As you all know, trucking is considered a high-risk, dangerous job. Not only are you on the road all day, which increases the risk of accidents, but there are risks of other injuries on the job. In addition, a lot can go wrong from the point of pick-up to the point of delivery.
Strains, overexertion and sprains are the most common trucking injuries. Costs for these injuries exceed $107 million and 576,000 days of work lost.
Without the right coverage, trucking companies may find themselves at the wrong end of a lawsuit or having to pay for these injures out of pocket.
That’s where occupational hazard insurance comes in. Occupational hazard insurance can help protect your company and truckers if they are injured on the job. While similar in some ways to workers’ compensation, this is a different type of policy that offers flexibility in coverage and limits.
What is Hazard Insurance?
Occupational hazard insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers workers who aren’t covered by a workers’ compensation policy, mainly independent contractors and owner-operators.
If you operate in a state where you can opt-out of workers’ compensation, you can use an occupational hazard policy to cover on-the-job injuries and deaths.
If a driver is injured or killed on the job, occupational hazard insurance could cover medical costs, disability and compensation for families.
Types of Hazard Insurance
Like any other type of commercial insurance, there are several types of hazard insurance. Because this coverage is not legally mandated, you can customize your policy to include the benefits and limits that are appropriate for your business.
Some of the most common types of hazard insurance include:
- Survivors’ benefits
- Accidental death benefits
- Medical expenses
- Accidental dismemberment
- Temporary and permanent disability
- Passenger accident benefit
These are some of the most common benefits offered through occupational hazard policies, but some insurers may provide other types of coverage.
Do You Need Occupational Hazard Insurance As A Trucker?
If you work with independent contractors or owner-operators, occupational hazard insurance allows you to cover truckers who aren’t official employees. It’s a small price to pay to protect both you and the truckers you work with.
If you operate in a state that doesn’t require worker’s compensation insurance, occupational hazard insurance will provide similar protection. However, because these policies can be customized to your needs, they tend to be less expensive than workers’ comp.
There are many benefits to having occupational hazard insurance:
- First, it’s a perk for owner-operators. Having the protection of this insurance policy can help attract experienced and talented drivers who stick around. Better, safer drivers will save you money on accidents and other related costs, but you’ll also save on turnover costs.
- If an independent contractor or owner-operator is injured on the job, hazard insurance can provide you with some protection.
- Hazard insurance reduces the risk of lawsuits against your company for workplace injuries.
If you work with non-employees (e.g., owner-operators) or you opt-out of your state’s workers’ compensation program (not an option for most trucking companies), then you likely want to purchase occupational hazard insurance.
Otherwise, you may find yourself having to cover the cost of medical bills, damages and other costs if a worker is injured on the job.
Trucking Business Hazard Insurance Costs
One of the biggest concerns for trucking companies is the cost of insurance. It’s a risky industry, and it’s essential to have the right insurance coverage. Otherwise, you could wind up bankrupt if someone files a lawsuit or you’re held liable for damages.
So, how much will an occupational hazard insurance policy cost you? The cost of occupational hazard insurance depends on several factors, including:
- The policy limit
- The insurance company
- Coverages in the policy
On average, trucking companies can expect to spend $60 to $160 per month. Keep in mind that this cost is per owner-operator or independent contractor. Many insurance companies will offer discounts for insuring multiple drivers. The discount can save you thousands of dollars per year.
Costs are highly dependent on the insurance company. Some charge much higher premiums than average. It’s worth it to shop around to find the best rate and a policy covering all your needs.
It’s important to consider more than just the cost of the policy. Consider what the policy covers and its limits. If you’re going to invest in a policy, you want it to give you the right amount of coverage and the right types of coverage. Compare policies carefully, and make sure that you understand which benefits you need.
What About Contingent Liability?
If you have occupational hazard insurance, you may also be interested in a contingent liability policy.
Contingent liability will protect your company if an independent contractor or owner-operator attempts to claim workers’ compensation. It’s not uncommon for owner-operators/contractors to claim they are being misappropriately labeled as a non-employee if they are injured on the job.
Employee classification has become a hot-button issue, and courts are cracking down on companies that are mislabeling workers. Even if you wind up winning in the end, going through the process of fighting the claim could be costly and extensive.
A contingent liability policy will help cover legal costs and may provide compensation for costs that go beyond your occupational hazard insurance programs.
If you work with independent contractors or owner-operators, occupational hazard insurance is worth having. Contingent liability is another policy that you may want to consider for maximum protection against legal liability.