By Donna Ryun, OOIDA Communications Manager
OOIDA truck insurance agents get calls every day from drivers who are asking for full coverage. Once the agent asks a few questions, it turns out they just want what is legally and contractually required.
For many, “full coverage” includes Physical Damage. However, most folks don’t realize that in order to be fully covered, a variety of optional coverages are available to them. When an unfortunate incident happens, it turns out that those optional coverages definitely come in handy. Keep reading and you’ll see why.
For example, if your truck develops a mechanical problem and you end up stranded on the side of the road, wouldn’t it be nice if there was coverage for that? There is. It’s called Roadside Breakdown coverage. If you’ve included this in your insurance portfolio, you’ll be reimbursed for the tow to the nearest qualified repair facility and/or for the labor costs of roadside assistance up to the policy limit (parts not included). This coverage is sold in conjunction with Physical Damage insurance.
Another optional coverage available to those who have purchased Physical Damage insurance is Rental Reimbursement. If you find that you can’t operate your vehicle because of a covered loss under your Physical Damage policy, this coverage will provide reimbursement for a rental vehicle. Check with an agent about maximum coverage limits.
If you haul for a shipper or motor carrier that requires you to be responsible for damage to a non-owned undescribed trailer that your truck is pulling, you can add Trailer Interchange coverage along with your Physical Damage policy. Your agent will be happy to discuss this option with you, so don’t hesitate to ask about it.
It’s happened to almost everybody at one time or another: You find yourself upside down on a vehicle loan. If you have an accident that results in a total loss, that could be a real problem for you financially.
However, you can put your mind at ease by opting for Gap Insurance. This coverage provides protection for the difference between a loan payoff and the market value in the event of a total loss by collision, and it’s available for both tractors and trailers. Remember, Gap Insurance is an ancillary coverage that can be purchased only in conjunction with your Physical Damage policy.
If you have a brand-new tractor and are the first owner, you might want to consider Limited Depreciation coverage along with your Physical Damage. During your first few years of ownership, your truck’s value will depreciate considerably. Limited depreciation will virtually eliminate the depreciation in the event of a covered loss, so be sure to discuss this with your agent.
If you want your personal items protected, you should ask your agent about Personal Property coverage. Your personal property is undoubtedly important to you, yet when carried in your truck, it is not covered by your fire, theft and collision or your homeowner’s policies. This optional coverage could be a valuable additional insurance when purchased with a Physical Damage policy.
If you’ve ever had an accident where your truck ends up in the repair shop, you know that being down can cost you some financial hardship. Optional Downtime coverage provides additional protection for those times when your truck is down for repairs following a covered physical damage claim. Be sure to ask your agent about any restrictions that apply.
Supplemental Towing & Clean-up is another optional coverage that is available in conjunction with Physical Damage insurance. This coverage can help with the cost of removal of debris and cleanup of the immediate vicinity of an accident following a covered loss. It also provides coverage for towing away your wrecked truck. It’s available for trailers also, so all owner-operators should consider it.
The next time you tell your agent that you need full coverage, be sure to learn more about all the optional coverages. Knowing that you are truly fully covered with insurance protection can give you the peace of mind you need to operate your business with confidence. LL
As head of OOIDA Communications, Donna Ryun has been a staff member of the Association since 1989. Donna manages OOIDA’s web operations, switchboard and data maintenance departments. She is one of the Association’s top correspondents and moderates OOIDA’s Members Only Forum.