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As Texas continues to grow and develop, the flow of commercial goods to and from the state is also growing exponentially. Trucks travel Texas roads every day carrying products for consumers. But what happens when those goods don't make it to the destination? How much does insurance cover when a commercial vehicle meets unexpected delays or hazards?

Drivers, Roads, and Risks

Accidents can happen for many reasons, and long hours and monotonous highways can be the perfect recipe for an accident. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 2016 truck accidents resulted in over 4,000 fatalities. Why do these accidents happen?

Driving a commercial semi-truck is a demanding job with little obvious reward. Drivers have long shifts that usually go well into the early hours of the morning, and they transport heavy cargo across the U.S. on tight deadlines.

Additionally, road conditions often vary from state to state and can rapidly deteriorate in rural areas with little to no regular road maintenance. These roads can quickly become treacherous in snow, rain, ice, and high winds. Cars often have difficulty in these conditions, so it is easy to imagine how a massive semi-truck carrying large amounts of goods may find driving under these circumstances challenging.

Other Factors That May Cause an Accident

In addition to road conditions, inclement weather, and poor road design, truck drivers also must be careful to avoid distracted driving, speeding, and overloading. Distracted driving can have serious consequences for cars, and even more so for trucks. The truck's added weight and shape make it top-heavy, and the driver is consequently unable to make corrections quickly to avoid an accident.

Overloading and improper truck maintenance create risks unique to trucks. Because trucks are more top-heavy than other vehicles, overloading beyond the recommended limit creates even more imbalance that makes turns and corrects difficult at best. The strict deadlines and long, uninterrupted hours on the road put stress on the truck, which is why regular maintenance is essential. Mechanics can detect issues with truck machinery and fix the problems to avoid a breakdown during transit.

All these factors can cause a crash that results in thousands of dollars in damage and severe and/or fatal injuries. Insurance provides protection from litigation for the trucking company and the driver. It can also help cover the cost of injuries and damages, depending on the plan.

What Does Truck Insurance Cover?

Like any other type of insurance, the benefits of truck insurance depend on the plan. The model of truck, regular routes, and other factors often play a role in what insurance will cover.

Types of truck insurance:

  • Commercial auto liability covers injury to others and property damage if the driver is at fault.
  • Physical damage insurance is a group of coverages that includes collision, fire, and theft.
  • As the name suggests, uninsured motorist insurance provides coverage when a trailer is damaged in an accident with someone who is uninsured.
  • Motor truck cargo and general liability insurance help protect for-hire drivers from injuries and cargo damages.
  • Workers' compensation is a mandatory insurance policy for most businesses, and it provides coverage for work-related injuries.

Trucking companies may have different insurance plans, and drivers might need different levels of coverage. Insurance can help provide coverage for a variety of accidents, damages, and unforeseen events. In some cases, an insurance plan can provide coverage for medical expenses regardless of who is at fault.

Requirements for Truck Insurance

Not all insurance plans are equal, and the state of Texas has minimum insurance levels for commercial trucks based on weight and the type of cargo being transported.

Vehicle types and their minimum insurance levels are as follows:

  • Commercial vehicles carrying household goods with a weight of 26,000 lbs. or less need at least $500,000 in insurance coverage.
  • In general, trucks carrying oil or hazardous material need about $1,000,000 in insurance coverage.
  • Commercial vehicles with specific chemicals or waste, as defined by Texas regulations, should have at least $5,000,000 in insurance coverage.

The requirements for truck insurance are based on the type of truck you drive, and the type of goods or materials you are transporting. It can be hard to know what insurance is best for you. That's why it is important to consult a legal professional to help you understand your options.

Contact Zambrano Law Firm today.

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