Texas Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements


Texas Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements

Unfortunately, truck accidents are more common than you’d expect and the financial impact can be tremendous for victims. It’s important to know your rights after a truck accident and the ways insurance companies try to avoid liability. The simple answer is trucking companies in Texas are required to have insurance coverage. The term “full coverage” does not exist. Instead, full coverage refers to a combination of coverages to protect a motor vehicle. The answer becomes more complicated because Texas trucking companies must abide by state and/or federal insurance laws. The questions to consider involve minimum coverage requirements, intrastate and interstate transport, commercial insurance coverage, insurance payouts and the recent House 19 Bill involving commercial motor vehicles.

Learn about Truck Accident Risk Management and Safety Tips here.

Minimum Coverage

Trucking companies, known as motor carriers, are required by Texas law to file proof of commercial automobile liability insurance for each registered vehicle. The insurance requirements for truck drivers and trucking companies ensure they are covered in the event of a serious accident or injury. In Texas, trucking insurance providers will ask three key questions to help determine the most appropriate truck insurance and liability limits:

  • How much does the truck weigh?
  • Where will the truck travel?
  • What will the truck transport?

All drivers, including commercial drivers, must carry at least the following coverage:

  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage per injured person
  • $60,000 bodily injury coverage total per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability coverage

If the operator fails to provide proper proof of insurance, an investigation could follow. This investigation can include:

  • Inspection of the all company trucks
  • Inspection of all company vehicles
  • Audit of all vehicle and driving records

Intrastate and Interstate Transport

The amount of truck insurance for intrastate is set by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). It sets the minimum amount of commercial insurance coverage at $500,000. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the laws regarding how much coverage is needed by a Texas trucking company. The amount of coverage depends on the weight of the commercial truck and type of materials they transport.

  • $750,000 in coverage when carrying nonhazardous materials and weighing more than 10,001 pounds.
  • $1 million for trucks transporting oil, hopper-type vehicles or cargo from or to Texas to another state.
  • $5 million for trucks carrying hazardous materials.
FMCSA requires that all commercial trucks under its auspices prove financial responsibility by one of the following methods:

  • Purchase liability insurance

  • Purchase a surety bond

FMCSA also requires that proof of insurance be kept in two places; in the vehicle itself and in the carrier’s office. These documents can serve as proof of insurance:
  • Form MCS-90 – Proof of insurance issued by the carrier

  • Form MCS–82 – Proof of an existing surety bond

Commercial Insurance Coverage

In addition to the minimum insurance a trucking company must carry, it can obtain additional insurance coverage. The four main types of commercial insurance coverage are:

  1. General Liability Insurance:

    The minimum coverage requirement.

  2. Extended Liability Insurance:

    Offers more than the minimum coverage.

  3. Eroding Policy:

    Allows trucking companies to subtract cost of defense from coverage.

  4. Self-Insured Retention Policy:

    Adds $250,000 to trucking company insurance policy.

Trucking companies must also have accidental insurance coverage or workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Coverage must be at least:
  • $300,000 for medical expenses for a minimum of 104 weeks
  • $100,000 for accidental death and dismemberment, including 70 percent of an employee’s pre-injury income for at least 104 weeks when compensating for loss of income
  • $500 maximum weekly benefit

Insurance Payouts

Negligence is the legal term to describe who was responsible for a truck accident. This means proving the trucking company or its driver failed to act as a responsible person would and cause the accident. Proving negligence, or fault, requires your attorney showing you were a victim, how the accident occurred and why you deserve money. In Texas, several elements are used to help prove your case:

  • The driver or trucking company owed you a legal duty. This legal duty was to protect you from harm. This means they were legally responsible for ensuring your safety while the truck was on the road.
  • The driver or trucking company breached their legal duty by causing the truck accident.
  • The actions or inactions of the driver or trucking company led to your injuries that occurred in the accident.
  • You deserve money to cover your bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

House Bill 19

The Texas legislature has passed House Bill 19, a law that will impact lawsuits involving commercial motor vehicles commenced after September 1, 2021. The bill defines “commercial motor vehicles” as vehicles being used “for commercial purposes in interstate or intrastate commerce to transport property or passengers . . . .” The bill applies not only to 18-wheelers, but also to Uber and Lyft vehicles, delivery trucks and any other vehicle being used for commercial purposes.
Under the law, an owner or operator may move to bifurcate (or separate) the trial of claims against an employer defendant relating to a commercial motor vehicle accident predicated upon the liability of the employee (i.e., negligent entrustment) and otherwise concerning a demand for both compensatory and exemplary damages.
Overall, the law provides commercial motor carriers and their counsel a multitude of new procedures and considerations to limit the admissibility of highly prejudicial evidence and causes of action at the time of trial. This makes it more important to work with an experienced attorney familiar with the tactics of commercial carriers and insurance companies to deny your rightful reimbursement.

Your Texas Truck Accident Attorney

Trucking companies must have insurance for their vehicle to be on the roadways. That does not mean they are willing to pay if they are responsible for injuring you. Contact the Texas truck accident attorney about your case. We offer a free case evaluation. You have the right to receive money for your injuries regardless of the type of insurance coverage the trucking company has.

October 22, 2021
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