurate expectation of what you will pay for coverage. In addition to insurance, we offer other perks, such as discounted roadside assistance for your fleet of commercial vehicles.
For a free quote and more information about the policies we offer, contact us at SoCal Truck Insurance today!