Are Trucks Required by Federal Law to Carry Insurance?

By October 22, 2013Trucking Laws

Trucks are subject to a number of federal regulations in order to protect the safety of the public. One of the requirements imposed by the federal government is that trucks carry insurance. The federal requirements setting minimum insurance limits apply to commercial trucks as well as to commercial vehicles that transport hazardous material or that carry passengers.
Trucks are generally required to have substantial amounts of insurance in recognition of the serious harm that could result to passengers, motorists, pedestrians or others on the road in the event that a truck accident occurs. If you are injured in such an accident, an experienced truck accident lawyer can help you to make a claim and negotiate with the truck’s insurance company so you can obtain compensation for your losses.
Insurance Requirements for Trucks
Title 49, Section 387 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations outlines some of the insurance requirements applicable to commercial trucks. The specific minimum amount of coverage that is required will vary depending upon the purpose of the truck and what it is carrying. For example:
• If a truck weighs 10,001 pounds or more and transports nonhazardous property, the minimum required insurance is $750,000.
• If a truck is for-hire, weighs 10,001 pounds or more and carries certain types of hazardous substances as defined by 49 C.F.R. 171.8 and transported in cargo or portable tanks or hopper vehicles with 3,500 water gallons, then the truck must carry $5,000,000 or more of insurance.
• If the truck is for hire and contains oil listed in 49 C.F.R. 172.101, or contains certain other types of hazardous materials, then the truck must have $1,000,000 in liability insurance.
Federal law also mandates that trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 pounds must have at least $300,000 in liability insurance for most types of property transportation and must have $5,000,000 in liability insurance if they are transporting explosives or HAZMAT items.
Truck Insurance Provides Coverage for Injured Victims
The insurance that trucking companies are required to have covers bodily injury and damage to property. This means that if you or a loved one is involved in a truck crash, the insurance can pay out to YOU to cover your damages and losses, even though the trucking company is the one that bought and paid for the insurance policy.
You can obtain compensation for your truck accident injuries by negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement with the insurance company or by going to court and having a judge or a jury decide damages in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help you to either negotiate compensation with the insurer or to prove your case in court so you can obtain the monetary damages that you are entitled to by law after a trucker causes an accident to occur.