How To Choose the Best Commercial Truck Insurance for New Drivers

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Large truck accidents have recently risen. In 2020, 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents, marking a 33% increase since 2011. In addition, 107,000 injury-causing accidents involved large trucks that same year. While this is a 10% decrease from the previous year, the rate of injury-causing accidents per 100 million large truck miles driven increased by 5%.

For a new commercial truck driver, these statistics can be cause for concern. If you're involved in an accident that results in an injury or a fatality, you could be held liable, even if you're working for a trucking company. Commercial truck insurance can help protect you in the event of an accident. However, trucking companies often won't provide insurance until drivers have two or more years of experience, which means you'll likely need to find and pay for coverage on your own. So how do you secure great insurance coverage as a new truck driver and minimize premiums?

Commercial truck insurance is complex. Multiple companies offer it, and many types are available. Learn more about the commercial truck insurance coverage you need as a new driver, what factors affect the cost, and how to choose the right provider and policy for the cargo and routes you cover.

What Coverage Do You Need?

The type of commercial trucking insurance you need depends on the type of driver you are. 

  • Company drivers may not need policies that protect against loss due to equipment breakdown. 
  • Lease owner operators will need to read agreements carefully to find out which types of insurance are not included in their lease.
  • Owner operators with authority will need to purchase all of the necessary coverage for their vehicles. 
The truck you drive and the kind of cargo you haul will also impact your necessary coverage.

In general, the types of commercial truck insurance new drivers may need to include in their policies include the following.


Liability pays for damage to other vehicles and for the medical expenses of other drivers and their passengers. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires at least $750,000 of public liability insurance, but freight brokers may require you to have a minimum of $1 million.

Physical Damage

Physical damage pays for repairs to your truck if you're involved in an accident that is your fault. It also may cover you if the truck is stolen. 

Companies often require physical damage coverage of $1–2 million.

Motor Truck Cargo 

Motor truck cargo pays for goods that are damaged due to an accident. This insurance may change in cost depending on the type of cargo you haul.

It’s important to accurately disclose the type of cargo you haul to insurance providers (even if it costs more) so if you make a claim for motor truck cargo, it won’t get denied.

Refrigeration Breakdown or Reefer Breakdown

If you're driving a refrigerated truck (commonly known as reefer), refrigeration breakdown insurance pays to replace goods that spoil due to refrigeration system breakdowns.

Trailer Intercharge

Trailer intercharge insurance covers trailer damage sustained from  the wear and tear of regular use. 

Load brokers will often require you to have this type of insurance, but the minimum coverage required varies.


Bobtail commercial truck insurance covers you from liability when you're not using your truck for work. For instance, it would pay for repairs to someone else's vehicle if you get into an accident when you're running errands or not hauling a load.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Commercial Trucking Insurance?

Many factors affect the cost of commercial truck insurance for new drivers, including the main points below. 

Your Driving History

Your non-commercial and commercial driving history will impact the cost of your insurance. As a new driver without an established safe history of commercial operations, you will usually pay more than a seasoned driver for the same coverage. 

A history of accidents, speeding tickets, and other moving violations on your non-commercial driver's license will also raise your rates.

Type of Vehicle

Heavy semi trucks generally cost more to insure than lighter pickups due to the increased cost of repairs following an accident or equipment issues.

Operating Radius (Distance of Trips)

Driving long distances usually means more time between stops and driving on unfamiliar roads. As a result, insurance companies may calculate that long-haul drivers are more likely to get into accidents than local drivers. 

Due to the increased risk, insurance companies tend to charge more for drivers with larger operating radii.  

Location (State)

Insurance costs vary from state to state. Operating in a state with lower insurance rates is one way to reduce the cost of commercial trucking insurance. Do your research on the latest data to learn which states offer the best rates. 


Where you store your vehicle between loads can impact the cost of your insurance too. 

If you are an owner operator and park your vehicle in an unsecured location, the likelihood of theft is higher. Therefore, the cost of physical damage insurance will likely increase accordingly.


The type of cargo you carry is one of the biggest determinants of commercial truck insurance premiums. 

Cargo that is more likely to cause serious injury during an accident will raise rates. In addition, hauling costlier goods will increase the price of cargo insurance.


Most commercial trucking insurance policies have a deductible, or an amount that you pay out of pocket before coverage kicks in. 

Generally, commercial truck insurance with high deductibles has lower monthly premiums.

Amount of Coverage 

The more coverage you have, the higher your monthly premiums will be. Often, contracts with specific trucking companies will dictate the minimum amount of coverage you need.

How To Choose the Best Insurance as a New Truck Driver

The secret to getting the best commercial truck insurance as a new driver is to get quotes from more than one insurer. Some companies offer convenient and free online quotes. Others require you to call a company-wide hotline or contact a local agent.

Obtaining multiple quotes allows you to compare the cost and terms of policies side by side, so you can select the right option for your needs. 

When comparing policies, look closely at the differences in the following areas.

Premium vs. Deductible

Opting for a policy with a larger deductible can decrease your monthly premium costs. However, it’s important to be realistic about how much you can afford to pay out of pocket in the event something goes wrong and you actually have to pay the deductible. 

Saving a few dollars a month may not be worth the risk of financial hardship if you have an accident and have to pay a high-deductible for your coverage.


Read some online reviews to check the reputation of each insurance company you receive a quote from. Check ratings from A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s to get a feel for the financial stability of the company.


Before you purchase any coverage, research what happens if you need to file a claim or have a question. Who do you contact? How do you get in touch with the company? In the event you need to call on your insurance, what will the response times be?

Many companies provide 24-hour support online or by phone, but not all do.


Insurance companies must be licensed in every state in which they sell insurance. Your location may prevent you from purchasing policies from certain insurers.

Top 5 Commercial Trucking Insurance Providers

We researched the reviews, ratings, and the benefits of product offerings from several major insurance companies. Based on our research, the top five commercial trucking insurance providers are Progressive, CoverWallet, Nationwide, State Farm, and Sentry Insurance.

Learn more about the pros and cons of each provider below. Please note that the evaluations below are based solely on our research and are not intended to be thorough representations of any offering. Please contact the providers you are interested in to understand the exact coverage you can get from each and what best suits you. 


Progressive offers many types of coverage, including general liability, non-trucking liability, truck cargo, physical damage, and trailer interchange.

Main Cost factors

To calculate cost, Progressive primarily considers your USDOT authority, the types of coverage needed, vehicle type, cargo, operating radius, and driving history.

Benefits of Progressive insurance

  • Progressive offers many discounts including reduced rates for using electronic logging devices, paying a policy in full upfront, and bundling multiple types of coverage.
  • Free online quotes are available.
  • It’s one of the largest providers of commercial trucking insurance and offers competitive pricing.
  • They often approve new drivers and most types of trucks.

Drawbacks of Progressive insurance

  • The size of the company means drivers may not receive as much individualized attention and support.
  • New drivers may not be eligible for some discounts.

Request a quote


Nearly all kinds of commercial truck insurance, including general liability, trucking liability, non-trucking liability, bobtail, physical damage, motor truck cargo, and more are available through CoverWallet.

Main Cost factors

Driving history, experience, type of cargo, operating radius, type of truck, and coverage amount all factor into the cost of insurance from this brokerage.

Benefits of CoverWallet insurance

  • It’s actually an insurance brokerage rather than an insurance company, which allows you to obtain online quotes from multiple insurers all at once.
  • It offers informative articles and guides to help you select the right insurance.
  • It provides simple ways to mix and match policies from multiple companies.
  • There is the ability to pay for premiums for multiple insurers at one time.
  • It features companies that insure new drivers.

Drawbacks of CoverWallet insurance

  • Questions about claims will need to go through the insurer, so customer service may bemore involved..
  • Commissions paid to CoverWallet may make premiums higher if you buy policies through them rather than directly from the insurance company.

Request a quote


Nationwide insurance offers coverage such as general liability, physical damage, and cargo as well as many specialty types of insurance for specific types of trucks and cargo.

Main Cost factors

Truck type, driving history, driver experience, cargo type, and distance traveled are all factored into the cost of a policy.

Benefits of Nationwide insurance

  • It’s one of the nation's largest and oldest insurance companies, and is ranked highly by A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s.
  • It offers specialty coverage that some competitors do not.
  • It has a reputation for providing good customer service.
  • Online quotes are available.
  • It may offer specialized pricing for newer drivers as well as discounts for reinforcing vehicles with anti-theft devices.

Drawbacks of Nationwide insurance

  • It can only be purchased through a local agent.
  • It’s not available in all states.
  • It has higher premiums than some other companies.
  • It may not have insurance for tractor trailers and semi-trucks.

Request a quote

State Farm

State Farm offers coverage like general liability, physical damage, and collision.

Main Cost factors

Truck type, driving history, driver experience, cargo type, and distance traveled factor into policy prices.

Benefits of State Farm insurance

  • It’s the largest vehicle insurer in the U.S. and second largest overall insurance company.
  • It has a reputation for providing good customer service.
  • It has competitive rates, even for new drivers.
  • There are some discount opportunities available.

Drawbacks of State Farm insurance

  • There are no online quotes.
  • It must be purchased through a local agent.
  • It doesn't offer cargo insurance.

Find an agent

Sentry Insurance

Sentry offers coverage for general liability, non-trucking liability, motor truck cargo, and physical damage in their commercial truck policies.

Main Cost factors

Truck type, driving history, driver experience, cargo type, and distance traveled affect policy costs.

Benefits of Sentry insurance

  • They specialize in commercial insurance, so the customer service team is likely very knowledgeable in this field.
  • They have flexible coverage options for new and seasoned drivers.
  • They are available in all states.
  • They’re a member of the American Trucking Association.
  • They have an easy-to-use online portal for making payments and claims.

Drawbacks of Sentry insurance

  • There are no online quotes.
  • It’s only available through local agent.

Find an agent

Wrap Up

Commercial truck insurance is a must-have for all types of truck drivers. By considering the type of coverage you need and obtaining quotes from multiple companies, you can find the best commercial trucking insurance for your needs. New drivers might need to be prepared to pay higher premiums and to be ineligible for some discounts available to more experienced drivers.

CloudTrucks can help new drivers better manage the cost of commercial truck insurance. Our Flex program offers instant payments to improve cash flow and make paying monthly insurance premiums and everything else a whole lot easier on your wallet. And for more seasoned drivers with two years of experience or more, our Virtual Carrier service includes both auto liability and cargo insurance in our low 18% fee. Both programs give you access to loads from more than a dozen top sources. Check out our pricing and sign up today.

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