Do 18 wheeler drivers and trucking companies have to have insurance, and if so, is there a minimum amount that it has to be?
Pretty much. Most 18 wheelers have to be insured. This is called liability insurance, and it protects people who are injured if the 18 wheeler causes an accident.
If you’ve been hit by an 18 wheeler and the company who owns it does have liability insurance, that insurance company will hire lawyers to represent the truck driver and the 18 wheeler company. If your injury claim goes to trial and there is a settlement or verdict, the insurance company has to pay you. However, you need to keep in mind that the insurance company only has to pay a certain amount. This amount is usually called the “insurance limits.” How this works is if your settlement or verdict amount is less than or equal to the insurance limits, the insurance company will pay the entire amount owed to you. If your settlement or verdict is higher than the insurance limits, then usually (but not always) the insurance company only has to pay their limit.
When the trucking company and their driver does business in more than one state, they are called “interstate” and they must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These are government regulations that apply to 18 wheeler companies. They require the 18 wheeler drivers and trucking companies to have a minimum amount of insurance. For most trucking companies, the minimum required amount of insurance they have to have is $750,000. However, higher minimum limits do exist; companies who haul hazardous materials have to have higher minimum insurance limits.
If a trucking company is not interstate, then it must follow the rules of its home state. For example, here in Texas, the trucking company must follow the Texas Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Each state's regulations will have individual minimum amounts of insurance.
Most companies and drivers on our roadways have at least $1 million in liability insurance, regardless of the regulatory requirements.
If you have any more questions about liability insurance for 18 wheelers that haven’t been answered here, give us a call at 877.724.7800. If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18 wheeler accident and you’re looking for information on what you should do next, download our free accident report and get your free confidential case evaluation today.