If you're a semi driver, becoming an owner-operator of your own commercial truck can be an attractive proposition. You'll take on extra responsibilities in truck maintenance and deal with carriers, but you can earn much more money for every load that you deliver. One of the biggest concerns for new owner-operators is how to understand the world of commercial truck insurance; you'll need to know when you're under your carrier's insurance and when you are not along with what types of coverage you will need to purchase from a commercial truck insurance company. Here are the most important points for new owner-operators to understand about semi insurance:

Make Sure You Understand Your Carrier's Insurance

Most carriers provide full liability insurance (including cargo insurance) that covers you from the moment you pick up the load up until you drop it off. Since this represents the majority of the time you spend driving your truck, this is a good deal. However, you will need your own personal commercial truck insurance to cover you when you are not delivering a load for your carrier. The leasing agreement you sign with your carrier will detail their minimum insurance requirements; however, it does not hurt to get more insurance than is minimally necessary if you can afford it.

As an owner-operator, it's important to know which insurance applies to you when you are driving your truck. When you are dispatched by your carrier, but before you pick up your load, the type of insurance that you need to cover you, in this case, is called bobtail insurance. It also covers you after you have delivered your load until you have garaged. Carriers will generally not supply this, and you will have to contact a commercial truck insurance agent in order to find a policy that suits your needs. The other main type of insurance that you will need to carry as an owner-operator is non-trucking liability insurance. This covers you from the period of time after you garage to when you are dispatched again; this mainly applies if you need to drive your truck for personal reasons, such as if you need to take it to a mechanic.

Be Aware Of What Commercial Truck Insurance Covers – And What It Doesn't

One of the biggest changes, when you move from working for a trucking company as an employee to working as an owner-operator, is that you will be responsible for your own truck maintenance and repair. Commercial truck insurance doesn't cover this, nor does it cover towing fees associated with a breakdown unless that breakdown was caused by an accident. It's important to keep up with your truck's regular maintenance schedule and take it to a mechanic if you feel that anything is wrong since a breakdown while you are on the road can cost you a large amount of time and money while you wait for repairs.

Don't Cancel Your Insurance When You Pay Off Your Vehicle

Most commercial truck lienholders require you to carry physical damage insurance. If your truck is damaged by hail, fire, vandalism or theft, this type of insurance will pay for any repairs to your truck. After you have paid your truck off, you're no longer legally required to carry this type of insurance. However, it's still a good idea to keep your current insurance agreement; your truck is your livelihood, and you want to be covered in case it is severely damaged. Although it may be tempting to save money on your physical damage insurance premium, you open yourself up to serious financial risk by going without this type of insurance.

Contact a company like Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants for more information and assistance.