Understanding Motor Truck Cargo Insurance
If you are an independent truck driver or shipping and freight professional, you’ve probably heard of motor truck cargo insurance. Like any type of insurance, motor truck cargo coverage protects the policyholder against potential losses and damages that can occur as a result of an accident or theft. Operating a vehicle carrying a large amount of valuable property belonging to someone else can be risky. It’s important to make sure you’ve got insurance coverage to protect yourself from potential liability for tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damages.
What is Motor Truck Cargo insurance?
Motor truck cargo insurance is insurance that covers cargo while it is being transported on trucks. It is extremely important for shipping companies and independent truckers due to the potentially high value of the cargo they’re transporting, as well as the constant possibility of loss or damage. Cargo insurance covers liability for the goods being transported.
Coverage is typically written in the name of the trucker or firm that owns the transporting vehicle. The policy will protect against third-party claims, such as those made by the owner of the goods, other drivers, or persons authorized to handle the truck or its contents. For example, if another driver hits your truck and damages the goods you’re transporting, your insurance policy will protect you against responsibility.
Coverage applies to the extent of the insured’s legal responsibility for the property being transported and for the amount of liability for a loss. The United States Department of Transportation provides guidance and direction on the liability of trucking concerns and responsibility for property being transported in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This establishes the legal framework to determine the policyholder’s liability for the cargo.
Who needs motor truck cargo insurance?
If you are a for-hire trucker or you own a shipping or freight company charged with transporting goods, a motor truck cargo coverage policy is absolutely essential. You may even be required to have cargo coverage by federal law, especially if you operate a transportation company and need to ensure your drivers and owner operators.
For-hire truckers that need motor truck cargo insurance include:
- Freight forwarders
- Furniture movers
- House movers
Transporting cargo involves risk. Trillions of dollars of cargo are transported via trucks every year in the United States, and accidents happen. When the cargo is in your possession, as a trucker or shipping service, it is your responsibility, and therefore you are liable for it should anything happen. You’ve worked hard to build your career. There’s no reason to take the enormous risk of leaving yourself unprotected when an affordable, comprehensive motor truck cargo insurance policies are available.
What does motor truck cargo insurance cover?
When it comes to transporting large amounts of cargo across long distances, the possibility of losses and damages is high. A motor truck cargo coverage policy protects freight and shipping professionals against the following:
- Natural disasters
- Legal expenses
- Damage due to a poorly secured load
- Other transportation hazards
Motor truck cargo insurance is usually written on a continuous basis and is subject to re-rating annually. It begins with the policyholder takes possession of the property being transported at the origination point and continues during all of the stops along the journey up until the shipment arrives at the destination and the consignee accepts it.
It’s impossible to predict all of the hazards that could occur, so purchasing a cargo insurance policy is a great way to protect your cargo and gain peace of mind for yourself and your clients. Specific coverage plans are often influenced by things like the type of equipment, routes and distance traveled, driver experience, the type of cargo, and whether the trip involves interstate, intrastate, or cross-border travel. The best way to be sure your policy works for your specific needs is by speaking with a qualified motor truck cargo insurance agent who can help identify the exact coverage you need.
Limitations and Exclusions
As with any insurance policy, it’s important to read carefully and make sure everything you want covered is included. Some typical exclusions include:
- Shipping containers
- Passenger vehicles
- Garbage trucks
- Property not under bill of landing
- Jewelry, money, paper
- Live animals
- Alcohol, explosives, tobacco, and radioactive material
Cargo policy limits are determined to reflect the value of the cargo being shipped. Some policies restrict coverage by providing a maximum limit for certain risks, such as theft, for example. Coverage can also be voided if the vehicle is left unattended, especially if provisions such as alcohol or electronics are being transported. Coverage can also be affected by state laws, so your policy should reflect the coverage needed to comply with the predominate jurisdiction of the travel route.
It’s always a good idea to ask about what your specific policy covers, especially if you transport any uncommon types of cargo.
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