The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) releases an annual report of truck accident statistics each year showing that an average of 500,000 truck accidents happen on American roads and highways. About 75 percent of these accidents are caused by the drivers of smaller passenger cars - not the truck operators.
Whether you are a private contractor who owns a single dump truck or a business owner who owns a full fleet of heavy-duty commercial vehicles, you have made a significant financial investment. Protect that investment with an insurance policy designed specifically for your individual situation.
Facts About the Caterpillar 797B, World’s Largest Dump Truck
- At 25 feet high and 47.5 feet long, this 1.3 million pound dump truck can haul up to 380 tons of material
- Too large for roads, this truck must be disassembled and reassembled at job sites
- Despite its approximate $5 million price tag, several of these USA-produced trucks are currently in use in tar sand areas in Wyoming and Montana and in Chile, Argentina, Australia and Canada
- The fuel tank can hold 1,800 gallons of diesel
- Each tire stands 13 feet high and costs $40,000
- Its V-12, 24-cylinder engine provides 3,550 horsepower and allows the truck to achieve speeds of up to 42 miles per hour
What Is Dump Truck Insurance?
Dump truck coverage falls under the general category of commercial vehicle insurance. Like any commercial vehicle, owners of dump trucks are required to have liability insurance coverage before these trucks can be legally driven or used for jobs.
This coverage is particularly necessary as mishaps in these heavy-duty vehicles can lead to extensive damages. Because dump trucks are intended mainly for off-road use, their design is often such that a collision with a car can have deadly results. In fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports an average of one dump-truck related fatality every week in the United States.
What Does Dump Truck Insurance Cover?
A basic commercial dump truck insurance policy will provide the mandatory coverage required to operate these commercial vehicles. This includes the minimum bodily injury and property damage liability coverage amounts required by state law.
To ensure that your finances are secure and that your business is properly covered, you may want to consider building a basic commercial vehicle policy. Most commercial truck insurance companies provide the following additional coverage options that you can include in your dump truck policy:
- Non-trucking insurance: This coverage is designed for independent owner/operators with contract jobs. It provides liability insurance if you should be involved in an accident in your truck during off-work hours.
- Motor truck general liability insurance: This coverage will protect you from liability for damage you cause to your customer’s property while operating your vehicle on their grounds.
- Physical damage insurance: This additional coverage provides compensation for any damage to your dump truck, and is usually required by dealerships if you are leasing your vehicle.
- Motor truck cargo insurance: If the cargo you will be hauling on your truck is valuable, you may be required to carry motor truck cargo insurance.
- Collision insurance: This will cover the repair of damage to your dump truck if you collide with another vehicle or object.
- Fire and theft insurance: This comprehensive insurance will provide compensation for damages to your vehicle from fire or theft.
- Environmental insurance: This insurance will cover certain pollution-related losses and fines and the costs for restoration and clean-up, if necessary.
- Rental reimbursement / downtime insurance: If your truck is damaged in an accident, this coverage will allow you to continue your business operations while your truck is being repaired or will cover business losses if continuation is not possible.
- Off-season comprehensive only insurance: If your business is seasonal, this will save you money while protecting your vehicle while it is not in use.
Safety Tips for Dump Truck Owners and Operators
The three main hazards faced by dump-truck operators are collisions on the roadways, tipping when unloading, and accidents while backing up. The following safety precautions can help to avoid many of these common mishaps.
- Always perform a basic inspection of the vehicle before operating it. This inspection should include checks on the tires and lug nuts, vehicle lights, mechanical functions such as the lifting mechanism and windshield wipers, brakes, tailgate, and restraint chains.
- When driving the truck to and from the job site, exercise extreme caution, taking special care to check blind spots.
- Make sure that all employees at the job site are wearing protective gear such as hard hats, heavy-duty boots and reflective vests.
- When loading your vehicle, begin by loading in the center of the box and keep the load as evenly distributed as possible.
- Do not overload the dump-bed or exceed the vehicle’s maximum payload.
- When unloading your vehicle, do so on level ground whenever possible. If level ground is not an option, create a barrier that can adequately support the rear unloading point or edge.
- Do not activate the dumping mechanism of the truck if there are people or vehicles nearby.
- Make sure your truck is properly equipped with mirrors, lighting and back-up alarms.
- Dump truck drivers have several blind-spots. When backing up, a spotter should work with the driver to prevent accidents and injuries.
Purchase the Right Dump Truck Insurance Policy
Rates for dump truck insurance policies can vary significantly depending on your specific coverage needs and the insurance company you choose. To ensure that you are purchasing an ideal policy at a competitive rate, review quotes from a minimum of three commercial truck insurance providers. Just make sure these are reputable companies who understand your needs. It might be a good idea to consult AM Best or other insurance rating organizations, and consult with colleagues, lawyers, and financial planners who can give recommendations on the best coverage for your business.