Iowa Big Rig Insurance: Liability Coverage 101

Iowa Big Rig insurance is tricky! “The Hawkeye State”has slightly different state minimums than federal laws require. In a nutshell, Iowa’s insurance minimums are different for in-state drivers vs. interstate drivers, but as of 2019 the difference is really only in the wording. Like other states, in Iowa your liability needs depend on the type of loads you haul and the size of your rig.

Since Iowa insurance laws are complex for commercial truckers, do not hesitate to contact us with questions. Here we’ll start with the basics.

What is Liability Coverage?

Liability coverage is for situations where you cause damage to others. Damage to other vehicles, damage to buildings, damage to pedestrians and passengers of other vehicles are all covered. Liability will NOT cover things like damage to your bobtail, broken windshields, roadside assistance or theft. For owner-operators especially, liability coverage means you won’t lose your rig if you’re involved in an accident and get sued.

Liability is broken into 2 main points: bodily injury and property damage. These are self explanatory.

Remember that liability coverage will only pay up to it’s limits. So if you do $5,000,000 in damage but only have $3,000,000 coverage , you’ll have a problem.

How Much Liability Do Iowa Big Rigs Need?

In Iowa the minimum liability needed for general freight that stays in the state is $750,000 as of 2019. In-state oil tankers need to carry at least $1,000,000; other in-state hazmat carriers need to have at least $5,000,000 in coverage. These are the stateminimums, you may find that you sleep better in your berth knowing you have more coverage.

Interstate drivers have almost identical requirements. These are set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA.The difference is in the wording. Non-hazardousfreight needs a minimum of $750,000. Oil tankers need the same $1,000,000 and hazmat need the same $5,000,000.

It makes sense that big rig drivers in Iowa should carry more liability insurance than a private passenger auto, as big trucks can certainly do a lot more damage in a wreck. Keep in mind that some shippers will ask you to have a higher limit. If you’re losing sleep reading blogs about your liability coverage, it’s probably time to call your insurance agent next time you reset.

David Ott

David Ott