Commercial Vehicle Insurance: What does it cover?

Protecting your business is essential, and having reliable insurance is a must to safeguard your livelihood. American Insurance Brokers has been safeguarding the commercial trucking industry in the southern United States since 1980.  


But what exactly does commercial vehicle insurance cover, and why is it so important for you? Keep reading for answers to these common questions about commercial vehicle insurance. 


Have more questions? Our team is always here to help. Contact our team nowwith your specific questions or coverage concerns. 

What is commercial vehicle insurance?


what does commercial vehicle insurance cover

Commercial vehicle insurance protects any vehicle used to support your business. Whether you’re operating a single tow truck or managing an entire fleet of semi-trucks, the best commercial vehicle insurance will protect your business in a range of different situations. Insurance can protect your vehicle, as well as your cargo and passengers. 


Due to the size and nature of most commercial vehicles, accidents can be devastating and deadly. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucks and buses account for 13% of traffic fatalities.  


While you may assume that most of these accidents happen on busy highways, the numbers tell a different story. In fact, 61% of fatal crashes involving large trucks occur in rural areas. This data shows just how important it is to have the best commercial vehicle insurance, no matter where you operate. 


Whether you navigate busy urban streets or remote rural routes, having the right commercial vehicle insurance can be the difference between recovery and ruin. Don’t leave the safety of your business to chance – secure the protection it deserves. 

Do I need commercial vehicle insurance?


If you’re using a vehicle for your business operations, you need commercial vehicle insurance. You may need this type of policy if you or your employees: 

  • Drive passengers for a fee: If your business involves transporting paying passengers, like a taxi service or shuttle, standard personal auto insurance may not provide adequate coverage. 
  • Transport goods or products: When you move goods for your business, you need commercial vehicle insurance to protect them. This applies to delivery drivers, couriers, and freight transporters. 
  • Offer a service such as towing: If you provide towing services, your vehicles face specific risks that regular car insurance cannot fully protect against. Commercial vehicle insurance steps in to protect you and your assets. 
  • Haul heavy loads of materials or equipment: For businesses that move large amounts of heavy or bulky materials or equipment, commercial vehicle insurance is essential. This includes construction companies, landscapers, and many others. 


Using only a regular personal insurance plan in these situations could put you at risk of big losses and financial harm. If your business owns the vehicle, you usually need commercial vehicle insurance. 


By investing in commercial vehicle insurance, you’re safeguarding your business against the unexpected. Accidents can happen, and when they do, having the right coverage can mean the difference between business continuity and financial hardship. Don’t underestimate the importance of this insurance – it’s a cornerstone of responsible business management. 

What are the types of commercial vehicle insurance? 


Before you make this type of investment, you may be wondering, what are the types of commercial vehicle insurance? 


Depending on the policy you choose, you may be covered for a wide range of incidents. Many commercial vehicles are an investment, costing upwards of $100,000 or more.  


Your commercial vehicle insurance will protect your business if the vehicle sustains damage. This may be due to a crash or even a fire and other catastrophic events. Furthermore, you should always have coverage for injuries you, your employees, or other drivers could sustain in a crash. 


These are the important types of commercial vehicle insurance coverages to look for: 

  • Liability 
  • Physical damage 
  • Medical payments coverage, or MedPay 
  • Uninsured motorist 
  • Trailer interchange 
  • Non-trucking liability 
  • Motor truck cargo 
  • Motor truck general liability 
  • On-hook towing 
  • Garagekeepers legal liability 
  • Workers’ compensation 


Below we’ll explain what each type of commercial vehicle insurance covers. 

What does each type of commercial vehicle insurance cover? 


When your vehicle is a part of your livelihood, comprehensive protection is important. Your choice of commercial vehicle insurance depends on several crucial factors, tailored to the unique demands of your business. 


For example, if you drive across state lines, carry valuable cargo, or tow other people’s cars, your insurance agent will work with you to find the best coverage. Keep reading to learn about the different types of commercial vehicle insurance options you should consider. 


Whether you’re a long-distance trucker or a local contractor moving heavy equipment, knowing about these insurance choices will help you make smart decisions. It’s all about keeping your business safe while you’re on the road. So, read on to get the information you need. 




Liability insurance is the most basic form of commercial vehicle insurance. 


It covers injuries or damage to other people or property if you’re at fault for an accident. If someone sues you as a result of your involvement in an accident, it may also cover your legal defense costs. 


Learn more about general liability insurance for trucking companies here.   


Physical Damage 


Physical damage coverage is a general term that keeps your vehicle safe. It includes: 

  • Collision insurance: This helps you when your vehicle sustains damage in an accident or collides with something, rolls, or overturns. It covers repairs or replacement. 
  • Comprehensive insurance: This protects your vehicle from non-collision damage or theft. 
  • Fire and theft with Combined Additional Coverage (CAC) insurance: This is like comprehensive insurance but focuses on specific non-collision incidents. 


These coverages ensure your vehicle is in good hands, whether it’s a crash or other unexpected events that come your way. 


Read more about physical damage insurance here. 


Medical Payments Insurance, or MedPay 


MedPay coverage, also known as medical payments coverage, covers medical expenses after an incident. 


This may be for you, and passengers in your vehicle, who are injured during an accident, regardless of who caused it. 


Uninsured Motorist 


Uninsured motorist insurance can protect your business if your driver is involved in an accident with someone who does not have liability insurance or does not have enough liability insurance to pay for associated damages. 


In some states, uninsured motorist insurance typically bundles three separate insurance coverages into one. These may include: 

  • Uninsured motorist insurance (UM or UMBI) 
  • Underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) 
  • Uninsured motorist property damage insurance (UMPD) 


Covered expenses for you and your passengers could include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 


Trailer Interchange 


If you have a trailer interchange agreement, you generally need trailer interchange insurance. Since exchanged trailers are not owned by you, they require separate insurance coverage because they are not covered under regular physical damage insurance. 


This insurance protects you in case collision, fire, theft, explosion, or vandalism damages the trailer. 


Non-Trucking Liability 


When you’re under permanent lease to a motor carrier, and you’re not driving under dispatch, non-trucking liability insurance provides the truck insurance coverage you need at an unlimited radius. 


Non-trucking liability insurance covers medical expenses and damage to others caused by you. It also includes costs for injuries or death caused to others and damage to their property. 


Learn more about non-trucking liability here 


Motor Truck Cargo 


Cargo insurance, also called motor truck cargo, covers lost or damaged cargo caused by fire, collision, or hitting a load. 


For example, if your load is accidentally dumped on a roadway or waterway, removal expenses coverage pays for the cost to remove debris or extract pollutants caused by the debris. This may also include coverage for costs related to: 

  • Preventing further loss 
  • Legal expenses in the defense or settlement of claims 
  • Freight charges 

Motor Truck General Liability 


Motor truck general liability coverage pays for injuries or property damage caused by your business activities. This coverage is not directly related to operating your truck. 


For example, this may include: 

  • Slip and fall incidents 
  • Erroneous delivery of products that results in damage of some kind 
  • Libel and slander 
  • Fire on rental property due to insured’s error 
  • Driver’s actions while representing the insured and on others’ premises, like loading docks or truck stops. 

On-Hook Towing 


On-hook towing insurance can help pay to repair or replace a vehicle you don’t own if it is damaged by a collision, fire, theft, explosion, or vandalism while you are towing or hauling it. 


Do note that in Texas and Virginia, on-hook towing insurance is called garagekeepers legal liability insurance. In these two states, what is actually garagekeepers legal liability insurance (and we’ll explore next) is called storage location insurance. 


Garagekeepers Legal Liability 


Garagekeepers legal liability coverage is optional coverage for business owners who offer towing services or operate service stations. It protects your customer’s vehicles when you are keeping them at a covered location for parking, storing, or performing service. 


Garagekeepers legal liability insurance typically protects vehicles from damage caused by fire, theft, vandalism, or collision. 


As noted, Texas and Virginia refer to garagekeepers legal liability coverage as storage location insurance.


Workers’ Compensation 


Workers’ compensation insurance is a mandatory type of insurance carried by many types of businesses. It’s an important type of coverage that can help cover medical costs and a portion of lost wages for an employee who becomes injured or ill on the job. 


Workers’ compensation benefits don’t end there. It also shields companies from employee lawsuits regarding workplace conditions that can cause injury or illness. 

Can I get same-day commercial truck insurance? 


Getting same-day commercial truck insurance depends on factors like the insurance provider, your situation, and the coverage you require.


Here are some key points to consider: 

  1. Insurance Provider: Some insurance companies offer expedited services and may be able to provide you with a commercial truck insurance policy on the same day you apply. However, not all insurers offer this option. Our team at American Insurance Brokers will do their best to check with different providers to see if they can accommodate your timeline.
  2. Documentation: To obtain commercial truck insurance, you need to provide certain documentation, such as vehicle information, driver details, and business information. Being prepared with all the necessary documents can expedite the application process. 
  3. Coverage Type: The complexity of your insurance needs can affect how quickly you can secure coverage. If you require specialized or customized coverage, it may take longer to underwrite and issue the policy. 
  4. Underwriting Process: Insurance companies assess risk factors before issuing a policy. The underwriting process can vary in speed depending on the insurer and the complexity of your application. 
  5. Payment: Timely payment of the insurance premium is crucial. If you can provide payment information and complete the necessary paperwork promptly, it can speed up the process. 


To increase your chances of obtaining same-day commercial truck insurance: 

  • Work with a team like American Insurance Brokers to find a policy with a fast turnaround time. 
  • Be prepared with all the required information and documents when applying. 
  • Communicate your urgency with your broker to see if they can prioritize your application. 
  • Ask about any additional fees or charges for expedited services, if applicable. 


Remember that while same-day coverage is possible in some cases, it’s essential not to rush through the process and ensure that you have the right coverage for your specific business needs. Always read and understand the terms and conditions of the policy before finalizing your insurance purchase. 

Your First Choice for Commercial Vehicle Insurance 


Insurance standards and trends change, which is why it’s so important to review your policy every year. This is a chance to update your coverage needs and ensure that you are minimizing costs while maximizing benefits to your business. 


At American Insurance Brokers, we offer free annual policy reviews for every type of commercial vehicle we insure. Here is what we look for: 

  • Low deductibles and high limits: Your deductible is the amount you will have to pay before the insurance company makes any payment. Your limit is the maximum amount your insurance company is required to pay. The first should be relatively low and the latter should be high. 
  • Compliance with all federal and state requirements: A reputable insurance company will make sure that you are always in good standing with requirements, including FMCSA, MCS90, BMC34, BMC91-X, Form E, Form H, OS/OW COI, and SR22. 
  • A responsive insurance company: At American Insurance Brokers, we specialize in matching truckers with the best insurance company to meet their needs. This includes being there for you when you run into a problem. Our team promises to lead you to insurance providers that will always have your back. 


Known for our excellent customer service, American Insurance Brokers is committed to helping you find the best commercial vehicle insurance for your business. Find out why we are your first choice for commercial insurance in the southern U.S. 


Contact us today for your free policy review. Have additional questions? Call us at (800) 256-1177.