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How Much Insurance Does a Freight Broker Need?

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 3:25 p.m.


“How much insurance does a freight broker need?” is a great question. A freight broker's insurance requirements depend on the type of business they're in and the services they offer. Generally, a freight broker should have at least $100,000 in liability coverage to protect their clients from negligence lawsuits. It would be best if you found a better insurance or freight broker.

It's also essential for freight brokers to have Errors and Omissions (E&O) or Professional Liability Insurance to cover any mistakes that could lead to customer financial loss. Additionally, since freight brokers often handle customers’ shipments, it’s wise for them to carry Cargo Insurance in case the goods are damaged or lost during transit. Finally, if a freight broker has employees, they must also carry Workers' Compensation insurance. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

Freight Broker Bond Coverage

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented an updated requirement for freight brokers as part of The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This change, which took effect on January 1st, 2013, necessitates that all freight brokers have either a trust fund set up with $75,000 or a bond worth $75,000. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions.

This bond is designed to ensure carriers are adequately compensated if a broker fails to make payments by their obligations. As such, this new regulation offers increased protection and assurance to all those involved in the business of shipping goods by land. What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointedViolations?

The cost of a broker bond can vary widely depending on the creditworthiness of the applicant and an assessment of their assets, liabilities, and cash flow. Annually renewable bonds can range in price from around $1,000 annually to over $5,000. It is important to note that having a bond does not always mean a freight broker can simply deny payment without consequences. If an awarded claim is made against the bond by a motor carrier, it is then the broker's responsibility to cover this payment. Must visit How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

General Liability Insurance

A Commercial General Liability policy can provide you with the coverage you need to protect yourself from costs associated with bodily injury, property damage, and contractual obligations. This kind of protection is not a legal requirement for freight brokers; however, customers may specify that it is part of their contract with you. In such cases, they will generally list the required limits to ensure your safety and theirs. Also, check out the Texas DOT Number.

Investing in a CGL policy gives you peace of mind, knowing that any unexpected damages will be covered if something goes wrong while conducting business with your customers. It's an essential step towards having secure operations as a freight broker! You must visit the link.

Contingent Auto Liability and Cargo Policies

Contingency is an integral component of auto liability and cargo insurance coverage. A contingent policy does not add to the motor carrier's existing policy, but rather, provides a safety net for the broker in case there is an issue with the primary policy, such as cancellation or lapse during load transport. This contingency allows them to ensure that their customer and cargo are always protected. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then be able to maintain complete motor carrier authority or broker.

Brokers must understand these two types of policies to choose the best option for their clients. By doing so, they will be able to provide peace of mind, knowing that whatever happens on the road, their customers’ goods are always covered and safe. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

A contingent policy may take effect if a carrier fails to pay its primary insurance premium and the policy is canceled during transit. However, if the primary policy denies payment on a claim owing to exclusions, this will not be covered under the contingent coverage. As such, having both a primary and contingent policy in place can help protect your business against such incidents. Must read about DOT Compliant Drug and Alcohol Program.

More Information About Contingent Cargo Coverage

Contingent cargo insurance provides extra protection for brokers if the carrier's motor truck cargo policy does not honor a shipper's claim of lost or damaged cargo. This additional coverage offers more extensive protection than the carrier’s policy, and comes with fewer exclusions. If an issue arises where the carrier won't honor a claim, contingent cargo insurance can help fill in some of those gaps—the importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.

Primary Cargo Insurance

Freight brokers should always seek a primary cargo insurance policy to protect their business. While the broker does not own any assets, they are still liable for any harm that may be caused by the goods they are transporting. A primary cargo insurance policy can protect in the event of an accident or damage to goods during transit. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2023 DOT Week filings in minutes.

It is essential to work closely with a reputable insurance agent when choosing a policy, as there are many factors to consider, such as coverage limits, exclusions, and deductible amounts. The broker should also ask their agent what is not covered under the policy. Hence, they understand their risk tolerance level and ensure the necessary items are included in the coverage. A comprehensive primary cargo insurance policy can provide peace of mind and security. What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointed Violations?

Freight Brokers Also Need Vicarious Auto Liability Insurance Coverage

Brokers can be held legally liable for claims of wrongdoing, such as wrongful death, personal injury, or negligent hiring. The case of Sperl v. C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., saw the plaintiffs awarded $23 million in damages due to the broker being found vicariously liable. It was determined that the broker had sufficient influence to enforce its own rules and deny loads to carriers that did not meet their standards and requirements for professionalism. Take a look at the Driver Qualification Files.

Consequently, brokers must ensure they properly vet all carriers and monitor compliance with relevant laws and regulations to avoid similar legal repercussions. By adhering to these safety protocols, brokers can protect their businesses from unlikely but potentially damaging liabilities arising from unfortunate incidents involving transportation services provided by contracted carriers. Read about Texas DOT numbers and USDOT Numbers. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

What Is Errors and Omissions Coverage?

Freight brokers are responsible for ensuring a safe and timely delivery of shipments, but errors can still occur. Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance is essential to protect freight brokers in the event of any negligence or mistakes. If incorrect shipping information is provided to a carrier due to a mistake or paperwork error, E&O coverage would cover legal fees associated with defending the claim, as well as any resulting settlement amounts up to the policy limits. This type of protection allows freight brokers to confidently provide superior service without worrying about potential financial damages if something goes wrong. Also, visit the link.

What Is the Average Margin for a Freight Broker?

It all depends on your business model and the type of freight you're hauling. Generally, most freight brokers will take a 10-15% margin, but some go as high as 20%. That said, a good broker will have their finger on the pulse of the industry and know when to strike for better rates. It's also important to remember that not all brokers are created equal. Some may offer higher margins than others, so it pays to shop around if you're looking for the best deal. The bottom line is that people are not afraid to negotiate for better terms with freight brokers! It could mean more money in their pockets over time. If you want to know more, Please Visit the BOC-3 filing.

Setting Up An Arbitration Program Is Recommended for Freight Brokers

Many transportation industry experts recommend that every freight broker set up an arbitration program. Our own organization recommends that freight brokers should check out two companies that provide world-class arbitration programs at affordable rates. They are: Moving Authority and Please click on the links to learn about each business and the quality arbitration programs that they can set up and maintain on behalf of freight brokers across the USA. You will need driver qualification files filed out by all employees that drive for you working. Also, take a look at what IRP or Apportioned Registration is.

Summary: How Much Insurance Does a Freight Broker Need?

Freight brokers carry a great deal of responsibility for arranging the transportation of goods between a carrier and a shipper. To protect their business, freight brokers must have enough insurance coverage to cover various risks associated with the industry. Generally speaking, freight brokers should look into the following:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Cargo Insurance
  • Auto Liability Insurance
  • Pollution/Environmental Liability Coverage
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Umbrella/Excess Liability Coverage

It is important to note that each state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding freight broker insurance requirements. Therefore, it is always best practice to consult with an experienced professional or your local government agency before purchasing any type of insurance. You can even give our own organization a phone call right now to learn more information about the cost of freight broker insurance based on FMCSA regulations. Remember, the FMCSA requires freight brokers to have a minimum of $75,000 coverage to operate legally.

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