Are you a truck driver in need of insurance? Find out what cover to consider and protect yourself, your business and your family.
Truck drivers work in one of Australia’s most dangerous professions. Heavy vehicle accidents are a leading cause of work-related injuries and deaths every year.
If you drive a truck for a living, it’s worth considering some form of insurance covering you and your family in the event of:
- Work-related injuries and fatalities
- Accidents or negligence leading to legal liability claims (lawsuits)
- Loss of income due to incapacitation
This guide will inform you of the risks truck drivers face, plus the types of insurance and cover options available.
What risks are truck drivers exposed to?
Driving a truck is one of the most dangerous professions in Australia, exacerbated by the distance driven and the number of hours spent behind the wheel. Here are some of the more alarming statistics from a Safework Australia report into truck driver accidents and fatalities:
Which forms of insurance do truck drivers need to consider?
Depending on your personal and financial circumstance there are several types of insurance to choose from. For example, it’s important to consider how you could support your family if you were seriously injured and unable to work, or public liability insurance if you own your truck as a business.
- Life insurance. If you have dependent family members you should consider a life insurance policy with cover to insure a partner and children, or add TPD or trauma options to the policy for broader cover.
- Public liability insurance. Protects independent, self-employed drivers and owners of truck businesses against claims resulting from damages caused to a third party. If your truck is involved in an accident and a client’s stock or equipment is damaged, public liability insurance can protect you financially.
- Income protection insurance. Pays you a monthly income if you’re unable to work due to serious injury.
- Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance. Pays out a single lump sum if you’re seriously injured and unable to work.
- Trauma insurance. Pays out a lump sum benefit like TPD, but only if you’re diagnosed with a specific illness covered in the policy.
Should I consider owner-driver truck insurance?
If you own and drive a truck then you are a self-employed owner-driver. Your truck (and your health) represents your entire livelihood. Owner-driver insurance policies are designed for sole owners of trucks and provide various cover options for your vehicle as well as limited death benefits and third party liability protections if you're truck damages other people's property.
What are the different types of truck drivers and how do insurers classify them?
What are the different types of truck drivers and how do insurers classify them?Insurers categorise truck drivers according to their driving type. Here are the most common:
- Long distance truck drivers
- Local truck drivers (short distance)
- Tow truck drivers
How are different types of truck drivers classified?
- Highest risk. Long distance truck drivers won’t be covered by many insurers, while others will only insure them at an extra cost (premium loading).
- Special risk. For tow truck drivers who also incur higher premiums.
- Lower-risk heavy duties or heavy blue collar. Local truck drivers who travel shorter distances.
How much do truck drivers typically pay for insurance?
How much do truck drivers typically pay for insurance?The price you pay for an insurance policy depends on multiple factors, including:
- Your age
- Your health
- Your employment circumstances
- Your average income or salary
- Your family situation
Truck drivers face greater risks than most workers, especially long distance truck drivers. For this reason insurance premiums are higher for truck drivers and some drivers may find it difficult to get insurance. The following chart shows some examples of monthly costs and benefits of income protection insurance policies available at finder.com.au.
*These quotes are examples only and are based on a 35-year-old non-smoking male truck driver (not a long-distance truck driver) from NSW. Your actual quotes may differ from those shown. These quotes are accurate as of June 2017.
How can I shop for the right insurance policy for me?
Truck drivers need to consider their personal, financial and business circumstances when comparing insurance policies:
- Financial circumstances. Are you your family’s sole breadwinner? If you were hospitalised due to an accident, how long could your family survive without your income plus medical costs? These considerations will determine how much insurance you can afford (and if you’re able to leave yourself exposed).
- Professional situation. If you run your own business or have employees, you’re exposed to liability and need to consider the appropriate form of business insurance. If you’re employed by a trucking company you should check what kind of insurance cover they provide.
- Family circumstances. If you’re single with no dependent children you may not contemplate life insurance, but if you have a partner or young children you probably will. Plan for the worst and investigate life insurance policies that suit your family’s specific needs.
Which insurance options and features should I consider?
Here are some important policy options and features you should look at:
- Benefit periods. Income protection policies have a benefit period, which stipulates how long you’ll receive income payments if you’re injured and unable to work. The usual benefit period in a policy is 2 or 5 years.
- Waiting periods. The period of time between an injury and the start of benefit payments. Shorter waiting times mean higher premium costs.
- Agreed value and indemnity value. Income protection policies with indemnity value cover pay out a benefit based on your most recent salary level. This is a good option for truck drivers with stable, permanent income. Agreed value cover lets you set a payment level and is better for truck drivers whose income varies month to month.
- Stepped and level premiums. Level premiums don’t change over time (but are adjusted for inflation). Stepped premiums cost less initially but increase over time. Learn more about level and stepped insurance premiums.
- Guaranteed future insurability. A life insurance policy guaranteeing your ability to renew or increase your life cover even if your health deteriorates. Find out more about policies with guaranteed future insurability options.