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motor truck cargo insurance

What’s in the Box? Types of Cargo Explained

If you’re in the trucking industry, carrying motor truck cargo insurance is a must. As one of the most crucial elements of the American economy, truckers make the world go ‘round. The drivers of these big rigs tirelessly move millions of tons of cargo across the country every day. There’s no doubt that anyone who’s been on the highway has seen an 18-wheeler hauling something. Every piece of cargo has a story, a purpose, and a destination.

Cargo Haulers Unite

To understand the different types of cargo, one must first learn about the various types of cargo haulers. While some types of vehicles go by multiple names, others are given specific titles based on their jobs. 

Here are some of the most common:

Semi-Trailer Truck

Semi-trucks are probably the most common types of cargo carriers on the road. They are essentially the combination of a tractor unit with a trailer attached to it. People refer to these beasts by a variety of names:

  • Semi
  • Semi-trailer
  • Tractor-trailer
  • Big Rig
  • Semi-truck
  • 18 Wheeler
  • Semi-tractor trailer
  • And more

The most common type of tractor has an engine in the forward-most compartment, much like what you would see on conventional pickup trucks. They have a fifth-wheel trailer coupling connected to the trailer. These fifth wheels are moveable to adjust the weight distribution over the rear axles.

Semi-trucks are popular because they are powerful enough to haul massive weights. Tractors are often built with sleeper cabs that provide truckers a place to sleep on long hauls.

Trailers come in a variety of sizes, types, and uses. A functional tractor is compatible with nearly all types of trailers. Here are some of the most common:

  • Flatbed trailers are the most popular semi-trailers in use today. These trailers are uncovered, which allows for large items to be strapped down for transport. Lowboy trailers are a special kind of flatbed that uses a lower bed to carry more substantial pieces of equipment.
  • Refrigerated Trailers are used to transport chilled or frozen products in a temperature-controlled environment.
  • Dry Van Trailers are enclosed containers that are most commonly used for freight. They are fully closed and sealed to offer protection from outside elements.
  • Tanker Trailers are used to transport liquids and gasses. They are loaded with pumping systems and come in many different sizes and ratings.

Box Truck

Box trucks are often referred to as cube trucks, cube vans, box vans, or rolling toasters. These trucks have a chassis cab truck with an extended cube-shaped cargo area. Most of the time, the cargo area is separate from the cabin, although some box trucks have a door between these two areas.

Box trucks typically have a garage door style rear door that rolls up. While box trucks aren’t usually considered cargo carriers due to their smaller sizes, they are often utilized in the final legs of a transportation network.

The Most Common Types of Cargo Hauled by Semi-Trucks

While trucks essentially haul anything and everything, there are some common types of cargo you’ll see most often. The type of shipment you haul will impact your motor truck cargo insurance rates, so make sure you know what you’re towing in order to get the cheapest truck insurance.

Freight

Truck freight makes up around 70 percent of all cargo that is transported in the United States. This freight surpasses over ten billion tons each year. Freight is best described as bulk goods transported by truck, train, ship, or plane. That means freight could be just about anything from boxes of Nike Shoes to pallets of lawn fertilizer.

Hazardous Materials

It’s estimated that around seven percent of all trucks carry hazardous materials. These materials need to be adequately secured in the truck or in a specialized container or trailer. Some of the most common hazardous materials being shipped today are:

  • Explosives
  • Combustible solids
  • Radioactive materials
  • Flammable gases and liquids
  • Oxidizers
  • Corrosives

Large Equipment

Large machines, raw materials, and equipment can also be transported by a semi-truck. This is when flatbeds become extremely popular because they allow for larger-sized items and provide secure ways to secure the load.

Vehicle Transport

Some semis carry large, double-deck open trailers that haul other vehicles. This is how auto manufacturers, for example, move their new cars and trucks from the plan to dealerships.

Motor Truck Cargo Insurance Keeps Your Business Running

Regardless of the cargo your business transports, you have the duty to make the delivery as contracted. If an accident occurs during transport, your trucking company is on the hook to cover the cost. That’s when motor truck cargo insurance kicks in.

Cargo insurance covers you from the loss or damage of cargo from an accident, theft, fire, and so on. Many companies require their carrier companies to carry some form of cargo insurance. There is no legal requirement to purchase cargo insurance, even though it’s a wise move.

Outside of Your Control

There are some types of damage or loss that can happen outside of a carrier’s control. Things like natural disasters, strikes, etc. are outside of your scope of authority. On top of these acts of god and government, many companies and people might handle your cargo before and after it’s on your truck. This makes it difficult to know who is actually liable for any damage sustained.

As the cargo carrier, most of the blame is going to be on you. While this might not be fair, it’s also quite difficult to disprove. That’s just another reason why a solid motor truck cargo insurance policy is worthwhile. This coverage protects you for the aforementioned losses without the need to prove who is at fault.

The Cheapest Truck Insurance to Protect Your Business

There’s no question that cargo insurance is a must, but you also don’t want to break the bank with more payments on top of your commercial trucking insurance. Luckily, SoCal Truck Insurance is in the business of offering high-quality, affordable insurance. Give us a call today to get a complimentary quote. Your cargo and business are worth it.