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Florida Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements

Commercial Semi-Truck Insurance Requirements in Florida

In Florida, it is mandatory for all commercial vehicles, including semi-trucks, to carry auto insurance. This requirement is in place to ensure that in the event of an accident, there are sufficient funds available to cover damages to property and injuries to individuals involved. The specific coverage necessities can vary depending on the vehicle’s use, size, and the nature of the goods it transports. However, the overarching goal is to provide a safety net that protects not only the vehicle owner and operator but also public welfare. In the event you are injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers understand how commercial truck insurance requirements can impact your recovery. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your opportunity to recover.

What is Considered a Commercial Vehicle In Florida?

UPS truck on a highway driving fast

In Florida, a commercial vehicle is defined based on its use, weight, and other specific criteria set by the state’s regulations. Primarily, vehicles are considered commercial if they are used for transporting goods or passengers for any business purpose. This includes a wide range of vehicles, from large semi-trucks and buses to smaller delivery vans. Additionally, any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,001 pounds is classified as a commercial vehicle. Vehicles designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, or used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding, also fall under the commercial vehicle category. This broad definition ensures that a wide array of vehicles, integral to the smooth operation of businesses and services across the state, are adequately insured and regulated.

What is Commercial Auto Insurance?

Commercial auto insurance coverage is a specialized type of policy specifically designed to protect businesses against liabilities and financial losses stemming from the use of vehicles for business purposes. This coverage extends to vehicles such as cars, trucks, and vans that are used for transporting goods, conducting services, or carrying employees. Commercial truck insurance encompasses a range of coverages, including liability for bodily injury and property damage, collision and comprehensive damage, medical payments, and uninsured motorist coverage. Unlike personal auto insurance, commercial car insurance policies are tailored to address the unique risks associated with business vehicle operations, providing financial protection not just for the commercial truck drivers, but also for the business entity in case of accidents, thefts, or other damages related to its fleet.

truck driving on a tampa highway

Minimum Coverage for Florida Commercial Auto Insurance

Florida commercial truck insurance requirements for commercial motor vehicles are established to ensure that all vehicles have adequate protection in case of incidents. For commercial trucks and other motor vehicles operating within the state, the minimum liability coverage includes:

$10,000 for Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection coverage is mandatory for all vehicles and is designed to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses regardless of who is at fault in an accident.

$10,000 for Property Damage Liability (PDL)

Property damage liability coverage is required to pay for damages that the insured vehicle causes to another person’s property.

Additional Liability Insurance Coverage for Commercial Motor Vehicles in Florida

Additionally, Florida state law provides that commercial motor vehicles in Florida must have additional commercial truck insurance with minimum levels of combined bodily liability insurance and property damage liability insurance as follows:

  • $50,000 per occurrence with a GVW between 26,000 pounds and less than 35,000 pounds;
  • $100,000 per occurrence with a GVW of 35,000 pounds and less than 44,000 pounds; and
  • $300,000 per occurrence with a GVW of 44,000 pounds or more.

Florida Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

trucking accident causes

Florida Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also imposes specific commercial vehicle insurance coverage requirements on commercial trucks operating in interstate commerce, which includes travel between states, including those originating from Florida. These federal mandates often exceed the minimum coverage levels required by the state of Florida, ensuring a broader spectrum of protection given the increased risks associated with long-haul trucking. Under FMCSA regulations, the minimum liability insurance required can vary significantly based on the type of freight transported and the gross vehicle weight of the commercial vehicle. For example:

  • For trucks transporting non-hazardous freight: The FMCSA requires a minimum of $750,000 in liability insurance for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 10,000 pounds.
  • For trucks carrying hazardous materials: Insurance requirements escalate, necessitating $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 in coverage, depending on the specific nature of the hazardous materials being transported.
  • Passenger vehicles: Commercial buses and vans designed to carry 16 or more passengers must carry at least $5,000,000 in liability coverage.

It is crucial for trucking businesses operating both within Florida and across state lines to comply with these federal insurance requirements to ensure full legal compliance and financial protection in the event of accidents or incidents. Failure to meet these federal insurance mandates can result in significant penalties, including fines and suspension of operating authority.

Additional Florida Commercial Truck Insurance Coverage Options

Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)

While not mandatory for all commercial vehicles, BIL coverage is highly recommended and often required by many contracts. It covers injuries or death to others when the insured vehicle’s driver is at fault.

Cargo Insurance

Specifically designed for vehicles transporting goods, this insurance covers the loss or damage of the cargo, a critical coverage for businesses that rely on the safe delivery of products to maintain operations. This is required for trucks carrying hazardous materials. The federal minimum is $5,000,000, but this amount can vary depending on the cargo’s nature and the risk involved.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This is optional but advisable, as it provides coverage if the other party involved in an accident does not have insurance or is underinsured.

These coverage limits are the minimum requirements, and businesses often opt for higher limits to ensure broader protection against potential liabilities. Additionally, vehicles that are leased or financed may require comprehensive and collision insurance as stipulated by the lending or leasing company.

two peoples hands looking over a contract with pen

Types of Commercial Auto Insurance in Florida

In Florida, commercial auto insurance encompasses a variety of coverages tailored to meet the diverse needs of businesses operating vehicles. These types reflect the specific risks and liabilities that can vary widely depending on the type of vehicle and its use in business activities. The primary types include:

Collision Insurance

Collision coverage covers damage to the insured commercial vehicle resulting from a collision, regardless of fault. This is crucial for businesses to recover quickly from accidents without facing significant financial setbacks.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage goes beyond collisions, protecting against non-crash-related incidents such as theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. It’s essential for a full protection scheme, ensuring businesses can safeguard their assets against a wide range of unpredictable events.

Medical Payments Coverage

Offers payment for medical expenses for the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s vehicle in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.

Each of these types of insurance plays a pivotal role in a comprehensive commercial auto insurance policy, providing businesses in Florida with a safety net that protects against a wide range of financial risks associated with commercial vehicle operations.

Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers Understand Trucking Insurance Minimums and How They Can Impact Truck Accident Victims’ Recovery

Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers law firm possesses a deep understanding of Florida’s complex commercial truck insurance requirements, ensuring that individuals injured in truck accidents are well informed about how these laws can impact their recovery of financial compensation. By leveraging our extensive knowledge of both state and federal insurance mandates, we adeptly navigate the intricacies of commercial truck insurance policies. This comprehensive understanding allows us to advocate effectively for their clients, ensuring that victims receive the maximum compensation possible for their injuries and losses due to a trucking accident. Recognizing the significant differences between standard automotive policies and commercial truck insurance, Fran Haasch Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers meticulously assess all available coverage options to secure the best outcome for those affected by truck accidents. Contact our offices for a free consultation today.

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