Forklift Insurance: Coverage, Cost & Quotes From $15

Forklifts are machines you’ll find in factories aside from telehandlers. They provide better functionality for loading light to medium cargo. Turns out,  just like any other piece of heavy machinery, it is crucial you get those insured by getting forklift insurance. No one is requiring you to get this but availing is crucial because the financial burden arising from forklift accidents can be as expensive as a Porsche 918 Spyder.

Why Do You Need Forklift Insurance: The Facts

Operating or having a forklift is as risky as driving your car without lights in the dead of the night! We know you won’t believe us if we give a baseless explanation. And so, here are some forklift facts:

  • 96,700 forklift-related accidents happen annually. The breakdown is actually like this: 34,900 serious injuries and 61,800 non-fatal injuries are recorded every year because of forklifts

  • Forklift accidents are very common in the following industries: mining, construction, wholesale, transportation, and retail

  • Forklift accidents, where the guilty party did a violation, cost $13,000 up to $100,000

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What is Forklift Insurance Coverage?

A forklift insurance policy is an insurance product carriers underwrite especially for businesses that provide forklift rental services or forklift loading services. This consists of numerous types of commercial insurance that offer protection against third-party claims, property damage, and other business exposures.  

The terms of forklift insurance only apply when the forklift is working at a warehouse or any other place. When traveling on the highway, the terms of a commercial auto insurance policy apply,  because the forklift is treated as a heavy transport vehicle (e.g. truck, bus, etc.) With that being said, when owning a forklift, you need to get two insurance policies; forklift insurance and commercial auto insurance.

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What Policies Should You Get for a Comprehensive Forklift Truck Coverage?

The policies you should get for a comprehensive forklift truck insurance program are general liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, commercial auto insurance,  and equipment breakdown coverage. Let’s discuss each of these in more detail. 

General Liability Insurance for Forklift Business

Situations that result in injuries to others can sometimes emerge while using a forklift. In most cases, the primary reason is the failure to exercise due precaution. People won’t hesitate to file claims if an undesirable incident happened due to the operations of your forklift business. To protect your business against claims, get general liability insurance. 

General liability insurance is the primary inclusion in tailored forklift business insurance – meaning that all insurance companies offering coverage for forklift business underwrite this. The following are the perils covered by general liability insurance:

Third-Party Personal Injuries  Third-Party Property Damage  Legal Expenses 
One of your forklifts might run someone over and cause injuries –  a vendor, client, representative of another business, or any third party.  If the person files a claim against your business for his or her injuries, general liability will cover medical expenses so that you don’t pay for anything While providing service to a warehouse, an employee might damage stocks with your business’s forklift. The client will surely file a claim for property damage to recover losses. In such a situation, general liability insurance will cover the amount demanded  Third-parties sustaining property damage or personal injuries because of your forklift business operations might take legal action. This is an exposure that general liability insurance covers. It will pay for attorney fees, payment order, and other legal costs

General liability insurance for forklift businesses comes with add-ons. If you decide to get the following, general liability insurance will provide enhanced protection and won’t only cover personal injury claims and property damage claims. 

Advertising Injury Coverage Products and Completed Operations  Rented Premises Liability Coverage
Your forklift business might share confidential information of a client to another party. It might also damage someone’s reputation verbally or in writing. Using another business’s intellectual property for commercial purposes is an eventuality too. If you commit any of these, expect a claim to be filed. And in such a case, advertising injury coverage provides protection by paying for attorney fees, remuneration ordered by the court, and other legal costs A previous forklift service project might have caused personal injuries and property damage and past clients might file a claim against your business. Products and completed operations coverage in general liability insurance covers this peril by paying for attorney fees, remuneration, and other legal costs Consider adding rented premises liability coverage to general liability insurance if you’re renting a commercial space for business purposes. If fire destroys the commercial space you’re renting, rented premises liability coverage will reimburse the property owner on your behalf 

Is It Rare for a Forklift to Injure Third Parties?

Forklifts dealing bodily damage to others isn’t rare. In fact, if you look in numerous databases online, you’ll find a lot of records about this.  We compiled the most relevant ones. The table below presents what we found:

What Happened?  Result
A forklift operator was sorting/loading stacked material and was going in reverse without sounding his horn. A man was nearby while the forklift truck was working. The forklift truck then ran over the person’s leg twice. This resulted in several surgeries to save the victim’s leg. The victim filed a lawsuit against the forklift  operator and his employer and received a $9 million payment for personal injuries
A man from Cudahy, Wisconsin, filed a personal injury claim against an event management company after a forklift truck ran over his foot while working. The forklift driver didn’t exercise safety precautions while working, according to the results of the investigation. The event management company paid the victim a settlement amounting to $19.5 million after back and forth legal proceedings
A driver filed a personal injury lawsuit against a forklift operator after his foot was run over while the forklift was loading his tractor-trailer Unknown
A delivery food truck driver filed a lawsuit against a supermarket after an employee hit him while operating a forklift The court ordered the supermarket to pay the delivery driver a sum of $3,258,000 for the damages he sustained
A young man slipped on an uneven floor. A reversing forklift ran over his feet as a result. Received $118,679 as settlement for the injuries received
A forklift was loaded with a coil, which interfered with the operator’s field of vision as a result. After hitting the brakes, the coil swayed, separated from the forklift, and fell on a subcontractor assembling a machine.  The accident resulted in brain injury, fractured ribs, and shoulder injury for the victim Upon taking matters to court, the jury ordered the operator’s employer to pay a total of $1.1 million in settlement

Most personal injury claims that forklifts face result from leg injuries. This table shows the average cost of settlement. 

Average Cost of Claims for Leg Injuries in Forklift Accidents 

Extent of Leg Injury Cost
Legs only $16,728
Ankle only $10,430
Ankle and leg $23,456
Legs and lower back $36,878
Legs and knees $38,939

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Forklifts don’t only expose third parties to dangers. Those who operate them face risks multiple times greater than those who only find themselves near forklift trucks. This is why workers’ compensation insurance is crucial.  Workers’ compensation insurance does the following if your forklift inflicts injuries to a technician, operator, or any other employee. 

Coverage Function 

Employee Treatment/Medical Procedure 
Your forklift might hit an employee or roll over. An employee might fall while mounting the forklift. These situations will result in injuries. When an employee of your business gets injured by a forklift, workers’ compensation insurance will pay for surgery, therapies, and other medical treatments/procedures

Some injuries will take extensive medical attention and your employee might need to stay in the hospital. Another function of workers’ compensation insurance is to pay hospital bills 

Workers’ compensation insurance will cover costs if your employee’s attending physician requires the purchase of particular medicines for faster healing 

Forklift-related accidents might result in injuries that impair the bodily functions of your employee. If the employee needs rehab, workers compensation insurance will pay the fees of the therapist and other rehabilitation expenses 

Lost Income Compensation 
Injuries will force your employee to stop working temporarily and this will result in lost income. Workers’ compensation insurance assures that your employee will have money during his or her unemployment by providing a weekly allowance equal to two-thirds or 67% of the average weekly wage

Death Benefits
If your employee dies because of a forklift-related accident, workers’ compensation insurance covers funeral payments and provides cash aid to dependents 

What Are The Particular Risks When Operating a Forklift?

According to the report of the International Labor Organization, risks that employees face while working near or in a forklift are:

  • Accident hazards

    • Fall of the truck operator while mounting the forklift

    • Fall of cargo the forklift is currently loading

    • Heavy loads cause the forklift to turn over

    • Electric shock while maintaining a forklift or charging a forklift (only applies to electric forklift

  • Physical hazards

    • Neck pains

    • Lower back pains because of incorrect positioning in the driver’s seat

    • Over-exertion of the arms and hands due to continuous use of the steering wheel

A  report published by Safety In Numbers  states there’s only a 10% likelihood that forklifts won’t cause accidents. Let’s take a look at the number of non-fatal accidents from 2011 – 2017 shown in the table below:

Year Number of Non-Fatal Accidents
2011 7, 920
2012 8, 870
2013 8, 400
2014 9, 440
2015 8, 630
2016 8, 410
2017 9, 050

Using the data above, we can conclude that an average of 8,000 non-fatal forklift injuries happened in the past years, and the top 5 causes are:

  • Contact with object or equipment

  • Transportation incidents

  • Being struck by something the forklift is carrying or the forklift itself

  • Caught by the object or equipment attached to the forklift or the forklift itself

  • Falls and trips

A large portion of non-fatal injuries resulted in workers failing to attend work for 16 days. They will lose a lot of income at such a duration. That’s why workers comp is crucial because it pays for lost wages even if not in full amount. 

For a better look at the risk of death from forklift operation, we looked at the report the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published  that states the following facts:

  • A forklift kills someone every 3-minutes and injures someone every 6 minutes

  • 1 out of 6 recorded work-related fatalities in the United States involve forklifts

In addition, forklift deaths involve individuals between 20 – 64 years old. And it seems that the likelihood of dying because of forklifts is greater for males than for females. Finally, the most common injuries resulting in death are multiple traumatic injuries and disorders, intracranial injuries, and injuries to internal organs. 

Commercial Auto Insurance

Your forklift should have commercial auto insurance too. Your forklift might need to run on a public road someday, which isn’t allowed without any auto coverage. And so, Getting commercial auto insurance is a must.

Commercial auto insurance for forklifts takes care of accidents your forklift causes on public roads. Forklifts are hard to control. They’re prone to rolling over and ramming other cars or objects. Road accidents, where forklifts are involved, are common. Here are some cases we gathered from news sources:

  • A man was criminally charged after driving a forklift truck for a joyride and killing his soon-to-be-father passenger when the forklift overturned

  • A forklift tipped into a ditch and sent one passenger to the hospital to recuperate serious injuries sustained

  • A forklift truck collided with another vehicle on Northbound Old River Road in California and killed its driver, who the authorities didn’t identify until days later

Aside from taking care of your liability for vehicular accidents, commercial auto insurance provides other protection such as:

  • Physical damage coverage – This has two forms: collision and comprehensive. Collision physical damage coverage will cover parts repair or replacement if your forklift crashes into a vehicle or an object while running on the highway. Comprehensive physical damage coverage, on the other hand, will cover costs if your forklift is damaged by fire, hail, storm, other acts of God, arson, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils 

  • Medical payments/personal injury protection – Medical payments/personal injury protection will cover the medical expenses of the operator if a forklift causes an accident or gets involved in an accident a vehicle caused 

Equipment Breakdown Coverage

An equipment coverage will take care of the repair costs of your forklift.  Getting this is very important as repairing a forklift is expensive. You might need to order parts, aside from working with a mechanic specializing in forklift truck defects.

Labor for rebuilding a defective forklift engine can scale up to $3,210. By the way, note that this is for labor only. You’ll also have to buy replacement components for the engine, such as pistons and valve seals, so expect expenses to reach more than $5,000.

Aside from the engine, the hydraulic mechanism of a forklift is also expensive to repair. On average, you’ll have to spend $1,950 to take care of it. Hydraulic system repair is the main reason you have to get equipment coverage. It needs to be done immediately to avoid violating safety protocols state law imposes on forklift operations. 

Equipment coverage for forklift trucks will also take care of repair costs for leaks. Leaking is a very problematic defect because it’s hard to diagnose and can cause damage to the major components of the forklift, such as its hydraulic system, brake system, engine, and cooling system. Insurance coverage will help because it will cover the repair cost of leaking, which can sometimes reach $1,109. 

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Forklift Insurance Cost 

The true cost of your forklift insurance will depend on the number of the forklift trucks you want to cover, the amount of coverage you want to have, the deductible, the condition of the forklifts, and your location. The bullet below shows the generalized pricing so that you’ll have an idea about how much to pay:

  • General liability insurance for forklift trucks usually starts at $256 a month or $3,072 a year. This provides $1 million for the policyholder if ever they file a claim.

  • Commercial auto insurance offering  $1 million coverage starts at $152 a month or $1,824 a year.

  • Workers comp insurance for forklift operators starts at $54 a  month or $648 a year for a $1 million coverage for lost income, medical fees, and other costs.

  • Equipment coverage starts at $63 a month and $756 a year for a $1 million coverage.

Here’s a table showing the pricing of the best forklift insurance companies:

Cost per Month  Cost per Year Best for
CoverWallet $230 $2,760 Forklift insurance quotes comparison online
Thimble  Contact a Thimble representative for accurate pricing Contact a Thimble representative for accurate pricing Forklift operator’s insurance

We suggest you compare forklift insurance quotes to get the best coverage for your forklift. It’s because carriers offer policies differently. For example, you will find a carrier offering workers comp as part of its general liability coverage. In contrast, there are carriers that offer workers comp as a stand-alone policy. Start comparing quotes using our website by clicking the “Get Quotes” button. 

Best Forklift Insurance Companies 

CoverWallet Forklift Insurance


  • Compare forklift insurance quotes online

  • Buy any forklift insurance coverage from any company immediately via the MyCoverWallet website 

  • Manage your insurance via the MyCoverWallet app


  • Not rated by AM Best

CoverWallet is an insurance broker that’s owned by AON. Visit this company’s website and use its online quotes comparison platform to find insurance companies providing coverage for forklift businesses. With its platform, CoverWallet sends you forklift insurance quotes from different carriers so that you can compare pricing and features for an informed buying decision.

Best for: Forklift insurance quotes comparison online

Average cost: $180

Our rating: 10/10

Thimble Forklift Operator Insurance


  • Short-term insurance for forklift operators


  • Doesn’t insure forklift businesses

Thimble doesn’t provide insurance for forklifts but forklift operators instead. This company’s tailored insurance for forklift operators includes general liability insurance. Note that Thimble’s forklift operator insurance can be purchased as a short-term policy lasting for only hours, weeks, days, or months.

Best for: Forklift operator’s insurance

Average cost: Contact a Thimble representative for accurate pricing

Our rating: 9/10

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