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Disability Insurance for Truck Drivers

From the box car delivery route to the long-haul coast to coast 18 wheeler, professional drivers need disability insurance.  Being able to support your family, maintain your lifestyle, and pay your truck note if you become disabled is one of the most important things you can do.  However, finding disability insurance for truck drivers isn’t a simple process.

What to Expect-Disability Insurance for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers, like many professions, need to have disability insurance. Long-term disability insurance for truck drivers helps disabled truck drivers pay their bills and even their business expenses.  Whether you can’t drive due to illness or an accident, a disability insurance policy will help cover you if you’re unable to work.

There are over 1.8 million truck drivers in the United States.  The average truck driver makes $41,340 per year. Most of these statistics don’t include delivery trucks and drivers.  If included, the total demographic would balloon to over 3 million workers.

Disability insurance for truck drivers is priced according to your age, gender, health, type of transport, and type of employment.

For most, disability insurance for truck drivers can be hard to find.  Sitting for long hours and potentially moving cargo can create health conditions for truckers, and they may encounter injuries.

A truck driver needs to weigh all his or her options when considering disability insurance.

There are plans available, but some carriers are better-suited to cover you than others.  Our disability insurance service provides quotes from multiple carriers, so you know you’re getting the best policy.

What to Look For-Disability Insurance for Truck Drivers

When considering disability insurance for truck drivers, there are several factors to consider, many of which are beyond the insured person’s control.

As stated earlier, age, gender, health, and your occupation dictate the cost and benefits of your long-term disability insurance policy.

Each of these are largely uncontrollable, so you should know what you’re looking for if you want to buy disability insurance.

Types of Disability Insurance for Truck Drivers

If you’re a truck driver, you know your profession can’t be defined simply by a title.  There are many different types of truck drivers, from box-truck delivery services to long-haul, cross-country heavy load.

The main factors that influence the benefits and pricing of disability insurance for truck drivers are the type of truck, its cargo, and the length of haul.

Type of Truck

According to the disability insurance companies, there is a big difference in the type of truck you drive on a daily basis.

As a rule of thumb, the larger the truck, the less favorable your disability insurance policy terms will be.  Your terms are things such as benefit length, benefit amount, and riders.

So, box truck drivers will have an easier time getting the policy they want as opposed to the driver who mainly runs 18 wheelers.

What’s Your Cargo?

What you transport also plays a large role in the type of disability insurance policy you’re able to buy, as well as its price.

Transportation of hazardous materials, large items, or liquor will be viewed much less favorably by the disability insurance underwriters than would other items, such as bread or Doritos.

Again, we know what you transport is largely beyond your control; however, if you wish to secure the least expensive/most benefit rich disability insurance policy, your cargo needs to fall into certain categories.

Length of Haul

Are you in your truck for days at a time?

If so, be prepared for a more expensive policy.

Long-haul truckers are going to have less favorable disability insurance options than truckers who are home every night.

And like smokers, there is very little leeway.

When it comes to disability insurance (or life insurance for that matter), smoking cigarettes even a few times per week makes you a smoker.  In the eyes of the disability insurance companies, there is no difference between a pack per week (or month) and a pack a day.

The length of your hauls is unfortunately viewed similarly.  If you’re home every night, you’re going to have the most favorable terms when it comes to your disability insurance policy.

Even a few overnight hauls, and you’re considered long-haul and will have fewer options (and higher pricing) than your local brethren.

That doesn’t mean those who run long routes can’t find disability insurance for truckers.  It just means their occupation class will not be as favorable as those who have shorter routes.

Employees vs. Owner Operators

If you’re an employee, all the preceding information applies directly to you.

Working for a trucking company allows you the most straightforward and basic form of coverage.  Because you don’t have expenses, your income is typically used to see the insurance for which you’re eligible.  All other factors listed above still come into play; however, there aren’t any additional moving parts.

Owner-operators or independent operators have other considerations.  If you are an owner-operator truck driver, you need to know the pros and cons of disability insurance for truck drivers, specifically for your situation.

How Much Disability Insurance Can You Buy?

Many people who come to our site ask how much disability insurance costs.

More often than not, a better question is, how much disability insurance can I buy?

If you’re looking for long-term disability insurance for truckers, you need to be aware of how your income impacts your ability to buy coverage.

What you make is important; however, what you are netting is even more critical.  The disability insurance companies will look at what you make, minus your expenses before taxes.

For Example
Let’s say you make 150k per year as an owner-operator.  As an independent operator, you incur 60k in expenses.  That could include your truck note, trucking expenses, and anything else you can write off on your taxes. That means you’re eligible for coverage based on 90k in earnings.

With disability insurance, the companies will only cover a certain portion of your earnings.  Typically, that percentage is 60-65%.

In the previous example, your earnings are not 150k.  Your earnings are 90k.

So, for an owner operator or independent operator, you would be eligible for roughly 5k per month in coverage.

That might not sound like a lot for someone making 150k annually in their business, but consider this: When paid for with after-tax dollars (as it would be in this case), personal disability insurance benefits are tax-free.

Occupation Class Upgrades

One of the key pricing factors of disability insurance for truckers is the occupation class.

Like your gender, health, and age, occupation class directly affects the cost of your disability insurance coverage.

While there isn’t much you can do about your job duties, you can look at companies who view your occupation more favorably.

There are a few disability insurance companies who view truck drivers more favorably than others.  Higher occupation classes mean lower premiums, so naturally, those companies are a good place to start.

While selecting the right company is important for all truck drivers, being an owner operator or independent operator has additional advantages.

Many disability insurance companies offer what’s called an “owner upgrade” or an “income enhancer” for business owners, such as independent owner-operators.

An owner upgrade allows the applicant to apply for a higher occupation class than what they normally allow.  This upgrade can increase your occupation class by one, sometimes even two, categories.

This upgrade makes the policy less expensive for the owner/operator than it would be for someone who is an employee of a trucking company.

An income enhancer allows you to apply for more benefit than otherwise allowed.  As mentioned, you need to net your expenses out of your income when calculating the benefit amount for which you’re eligible.

This upgrade allows you to add some income back in, effectively allowing you to apply for more benefit than you would otherwise be entitled to.

In a business where there is a lot of overhead, such as trucking (fuel, your truck note etc.), being able to increase your income for the purpose of applying for more benefits is attractive.

Protecting Your Business

Like most self-employed people, owner-operators have a lot of overhead that would be impossible to pay for if they were unable to work.

In most cases, the largest required expense is your truck payment.  It is required, since few of your other expenses as a truck driver (food, fuel, maintenance etc.) come into play if you’re not driving.  Your finance company, on the other hand, expects their money every month, no matter how often you’re working (if at all).

To protect against a disability preventing you from paying this obligation, you can purchase business overhead expense (BOE) for truckers.

Business overhead expense (BOE) is a type of disability insurance for truck drivers designed specifically to pay your business expenses if you’re unable to drive due to sickness or injury.  Most truck drivers, who we help buy disability insurance, want to make sure their largest expense, their truck, is covered if they’re unable to drive.

That’s what a business overhead expense policy for truck drivers does.  If you suffer an illness or accident that prevents you from working, this policy pays your truck note for a period of time, normally 1-2 years.

Traditional disability insurance for truck drivers pays your living expenses if you become disabled; BOE for truck drivers pays your business expenses.


If you’re looking for disability insurance for truck drivers, you’ve come to the right place.

We help truck drivers shop for disability insurance from all the major carriers.  Our goal is to help you find the best disability insurance policy for your needs in your price range.

High Income Protection provides expert, unbiased advice in helping you find this valuable coverage.  If you’d like to see what a customized disability insurance policy looks like, simply contact us or complete the quote form on the left.

We’re here to help.  Let us know what you need, and we’ll assist you in getting everything covered.


About Raymer Malone, CFP®
About Raymer Malone, CFP®

Raymer Malone, CFP® is principal and owner of www.highincomeprotection.com, an online insurance agency that specializes in disability insurance.  Ray has been in financial services since 1998 and has been life and health licensed since 2004. He started his company to help consumers get access to disability insurance products online and to provide them with the proper direction in selecting a policy. Ray resides in Lake Tahoe, NV with his wife and two children.

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