Difference between Hotshot Insurance vs Expediter Insurance

Chevy Silverado Dually 3500 perfect for Hotshot Freight

Last Modified: September 25, 2023

The difference between Hotshot Insurance vs Expediter Insurance is largely the type of unit and commodities hauled.

You may have heard the terms Hotshot and Expediting used interchangeably.

While these two types of trucking have some similarities there are also important differences that you may want to know.


How are Hotshots and Expediters similar?


  • Hotshots and Expediters are Trucking for Hire operations of a time sensitive nature.
  • They both tend to operate between 300 and up to unlimited miles. Many drivers don’t go home the same day they deliver the freight.  In fact, some Hotshot and Expediter drivers can stay on the road for weeks at a time.
  • Both Hotshot and Expediting largly consists of Owner Operators.  This means the drivers own their own vehicles and operate as independent contractors.
  • FMCSA requires most Hotshots and Expediters to establish a DOT operating authority for hauling freight across state lines.


FMCSA is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration responsible for regulating commercial motor vehicles.

Both Hotshot Insurance and Expediting Insurance starts with the limits FMCSA requires below.


Hotshot Trucking

A Hotshot usually operates with a 1 ton Dually Pick Up Truck with a 9,000 lb rear axle minimum.

The truck uses a gooseneck or fifth wheel hitch in the bed that attaches to various types of trailers depending on freight.

This combination brings the GVW over 10,001.

Hotshot Dually Hauling Cars
Hotshot Dually Hauling Cars


Many Hotshots focus on hauling cars or “toys” like motorcycles, boats, golf carts, RVS or trailers.

Dually pick up trucks often use a 3 to 4 car wedge to haul multiple cars or choose enclosed trailers to better protect the cargo.



A lot of Hotshots deliver RVs from one state to another simply towing the unit behind them.

Hotshot Dually with Travel Trailer
Hotshots can haul travel trailers to Dealers







Some Hotshots use flatbed trailers to haul machinery, farm equipment and other large general cargo.

HotShot Dually Truck with Trailer
HotShot Dually Truck with Trailer & Equipment


Expediter Trucking

An Expediter can operate with a cargo van, sprinter, step van, straight truck or tractor trailer.

Expediter Cargo Van/Sprinter or Straight Box Truck


Common freight for an Expediter can be auto parts, machinery, equipment for production lines, pharmaceuticals or anything that requires fast delivery.





The difference between Hotshot Insurance vs Expediting Insurance

Vehicles that haul freight for hire across state lines are required to establish their own DOT authority unless they are operating as a leased on Owner Operator for another Motor Carrier.

If you ARE a leased on Owner Operator, then you do not need to establish your own DOT authority and How does NonTrucking Liability Insurance differ from Primary Liability in the Trucking Industry is what you want to read next.


But assuming you DO wish to operate on your own, you’ll need to establish your own DOT authority…


FMCSA requires most Hotshots and Expediters to carry a minimum limit of Commercial Auto Liability as follows:


FMCSA minimum Commercial Auto Hotshot Insurance limit for Duallys with Trailers is $750,000.


Dually with Trailer for Hotshot Freight requires $750K Liability
Dually with Trailer for Hotshot Freight requires $750K Liability








Expediting Insurance is different depending on the weight of the truck hauling the freight.

For example, Commercial Vans under 10,001 GVW are only required to carry $300,000 Commercial Auto Liability.

Commercial Van Insurance covers Cargo Vans and Sprinters.

Cargo Van Sprinters Expediting require $300K Liability







But if the Expediter is using a larger unit then the minimum Commercial Auto Liability required to establish a DOT authority is $750,000.

Box Truck & Straight Truck Insurance is commonly purchased by Expediters.


Expediting Straight Box Trucks require $750K Liability
Expediting Straight Box Trucks require $750K Liability


[Related story – What is the Definition of a Commercial Vehicle]





It’s important to know that industry standards have increased the generally accepted Commercial Auto Liability limits to $1,000,000.  This increase in industry standard applies for both Hotshots and Expediters across all unit types.

So while it’s possible to obtain your USDOT number with the lower amounts required by FMCSA, it’s prudent to ask your agent what $1,000,000 auto liability will cost.

This is because you will very likely have a broker or shipper ask for that higher limit sometime in the future.

A professional truck insurance broker can save you money by starting your policy at one limit to establish your DOT. 

She will then help you make the necessary changes when you’re up and running.  


If you want to learn more about FMCSA requirements, check out this related story Commercial Truck Insurance Requirement MCS90.


Hotshot Cargo Insurance vs Expediting Cargo Insurance

Motor Truck Cargo for Hotshots & Expediters







FMCSA does not require proof of a Cargo Insurance limit to establish a DOT operating authority.

Market forces are what controls how much Cargo Insurance you will need.

In order to obtain freight contracts, Hotshot Motor Truck Cargo usually starts at $100,000 with the most common limit of $150,000.

Many Hotshots carry $250,000 for higher end cargo.

Expediting Cargo Insurance is different.

Because of the large fluctuation in types of freight commodities, Expediting Cargo Insurance limits can start as low as $25,000 to as high as $250,000.

The most common amount of Expediting Cargo Insurance requested is $100,000.


Take the few minutes to learn how your Cargo is actually insured in this related story- What does Motor Truck Cargo Cover?


How much should your Hotshot Insurance or Expediting Insurance cost?

There is no average when it comes to Hotshot Insurance or Expediting Insurance.  There are simply too many variables.

A lot depends on your driving record, of course, and also What’s the Best State for Truck Insurance comes into play.


Work with a professional Truck Insurance Broker.  She will be able to run a proposal for you in the same day and offer suggestions.

Then you can decide if you want to move forward with your DOT authority and your Hotshot or Expediting Insurance.

Sometimes we suggest you DON’T go into the Hotshot or Expediting business right away and can advise how to position yourself a year from now.


If you’re brand new to hauling freight for hire, read Save money on your new Motor Carrier Truck Insurance with these 9 questions.

If you’re already hauling freight for hire, then read 10 Quick Tips to Lower Your Trucking Insurance Premium.


…And for the Best Commercial Truck Insurance just give us a call at CIS.  We have a special niche for HotShot Insurance as well as Commercial Van Insurance and Straight Box Truck Insurance.



  • 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.

  • Executive Director of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Christina Cummings leads her team in providing the best Truck Insurance with the best rates for Owner Operators and small Motor Carriers. Christina is TRS certified as a Transportation Risk Specialist. She is your "go to" person at CIS with questions, tips and networking opportunities in our trucking and expediting community.

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