Tractor-trailers are the lifeblood of the American economy.
For companies and owner-operators who drive them, though, they’re also a significant asset.
Like any asset, it’s essential that you provide adequate protection from all reasonable worries.
Today we’ll be discussing the comprehensive benefits of insurance so you know why it’s so important.
Comprehensive Benefits: An Insurance Overview
If you ask most people to list all their insurance benefits, you’ll get a blank look at best. It’s especially true when you’re talking about the added benefits of comprehensive insurance over standard liability insurance. Let’s break it down to see the fundamental differences between the various forms of commercial vehicle insurance.
Liability insurance is the bare minimum coverage every driver is required to have. If you are at fault for an accident involving another party, it pays out to make them whole. It doesn’t pay anything to you or compensate you for your damaged vehicle or medical issues.
With the exception of Florida, it’s a legal requirement to have liability insurance in all 50 states. There are two main types of liability insurance:
- Body Injury Liability
- Property Damage Liability
Body injury liability pays the medical bills of anyone injured in an accident you were at fault for. If you’re a small business owner, this is a critical consideration. Injuries from an automotive accident can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If god forbid, there’s a fatality, you can be looking at a multi-million dollar payout. You should prioritize getting adequate body injury liability no matter what else you decide.
Property damage liability covers everything else in an accident. This includes damage to the other party’s vehicle, possessions, or building, in the event of a one-party collision on a structure.
Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle from a collision. This includes striking another car, a physical object, or merely running your truck off the road because of road conditions.
Collision is the first step up from minimum required coverage and helps protect your investment. It keeps you safe in case of an at-fault accident and pays out the book value of your truck.
Any owner-operator should have adequate collision insurance to protect your investment.
Comprehensive insurance covers most types of damage not caused by a collision. This includes a much more extensive list of damage-causing incidents and is an excellent idea to have.
Any kind of damage not caused by collision insurance will be covered by comprehensive.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance
As the name suggests, uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance protects you from other drivers. If they don’t have sufficient protection to make you whole after an accident they caused.
It can help cover the gaps of other types of insurance and generally provide you with peace of mind.
1. It Protects Your Investment
If you just have liability and collision insurance, you’re taking a significant risk. Together they protect you and other drivers in the event of an accident but leave you vulnerable to other incidents.
The last thing you want is to wind up without your primary source of income because of a fallen tree or another incident outside your control. That’s a recipe for disaster and bankruptcy.
2. Comprehensive Covers Far More Types of Damage
There’s a reason comprehensive insurance has the name it does. Other than collisions, there are few types of damage that comprehensive coverage doesn’t protect you against.
Some of the most common incidents covered include:
- Vandalism and Theft
- Windshield and Window Damage
- Damage from flying objects (This usually covers things like rocks, falling tree limbs, thrown objects, and anything that flies through the air)
- Hitting an Animal
- Flood and Water Damage
- Damage from Severe Weather Events
- Loading Dock Damage
As you may have noticed, none of these are things you can control or really even protect against. Comprehensive keeps your livelihood in case the worst happens.
3. It May Be a Requirement
If you lease your truck or are still making payments on it, there’s a very good chance the lienholder requires comprehensive insurance. In these cases, you’ll likely need the full suite of insurance products.
These include liability, collision, uninsured motorist insurance, and comprehensive. This ensures that you’re covered for any eventuality and protects the lienholder’s investment.
The last thing you want is to lose your primary source of income right when you have to pay off the full value of your loan.
4. Gets You Back to Work Faster
For an owner-operator, time off the road costs money. If your truck is damaged by anything other than a collision and you don’t have comprehensive, you have to pay out of pocket for repairs.
If it’s a lot of damage, you may even have to go into debt just to start earning money again. Floods and extreme weather events present an even bigger problem. Modern trucks have more electronics and computerization than ever.
Even a little water damage may require costly repairs up to and including replacement of your whole electrical system. With comprehensive coverage, you’re protected in case the worst happens.
Comprehensive insurance allows you to pay for repairs and get moving rapidly. Should your truck be totaled, you can put a down payment on a new one within days of payout and be back to work.
5. Peace of Mind
Without comprehensive insurance coverage, you leave yourself vulnerable. With commercial trucks, you’re likely to cover more than 40,000 miles every year.
That’s a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong. Having comprehensive insurance lets, you know without a doubt that you’ll be made whole if the worst should happen.
It can also help protect commercial trucking companies in the event of an accident paired with a driver violation. Litigation can get extremely expensive around those situations.
Protect Yourself and Your Livelihood
For commercial drivers, their truck is their life. Make sure your vehicle has the comprehensive benefits and coverage it needs to keep you on the road and protected from any kind of damage.
Want to learn more about personal and commercial insurance services? Check out some of our other useful articles to find out how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.