Can I drive for an Owner Operator without being on his insurance?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Renegade92, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. Renegade92

    Renegade92 Bobtail Member

    Oct 2, 2019
    Howdy all,

    My rookie question is this: I know a guy from my town, who owns his own truck and hauls all over the US. He is wanting to find someone who can drive his truck, so that he can drive a little less and spend more time at home. He has offered me the opportunity.

    The equipment is good, and the pay is decent. But in order to drive a truck at all, is it as simple as just getting behind the wheel and driving, and being paid for the job? Or are their formal requirements that have to be done. Things like, having me added to the insurance? filing paperwork with DOT and the IRS etc.?

    Please note, this guy is a one truck operation. No benefits, insurance, etc. offered. In other words, I would be a "contracted" employee.

    Also, I eventually want to drive for a bigger LTL company, but I need to get experience first. Hence, me considering this opportunity at all. I have heard that bigger/organized companies will verify driving experience when hiring. If I drive through a very informal arrangement with this guy, how will I be able to prove that I have earned driving experience in the future to other companies.

    Please let me know if this opportunity can work, and also of any problems/risks you see with it.

    Thanks in advance to all.

    Stay safe.
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  3. TheBaron97

    TheBaron97 Bobtail Member

    Jun 22, 2020
    He needs to have you on his insurance, yes. However I think if something happens while you're driving his truck he would be liable for it, so I imagine it would be his top priority. also if you are a contract employee he's going to have to have you fill out a W-9 and get you a 1099 at the end of the year so you can pay your taxes. Unless he doesn't pay his taxes, at which point that's between you and God on what you want to do. Also he needs to have a workman's comp policy on you. It doesn't matter if you are 1099 or not in most states unless you only equipment and your name is on the title you are an employee and he is required to have workman's comp coverage on you. Other than that I think anything else would be state specific. Make sure you sit down with them though and be certain you're going to be paid in a timely manner and make sure you're aware of any hazards you're going to be encountering and how to deal with them (i.e. overweight tickets, breakdowns, any other miscellaneous liabilitys I've seen small trucking companies peg on employees.) There's nothing wrong with driving for a one truck owner operator, just make sure you trust him and there's open communication between the two of you.
  4. TheBaron97

    TheBaron97 Bobtail Member

    Jun 22, 2020
    Obviously you also need a CDL and a medical card but I'm sure you already know that. I forgot to add that on his part he needs to be in compliance with DOT and have you set up in a random drug testing and alcohol testing pool. He needs to pull your background check and get you registered with the clearing house. And there's actually a bunch of other stuff too now that I think about it, but most of it he is liable for. So if he isn't doing it I don't know if it can negatively affect you or not. Just make sure your name is on the insurance, and he has workman's compensation in case you get hurt and if you guys want to go cowboy and not do anything else that's between you and your creator haha
  5. Gdog66223

    Gdog66223 Road Train Member

    Dec 30, 2017
    Coal Town
    He'll have to add you to his insurance and being a new guy it'll make his insurance go up, IF, his insurance even lets him do it. I tried to add drivers a while back and my insurance told me it was a mandatory 2 years driving experience no matter what.

    He'll have to complete an application for you and do a drug test to make it legal.
  6. Moose1958

    Moose1958 Road Train Member

    Dec 17, 2010
    Hampton Virginia
    I agree with the replies so I won't repeat them. The short and sweet answer is you will never get insured to drive that vehicle with your current experience! You will be MUCH better off going on ahead and making the plunge with a training program somewhere. Sometimes realville gets in the way of plans etc.
  7. Cattleman84

    Cattleman84 Road Train Member

    Nov 1, 2017
    The Sticks, Idaho
    To get experience go drive for an agricultural company (Farmer, Rancher, fertilizer company, ect) doing local and seasonal work for a few years. Thats how I started out. Your best bet for verifiable experience of this type would be as a seasonal driver for a fertilizer company hauling fert to local farms... Might be able to do the same with a milk hauler on a more permanent basis.

    After your CDL is a few years old and still current this type of experience will satisfy many insurance companies and you will have a history in the drug and alcohol clearing house. Then you can move up to most smaller trucking companies to gain the good experience that the good trucking companies require.
  8. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    A few thoughts, read carefully.

    First it isn't easy like just jumping into the seat and going.

    He has to have a drivers jacket for you no matter what, he has do have an application in it, a mvr and whether you are an employee or contractor, the appropriate paper work there.

    He does have to add you to his trucking operation insurance, no way around this and no excuse not to.

    This isn't health insurance but he may be required to have workers comp insurance.

    Then we have the contractor issue, you need a contract with him to be legal.

    No contract, walk away.

    If you are a contractor he can't tell you how to run, he can tell you what to pick up to a point but that's limited.

    A contract also legitimizes your time working.
  9. lovesthedrive

    lovesthedrive Is here to help

    Nov 11, 2008
    Sorrento Maine
    You might see if you can get "non owners insurance". At one time I had to file insurance (when I was younger and more foolish than I am now) for not having insurance. The dreaded SR-22. Yet an agent told me, as long as I dont own, I can get non owners insurance. That way you the driver are insured, yet it is some one elses headache of if the vehicle meets the requirements.
  10. wis bang

    wis bang Road Train Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Levittown, PA
    And proof of a negative pre-employment drug screen
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