As a common carrier, you are responsible for the load no matter what happens to it.
Generally, there are five major types of perils that affect trucking business. If any of these happen to your company, you and your insurance company are responsible for any damage that might happen to the load.
- Collision - Your truck can overturn because of an accident and spill the contents all over the highway. A truck tipped over in California with a load of orange juice. Not only was the company responsible for the cost of the orange juice, but a pollution claim was filed as well. A little orange juice is good for you in the morning. A lot of orange juice pouring into the river and ultimately the water supply is bad and expensive to clean up.
- Spoilage - This exposure is a very real risk for carriers that haul refrigerated products. A carrier can have his refrigerated truck malfunction and $40,000 worth of blueberries could be delivered at the wrong temperature and be refused. The trucking company now owns $40,000 worth of rotten fruit.
- Vandalism - A thief could break into your trailer, hoping to steal some stereos, but all you are carrying is picture frames and glass lamps. It takes the thief several smashed cases of frames and lamps to realize there is nothing worth stealing. Nothing gets stolen, but you will still have to pay for the damages to the goods.
- Fire and/or explosion - In Colorado, a semi-truck full of beer caught fire in Jan of 2015. That carrier just paid for enough beer for a massive party that no one can attend.
- Theft - Trucks are an easy target for thieves. Thefts happen quickly and usually are a smash and grab job. Rarely is anyone ever arrested for it. What is the most common item stolen from trucks? Cigarettes. They are easily fenced on the black market.
There are five exceptions to the strict carrier responsibility for the goods that are being transported:
- Acts of God - Tornados and floods are good examples.
- Acts of public enemy - If we were at war with another nation and that nation destroyed the goods in the trailer.
- Exercise of Public Authority - If the government was to interfere with the delivery of the goods, by police confiscating a load they deemed suspicious.
- Fault or neglect on the part of the shipper - if the client improperly packed the goods and they got damaged during transport, the trucking business wouldn't be held responsible.
- Inherent vice - A defect in the characteristic of the cargo that causes it to damage or destroy itself. An example could be a load of horseradishes that go bad because they were not properly cleaned of bacteria.
There could be a lot of money at stake if your company is not properly covered for what you are hauling. If you haven’t sat with your agent to discuss what you are hauling and make sure you are covered, you could be paying for claims out of your own pocket. Contact us today for a trucking insurance consultation at 888.279.9701.
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