All motor vehicle drivers in New Mexico are required to carry a minimum amount of automobile insurance. Commercial truck drivers and common carriers are no exception to this rule. New Mexico and federal law both impose minimum insurance requirements to cover the damage caused by an accident. The insurance required for commercial trucks is much greater than the requirements for typical motor vehicle drivers, as trucks can cause a lot more damage.
Required Types of Commercial Truck Insurance in New Mexico
For a noncommercial motor vehicle operator in New Mexico, the minimum auto liability insurance amounts are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance, as well as $10,000 in property damage insurance. A commercial driver who operates a big rig must carry much greater amounts of insurance. This is because a commercial truck has the potential to cause more serious injuries and property damage.
Under New Mexico law, commercial trucks must be covered by the following amounts of insurance, at a minimum:
- Liability insurance (for bodily injuries and property damage done to others). The required amount depends on the type of cargo being transported. The current requirements are $300,000 for household goods, $750,000 for general freight, $1 million for oil and $5 million for hazardous materials.
- Cargo insurance. Insurance to cover the cargo that the truck is carrying is also a requirement for interstate contract carriers and intrastate household goods movers. The required amounts are $50,000 per vehicle and $50,000 per catastrophe.
- Specialized insurance. A trucking company or owner/operator may need specialized insurance for various rigs, such as a refrigerated truck, flatbed, log-hauling truck, auto hauler and hazmat carrier. It is the carrier’s responsibility to obtain the necessary types of insurance based on the cargo being carried.
The average cost of commercial truck insurance in New Mexico ranges from $11,000 to $15,000 per year. The cost can change according to the insurance provider, the number of years the trucking company has been in business and the type of cargo being carried. If desired, a trucking company or owner/operator can also purchase optional insurance to cover additional expenses, such as physical truck damage insurance. Any add-ons will increase the cost of the insurance premium.
Required Truck Insurance by Federal Law
The amounts listed above only meet New Mexico’s insurance requirements; commercial trucks that travel across state lines (interstate) must also comply with federal insurance regulations. Like New Mexico’s insurance law, these regulations change according to the circumstances. The federal government currently imposes liability minimums in the following amounts:
- For-hire interstate general freight carriers under 10,001 pounds: $300,000.
- For-hire interstate general freight carriers over 10,001 pounds: $750,000.
- For-hire and private carriers of certain types of hazmat and oil: $1 million.
- For-hire passenger carriers that seat 15 people or less: $1.5 million.
- For-hire and private carriers of other hazardous substances: $5 million.
- For-hire passenger carriers that seat more than 15 people: $5 million.
These are just the minimum requirements. Like state insurance, carriers also have the option of purchasing additional federal trucking insurance. Upon purchasing state and/or federal insurance, the commercial carrier’s insurance agent must submit certain documents to the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the U.S. DOT to show that the carrier has fulfilled the insurance requirements.
How to File an Insurance Claim After a Commercial Truck Accident
If you get injured in a truck accident in Albuquerque, contact an attorney for assistance with the claims process. An attorney can help you identify the at-fault party and file a claim with the correct insurance company. Then, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance claims adjuster to fight for maximum financial compensation from the truck company’s coverage. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, property repairs and other losses as a truck accident victim in New Mexico.