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trucking insurance for owner operators

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to trucking insurance for owner operators. You’ll have different insurance options available based on your haul type, range, level of experience, and driving record. Also, insurance requirements vary by state, so be sure to review your state’s regulations for your specific haul type and needs. We spoke with several trucking insurance experts, and they shared their top tips for choosing insurance as an owner operator.

What Types of Insurance Do Owner Operators Need?

The exact trucking insurance that you will need as an owner operator will vary. The best thing to do is talk to an insurance retailer that specializes in trucking insurance. They will be able to give you details on your specific situation. That said, here are a few basic insurance types to know:

Liability Insurance

Primary liability insurance covers damage to the tractor or trailer, and most owner operators need a minimum of $750,000 in coverage. That number will go up if you’re hauling hazmat or other riskier loads. Adding physical damage coverage to liability coverage can protect against potholes, weather conditions, and similar damage.

Cargo Coverage

Cargo coverage protects the goods that you haul. In the event of an accident, you need to know that the load you’re carrying is covered. Cargo coverage is specific to owner operators who are running under their own authority.

Non-Trucking-Liability (NTL) & Bobtail Coverage

If you are an owner operator who is running under a company’s authority, you will need NTL and Bobtail coverage. NTL covers drivers when they use their truck for non-businesses purposes such as a stop at the grocery store or an outing with friends. Bobtail policies also cover drivers who are returning from a deadhead load while still under dispatch.

David Zahm, Director of New Business at Robley Insurance

If you are partnering with a specific company, David Zahm, Director of New Business at Robley Insurance, encourages owner operators to do their research:

“I would encourage an owner operator to vet a company they’re going to work with. …Ask the trucking company directly, ‘I’d like to see a copy of your CAB report.’”

That information is powerful for drivers. You have to protect your own safety record, and a company with a poor CAB report is a huge red flag.

Passenger Accident Coverage

Passenger accident coverage provides insurance protection for guest passengers in your vehicle. While your passengers may not be part of the nuts and bolts of operating your truck, people are one of the most valuable assets in life. Passenger Accident Coverage helps give you peace of mind when you have someone else in the truck with you.

What Factors Affect Insurance Prices?

Trucking insurance for owner operators varies greatly. The level of insurance coverage that you need will affect pricing, but there are several other factors as well.

Joy LaFrance, Chief Underwriting Officer for One80 Intermediaries

CDL experience plays a big role in being approved for trucking insurance and pricing. According to One80 Intermediaries’ Chief Underwriting Officer, Joy LaFrance, underwriters want to see a minimum of 3 years of CDL experience and a CDL license in the state that you operate. Drivers with less than 3 years of experience may have a hard time finding insurance from a retailer that specializes in transportation. Underwriters and insurance retailers need evidence of a clean driving record and good business management.

One80 Intermediaries’ Chief Underwriting Officer, Joy LaFrance, noted:

“Preferred programs don’t typically take anyone that’s new in business less than 3 years unless they have 5 years prior experience. So the pricing for the first 2 to 3 years could be astronomical until they have proof that their loss history is good, that they are maintaining driver files, and that they are maintaining their vehicle.”

Jeff Ice, Transportation Practice Leader for Risk Strategies

Jeff Ice, the retired Transportation Practice Leader for Risk Strategies, confirmed:

“The only thing that really gives an underwriter some comfort as to what they’re going to insure is experience. So, if there’s no experience, yes there are places you can get insurance, but you’re going to pay the piper.”

An owner operator’s driving record is another factor. A good safety record is critical. Insurance carriers will look at inspection records, hours of service violations, driver fitness tests, logbook violations, and truck maintenance records among other things. They may also look for proper signage and safety features on your vehicle like fog lamps or deer guards.

A final determining factor on insurance price is down payment. If you are able to pay the insurance premium in full, insurance carriers may discount the total cost. The full lump sum is a big upfront cost, but it’s usually cheaper overall.

What Will Your Carrier Provide?

If you are an owner operator partnering with a single carrier or are a lease purchase driver, that carrier may offer insurance. If they do, read the fine print closely to decide whether it is the best option for you.

Ask questions to understand what is and is not covered. The insurance may not cover you while you are not operating under that company’s authority. That includes the time you may be working with other companies or traveling home when you are off duty. In addition, make sure that the carrier offers coverage levels that meet your specific insurance needs. Insufficient coverage will impact your eligibility to haul certain types of freight and can affect your bottom line. When asked about carrier insurance, Chief Underwriting Officer Joy LaFrance shared this:

“When they’re operating under the authority of someone else, what happens is, if [owner operators] leave and decide ‘I’m going to go on my own now,’ they have no history. So they basically are starting over. Unless I can get the data from that motor carrier, with all the claims, by driver, there’s no way to actually assess [owner operator] history.”

LaFrance added that when drivers use a carrier’s equipment and, “are only asked to get a non-trucking liability or bobtail liability, that does not count as primary insurance. We can’t use your non-trucking or bobtail liability for proof that you had no incidents.”

To decide if insurance through a carrier is right for you, think about your future goals. Will you keep expanding your business? Will you eventually run under your own authority and need a good insurance record? If so, you may do better with an insurance plan that is independent of any carriers so you can prove your record.

Where Can You Find Providers?

The best insurance retailers for owner operators specialize in transportation. A generalist won’t necessarily understand all the nuances that you need for the job. Shop around for both price and good coverage. If you are a new owner operator, you may have to rely on generalized national insurance carriers. When possible though, look for specific trucking insurance retailers.

Risk Strategies’ Jeff Ice offered this suggestion:

“As an owner operator just getting into the business, my first phone call would probably be to [OOIDA]. They would be able to turn you on to how to get your authority, do you need your own authority…[They] will be able to give you a lot of direction.”

One of the best ways to find a top trucking insurance policy is to ask owner operators! Find out where they get insurance and what they like or don’t like. There’s nothing better than a firsthand account, and other drivers aren’t trying to sell you on anything. An experienced owner operator is one of the best places to get suggestions.

Robley Insurance’s David Zahm left us with this advice for sustainable growth:

“You’ve got to start one [truck] at a time, and build slowly. … [If you try to grow too quickly,] you’ll end up with a distressed insurance company, and their rates are astronomical, which shrink your margins down…If somebody wants to run a trucking company the right way, then there’s a way to do it, and they have a chance to be very successful.”

Becoming an owner operator is an exciting step, and trucking insurance is a key part of that transition. Successful owner operators build slowly toward long-term goals and focus on sustainable growth. That’s an investment in yourself worth making.

truck driver at loading dock

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rands truckingToday’s job of the day is from Rands Trucking

Rands trucking logoIf you’re looking to get to the top of your career in a family environment, then check out the great OTR opportunities at Rands Trucking. We offer you a top-of-the-industry pay package combined with newer equipment, consistent miles, home time, and a work environment that gives you the respect and appreciation you’ve been looking for.

Join a company that cares for its employees and treats each driver like a family member! $3,000 signing bonus, non-forced dispatch, awesome team, and HONESTY!

Rands Trucking is hiring CDL A OTR Dry Van Company Drivers and Owner Operators in the Midwest/Northeast.

Company Drivers

Compensation:

  • Average annual or weekly pay: $75,000 Yearly AVG
    • 52 CPM with an average of 2,600 – 3,000 Miles per week
    • Additional Pay:
      • Jobsite: $40 Per stop
      • Tailgate Assist Stop: $20
      • 34-hour restart when OTR: $100
      • Break down pay: $16 per hour (after first hour)
      • Detention Pay: $16 per hour (after first hour)
      • Trailer Move: $20
      • Canada Pay: $50
      • DOT inspection: $25
      • New York City/Long Island Bonus: $100
      • Additional Load: $50
      • Holiday Working Pay: $100
      • Holiday Bonus Pay: $104
      • $3,000 signing bonus to all new hires!

Benefits:

  • Health Insurance after 60 days
  • 401K with 401K Match
  • Paid Holidays
  • Flexible home time
  • PTO after 1 year
  • In-house maintenance
  • Perks: Cell Phone Allowance, EZ Pass, PrePass
  • Rider program
  • Pet Program
  • Take your truck home program

Route, Home Time, & Schedule:

  • Home Time: OTR 2+ weeks at a time
  • Route: Run all 48 states  – Willing to do multi-stop
  • Level of Touch: must tailgate and be willing to do assisted unload – hauling Windows

Equipment:

  • Recently updated fleet Peterbilts, Cascadias, Kenworths, and Freightliners
  • All trucks equipped with APUS, Power Inverters, Refrigerators, Microwaves and Satellite Radio
  • Governed speed: 67MPH

Owner Operators

Compensation:

  • For drivers who are OTR 27+ days per month (82 days per quarter), Rands Trucking guarantees $125,000 gross pay. 1 day = 5+ hours
  • Average annual $125,000+
    • $1.36 per mile + FSC
    • Drop Pay ($30.00) ALL stops paid
    • Jobsite Stops: $40 per stop
    • Detention Pay: $30 per hour (after first hour)
    • New York City/Long Island Bonus: $100
    • $.02 Performance Bonuses (paid quarterly) will be calculated based on mileage ran for the quarter

Perks:

  • Rands Provides:
    • 15-20% Fuel Discount
    • Base License Plates
    • Tolls (Pre-Pass & EZpass)
    • 10 Year or Newer Trailers
    • 24/7 Support for Repairs
    • Payroll, Accounts Receivables, Taxes
    • Fuel Card
    • Dispatching Outbound & Inbound
  • Owner Operator Provides:
    • Bobtail Insurance
    • Physical Damage Insurance
    • Occupational Insurance
    • Legal and Operational Truck

Route, Home Time, & Schedule:

  • Home Time: OTR 2+ weeks at a time
  • Route: Run all 48 states  – Willing to do multi-stop
  • Level of Touch: must tailgate and be willing to do assisted unload – hauling Windows

Equipent Required:

  • Non-Trucking Liability Insurance (bobtail)
  • Workers Compensation Insurance- Occupational Insurance
  • Non-owned trailer Physical Damage Insurance in the amount of $20,000.00
  • Must be able to scale a minimum of 45,000lbs
  • Tractor must pass DOT inspection in our shop, prefer 5 years or newer
  • Older tractors accepted if in good mechanical and visual condition
  • Responsible for all policies and regulations of Rands Trucking, Inc.

Company Driver & Owner Operator Qualifications:

  • Must be at least 23 years of age
  • Drivers must have CDL A license
  • Must have a minimum of 1-year verifiable tractor-trailer driving experience
  • No more than three places of employment within the past year
  • No DUI/DWIs in last 5 years
    • No more than three moving violations within the past 3 years
    • No more than three minor preventable accidents within 3 years
    • No serious moving violations within the past 3 years
  • Must meet Department of Transportation (DOT) testing and physical requirements and be knowledgeable of DOT regulations
  • Must be able to pass a required pre-employment drug screen
  • Hiring Radius: Prefer drivers in the Midwest/Northeast regions. HOWEVER— will hire from all 48 with less frequent home time
  • Six Terminals: Ladysmith, WI – Medford, WI –Chippewa Falls, WI– Grinnell, IA – Mount Vernon, OH – Ringtown, PA

Rands Trucks

Interested in applying?

Rands Trucking is hiring CDL A OTR Dry Van Company Drivers and Owner Operators in the Midwest/Northeast. Drivers get regular home time, and great pay.

Company Driver  Owner Operator

Clear Harbors driverToday’s job of the day comes from Clean Harbors Environmental Services

As a Clean Harbors driver, you will be responsible for the safe transport of hazardous waste from a generator/facility to one of our facilities, adhering to DOT and hazardous waste regulations. At Clean Harbors we are passionate about providing premier environmental, energy, and industrial services.

clean harbors logo

When you work with the Clean Harbors team, you will perform work that truly makes a difference – not only in people’s lives but also in protecting the planet.  Safety is our No. 1 priority. As a driver, you’ll get the training and support to do your job and return home safely. Change your life for the better.  Apply today.

We are hiring for the following positions:

Why work for Clean Harbors?

  • Work for Top Environmental Safety Company
  • Great company culture
  • Company Drivers: Great pay and overtime after 40 hours
  • Company Drivers: Health and dental care
  • Owner Operators: Good base pay with additional pay opportunities
  • Paid orientation or training
  • Consistent freight
  • Sign-on and referral bonuses for all positions

clean harbors tanker

Interested in applying?

Learn more about the job requirements, benefits, pay and more.

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truckers-for-troopsWith Veterans Day on the horizon, those with owner operator trucking jobs are showing their support for American service men and women overseas. And they’re doing it in the most meaningful of ways.

Truckers for Troops, an initiative led by the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA), raises funds to send care packages to armed forces overseas during the holidays.

This year’s fundraising campaign runs from Nov. 7-11.

“This is a way for our members to actively participate and help troops,” says Norita Taylor, public relations director for OOIDA. “We knew a lot of our members were veterans, and that’s one of the reasons we started Truckers for Troops. About 10 years ago, there was a lot of activity in the Middle East. Members would often ask us if anything could be done for troops overseas. We knew care packages were popular, and we decided we could ask for donations around the holidays and match them.”

During the week of the campaign, new OOIDA memberships and renewal memberships are discounted to $35, a $10 savings.

10 percent of the total membership fees raised during the week benefits Truckers for Troops, and OOIDA matches that amount. Individual donations to the Truckers for Troops fund, no matter how small, also are welcome.

With the funds raised, Truckers for Troops assembles care packages that contain socks, Gold Bond powder, snacks, books, soup, even oddities such as silly string that troops use on the job. The packages also contain cards from schoolchildren and churches, for a personal touch.

The packages impressed the troops, and many of them wrote notes of appreciation.

“We do all the assembling, shipping and purchasing of the items in house,” Taylor says. “Our members have responded enthusiastically and find the process very rewarding.”

Since Truckers for Troops launched in 2007, OOIDA members have raised more than $500,000 for the cause. To contribute during next week’s campaign, call 800-444-5791 or sign up for an Owner Operator Independent Driver Association membership here.

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