2020 Owner Operator Truck Insurance #1 Question & Solution

New Owner Op Trucker #1 Question

Last Modified: February 8, 2023

In 2019 the number one Commercial Auto Insurance question asked by new Owner Operators and Motor Carriers was…

“What’s the Best State for me to set up my Truck Insurance?”

Oh how I wish it were that simple:)

Last year we saw an increase in the number of Owner Ops establishing their own USDOT Motor Carrier Authorities.


CCJ:  “During the last four years, truck insurers have paid out 12 percent more in accident claims than they brought in from policy premiums, says Tommy Ruke, founder of Motor Carrier Insurance Education Foundation (MCIEF).”


So it stands to reason that insurance companies are understandably cautious when they take on new commercial auto trucking for hire accounts.

In 2020, even if you try to set up your business based on prior data in “Best States for Truck Insurance Rates” you’re not going to get anywhere fast without understanding these three facts up front:


  1. First, you need a physical address where you actually live in that state (along with proof that varies from insurance company to insurance company.)


  1. Second, your vehicle(s) also need to be registered and garaged in that state (along with proof that varies from insurance company to insurance company.)


  1. Third, your driver’s license needs to be in that state, and in most cases all other drivers as well.


Solve these three issues before attempting to establish a new DOT number, or you’re giving yourself an unnecessary and expensive headache.

Insurance underwriters like stable insureds with good track records that help predict safe future risk exposure.  When insurance companies receive multiple quote requests from the same entity with different scenarios their “gamer radar” goes off which tends not to be to your advantage:)


Instead, if you’re a new Owner Operator…wherever you live…please stay put.

Start your new commercial auto insurance policy, establish a steady stream of freight and drive safely for 2 years.

In whatever type of unit you drive, you will have SO many more insurance options after 2 years.

For now, here’s a few attainable tips on how to get started as a brand new Owner Operator/Motor Carrier in 2020:


Once you’ve essentially trained for 2 years on the road and you honestly wish to relocate:) …then enlist the help of a Certified “TRS”, Transportation Risk Specialist who will help you with your commercial auto insurance options as an established entity versus a new start up.

  …And that’s also when you WILL be able to get that coveted “Hired Auto” endorsement so many Shippers require.

Two years in is also a good time for you to start to grow your company if you so choose.  So keep that in mind as you track your current overhead and profit.

Safe growth IS encouraged by some truck insurance companies.  But they’ll be looking for you to immediately enlist your drivers as responsible professionals vs driving drones.

Stay in front of this upcoming trend:  We’ll see more insurance companies request direct communication to drivers via handheld screening authorizations for background checks, tests and safety.  (Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words…click here then scroll down for image if you’d like to see one.)

When drivers buy into their own safety responsibility there are multiple advantages to the Motor Carrier.  From less paperwork for you and more solid SMS scores, insurance companies want to enlist entities where they have the most clear data.

Even if you never plan to add additional trucks or drivers and choose to operate as a one man band, transparent communications directly to the insurance provider via hand held devices will be a key factor of controlling truck insurance premiums in this new decade.



  • 2002 Founder and CEO of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Shelly Benisch specializes in providing Commercial Truck Insurance for owner operators and small motor carriers. Both CIS and TRS certified, She also writes a free educational trucking insurance advice blog dedicated to the little guy.

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