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Do Truck Insurance Requirements Differ from Passenger Vehicle Insurance Requirements?

May 24, 2021

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Many people think of personal injury lawsuits as being paid from the at-fault parties’ pockets. But that’s rarely the case.

Instead, most claims are paid from at-fault parties’ insurance policies. That’s why virtually all states, including Ohio, require that drivers have liability insurance coverage in case they cause crashes that injure other people. If the victims of those crashes sue them, their insurance pays most or all of the accident-related expenses.

And as with passenger vehicle crashes, big truck crash claims are also usually paid via insurance policies. But big truck accidents are often more damaging and severe, with more costs and potentially more than one liable party. How does that affect the insurance requirements for these mammoth-sized vehicles?

Truck Drivers Can and Should Purchase Many Types of Insurance

Passenger vehicle drivers in Ohio can legally get away with having only minimum coverage liability insurance in case they cause a crash. The same is true for truck drivers and/or owners, as they must purchase a policy that covers, minimum, up to $25,000 in injury damages per victim, $50,000 in injury damages per accident, and $25,000 in property damages per accident—what’s known as a “25/50/25” policy.

However, because the costs associated with big truck crashes are often enormous, many truck drivers and owners purchase additional coverage to further protect themselves in the event of a crash. This type of coverage differs from the other forms of coverage available to passenger vehicles, and can include:

  • Physical damage coverage—This coverage covers the value of the truck itself and is often mandatory if the truck was financed or is being paid via a loan.
  • Motor truck cargo coverage—This coverage protects the cargo being hauled by the truck, whether it’s other vehicles, livestock, or household goods.
  • Bobtail coverage—This coverage kicks in when a truck is driven on its own without an attached trailer.
  • Non-trucking liability coverage—This coverage is used for when crashes occur outside of business purposes—i.e., the truck isn’t hauling cargo or being driven to pick up cargo.
  • Equipment coverage—This coverage kicks in when separate and/or optional trucking equipment is damaged in a crash, such as navigational devices, tarps, chains, and more.
  • Medical Payments coverage—This coverage is designed to help injured truck drivers pay some of their medical bills after crashes, regardless of who was at fault for their crashes.

The biggest difference between passenger vehicle insurance and big truck insurance is that the amount of liability coverage available for purchase is typically much higher for truck drivers and owners than for passenger vehicle drivers. That means that victims of truck accidents can often receive more insurance policy money than victims of auto accidents—but they may also face greater resistance from the insurers of the drivers and trucks.

Truck Companies Need Additional Coverage

Businesses need insurance coverage, too—especially when they utilize big vehicles like semi-trucks to haul goods from point A to point B. When truck companies are negligent and put their drivers and other motorists at risk, they can be sued after crashes. That’s why to cover those costs, they need multiple types of insurance, including:

  • General liability insurance—This insurance is a catch-all type of insurance that many businesses purchase to cover any losses in case they’re named in an injury claim or other type of lawsuit and lose the case.
  • Commercial auto insurance—This insurance covers vehicles that are used for business purposes, whether it’s a fleet of vehicles used solely for deliveries or a single company vehicle.
  • Commercial umbrella policy—This insurance kicks in to provide additional coverage to businesses that are sued for amounts that go beyond what their other insurance policies cover.

The amount of insurance coverage backing a single commercial truck can vary widely depending on whether it’s driver or company-owned, whether it crosses state lines for business, how big the truck is, what type of cargo it hauls, and more.

Truck Accident Claims Are Complex, But Our Lawyers Can Help

Auto accident claims can be complex even when the fault is established and the insurance company is cooperative. That’s because there’s almost always a battle to get victims full compensation for all of their accident-related expenses. But truck accidents can take injury claim complexity to an entirely different level.

Because the insurance requirements for big trucks are so different—and the fact that optional coverage is much more commonly purchased for these vehicles—it’s easy to get lost in the details or overlook important facts when pursuing damages. At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our Ohio truck accident lawyers dig deep when building truck accident claims for our clients to get them the most money possible for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Truck accidents are painful and traumatic, and the last thing you need is the headache of dealing with proving liability or determining what insurance policies are in effect. Let us handle the legal side while you focus on getting better.

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