By TX – Atty. James Amaro
In the State of Texas, it’s required to have commercial truck insurance because there are a lot of trucks on the road. Commercial truck insurance is also required because trucks are more likely to be involved in accidents than other vehicles. In fact, according to a study by the Insurance Research Council, “the number of crashes involving large trucks has increased by 20% since 1997.”
In addition to being more likely to be involved in an accident, trucks are also more likely than regular cars to cause serious damage when they do crash. According to the same study: “Large trucks make up only 3% of registered vehicles but they were involved in 9% of fatal crashes.”
Let’s look at the factors why required commercial truck insurance in the state of texas is essential.
What is commercial truck insurance?
Commercial truck insurance is a type of auto insurance that covers trucks and other commercial vehicles. It includes liability, collision, comprehensive, and medical payments (PDL) coverage. The specific coverage amounts and types vary by state.
The minimum requirements for commercial truck insurance vary by state. In most states, a commercial truck operator must have liability coverage with $750,000 per person/$500,000 per incident bodily injury liability limits and $100,000 per incident property damage liability limits. The minimum requirements also include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in some states. In other states, the minimum requirement is only $50,000/$100,000 bodily injury liability limits on a commercial vehicle.
In addition to liability insurance coverage, an operator might also need collision coverage if it’s required by your state law or if you are leasing your vehicle from an owner-operator who requires collision as part of their lease agreement.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle resulting from an accident with another vehicle or object such as trees or poles while driving on public roads or highways. If you were struck from behind by another vehicle and your car was totaled because of the accident caused by the rear-end impact then you could file a claim against your own insurance company for payment.
Understanding Texas Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements.
Texas is a state that has a lot of rules and regulations when it comes to the transportation industry. This means that if you’re looking to get coverage for your truck, you need to understand what the requirements are.
Amount of Coverage
The first thing you’ll want to know is that the state requires you to have at least $30,000 worth of liability coverage. This includes property damage and bodily injury. The minimum requirements for bodily injury coverage are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. If you have more than one person injured in an accident, your insurance company will pay out more than this amount.
Type of Vehicles
In Texas, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle that is used for commercial purposes and has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds. This includes trucks like pickup trucks and large vans but also buses and motorhomes if they have been converted into cargo vehicles or service trucks for hire.
Commercial vehicles are required to carry specific types of insurance coverage depending on their use or purpose. They must also be registered with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before they can be operated on public roads within Texas.
Fines and Penalties
Commercial truck insurance is a mandatory requirement in the state of Texas. You can be fined up to $5,000 for not having commercial truck insurance. The amount of the fine depends on the severity of the violation, with more severe violations resulting in higher fines.
If you have an accident while operating a commercial truck without sufficient insurance or with expired insurance, you may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you face up to 180 days in jail and/or up to $2,000 in fines.
If you are found guilty of knowingly operating a commercial vehicle without adequate insurance coverage, you can face up to two years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.
You may also have to pay up to $250 per day for each day that passes without your having proper coverage. If you’ve been operating without insurance for more than 30 days, this can add up pretty quickly!
Purpose of commercial truck insurance
The purpose of this requirement is to protect the public from liability and damages that may result from an accident involving your commercial vehicle.
All trucks must have liability coverage
Texas commercial truck insurance requirements are simple, and you’ve probably got most of it already. All trucks must have liability coverage, which is the minimum required by law.
In addition to liability coverage, you may want to consider adding other types of coverage as well. These include:
- Collision (covers damage to your truck in an accident)
- Comprehensive (covers theft or vandalism)
- Medical payments (covers medical bills for passengers in your vehicle)
- Medical expenses if someone gets injured while riding in your vehicle (or while on your property).
- Property damage resulting from accidents involving your vehicle.
If you don’t have commercial truck insurance, then you will be held personally responsible for all damages caused by your vehicle during an accident.
Trucking Accident Fatalities
Trucking accidents are a serious problem in Texas. According to recent statistics, there were over 20,000 trucking accidents in the state of Texas alone in 2021. These accidents resulted in over 1,700 fatalities and more than 17,000 injuries. In addition to these tragic numbers, trucking accidents also caused over $1 billion dollars worth of damage to property.
The most common cause of trucking accidents is driver fatigue. This happens when drivers drive for too long without taking breaks or sleeping enough. It’s important for drivers to follow the rules set by their employers and make sure they get plenty of rest so they don’t cause any serious problems while operating their vehicles.
Why is it required to have commercial truck insurance in the state of Texas?
Any driver who operates a commercial vehicle in Texas, either for personal use or on behalf of a company, must carry the required amount of insurance. That being said, not everyone must necessarily carry the same sort of insurance coverage. For instance, the minimum liability requirements only apply to those operating the vehicle in pursuit of profit. This means that you will NOT have to carry a minimum liability policy in some instances, such as if you are driving your personal vehicle in order to move house, and no one is paying you for what you’re doing. However, if you are running errands as a contract carrier, then you will need an insurance policy that meets the minimum requirements. If you aren’t sure whether or not this applies to you, be sure to ask!
About the Author
James Amaro founded the Amaro Law Firm in 2005 after leaving his position as an attorney at a defense law firm. Not long after founding the firm, Mr. Amaro was hired to represent many individuals and families who had their lives destroyed by the BP refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas. Since then, James Amaro has successfully represented thousands of people and businesses in various legal matters, including personal injury claims, business disputes, insurance claims, hurricane claims, and commercial litigation.