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What will a mandatory minimum insurance hike cost an owner-operator?

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Since our last comprehensive report on the liability insurance market for owner-operators, premiums have been on the rise, in particular for new businesses, showing $10K a year or more in some areas.Since our last comprehensive report on the liability insurance market for owner-operators, premiums have been on the rise, in particular for new businesses, showing $10K a year or more in some areas.

Today’s news reiterates what’s FMCSA’s at work on relative to a hike in minimum required primary liability for independents and carriers of all sizes — the current minimum, set at $750,000, is below what a lot of shippers and brokers require as a stipulation of doing business with them, or $1 million. For the independents in the audience, I’m wondering: How much do you carry? 

More to the point, what’s the premium you pay for coverage higher than $1 million, a figure I know quite a lot of you probably have currently. FMCSA’s documentation of their work on the insurance hike, such as it is, as noted in James Jaillet’s coverage from earlier today, has commonly cited a figure of $1.62 million to illustrate where the $750,000 minimum would be today had it be indexed to inflation following its mid-80s introduction. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association worried in this press release back in April, when the insurance issue really began to take hold at the regulatory level, that FMCSA was not doing its due diligence on just what a hike would cost small carriers in real terms. If the latest regulatory action schedule from DOT is correct, the hike proposal has definitely been on a fast track, as that schedule says we’ll know the answer to the question OOIDA poses next month. 

Liability insurance, particularly for new owner-operator businesses, can rank number one in fixed costs for an independent without a truck payment — $10K a year or more for a new business. If you’ve boosted your total coverage amount from $750K or $1 million upward in recent years, how much more did you subsequently pay in premiums? Did the rate adjust over time with safe operation? Tell me in the comments. 

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