Truckers General Liability

Insurance Market Source regularly taps into its network of experts for insight into key trends and developments across the insurance landscape. Rebecca Roberts, Managing Director and Transportation Manager, at Burns & Wilcox in Indianapolis, breaks down the ins and outs of Truckers General Liability.

Q: Why would a truck driver need general liability coverage if they already have commercial automobile coverage?

A: Some brokers, agents and insureds do not believe there is a need for Truckers General Liability if they already have commercial auto liability, especially when it comes to smaller, one-man operations that do not have a storefront. But the truth is, there is a lot of gray area between auto liability coverages and other exposures truckers face. General liability can cover some of the exposures they don’t even know they have for as little as $500-$750 a year.

Q: What are some of the loss scenarios you have seen that help explain those gray areas?

A: It is fairly common these days for truckers to have a guard dog in the truck with them. If the dog bites someone, that is not an auto liability exposure – it is a general liability exposure.

Other common scenarios–missed deliveries, loading or unloading freight from the truck, working on the premises of another company–create situations with general liability exposures. Loading and unloading is one of the largest exposures truckers can face, and when you consider the losses they could experience, the fairly nominal cost of adding a general liability policy to an existing auto policy is worth it.

Q: Does auto liability partially cover loading and unloading?

A: Yes, but you really do need both policies in place to have full coverage. For example, auto and general liability cover mobile equipment used for loading and unloading to some extent. But, you need both policies to have full coverage.

Let’s say you have a motorized device. That would be a general liability exposure. But, dollies and hand trucks that are human operated are typically an auto liability exposure. To be sure of what coverages are needed, you would really have to drill down–who is responsible for loading the truck, for unloading the truck, how is it done?

Most brokers and agents do not get that detailed when building coverage packages for their clients and that can leave both themselves and their clients open to risks. It is important for brokers to keep truckers general liability coverage in mind and offer it when they provide auto liability for truckers.