As a business owner and entrepreneur, you are dealing with so many people on a daily basis. Even more so as a trucking business because you are not only dealing with customers, but also vendors, manufacturers, employees, and even regulatory authorities. Even more alarming is the amount of people your employees are dealing with daily, whether at a truck stop, weigh station, or restaurant they stop at for lunch.
General Liability insurance is going to protect your business against lawsuits that arise out of your operations alleging bodily injury, including applicable medical costs and fees, and property damage. This type of insurance policy is needed by every type of business owner because unforeseen events can happen to anyone at any time. Something as small as a slip and fall by a customer on your premises, or as big as driving through a building and having to pay to replace it, can happen at any given moment. After all, you and your employees are human and mistakes and accidents can happen.
A huge benefit of General Liability insurance is the defense costs. Attorney fees and court costs can add up to tens of thousands, if not more, and can end up bankrupting a business if there is no insurance in place. An insurance company will pay to defend you regardless of whether or not you are guilty. If you lose and the plaintiff is awarded a judgment or settlement, they will pay for that too. Imagine the amount of money you would save by having this insurance in place, for probably a few hundred dollars, versus lawsuit related expenses.
Since you are already smart enough to start a business, we probably don't have to tell you how critical having General Liability insurance is. However, many people think it is only for on-premise accidents and this is certainly not the case. While there is absolutely coverage if a customer or other third party is injured on your premises, there are so many scenarios that can happen off-premises that you need to be aware of that General Liability insurance can handle. Have any of your employees delivered a load to the wrong place? While it may not happen often, if you get busy and your truckers are running around with their heads cut off, it can happen. And unfortunately, not all receivers of products are going to be understanding since they paid to have the proper delivery.
Your drivers will be coming in contact with many different people throughout their travels. After driving for a long time, they could be tired and irritable. This could cause some unfortunate events to occur. They could get into an altercation at any of those tops whether a truck stop, loading dock, weigh stations, or anywhere else they stop along the way. Because they are working for you at the time, you can be held liable if they cause bodily harm or property damage to others. While it is not fair, it is a reality.
Do you think that if you or your employees commit libel or slander against a competitor, vendor, or even customer that they will simply look the other way? That is not likely. General Liability insurance for truckers will cover this exposure and hopefully smooth everything over, as these damages can add up pretty quickly.
While it may seem to make sense that because you are in the business of truck driving and that you get liability coverage on your Commercial Auto policy, there are many situations in which the Commercial Auto policy will not step in and provide coverage. You should have General Liability insurance as well, so that way both policies can supplement each other and you avoid any gaps in coverage.
Do you allow your employees to have a dog with them while they are working? Many truckers do, and that is okay. Just keep in mind that in these situations, if the dog bites someone, that is not an Auto Liability scenario because it was not caused by a motor vehicle accident. General Liability insurance would be needed in this event, and with the litigious society we live in today, it would be almost crazy not to if you do have this type of exposure with dogs.
Additionally, wrong or missed deliveries are not covered by Commercial Auto insurance. Often, receivers expect what they asked for and if they don't get it, you will get sued. Ultimately, your timeliness affects their bottom line because they have customers too that they have to deliver to. Once you start impacting another business's ability to make money, that can become a huge issue.
One of the most common issues when it comes to Commercial Auto insurance versus General Liability is the constant loading and unloading exposure. If your driver uses a skid loader to unload or load the truck, that would be under Commercial Auto insurance as it would be considered an auto. But, once they switch to a dolly or other more manual type of loading equipment, that is General Liability.
As you can see there are so many situations where either one or both insurance policies could apply, so keep your business the safest and most protected from possible financial loss due to lawsuits, please make sure you purchase both General Liability and Commercial Auto insurance for your trucking operation.
When you purchase Commercial General Liability insurance for truckers you are getting a vast amount of coverages and you must know what they are. The following are standard and you will find these coverages in all General Liability insurance policies for truckers.
Bodily Injury – Coverage for third parties who are either injured on your premises, or throughout the course of your business. This is for those instances where your drivers may have a meltdown at a truck stop or a customer slips on ice or a spill on your premises.
Property Damage – One of your truck drivers will more than likely hit a mailbox in the course of their truck driving career, so you would find that coverage here. As well as any other property damage to others that is caused by you or your employees.
Medical Payments – The medical payments associated with the bodily injury above will be paid for by your General Liability policy.
Personal and Advertising Injury – Things like libel, slander, and defamation are covered here and these things often happen unintentionally. A social media post or a conversation can be had and boom, a lawsuit comes your way. At least with General Liability, you can rest easy that you will be prepared if this unfortunate event occurs.
Damage to Premises Rented to You – If you choose to rent a facility for your business and there is a fire, you can replace the premises with your General Liability coverage. Many landlords will require this coverage as part of their lease anyway.
Something you may be wondering about is if there is a fire, collision, or theft that results in loss of the cargo you are hauling. Unfortunately, this type of loss would not be covered under General Liability. You would have to purchase motor truck cargo insurance.
Another insurance policy you should strongly consider is Umbrella insurance for truckers. Many lawsuits start out at $1,000,000 and can often be even more than that. Depending on the damages caused your limits on the General Liability or Commercial Auto policy may not be enough. An Umbrella insurance policy can give you peace of mind by providing an extra limit of liability coverage on top of what you already have.
When you are thinking about the risk of your business and the possible limits you might want on your policy, it might help to have a general idea of what is standard. Usually, a General Liability policy is going to have standard limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 per policy period, or aggregate. Commercial Auto usually has a combined limit of $1,000,000 which will include both accident-related bodily injury and property damage. Of course, these limits can be raised or lowered depending on your exposure and risk. Certainly, if you are hauling hazardous materials you will need higher limits, while someone hauling paper products may want lower coverage amounts. Also, if you feel you need, even more, you can also purchase the Umbrella insurance policy for truckers mentioned above.
The coverage limits you choose will be part of what dictates how much insurance will cost you. The good news is that CoverWallet has access to some great insurance programs for truckers from many different insurance carriers. Since you have so many insurance policies to consider to make sure your business is fully protected, you should trust and educated insurance agent that specializes in what you do. We can give you a hassle-free quote and analysis of your existing coverages.
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