Last week, Oklahoma and Texas experienced some extreme weather – to put it mildly. There were high winds reaching sustained speeds of 67 miles per hour, and the highest wind gust clocked 84 miles per hour. The wind in Texas was so strong that it ripped trees from the ground, downed powerlines, blew roofs off of houses, and damaged buildings.
It even toppled a few semi-trucks, this one among them.
So, to explain a bit about how high winds can throw a semi-truck around:
There’s a force called thrust, which is just a push, essentially. Because the sides of tractor trailers are so big and flat, they present an ideal surface for the thrust created by high winds to push against. The larger the truck is, the stronger that push is going to be – it has more area to work with. In some cases, that push is strong enough to tip a semi right off its wheels and onto its side, sending it crashing over in a terrifying display of Mother Nature’s power.
If a truck is moving (like this big rig cruising down the highway) it’s more likely to be tipped over by high winds because there’s even more pressure being placed on the trailer. Similarly, a trailer that isn’t loaded is more likely to be tipped over because it’s lighter; there’s no cargo to weigh it down and give the wind a tougher time turning it over. Eighteen-wheelers tipping over because of high winds – while being driven, nonetheless – might seem far-fetched, but as the video proves, it can happen all too easily.
What questions do we have from an insurance perspective?
We can’t help but look at this unfortunate accident through an insurance lens. Now, of course, we don’t have all the facts, which is why we have a few questions as to what coverages could come into play. (When you’re in the insurance game, you think of everything in terms of coverage, limits, claims, and so on.) These are the biggest questions that came to mind:
- Who owns the trailer?
Our first major question is who the trailer belongs to. Is the trailer owned by the truck driver, the truck driver’s employer, or a third party? Is the trucker operating under his own authority? This would play a part in how the damage to the trailer (or an entirely new trailer) would be paid for by insurance. Who’s got the physical damage insurance for the trailer – or, well, does anyone? Hopefully.
- Is there workers’ comp for the truck driver?
The poor truck driver – what a scary thing to experience. We hope that he or she was not seriously hurt in the accident. But if they were, are they covered by an employer’s worker’s compensation insurance? Or is there occupational accident insurance for them? Hopefully, there’s some sort of insurance to help them cover their medical bills and expenses.
- Were they hauling a load at the time?
Our next question is whether the driver was hauling a load at the time of the accident. If there was a load in that trailer, we’re willing to bet that it didn’t survive the tip-over unscathed. Which sounds like a job for cargo insurance to take care of. Then we’d be curious to know how the clean-up from the accident was handled.
What coverages would be needed?
Now, what semi-truck insurance coverages would come into play here? How would the trucker, the trucker’s employer, or the motor carrier they’re leased to come back from this type of loss?
Here are a few types of insurance that could come in handy when dealing with the fallout from the aftermath of this high-winds accident:
Physical damage insurance.
Physical damage insurance would be helpful in this truck-tipping scenario. This is the coverage that helps you get your vehicle back on the road ASAP if it’s damaged. Collision coverage helps you repair or replace your truck if you get into an accident or otherwise crash into something. Comprehensive coverage helps you repair or replace your truck in the event of fire, theft, vandalism, animal strike, and falling objects (like trees.)
If the trucker was indeed hauling a load, cargo insurance would be a beneficial thing to have. This is the insurance that will cover your load if it’s damaged by a collision, or if it gets stolen. Like we said before if there was anything in the trailer when this big rig flipped it probably got tossed around. Which means that it’s probably damaged beyond hope…which is where cargo insurance can come in to save the day. Cargo insurance can also help with the costs of cleaning up the road of debris from the accident and preventing further damage to the load.
So, let’s say that this truck flipped and then hit another car. Liability insurance would help cover the costs the truck driver is legally obligated to pay to the other driver, who might have been injured in the accident. It can help cover costs like the medical bills and pain and suffering of the other driver, and it can also help cover legal expenses if the truck driver is sued. In addition, it can help cover the costs of repairing or replacing damaged property, such as the other driver’s car.
Strange, unexpected, and scary things happen on the road – including truck rollovers. Of course, we hope that no big rig you’re ever driving turns over because of high winds as this one did. But in the event of an accident, it’s important that you’ve got the right insurance – and that you have enough insurance. Our team of truck insurance professionals would be happy to help you get the customized eighteen-wheeler insurance that’s right for you.
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