Bobtail Insurance Coverage

Bobtail Insurance Coverage 101: Here’s What You Need to Know

There are various types of insurance out there, and these days, almost anything can be insured and given varying levels of protection. If you’re the owner or operator of a commercial truck, bobtail insurance is something you should definitely educate yourself on.

bobtail insurance

Due to their massive size, these semi-trailer trucks often cause big injuries when involved in accidents. In case you meet with an accident while “bobtailing”, bobtail insurance would cover any damages resulting from the accident. 

The best part about bobtail liability coverage is that it covers any damages regardless of whether or not you are under dispatch for a job. However, like all insurance policies, it is necessary to know exactly what your policy covers and what it doesn’t.

What Is Bobtail Insurance?

Bobtail insurance coverage is commercial auto insurance that provides insurance coverage when bobtailing your truck. Bobtailing is the act of using your truck without attaching a trailer to it, and the chances of accidents are comparatively higher. At the same time, if you are active in the auto industry, you will have to do bobtailing once in a while.

Therefore, comprehensive bobtail coverage insurance will offer various protection methods. For instance, non-trucking liability ensures that you can avail of utmost safety while using the truck for personal needs. Long story short, you need bobtail coverage insurance if you have to use your truck for bobtailing. When combined with other auto insurance packages for your truck, bobtail coverage can enhance the overall confidence.

Bobtail insurance is an important part of commercial trucking insurance for independent truck owners and operators. As we mentioned, apart from being a protective device in many situations, it may also be a requirement by many trucking companies so as to minimize their losses, and bobtail insurance is one of the many insurance policies that a diverse trucking industry requires. 

Though commercial truck insurance policies provide covers for their employees, a huge part of the trucking industry is composed of independent truckers (an estimated 9% of 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States are deemed independent owners and operators), which makes bobtail insurance all the more essential.

Bobtail Insurance FAQs

Bobtail insurance coverage can be very useful if you are ever involved in and responsible for an accident while driving a truck under someone else’s trucking liability without a trailer. Here’s what bobtail insurance, also known as “deadhead insurance” covers:

Truck Risks

For example, if you are driving your truck without the trailer attached (regardless of dispatch), and you get into an accident, bobtail insurance covers you and your semi-truck. Also, bobtail insurance covers you while driving your truck without its cargo trailer to and from the terminal, and while traveling between loads and the trailer isn’t attached at that point. 

Generally, bobtail insurance provides a much broader range of coverage than other liability insurance. For this reason, it can also be more expensive. Additionally, the broad coverage can also limit the exposure of the carrier. Thus, bobtail insurance covers the following:

  • Damages to properties of third parties
  • Medical expenses in case of injuries to third parties
  • Defense costs in case of a lawsuit

Bobtail insurance essentially covers any damages that may occur as the result of an accident. At the same time, truckers use their trucks for recreational purposes, off the job site, at a servicing station or any other place or situation where they aren’t under the authority of the trucking company.

Often, bobtail insurance is confused with non-trucking liability (NTL). However, though both types of insurance refer to similar coverage, there are important differences between the two.

Non-trucking liability or NTL refers to insurance coverage provided in case of any accidents that occur while using your commercial truck for personal purposes. It pays for any medical expenses or damages that may occur to third parties due to the accident.

Some of the differences between the two are:

  • NTL covers independent drivers when they use their vehicle outside the range of their lease agreement with the motor carrier.
  • NTL only applies when drivers are driving their trucks without trailers for personal reasons and on personal time.
  • NTL does not cover drivers while they are under dispatch.
  • NTL provides more narrow coverage than bobtail insurance and for this reason, is less expensive than bobtail insurance.

Thus, NTL doesn’t provide any coverage during business hours or when under dispatch, such as driving to and from the terminal, traveling to service the vehicle, or even stopping to refuel, or the use of the vehicle for any revenue-generating activities, all of which are considered business hours. Instead, these activities are generally insured by the trucking company’s primary trucking liability insurance.

Considering the fact that bobtail insurance covers you and the possible damage, it’s a good option to have this policy. However, trucking companies may also require independent truck drivers to already have bobtail insurance, as “bobtailing” is highly common, even under dispatch. Bobtail insurance covers truckers in case of accidents under dispatch, which reduces the liability of the trucking company as the insurance policy will cover the expenses instead.

It’s important to understand that bobtail insurance alone isn’t enough to completely insure your truck. Bobtail insurance usually requires other truck insurance policies that are complementary to it, such as physical damage coverage, to fully protect your vehicle against damage or in any situation. Therefore, commercial truck insurance and bobtail insurance work hand-in-hand and are equally important.

As we said, bobtail insurance costs more than other truck insurance policies due to the wider coverage it provides. The most popularly requested coverage for bobtail policies is $1 million, though higher limits are available. The cost of coverage will also depend on the amount of coverage you require.

For example, if you plan to purchase a $1 million coverage policy, the monthly amount that you have to pay could work out to an amount ranging from $35 to $60. Also, remember that different insurance companies may quote different prices for their insurance policies, so make sure you triple-check and read the fine print! 

What many people fail to understand is that there are ways to save on insurance policies as well! Many insurance companies offer discounts and deals on insurance policies, such as “bundling” (buying more than one or two different policies from the same company), discounts on the premium for meeting certain criteria, and so on.

You can save on bobtail insurance with the following tips as well:

  • Finding an insurance company that offers you low rates (such as 2.5% of your vehicle’s stated amount).
  • Adjusting your deductibles is a highly efficient way to save on insurance premiums. Adjusting your deductible to as low as $100 or as high as $3,000 can really help to lower the costs of your insurance premium.

How to Get a Bobtail Insurance Quote

Ultimately, ensure you put in some research and talk to insurance experts to not only get a quote, but also a clear idea of how bobtail insurance works. This will help you decide on the amount of coverage you need and even receive reasonably priced quotes for your insurance needs.

If you found this article useful, make sure you also read more about Tow Truck Insurance.