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.
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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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.
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.
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 |
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:
|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|
|Ankle and leg||$23,456|
|Legs and lower back||$36,878|
|Legs and knees||$38,939|
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.
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|
|If your employee dies because of a forklift-related accident, workers' compensation insurance covers funeral payments and provides cash aid to dependents|
According to the report of the International Labor Organization, risks that employees face while working near or in a forklift are:
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
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|
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
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.
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
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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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.
Compare forklift insurance quotes online
Buy any forklift insurance coverage from any company immediately via the MyCoverWallet website
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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
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
Lonnie Bell Insuranker
Policy Type: Business Insurance
Company name: Employers Insurance
Use anyone except Employers. Period. They are non-transparent and shameful. After I complained long enough to warrant a call from a supervisor, the supervisor called back from a PRIVATE NUMBER (no caller ID), left a message that they are not reversing their decision (without any communication with me), and failed to leave a phone number for me to call back. She was hiding! They also fact find via email and phone calls, which is terrific for speed and communication. However, after setting a precedence of email or phone calls, they send time sensitive information via email, without any heads up... they are hoping you miss it and forfeit via expiration. Evil policies. Go elsewhere.
This place is an absolute joke of a company and should be ashamed of the way they conduct business. I was hurt on the job at the end of July and it took them just shy of 7 weeks to issue out a paycheck to me. Yes the amount was back dated but still. Not many have the luxury of not receiving a paycheck for almost 2 months. To top it all off, the original adjuster marked me down for the wrong state which caused a problem from the get go, I've had 3 different adjusters now since each one can't seem to figure out the simplicity of my claim. All my paperwork which includes, my job, house, and drs visits all are from the same state and city but yet some how I have been filed under a completely different state 1500 miles away. They do not answer your phone calls or emails no matter how many you leave. I've had to escalate my frustrations to the supervisors of each of these individuals in order to even get some kind of response. I've had more communication and information given to me about my claim from the customer service representatives then the actual adjusters.......... please tell me how that works?! A serious overhaul needs to happen here in order to serve your clients the way they deserve to be taken care of. 10/10 do not recommend this company to a single soul on earth
I have never had the displeasure of working with a more incompetent and disrespectful person in my life. I’m an injured worker and the adjuster that was assigned to my case was named Carrie Furgeson. In the past 6 weeks that I’ve been injured and out of work I have only been able to get ahold of her twice, not for lack of trying. I have left countless voicemails, countless emails, and she ignores them all. When I am finally able to get ahold of her I’m greeted with terrible customer service. She is rude, she talks over me and I’m hardly able to get a word in edgewise. She spelled my name wrong on my documents even after I spelled it for her properly countless times, this caused a whole new issue with my bank. I have bill collectors from the hospital calling me demanding payment and Carrie Furgeson won’t do a single thing to help, or to get them paid. All of my documentation is in Colorado, my job is in Colorado, my address is in Colorado, all my Dr offices and appointments have been in Colorado and Carrie still managed to hold my claim because she wasn’t sure what state she needed to file it under. It’s been 6 weeks since my Injury and my company still hasn’t received the wage paperwork to fill out so they can get me my correct wages. When she’s not ignoring me she’s answering my questions with “I don’t know” well I don’t know how she got this job, because apparently she doesn’t know anything about it. She is a disgusting morose individual inside and out and I genuinely wish her the worst in all of her future endeavors. I highly recommend you don’t use this company. Please if you are a business owner and your looking into this company please don’t use them. I’m sure they have the cheapest payment and that’s why companies use them in the first place, but you will be doing your employees a grave disservice by forcing them to venture into this absolute dumpster fire of a company. I would rate 0/5 if possible but 1 was the lowest I was allowed.
Their general liability insurance purchase process is simply the best online experience I've ever had in my life!
As long as they cover your line of business, you're literally covered! best rates, best coverage, best online experience, best professionals, can't be happier that I chose them!