Types of Insurance Policies That Cover 18-Wheelers and Large Trucks
We've already gone over the basic types of truck insurance, now we'll dig a little deeper into each one and introduce you to special types of insurance and circumstances that you may need to be aware of. To recap, the four main insurance types are:
- General liability
- Expanded liability
- Self-Insured Retention Policies
- Eroding Policies
The type of policy that the company who has injured you purchased, can greatly affect different aspects of your case. Expanded liability usually gives insurance companies incentive to fight longer and harder, because they stand to lose more money. Self-insured retention policies could mean that for smaller damages you're dealing with a trucking company directly, not an insurance company, which presents its own set of challenges. Eroding policies place an incentive on your lawyers to resolve the case as quickly as possible to maximize your potential payout. While each case presents its own unique set of circumstances, you can be certain that we have the knowledge and expertise to maximize your claim.
Questions answered on this page:
- What is the difference between the various types of commercial vehicle insurance?
- What are some special circumstance that you should know about?
General liability insurance
As we've mentioned before, the different types of insurance can dramatically affect your claim and how you go about getting everything you're allowed under the law.
General liability insurance is akin to the liability insurance on your car. The policy protects the trucking company in the event of a lawsuit based upon one of the trucking company's drivers being responsible for an accident. This type of policy usually covers the federally mandated $750,000, or whatever is applicable to that particular class of commercial vehicles: For instance, trucks hauling hazardous materials are required to have at least $5,000,000.
Extended Liability Insurance
Often companies choose to purchase extended liability insurance. You may be wondering: Why a company would voluntarily buy more than the legal minimum for insurance? The answer is fairly simple. Unlike individuals, companies are not afforded protection from creditors under the Texas Homestead Act (or other similar law if you live in another state). This means that while it is next to impossible for creditors to take your car, home, or other protected assets to satisfy a debt, companies can be forced to sell all of those things.
By purchasing an extended liability policy, the trucking company may have bought themselves a little peace of mind, but they bought you a big headache. While this may seem a little backwards, after all, if they have more insurance, there is more money to pay for your injuries, in reality, it means the insurance company stands to lose a lot more and will fight you that much harder.
Self-Insured Retention Policy
If extended liability insurance has the potential to complicate your insurance claim, self-insured retention policies have their own special set of issues. First, a self-insured retention policies allows trucking companies to self-insure the additional $250,000 dollars of insurance required by the state of Texas, above the federally mandated $750,000. This still brings their total insurance to $1,000,000, but puts the trucking company on the hook for the first $250,000 dollars of damages.
In practice, instead of dealing with an insurance company, you may instead find yourself trying to get Marge in the Human Resources Department at the trucking company to handle your claim. Now we have nothing against Marge personally, but she might not be the most qualified person when it comes to insurance matters. You might remember how difficult it is to pry money out of commercial insurance companies because they believe it is their money, well if the company has a self-insured retention policy, it literally is their money that they have to pay out. As you can imagine, they'll generally do everything they can to avoid paying you.
These may be the worst type of policies that you can come across. The key feature of these policies is that they allow the trucking company to deduct the cost of their defense from the value of the policy. Put more simply, the same money that is supposed to pay you for your damages, helps pay the trucking company's lawyers, to prevent you from getting any damages. A $1,000,000 eroding policy can quickly dwindle to $800,000 or less, if litigation becomes drawn out.
While these policies might not seem fair, they are definitely legal. They certainly change the strategy your lawyer uses to pursue your claim. The worst part of these policies is that the insurance company doesn't have to inform you that this is the type of policy the trucking company has, until you are well into the litigation process. However, a skilled commercial accident attorney will be able to spot eroding policies much more quickly and adjust your legal strategy to minimize the damage these policies can do to your claim.
Trailer Liability Insurance
A trailer policy is a separate policy, which covers damage done by the trailer in the event of a mechanical failure to the trailer. It is uncommon for mechanical failure in a trailer to be the cause of an accident that results in injuries. The rarity of trailer policies being involved in a claim means that less experienced attorneys may overlook this as a possible aspect of your case.
Uninsured Motorist Policies (UIMs)
A UIM can cover you in the event that your vehicle is struck by an uninsured motorist. For instance, if you are a passenger in a commercial vehicle that has been struck by an uninsured motorist, if the carrier has a UIM, you may be able to pursue a claim for your injuries against that policy. In other instances, UIMs from your personal policy may apply if they do not specifically exclude commercial vehicles. Our firm has worked on numerous cases where the UIM served as the means for successfully resolving the claim.
What all of this means for your claim
As you can see, the variety of polices and complexity that each entails can be pretty intimidating, not just for non-lawyers, but even lawyers who are not experienced at handling commercial vehicle accident claims. In commercial accident cases, mistakes by your legal representation have the potential to cost you dearly. You're the one who has been injured; You're the one who needs help. Make certain that when you seek that help, they have experience handling and winning commercial accident cases.
If you have questions about your commercial vehicle accident, we will get you answers; Call our toll-free number (855)326-0000.
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