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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Reefer breakdown insurance does not cover everything related to reefer transport. Some of the standard exclusions in policies include:
A driver is negligent
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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
Lots of experienced partners
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
Reefer insurance can be added on to an existing policy
Direct provider of reefer breakdown insurance
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
Covers some perishables
Online chat system for help
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
Three agents help you through the process
Different coverage limits
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
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.
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