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Are Commercial Trucks Required to Carry Insurance?

We will admit that insurance is a topic that many people find quite boring. After all, it can be complicated to understand, and most of us have complained more than once about its cost. However, we also know that it serves important personal and social purposes.

But no matter how much we complain about insurance, anyone who owns a motor vehicle knows that the state of Oregon has certain minimum coverage requirements. And that leads to a good question – what about semi-trucks and other big commercial vehicles that travel all over the country? After all, they may come from companies that are headquartered in other states. Are they required to carry insurance? And what if they don’t? These questions become particularly important if you are involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler and suffer personal injuries.

There Are Many Insurance Products Available to Trucking Companies

As one would imagine, even if there were no legal requirements to carry insurance, most reputable trucking companies would find insurance coverage to make good business sense. First, liability coverage can protect the company from financial ruin if one of its employees or trucks negligently injures someone. Second, for socially responsible businesses, it provides a way to protect society.

But you may be surprised at all the different forms of insurance that are available to trucking companies. Below are just a few:

  • Primary liability coverage
  • General liability coverage
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Cargo insurance
  • Physical damage coverage
  • Bobtail/deadhead coverage
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Trailer interchange coverage

Federal Regulations

Fortunately, federal law does impose certain minimum liability insurance coverage requirements on interstate commercial vehicles that meet certain weight requirements. The amount of liability coverage required can vary based upon the truck’s cargo. For example, trucks carrying general merchandise must have $750,000 in liability insurance.

For trucks carrying hazardous materials, the required limits are higher. For example, a truck carrying radioactive materials or other materials defined by law to be hazardous must carry insurance in the amount of $5,000,000. Without the insurance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will not issue the required permit authorizing the company to transact business.

What if a Victim Is Injured by an Uninsured Semi-Truck?

Even with federal laws in place, there are times when trucks are not properly insured. That said, it should be noted that it can take a lot of investigation to determine if a person or a company is truly uninsured.

Multiple insurance companies and multiple insurance policies can be involved. Sometimes trucks and equipment are leased, and the real owner is not immediately obvious. Additionally, the question of whether a company or driver is insured sometimes is based on legal fights between the insurance company and its insured. If you face any of these types of complicated scenarios, you will definitely need the assistance of an attorney.

In most instances, trucking companies do carry insurance. However, if they do not, or even if they have insurance, but in an inadequate amount, a person injured in a wreck with the truck  may be able to look to his or her own insurance policy or the policies of other people. Additionally, some companies, even without insurance, have successful businesses and are capable of paying a judgment against them.

Call with Questions

If you have been injured due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, you are entitled to recover for damages you suffer due to that negligence. Analyzing your case can be difficult, and we know you will have questions. The experienced truck accident lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are here to answer your questions in a free consultation. We represent personal injury victims all over Oregon. We know that the only way to make the roads safe for all of us is by holding negligent wrongdoers accountable for their actions.