Owner-Operator Insurance

As an owner-operator, you become your own boss. This means it’s now your responsibility to find work contracts, maintain your vehicle, and navigate business expenses. Being an owner-operator may feel overwhelming at first, but the reward is independence.

From taxes to insurance, your business expenses as an owner-operator can especially be challenging. However, education is key in handling these items on your own. To help you navigate insurance as an owner-operator, we’ve provided the guide below.


What is owner-operator insurance?


Owner-operator insurance is for an independent contractor that owns and operates their truck for commercial purposes. An independent contractor must maintain owner-operator insurance for protection.

When you are under your own authority, you don’t have company-backed insurance to fall back on in case of an incident. An accident can set a business back financially, but owner-operator insurance can help your losses be as minimal as possible.

What can owner-operator insurance cover?


Owner-operator insurance may include various types of coverage. These coverages in your owner-operator insurance will depend on your specific needs as an independent contractor.

At American Insurance Brokers, we’ll help you understand and choose the right types of coverage for your independent operations.

What is the difference between owner-operator and authority?


An owner-operator is an individual who is self-employed in commercial trucking. Authority is a legal status given to companies and owner-operators. This status is what allows them to operate as for-hire trucking businesses.

Authority status is only given by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Companies cannot transport cargo for hire without authority granted by FMCSA. They must first register with FMCSA to receive their Motor Carrier (MC) number and US Department of Transportation (USDOT) number.

Not every carrier under authority is an owner-operator. They may also be large companies or small businesses. However, every owner-operator needs to have authority to conduct business.

General Liability Insurance


Let’s say an accident occurs where you are liable for harm caused to people or property. Liability insurance is needed to protect you from financial loss and business ruin. Having this coverage in your toolbox can give you much-needed confidence before you hit the road.

For commercial trucking, general liability coverage is required by law. Your clients may even require you to have liability insurance to haul cargo for them.


Physical Damage Insurance


From collisions to natural disasters, unexpected events may occur. You are solely responsible for any damage to your truck, and it can be costly to replace. In the event your truck gets damaged, physical damage insurance can help cover the cost of maintenance or replacement.

Physical damage insurance will begin covering any damage once you’ve hit your deductible with out-of-pocket expenses. This is better than paying for replacement or repairs all on your own.


Cargo Insurance


Every day, you transport precious cargo for your clients. They rely on you to safely carry their cargo, whether general freight or hazardous materials. However, events may occur where the cargo gets damaged, lost, or even stolen. The cost of the cargo can add up, and you do not want to be solely responsible for the full cost.

Cargo insurance will help cover the freight you carry if the goods are lost, damaged, or stolen. There are even additional protections for cargo such as:

  • Perishable goods or temperature-sensitive items
  • Undamaged goods that may lose value
  • Goods that can be salvaged if only the truck is damaged

For commercial trucking, this coverage is required by law. Many of your potential clients may also require you to have cargo insurance before hauling their goods.


Bobtail Insurance


Bobtail insurance is for owner-operators who use their truck without a trailer for personal use. This coverage can sometimes be referred to as “non-trucking liability.” If you plan to use your truck for any personal reasons, you need bobtail insurance.

It does not cover any harm to your truck or cargo. Instead, it covers any damage done to others in an accident where you are at fault. It differs from liability insurance, as bobtail insurance only applies to accidents that occur when you are using your truck for personal reasons.


Occupational Accident Insurance


As an owner-operator, you need to be protected on the job. The above coverages protect against harm to your truck, cargo, or other people and property. Occupational accident insurance, however, provides coverage when you are injured while working.

What coverage does an owner-operator need?


The owner-operator coverages above are highly recommended for independent contractors. There are some coverages required by law – and by potential clients – to operate. However, some factors determine what specific coverage you need.

American Insurance Brokers will help you determine what makes the most sense for you. We help many owner-operators find affordable and reasonable coverage.

Type and Size of Business


The insurance coverage you need as an owner-operator depends on your type of trucking business and its size. When you start small as an owner-operator, your coverage will be pretty basic. Additional coverages will be required as you grow, as there will be more room for error.


Independent Owner-Operator


If you only have one truck, the owner-operator insurance coverages listed above will suffice.


Small Fleet Owner-Operator


As you add on additional trucks and employees, your coverage will need to expand. For instance, workers’ compensation will be crucial in protecting your business in the event of injuries and lawsuits.


Large Fleet Owner-Operator


Large-scale operations require additional coverage. As your fleet grows, the losses may become greater. Large fleet owner-operators can benefit from extra protections such as workers’ compensation, excess liability insurance, and pollution liability insurance.


Type of Cargo


Many owner-operators choose to specialize in a specific type of cargo. Other owner-operators may choose to work with a variety of clients with different cargo types. No matter what type of cargo you carry, it’s important to understand their risks and how coverage may help.


Hazardous Materials


An accident while carrying dangerous materials can have catastrophic consequences. For example, certain chemicals can wreak havoc on the environment if unprotected. If you plan to carry this type of cargo, pollution liability insurance can help when an accident occurs.


Heavy Loads


Oversized loads require extra protection. They can produce more injuries than regular loads, which is why excess liability insurance is needed. Excess liability insurance can protect owner-operators if harm is done to people or property.




Owner-operators who transport livestock need to be aware of the additional insurance coverages available to them. If an animal were to be injured in transport, livestock mortality insurance can protect you.


Perishable Goods


Our nation relies on the transport of food to our local grocery stores. However, much of the food that is transported is perishable. These temperature-sensitive items may spoil on their way to the shelves, which can be costly. When an owner-operator carries perishable goods, they need cargo insurance in case of spoilage.


State Regulations


At American Insurance Brokers, we help owner-operators across the South understand their state’s commercial trucking regulations. Below are a few things to keep in mind when navigating your state’s requirements.


Minimum Liability Limits


Owner-operators in certain states are required to carry a certain amount of coverage. These amounts can range from $500,000 to $1 million, depending on the state in which you operate.


Workers’ Compensation Insurance


Owner-operators who have employees may be required by their state to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Each state has its requirements to protect employees in the event of injury to themselves and their livelihood.


Federal Regulations


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a special interest in improving the safety of commercial trucking nationally. They are also responsible for giving for-hire truckers authority to operate. For owner-operators, this means you are required to follow their guidance.

FMCSA has special requirements as it relates to insurance. They require liability insurance minimums to cover any harm resulting from trucking accidents. By working with American Insurance Brokers, you’ll have a team that will help you understand these minimums.

Why do you need to get a quote as an owner-operator?


Understanding owner-operator insurance is crucial in keeping your business afloat. The transportation of cargo across state lines carries risk, and you do not want to be solely responsible for any harm. The consequences can be very costly.

Coverage in the event of an accident also carries an expense. You need to be able to justify owner-operator insurance costs as an independent contractor. We believe in providing our owner-operators with information that helps them make educated, financially responsible decisions. Reasonable coverage at an affordable price can help your business remain a success for years to come.

When shopping for owner-operator insurance quotes, here’s what to keep in mind.



Owner-operator insurance costs can affect your bottom line. American Insurance Brokers understands this, which is why we shop quotes for our owner-operators. We believe that you should be able to compare rates and choose what feels the most reasonable and cost-effective. We’ll even break down all of your requirements and how they affect your final cost.




Whether you work independently or have a large or small fleet, your type of coverage needed may vary. American Insurance Brokers has experience in helping all types of owner-operators navigate coverages and choose only what is needed. We don’t believe in recommending coverages that you don’t need as an owner-operator.


Customer Service


When things go haywire, you need reliable and trustworthy support. Owner-operators need a partner they can rely on to answer questions, resolve issues, and perform annual policy reviews. Your business may change through the years, and we want to make sure your coverage adjusts accordingly. When shopping for quotes, it’s important to determine who will be your partner for the “long haul.”

Owner-Operators in the South Trust AIB

Owner-operators from Texas to Georgia rely on AIB to connect them with the best insurance for their needs. We know how our Southern climate affects business operations, and we are well-versed in state-by-state trucking regulations. We serve owner-operators in states such as:

Contact us to receive a free policy review. Understanding where you currently stand as an owner-operator is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make today. You may even discover a more competitive price for your owner-operator insurance.