Owner Operator Insurance in South Carolina: The Legal Benefits

Every South Carolina owner operator recognizes the importance of having owner operator insurance in South Carolina.

Whether a claim is caused by an accident, an on-the-job injury or adverse weather, drivers know their commercial truck insurance can be relied upon to help cover the costs.

Yet owner operator insurance in South Carolina can also protect drivers from another adverse situation…liability costs.

A case in point occurred several years ago. A South Carolin owner operator was driving to pick up a load when an accident occurred. At the time, the owner operator’s tractor had been leased to a carrier, for whom the owner operator was picking up the load. However, after the accident occurred, the carrier’s insurance company refused to pay for damages, stating the accident had occurred when the driver was not actually working for the company. Therefore, they claimed the owner operator’s personal vehicle insurance, not commercial truck insurance, was responsible.

The owner operator’s insurance company and the carrier’s insurance company ended up in a legal battle, wherein the trial judge ruled that the carrier’s insurance company was not liable. In this instance, the owner operator could have been forced to pay deductible costs as well as faced possible premium increases.

However, the owner operator’s insurance company appealed, and the Court of Appeals ruled in his favor. The judge said D.O.T. regulations made the carrier exclusive possessor and controller of the tractor throughout the time of the lease. The carrier’s lease also allowed the owner operator to drive to and from work. Therefore, the carrier’s insurance company was liable for damages.

In this instance, the owner operator insurance’s did more than insure his tractor trailer and his person. It also protected him from the consequences of unfairly imposed liability charges he might have had to face otherwise.

For more information on the best owner operator insurance to help meet all of your professional owner operator needs for your South Caroline truck company, contact us.