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Truck Insurance Requirements For Owner Operators

If you own or lease a truck, there are owner-operator insurance requirements you must satisfy. Here's what they are.

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What Truck Insurance Do Owner-Operators Need?

Owning or leasing a truck is a great way to enhance your trucking career. It does, however, come with some responsibilities. There are owner-operator insurance requirements you must meet, among other things. Here's what you need to know about owner-operator truck insurance and what type you'll need.

Within the United States, you can't operate a truck without meeting some minimum insurance requirements. Otherwise, you can't get a motor carrier number or operating authority from the FMCSA or DOT. Plus, you'd be liable for any property damage or bodily injury resulting from an accident.

The type of insurance you'll need depends on your owner-operator type. If you have a permanent lease, there's a specific set of requirements. And if you have your own operating authority, there's a different standard to meet.

Here's a breakdown of what insurance you'd need in each situation.

What Insurance Will I Need if I Have My Own Authority?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Insurance Requirements for Leased Owner-Operators?

If you're operating under a lease with a trucking company, you likely already have primary liability coverage. The lessor typically provides that under their commercial auto insurance policy.


It's a common part of most leasing agreements. It means you won't have to worry about paying for damages to people or their property if you cause an accident.


Also, the lessor may cover your truck under their motor truck cargo policy. That provides you with cargo insurance coverage when you're working.


Be aware, however, that those coverages typically don't apply unless you're under dispatch. So, you'll be fully liable if you drive your truck on your own time.

As an owner-operator, what should my insurance policy include?

If your lease agreement doesn't include the above coverages, you must purchase them yourself. For proper liability coverage, you'll need a commercial auto insurance policy. The policy you purchase should include coverage for:


  • 3rd-Party Auto Liability — Covers bodily injury and property damage done to others.

  • 1st-Party Physical Damage — Covers damage to your truck in the event of an accident.

  • Towing and Rental Coverage — Reimburses you for the cost of towing your truck and any rental fees you incur.

  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage — Protects you if you're in an accident with a motorist without insurance or with minimal insurance.

  • Non-Trucking Liability Coverage — Provides liability coverage when you operate your truck on your own time.

  • Trailer Interchange Coverage — A type of physical damage coverage that protects you if you damage someone else's trailer.

  • Occupational Accident Coverage — A policy that protects you from unexpected medical expenses and loss of income if you're injured on the job.

What add-ons should I have added to my physical damage policy?

You may want some additional add-ons to your physical damage policy. These include:


  • Personal Property Coverage — This pays for damage or loss of personal property in your truck stemming from an accident.

  • Breakdown Coverage — This covers costs associated with truck breakdowns. This includes towing and labor fees resulting from a breakdown.

  • Gap Coverage — This pays the difference between the book value of your truck and your outstanding loan amount if an accident results in a total loss of your truck.

  • Rental Vehicle Coverage — This coverage provides a daily reimbursement if you need to rent a truck while yours is out of commission following an accident.

How much does truck insurance cost for owner-operators?

For single owner operators, you can expect to pay about $8,000 to $15,000 per year for your insurance policy. On the other hand, leased owner operators can expect to pay between $5,000 and $8,000 each year for insurance coverage.


For more details on costs, check out the Truck Insurance Cost For Owner-Operators.

Where can I find insurance coverage for me as an owner-operator?

Now you should have a better idea of your insurance requirements as an owner-operator of a truck. However, knowing what you need and making sure you have it are different matters altogether. If you're already certain what types of coverage you need, you can click the get a quote button above to get started.


If you're not sure, contact one of our insurance experts by calling (646) 844-9933. We'll go over your situation and help you find the policy or policies that meet your needs. The process couldn't be easier.

Where else can I find out more about trucking insurance for owner operators?

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