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Are You an Insurable Driver? That is the Question


When considering a career as a professional truck driver, all too often our past can catch up with us. Whether it be violations on our driving record or former mistakes we’ve made such as misdemeanors or even felonies, suddenly we can find ourselves in a position of not being able to obtain the CDL license. Even certain medical conditions could cause your dream of entering over the road truck driving to fade away.  Many times, people will discover things such as these after they’ve completed their truck driving training, and by then, of course…it is too late.

I receive these two questions from newcomers to the trucking industry many many times…”Will I be able to pass the DOT examination?” and “Will a trucking company hire me?”  In my opinion, these are not the best or most correct questions to ask. This is because,  if you have something on your record that is questionable, be it points on your license, criminal or medical issues, or anything that you fear may interfere with passing the DOT exam or getting hired, then it really doesn’t matter if you can pass the DOT physical or even if a trucking company will hire you. Although  these two questions appear to be the most logical to ask, they are not what you should be asking, but rather you should ask:

“Am I an insurable driver?” That is the question!

Most people tend to believe that it is entirely up to the Medical Examiner and/or trucking company to decide if a person is qualified to operate the commercial motor vehicle. It is not. Ultimately, the final decision will always rest with the insurance company of the particular motor carrier. This is why so many new drivers have gone through the process: passed the DOT physical, been hired on by the carrier, and two weeks later receive that call or qualcom message that they will have to return to the home terminal and be removed from the company.

Even if the medical examiner states that the driver in question, in his or her opinion, can operate a CMV safely based on the meds that the driver is taking, (and that is all the company needs to hear), the ultimate decision lies with the insurance carrier. Furthermore, if a company accepts a driver with a questionable (criminal) background, a few weeks later you could find yourself having to turn the truck back in and returning home without a job.  Why?  Because even though the company and medical examiner “accepted” the driver, for whatever reason…the insurance company declined to insure the driver.

When it comes to the medication that a driver may be taking, the insurance carrier may always have the “fear” that the driver could suddenly stop taking their meds. As irrational that this may seem to the driver, the insurance company will have their own rules and guidelines to go by. A perfect example would be Bipolar depression disorder. This condition can easily be controlled by the right medications. However, the insurance carrier must always ask the question and wonder about what would happen if the driver decided to stop taking the prescribed meds?  The same goes for various other conditions…diabetes, high blood pressure and so forth.

For the most part, drivers will naturally stay on their meds, but insurance companies have to look at the possibilities of how the trucking life can interfere with the driver’s daily routine. What if the driver is running hard for the week and simply “forgets” to take the meds?  We all know how stressful truck driving can be…what if it is only a matter of “forgetting?”

Insurance carriers look at these types of situations on a case to case basis. This is why you will hear of one driver with a medical condition being insured and everything is fine…yet, another driver with the same condition is terminated. Why?  Only the insurance company knows. Something that they read, heard or whatever…made them decide that insuring the particular driver would not be in their best interest.

I see this very often in cases involving criminal or even misdemeanor violations. How many of you have gone through the truck driver training, received your CDL, have been hired by the trucking company, and a few weeks later found yourself dismissed from the job for a DUI that occurred ten years prior?  It is because the insurance carrier, not the medical examiner or the trucking company, the insurance carrier…failed to insure you…for whatever their reasons.

Understand, that there are thousands of drivers operating commercial motor vehicles with these types of situations, so this is not to say that if one applies to you, then you should immediately “give up” on your goal of becoming a truck driver. You should, however, stop relying on the basis if you will be able to pass the DOT exam or if  trucking companies will hire you.  You need to look deeper into the realms of how trucking really works.

One of those realms are the insurance carriers. Are you an insurable driver?  That is the question.

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© 2008 – 2019, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

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By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

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12 Responses to Are You an Insurable Driver? That is the Question. - Post a Comment

  1. […] the hardest part. The initial push requires an extremely large amount of campaign money and time Are You an Insurable Driver? That is the Question – 12/14/2008 When considering a career as a professional truck driver, all too […]

  2. Phil

    Right To Know
    I beleive that the time to start regulating the “Big and Powerful” is NOW. You may allready have heard that new regulation of credit card companies has been passed, controlling the hiking of interest rates on allready existant policies. A local news station in my area issued a public “vote” on whether we should stop de-regulation of energy companies. The “Big Guys” have to much monopolistic power over the rest of us “Little Guys”. I am glad to hear about forced restitution for the victim investors against ENRON. Yes. Time to fight back. Dont let the big guys look over us ,,, let US look over them! I think we should implement a “Right to Know” statute when it comes to whether one can be insured as a trucker or not. That is OUTRAGIOUS that a person could go through training school and pay thousands for it, take all the tests, apply to different places get hired ONLY TO FIND THEY SHOULD HAVE NEVER GOT INTO THE TRADE TO BEGIN WITH!!! THAT IS TIME FOR A CIVIL WAR!!! I WANT TO GET UP AND FIGHT! I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE CORRUPTION!!! One needs to be able to KNOW BEFORE HE OR SHE GOES TO SCHOOL as to whether some insurance company is going to throw dung in the person’s face! It is good that if one gets denied the right to purchase a fire-arm that the reason as to why has to be furnished. We should have the right to know UP FRONT! LET’S GET TOGETHER AND TELL OUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS IN NUMBERS before the Big Guys bribe and scare our polititions ONE MORE TIME! WE should run this great nation, NOT THE GLOBAL ELITE, they need to be cut off, for good. And WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW, it is constitutional. God bless America! Get up and fight! And write.

  3. mike

    anyone know if misdemeanor battery will keep you from being insured?

    im in process of selecting schools and would hate to get nipped for something that was really nothing more than a verbal argument with a stepfather and i told him to calm the F down with my hands on his shoulders…..

  4. Allen Smith

    Hi Mike:

    Misdemeanors involving dishonesty, theft, or fraud are usually disqualifying events. Other issues will be considered on a case by case basis. The best you can do is be sure to list the charge down on the commercial application, and explain the circumstances the best you can. Since these cases are looked at on a case to case basis, you never know what the company or insurance carrier, especially, will determine. Here is a link to one of our reports detailing the driver qualifications that most companies go by when employing a driver…..good luck

  5. Brian D.

    is a bad check for 87 dollars from 3 yrs ago considered fraud?

  6. Allen Smith

    Hi Brian: Laws vary from state to state. Generally, anything under $500 is a misdemeanor…over $500 is a felony … a bad check can fall under the category of “fraud” – Having a “bad check” out can hurt you in several ways – if the recipient of the check files charges, then there could be a “warrant” issued – if they do not file charges and just “let it go”, issues can still arise, such as the bank placing it on your credit report, etc. If it was never reported by the recipient then nothing should show up, except if a credit report is done on you. This is my understanding…..I would recommend contacting the proper Attorney at Law for legal advice. Also, you can always contact the bank from where the check was drawn, and correct it…….

  7. Brian D.

    i was charged with a misdemeanor is see it is fraud but is there a time limit on when this would fall off from stopping me from being insurable?

  8. Allen Smith

    Hi Brian – A Misdemeanor can stay on your record anywhere from 2 to 10 years — Laws vary from state to state, so you would have to check within your state for the actual length of time for the Statute of Limitations. Also, the company or insurance carrier may not even look at it as fraud. By explaining the circumstances, they could still hire you…you just never know.

  9. Thom R.

    Sir, my step son is actively looking at a truck driving school. Unfortuantely, he has a couple of issues that could be problematic based on what I’ve seen here. First, he is very overweight 300+. Second, he does have a couple of speeding tickets in the past 2 years. Last and certainly not least, he has just completed probation on a felony sexual charge. The “counselor” at the school advised him this is no problem. I am more inclinded to think that they just want his money. With the issues listed above, is he wasting time and money?

  10. Allen Smith

    Hi Thom: The school counselor is doing an injustice to your son, in my opinion. With the speeding tickets and felony charge so recent, I would suggest your son’s chances of being hired right now is next to zero.

  11. Michael

    11 years ago was my last felony dui and all my other nasty tickets. for 11 years now I’m ticketed free nothing O but one no inspection sticker on my bosses truck , i got out of driving school in 2/2010
    6 month later o got hired and drove 7 states hauling cattle and Grain locally here in Montana the big thing was can he insure me his insurance said no problem cool so i drove for about 6 month, He had bad equipment so i had to look else And that was 5 months ago, I had a test drive for torgerson farming hauling wide load, WOW no thank you i don’t have that kinda of experience I did haul one tractor it was fine but knew i did not have the experience,sorry but thank you anyways i will call back in a couple of driveing years. And today i get this job service letter company needs driver Ok cool i can do this so i call the guy we talk all is good and he tells me his secretary will call , She calls i give her all my info CDL # my social and she calls the drug testing place and makes a appointment she calls me back sayes appoinment in 1 and 1/2 WOO HOO I GOT A JOB so i head out the door takes an hour too get there i get out of town she calls me and sayes insurance company says no. Ever seen a grown man Cry I didn’t but i sure felt like it. I’m tellin ya life sucks.I see every thing i have worked for slip away. Some of these states have a expungements i live in Montana they don’t I have been clean for 11 Years , I have proven i’m insurable and trusted with a 11 year old clean driving record. So who would you trust a driver that drinks or a driver that does not drink with a 11 year old clean driving record and they want to pass a law that everyone has to have Health insurance. But i have had dui so how will that work. Sorry but i think insurance companys should all hang

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