If you haul automobiles, then the type of insurance you need changes from standard trucker coverage and general commercial insurance. Hauling expensive cargo, especially vehicles that might belong to someone else, requires a special type of coverage known as auto hauler insurance.
What Exactly Auto Hauler Insurance?
Auto hauls are a unique type of cargo that aren’t covered by regular motor cargo insurance. Sometimes called “auto transporter insurance,” this specialized form of insurance covers a wide range of damages, including accidents with others, property damage, garage liability, and medical payments. The full extent of your auto hauler insurance will depend on the provider you choose.
Legally, auto haulers need at least $1 million in coverage. But there are often gaps that need to be addressed through add-ons before you’ve really protected yourself and your business. Before you start to shop though, it’s important to learn the basics of auto hauler coverage and how your career will influence your rates. We discuss the 5 things you should know about this important coverage.
#1 Limits and Coverage Vary Depending on Your Job
Vehicles are expensive cargo, ranging anywhere from $25,000 to well over $250,000. Different carriers have their own minimum requirements for drivers. The type of coverage limits and needs are vastly different for an auto shop owner who hauls cars to someone who transports cars for private clients or a dealership.
Traffic accidents can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars when there’s a commercial truck involved. That cost becomes even higher when hauled vehicles are factored into the equation. The limits you choose need to protect you from the maximum exposure to loss. Or in other words, the cost to replace vehicles in addition to any additional costs the vehicle owners may sustain such as lost profit.
#2 Insuring Auto Haulers Requires Multiple Policies
As with most types of insurance, there is no one-size-fits-all policy. Every driver must be aware of their needs, both personally and professionally speaking. From a trucking standpoint, you need to know how much car carrier insurance you’re required to have as well as how much coverage you’ll realistically need to protect yourself.
Sometimes, you can get away with buying a less expensive policy with lower limits, but this can have catastrophic results in the event of a serious accident. There are different types of auto hauler insurance you’ll want to look at including:
You’ll need coverage to pay for damages to the vehicles you’re hauling, not just damages to other drivers. Without this type of coverage, you wind up fully responsible for paying the cost of the cargo damage. When you’re dealing with auto haul cargo, the cost could easily run close to a million.
This is the standard type of auto insurance that compensates other drivers after an accident. You won’t be responsible for covering the costs to repair or replace someone’s vehicle if you’re at fault. If you operate in one of the 12 no-fault states, then your own medical bills will be covered by your bodily injury coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) plan.
Motor Truck Cargo Insurance
Drivers often combine a motor cargo policy with their auto hauler liability to fill in gaps and make sure that they’re adequately covered. Cargo coverage can even extend to vehicles that you’re storing and are in your care, custody, and control when not loaded on a trailer.
#3 Auto Hauler Liability Isn’t for Your Damages
Multiple insurance policies are required for drivers to stay safe on the road. Hauling cars is no small feat. You will want to make sure you have physical damage and medical expenses backing you up when you’re behind the wheel. In 2017, large trucks were involved in 8 percent of all fatal crashes, and 71-percent of the involved trucks were semis.
After addressing and insuring the exposures of those you haul for, you will want to purchase insurance that protects you. This includes physical damage insurance, which is broken down into two parts: comprehensive and collision coverage. The latter covers any damages you sustain in a collision with another vehicle, while the former covers the damages from just about anything else, including fire and theft.
You will also want enough medical payments coverage as well as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Accidents caused by other drivers who do not have enough, or any insurance to pay your damages will leave you footing the bill.
#4 Safe Drivers Pay Less
Your Motor Vehicle Records (MRV) will influence your auto hauler rates. Whether you’re a single driver with a small truck or a semi pulling a dozen vehicles at once, your history counts toward insurance costs. Some other factors that influence your insurance rates are:
- Your age
- How long you’ve been trucking
- The type and condition of the vehicles you transport
- Your routes
- Your contracts
As your experience grows, be sure your independent insurance agent markets your coverage. Adding accident-free years to your driving history will make you attractive to more insurance companies, lowering the rates of your insurance.
#5 Distance Makes a Difference
The route(s) you drive will play a large role in how much providers will charge for coverage. Insurance companies will want to know whether you operate within your state or across state lines. Longer distances statistically put drivers at a higher risk of an accident, so your insurance rates will adjust accordingly. For auto haulers who are just starting out, it can be beneficial to limit your job radius in the beginning. This provides a chance to gain experience and build up a safe driving record while saving on insurance.
Auto hauler insurance is essential for anyone who transports cars. The distance you drive, your driving record, and the type of vehicles you haul all factor into your insurance rates. Comparison shopping and working with an independent insurance agent specializing in the trucking industry is the best way to ensure you get the best deal for your trucking business.