Why Trucking Companies Need Stronger Insurance
If you get involved in a commercial trucking accident in Kentucky, your number one source for financial compensation to cover your medical expenses and property repairs is the trucking company’s insurance provider. Unfortunately, the minimum required amounts of trucking insurance have not increased since 1980. The current too-low limits may not be enough to fully cover your losses, making it difficult to collect what you need to move forward after a collision.
What Are the Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements for Commercial Trucks?
Commercial trucking insurance requirements are determined by the federal government. In 1980, Congress deregulated the trucking industry, which led to a large influx in the number of trucking companies. To ensure safe operations, Congress gave the Secretary of Transportation authority to set insurance minimums at a level that was appropriate to compensate truck accident victims and still allow insurers to provide incentives for the safe operation of commercial trucks.
The minimum required amounts of liability insurance chosen for commercial trucks were:
- $750,000 for interstate and foreign commercial trucks that weigh 10,001 pounds or more and carry nonhazardous materials.
- $1 million for trucks that weigh 10,001 pounds or more and transport certain types of hazardous materials.
- $5 million for trucks that weigh 10,001 pounds or more and transport specific hazardous materials in cargo tanks, portable tanks or hopper-type trucks.
- $5 million for commercial trucks that weigh less than 10,001 pounds and carry certain bulk or hazardous materials.
These amounts have not been increased since they were set more than 40 years ago. Yet these minimum amounts are too low to adequately protect the public. Unfortunately, this means a lack of insurance coverage available for many truck accident victims today. This is especially true when truck accidents involve catastrophic injuries for survivors, such as permanent brain damage or paralysis, that have ongoing medical costs.
What Is Driving Up the Price of Trucking Insurance?
There is little incentive for trucking companies to purchase more than the minimum required amounts of liability insurance – especially as the costs of automobile insurance continue to climb year by year. Insurance premium increases are caused by various factors, including the ongoing truck driver shortage, higher costs of medical care, litigation expenses and issues such as distracted driving, which increase the number of truck accidents.
Reports have shown trucking insurance price hikes of 100 percent to 300 percent in recent years. Part of the problem is that the insurance industry has not been able to turn a profit on common carrier insurance, as losses are outpacing the ability-to-capture rate. This means that the market has been unable to turn, resulting in insurance companies increasing rates to try to counteract their losses.
How to Recover Fair and Full Compensation for a Trucking Accident
The current state of the insurance industry does not bode well for truck accident victims. While it is evident that trucking companies need stronger insurance to afford the losses sustained by victims in serious collisions, many motor carriers cannot afford higher premiums – or are unwilling to pay for more than the minimum required amounts of insurance. Sadly, this can make it difficult for crash victims to collect fair financial compensation.
The most effective way to fight for the monetary recovery that you need after a truck accident in Kentucky is by hiring a personal injury lawyer in Louisville to negotiate your insurance claim for you. A lawyer knows how to deal with insurance claims adjusters and negotiate for the maximum amount of coverage available under one or more insurance policies.
A truck accident attorney can also search for sources of financial compensation besides the trucking company’s insurer to help improve your odds of adequate coverage, such as the individual truck driver, an owner/operator, a cargo company, the manufacturer of a faulty truck part, a maintenance team or the government. Speak to an attorney immediately after your accident for assistance with your trucking insurance claim.