Reefer Breakdown Coverage: Cost and Quotes From $40/mo

The refrigerated transport industry has grown nearly 2% year per year since 2018. Refrigeration Industry market research estimates that the US and Canada reefer transportation market size with reach nearly 12 billion in 2025. 

Aside from tractor-trailers and cargo vans, reefer trucks are also used to transport perishable goods. The thing is the refrigeration unit and the truck itself can experience breakdown from time to time. This will ultimately result in losses. 

The best way to protect your reefer trucking business against these liabilities and spoilage of goodsis through reefer breakdown insurance policy. This article will cover the topics you need to know about reefer breakdown insurance, including:

  • What is reefer breakdown coverage

  • Cost of reefer breakdown coverage

  • Best companies for reefer breakdown coverage

What is Reefer Breakdown Coverage?

The reefer breakdown coverage definition commonly used involves the coverage for losses that result from refrigeration breaking down in a reefer truck. This is usually available as an add-on to a commercial motor truck insurance policy. 


What Particular Costs Are Covered in a Reefer Breakdown Policy?

Reefer breakdown insurance is a specific policy that only covers  a few different kinds of costs, including:

  • The cost of spoiled cargo

  • Any costs required to dispose of the cargo

This type of policy is extremely focused on providing coverage for these costs that come directly from a reefer unit experiencing a mechanical breakdown.

Which Businesses Need Reefer Breakdown Coverage?

There are a few types of businesses that will want reefer breakdown coverage badly to cover the cost of replacing spoiled cargo. Many shippers or brokers will require it before they will transport refrigerated goods. 


Truck Drivers

Trucking drivers will need reefer breakdown insurance to provide refrigerated transport services for many of their clients. If they don’t have this type of insurance, their clients might refuse to use them for shipping.

Drivers can also be found liable for product spoilage in their trucks. Some truck drivers belong to driving companies, but others are self-employed and manage their own insurance. If a driver cannot cover the cost of replacing a product, they may end up with a lawsuit or other fees if the damages are great.


Moving Companies

Companies that handle moving services for people moving house or business locations will need this if they need to transport perishable goods that need temperature control. Moving companies will sometimes possess refrigerated trucks in their fleet to satisfy delicate moving jobs that require a temperature-controlled environment. 

Many people have items in their homes that need temperature control to be transported, or they will be ruined. These can be things like artwork, comic books, some types of furniture, cosmetics, medications, and antiques. If they become exposed to moisture or high temperatures, they can disintegrate or become ruined.


Medical Transporters

A company that transports specialized medical supplies will need reefer breakdown coverage to responsibly recover the costs of wasted medical supplies in case of a refrigerator breakdown. Medical transporters are a form of specialized transportation that deliver things like human organs, blood, and medical samples.


A truck is driving on a country road

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Exclusions in Reefer Breakdown Coverage

Reefer breakdown insurance does not cover everything related to reefer transport. Some of the standard exclusions in policies include:

  • A driver is negligent

  • User error

  • Delivery delays

  • Incidents not from refrigerator breakdown

Reefer breakdown insurance does not cover spoilage from other causes. You would need a broader policy that offers spoilage coverage to protect against all forms of cargo spoilage. Also, if the reefer breaks down due to user error or lack of proper maintenance, you will typically not get coverage for that.


How Much Coverage Can You Get?

The amount of coverage you can get will vary depending on the policy. $100,000 in reefer breakdown coverage is the standard amount you will need for shippers and brokers to allow you to transport temperature-controlled goods.

Does the Policy Cover the Cost of Repairing a the Refrigeration System of a Reefer Truck?

No, typical policies will not cover the cost of repairing or replacing the refrigeration system when it breaks down. This policy is focused on covering the driver or company from any costs to replace spoiled goods for their customers or costs that it takes to dispose of them properly.

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How Much Does Reefer Breakdown Coverage Cost?

Reefer breakdown coverage cost for insurance can be as low as $40 per month or $480 per year. Factors that determine rates are the make and model of the reefer, miles traveled, types of loads, and the policyholder’s location. Take a look at the chart below to see a price breakdown of popular companies that offer coverage.

Company Cost per Month Cost per Year Best for
Progressive $40 $480 Variety of vehicle coverage
JDW Trucker Insurance $52 $624 Truck insurance
Future Insurance Group $83 $996 Addon coverage
Road Ready Insurance $99 $1,188 Agent expertise
Commercial Truck Insurance HQ $115 $1,380 Customer service

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Best Companies for Reefer Breakdown Coverage

Next, let’s take a look at the best companies that are offering reefer breakdown coverage and how they stack up against each other. Read some of the reviews below to know their pros, cons, and average cost. 


Reefer Breakdown Coverage Progressive

Pros

  • Online quotes

  • Tailored coverage

Cons

  • Below average JD Power rating

Reefer breakdown coverage of Progressive cover a variety of reefer transport vehicles. They offer reefer trucks, ice boxes, moving trucks, and cargo cutaway vehicles in their coverage options. You can pair your coverage with some of their other policies as well to get a tailored reefer vehicle insurance policy.

Progressive received an A+ Superior rating from AM Best for its financial stability. The one downside of Progressive is that they rank below average for JD Power customer satisfaction.

Best for: Variety of vehicle coverage

Average cost: $40 per month 

Our rating: 8/10


JDW Trucker Insurance

Pros

  • Lots of experienced partners

  • Informative resources

Cons

  • Operates only in 19 states

JDW Trucker Insurance works with over 20 different commercial truck insurance companies to get you the best reefer breakdown coverage. They cover different perishable items, including dairy products, boxed meat, produce, frozen food, plants, seafood, and more.

They offer a good selection of cargo insurance options as well. The company has resources on its website to help figure out the advantages of its different policy offerings.

Best for: Truck insurance

Average cost: $52 per month 

Our rating: 6/10


Future Insurance Group

Pros

  • Reefer insurance can be added on to an existing policy

  • Direct provider of reefer breakdown insurance

Cons

  • High-risk commodities excluded

Future Insurance Group’s policy is an optional add-on to their standard vehicle cargo policy. It protects the policyholder from any claims that occur due to refrigeration malfunction from unforeseen breaks downs. Negligence and delay of delivery are not covered under this policy.

They exclude some high-risk items from coverage, including fish, fresh meat, poultry, and pharmaceuticals. Their rates will vary depending on the location of the policyholder and the claim history.

Best for: Addon coverage

Average cost: $83 per month 

Our rating: 6/10


Road Ready Insurance

Pros

  • Covers some perishables

  • Online chat system for help

Cons

  • Excludes high-risk items

Road Ready Insurance offers reefer breakdown coverage for refrigerated truck transport. They cover the spoilage of items that include vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. However, they exclude things like seafood, meat, and medical products that more easily spoil.

They offer the ability to customize your deductible so you can have some control over your premium payments. This company employs knowledgeable agents that can tailor your policy based on your specific needs.

Best for: Agent expertise

Average cost: $99 per month 

Our rating: 6/10


Commercial Truck Insurance HQ

Pros

  • Three agents help you through the process

  • Different coverage limits

Cons

  • Not a provider

Commercial Truck Insurance HQ offers a unique customer experience that assigns up to three agents to help you complete your insurance choice. Their reefer breakdown coverage has different policy options where you can choose to include certain types of perishable goods like fish, shellfish, tobacco products, or fresh meat.

This company lets you customize your coverage limit between $100,000 and $300,000, depending on your needs. You can also customize your policy only to cover certain items, so you don’t pay for coverage you don’t need.

Best for: Customer service

Average cost: $115 per month 

 Our rating: 6/10 

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