Forklift Insurance: Coverage, Cost & Quotes From $15

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Do you own a warehouse or are engaged in a personal loading service? If so, it’s sure that you have a forklift for moving heavy loads. Turns out,  just like any other piece of heavy machinery, it is crucial you get it 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

It’s because 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:

  • 91,700 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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Forklift Insurance Coverage 

In a nutshell, forklift insurance covers:

  • The forklift 

  • The driver

  • Damages a forklift cause (property and personal/bodily injury  a client, a third party, or an employee sustained)

  • Repairs for the damage a forklift sustains

Just so we’re clear, a forklift insurance policy isn’t the same as a car insurance policy. Many confuse these two. With that said, if you have commercial car insurance or personal car insurance, you can never add your forklift to its terms. The primary reason for this is that cars and forklifts have different functions. And since their purposes are different, the risks they carry are unique to each other. 

The terms of forklift insurance only apply when the forklift is working at a warehouse or any other place where clients need it. 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 car 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 comp, commercial auto insurance with auto liability,  and equipment breakdown coverage. Let’s discuss each of these in more detail. 

General Liability Policy

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 personal injury claims for any injuries they sustain. Know that facing claims is costly because aside from shouldering the payment the victim asks for, you also have to pay for legal costs.  

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, Mr. Johnson, was sorting/loading stacked material and was going in reverse without sounding his horn. A certain Charle’s Jones was nearby while the forklift truck was working. The forklift truck then ran over Mr. Charle’s Jones's leg twice. This resulted in several surgeries to save the victim's leg.Charle’s Jones filed a lawsuit against Mr. Johnson and his employer and received a $9 million payment for personal injuries
A certain Thomas Neuhengen of 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 Neuhengen a settlement amounting to $19.5 million after back and forth legal proceedings.
A tractor-trailer driver going by the name of Hutchison filed a personal injury lawsuit against a tractor-trailer driver going by the name of Hutchison after his foot was run over while the forklift was loading his tractor-trailerUnknown
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 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.
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. 

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

Extent of Leg InjuryCost
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 Comp Policy

A worker’s comp insurance policy is essential. This insurance policy will account for personal injury claims employees file. Forklifts don’t only expose third parties to dangers. Those who operate it face risks multiple times greater than those who only find themselves near the premises of a forklift truck. 

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

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:

YearNumber of Non-Fatal Accidents
20117, 920
20128, 870
20138, 400
20149, 440
20158, 630
20168, 410
20179, 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 state 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. You’ll have to drive your forklift on a  public road someday, which isn’t allowed without any auto coverage. And so, signing up for your forklift for commercial auto coverage is a must.

The majority of commercial auto insurance for forklifts takes care of accidents that forklifts cause on public roads. Forklifts are hard to control. They’re prone to rolling over, ramming other cars or equipment, and hitting someone nearby. 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 truck crashed into a sedan after falling off from a flatbed trailer.

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

  • Two sports cars collided with a forklift after it was being unloaded from another heavy vehicle for construction work. Medical personnel at the scene airlifted one of the drivers to a nearby hospital.

  • 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.

Equipment 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. 

Compare Forklift Insurance Quotes Online!

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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 $3,075 a year. This provides $1 million up to $2 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.

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. 

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