Policy changes regarding transportation and the trucking industry have historically been more subdued and garnered far less attention than other areas of policy (like immigration, taxes, and healthcare). In 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would have increased the required minimum amount of insurance coverage for large commercial trucking companies. The Senate put that bill out to pasture, but the proposed policy change could be renewed under the new administration in D.C.
Current Insurance Minimums
Within the commercial trucking industry, general carriers are required to carry insurance policies that would cover at least $750,000 in bodily injury and property damage in accidents they caused. For instance, consider a roll-over accident on the freeway that involved four cars; seven people were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, including the truck driver. Let’s say the trucking company carried only the minimum amount of coverage ($750,000). Because the accident was determined to be the truck driver’s fault, the victims must split the $750,000 to cover all medical bills and car damage. Not surprisingly, the $750,000 is quickly exhausted.
Without that statutory minimum, the victims would have a difficult time recovering from the trucking company. They would have to use their own policies to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other losses stemming from the accident — if they even have such policies. However, proponents of raising the minimum point to the fact that the $750,000 minimum hasn’t been raised since it was implemented in 1980.
The bill passed last year by the House initially would have raised the minimum coverage to nearly $5,000,000. Supporters of the bill argued that amount is consistent with the inflation of medical costs. Negotiations pared the proposed minimum coverage to $2,000,000; that seems to be the amount the Biden administration is discussing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration governs minimum coverage. Depending on the type of cargo, trucking companies may be required to carry more than the bare minimum of $750,000.
What it Means For You
While the hope is that you or a loved one is never involved in an auto accident — particularly a catastrophic one caused by a commercial truck — knowing that the liable party carries more than the $750,000 minimum can be one less worry off your mind. While many trucking companies already carry more than the minimum, plenty do not. If the required minimum is raised from $750,000 it could be easier to recover after a serious accident.
Our Firm Wants to Help
No matter what type of auto accident you are dealing with, Ryan R. Cox & Associates is here to help you and your family get the justice you deserve. We can help you file your insurance claim and, if necessary, file a lawsuit against the liable party. Fill out a form on our website today to schedule an appointment with our legal team.