OCP insurance – what do you need to know about road carrier liability?

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Cargo responsibility

If a carrier decides to provide a cargo transportation service, it is responsible for that cargo. Thus, it must guarantee customers not only that the cargo will be delivered intact (sometimes one of the elements of the contract is the proper protection of the transported goods), but also that the service will be performed on time.

Taking responsibility for safe and timely transportation without adequate insurance will remain just a promise without coverage. After all, on the way from point A to point B, not only the best-case scenario is taken into account, but also a number of less favorable ones. The driver may encounter a breakdown in the weather, the cargo may be stolen, and the vehicle may be damaged in a way that makes it impossible to deliver the cargo on time. Fire or other accidents can also occur, causing total destruction of the goods being transported.

That’s why carriers should (but don’t have to) stock OCP. And while it is still voluntary, many customers choose not to entrust their goods to carriers that do not have a proper policy.

What is an OCP policy?

Road carrier liability insurance is designed for professionals involved in the transportation of goods. Such a policy can be purchased for a period of 12 months. A carrier that works only domestically will only need an OCP for domestic transportation. When a company carries out transportation outside of Poland, it should choose OCP for international transportation. OCP coverage varies from one insurance company to another, but it always goes beyond the standard mandatory liability policy.


Even if you choose to take out an OCP policy, the vehicle you use to carry out the freight service still needs to be covered by liability insurance. The penalty for not having a third-party liability policy for trucks is a cost that in 2023. may exceed PLN 10,000 (in case the vehicle is without OC for a minimum of 14 days). At the same time, it is to be expected that fines will be even higher in future years.

What coverage does carrier liability insurance provide?

OCP insurance applies to the goods being transported – it provides protection for the carrier (and by extension, its customers) in the event of an accident:

  • damage to goods,
  • complete destruction of the goods,
  • Theft of cargo or vehicle,
  • natural disaster, such as fire, flood or earthquake,
  • delay in delivery of goods, caused by external factors.

The points listed above are the elements that are most common in OCP insurance contracts, but it should be borne in mind that the offer of selected insurance companies may vary significantly.


Which insurance quote you can count on depends largely on the type of goods you are transporting. Basic OCP insurance certainly does not cover the transportation of dangerous goods or live animals. The inclusion of this type of cargo in the policy will require payment of a correspondingly higher premium.

What is not covered by the OCP policy? Exclusions in insurance

Exclusions are situations in which the purchased policy will not work (for example, if the driver of the vehicle was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the damage) or will work only partially. Before concluding an insurance contract, it is a good idea to carefully study the exclusions included in it.

When else can an insurer refuse to pay a claim?

  • if the damage to the cargo was caused by the driver of the vehicle violating traffic regulations,
  • If the driver of the vehicle did not have the required authorization,
  • If the cargo has not been properly secured,
  • If the driver’s working time has been exceeded,
  • If the technical condition of the vehicle was incorrect.


Most insurance contracts also include a provision on the obligation to prevent damage – this means no less than that the carrier should make every effort to avoid damage. These provisions should be read and followed particularly carefully to ensure that the company is properly compensated if necessary.

Additional protection in a motor carrier’s OCP policy

In addition to the basic protection provided by almost all variants of a motor carrier liability policy, in your search for the right insurer you may come across companies that will guarantee you coverage against:

  • damage caused in connection with the loading or unloading of goods,
  • damages resulting from improper cargo handling by hired subcontractors,
  • damages resulting from the activities of securing the goods,
  • Damages caused in connection with the parking of the vehicle outside the guarded parking area.

What’s more, some insurance companies offer to reimburse the costs of towing the vehicle, lifting or pulling out the vehicle in case of immobilization, as well as removing the remains of the damage.

Non-standard clauses in OCP insurance.

Further expansion of insurance coverage in many cases is not a problem, but it involves a marked increase in the cost of the policy. What other events can OCP insurance cover? Here are some examples:

  • No technical examination of the vehicle,
  • lack of required documents,
  • coverage of travel expenses incurred due to loss or damage to cargo,
  • An accident caused by a third party,
  • Exceeding traffic regulations,
  • loss or damage to shipping documents.

What does the cost of OCP insurance depend on?

It is not only the scope of insurance that affects its price, but also a number of other factors. One of them is the type of goods being transported. Another – whether you need insurance only in Poland or also abroad.

An important element is the sum assured, which is the highest amount the insurance company can pay out under the policy. Often the carrier can choose the coverage amount on its own, but it is up to the insurer to decide – if the amount is too high, he may suggest reducing it.The final cost of the policy can also be affected by the level of revenue of the carrier – usually the average annual revenue is taken into account. The last element that the insurance company is sure to take into account is the number of insured vehicles – a carrier that decides to purchase a third-party liability policy for multiple vehicles can expect discounts.


OCP insurance is not mandatory, but it can protect the carrier from the unpleasant consequences of cargo loss or damage in many situations beyond the carrier’s control. For this reason alone, it is worthwhile to obtain an appropriate policy – but if this argument is not enough, the fact that many customers of shipping companies require the service provider to provide proof of insurance – such as the policy number – may tip the scales.

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