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Is Insurance Different for Trucks Than For Cars?

Yes. There’s usually more insurance, and it’s often more complicated.

In Ohio, the law requires cars to carry liability insurance with “minimum limits” – $12,500 per person per accident, up to $25,000 per accident. That’s not much protection, but most drivers have at least that much. Some drivers break the law, and don’t carry any insurance.

Trucks are owned by businesses. The business owners carry plenty of insurance – the small ones don’t want to be wiped out because an employee runs a stop sign.

Also, federal and state regulations require most trucks – particularly tractor- trailers – to carry much higher liability insurance limits than car owners. So if you’re hit by a truck, there’s probably enough money to cover your loss.

But you might wind up dealing with the trucking company directly anyway.

As you can guess, truck insurance premiums are high. Trucks are large, travel at high speeds, and spend most of the time on the road.

A trucker’s mistakes are expensive, and, too often, tragic. And the state and federal required limits are high.

So truck insurance is expensive.

Some trucking companies are large enough that they can absorb the loss caused by a terrible accident. They’d rather not pay the premiums necessary to get the federal minimum coverage.

So to reduce premiums, insurance companies offer “retained risk” policies. The insurance company agrees to insure the truck for whatever amount is required – say, $750,000.00, the amount required for a tractor trailer.

But the trucking company agrees to pay the insurance company back for every dollar spent to pay off the damage caused when its truck is in an accident. So if the case settles for $200,000.00, the insurance company may write the check, but the trucking company may have to pay the insurance company back.

This makes sense for larger trucking companies. The premiums for a “retained risk” policy are lower. And what it means is that the trucking company itself might have the authority to approve any settlement – because ultimately, the money will come out of the trucking company’s pocket.

This can be good or bad, depending on who you’re dealing with. Some attorneys would rather deal with insurance adjusters, under the theory that the person negotiating will be more willing to spend “other people’s money.”

But in my experience, it all depends on the individual who is doing the negotiating.

I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I have fought in court over truck insurance issues. Knowing who is supposed to pay for your damages, and how much insurance there is, can be important. If you’ve been hurt by a truck, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Truck Accident Lawyer about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.

Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.

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