Commercial trucks must carry more insurance if they transport hazardous materialsTrucks are required to carry a higher minimum value of accident insurance than cars. If the truck involved in your Kentucky truck accident was not properly insured, this can seriously impact your personal injury claim.

Minimum Insurance Limits for Commercial Trucks

Depending on the type of commercial truck and the commodity transported, commercial truck insurance limits can vary from vehicle to vehicle. The following limits are currently in effect:

  • $750,000 minimum for for-hire trucks weighing 10,001 or more pounds for interstate or foreign commerce while transporting nonhazardous property;
  • $1 million minimum for for-hire and private trucks weighing 10,001 pounds or more for interstate or foreign commerce while transporting oil, hazardous waste, and specific hazardous materials;
  • $5 million minimum for for-hire and private trucks weighing 10,001 pounds or less for interstate or foreign commerce while transporting specific hazardous substances; and
  • $5 million minimum for for-hire and private trucks weighing 10,001 pounds or more for interstate or foreign commerce while transporting specific hazardous substances.

The driver involved in your truck accident should be able to furnish proof of insurance at the accident scene. Additionally, the trucking company should have a record of their insurance coverage and surety bonds.

Hazardous Material Transport and Commercial Truck Insurance

While hazardous materials drivers are professionally trained and have clearance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Transportation Security Administration, they may still be negligent. Truck accidents can still happen and result in catastrophes.

The minimum requirements for commercial truck insurance increase as the type of cargo being transported becomes more dangerous. Federal regulations classify many types of cargo as hazardous and further categorizes them into divisions. Usually, hazardous materials—hazmat—are flammable liquids or gases. These may include substances that pose little threat, such as hairspray or perfume, to highly dangerous materials, such as gasoline, liquefied gases, or poisonous, explosive, or radioactive substances.

Vehicles, buildings, and containers that house hazardous materials are identified by a diamond-shaped sign. The numbers and colors inside the diamond identify the classification (red for flammable, orange for explosive, etc.) and level of risk (0 for no hazard to 4 for severe risk).

Hazardous materials that require the motor carrier to have a minimum of $5 million in commercial truck insurance coverage include:

  • Hazardous substances as identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Radionuclides
  • Radioactive material

The reason commercial truck insurance rates are so much higher for hazardous material transport is because of the increased risk of catastrophic injury in a Kentucky truck accident. A relatively minor Kentucky truck accident can turn serious or even deadly if the hazardous cargo on the truck spills. In 2012, large trucks carrying hazardous material were involved in 145 fatal accidents and 1,074 injury crashes.

Commercial Truck Insurance and Your Kentucky Truck Accident

After you have been in a Kentucky truck accident, it’s important to find out the truck driver’s commercial truck insurance standings when filing your personal injury case. Because of the increased risk of severe injury and death in accidents involving commercial trucks, the minimum coverage for insurance is much higher than it is for passenger vehicles. That can mean a bigger settlement or a bigger jury verdict than a car accident case, but it may also mean a more vigorous defense from the trucking company and insurance adjusters.

Consulting With a Kentucky Truck Accident Attorney

An experienced Kentucky truck accident attorney will be familiar with the insurance minimums and be able to help you investigate the driver’s coverage.

When building your personal injury case, you’ll want the experience and knowledge of a truck accident attorney at Gray and White Law. Our attorneys will give your case the personal attention it requires and work with our team of experts in re-creating the accident to fight for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation. Our legal team is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us now at 888-450-4456.


Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law