The Ultimate Guide To Bobtail Insurance

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The Ultimate Guide To Bobtail Insurance

October 31, 2018

The Ultimate Guide To Bobtail Insurance

When you drive your semi-trailer truck without your trailer or with an empty trailer, you are bobtailing or deadheading. It is important to note that, when bobtailing, your carrier company’s insurance does not cover your semi-trailer truck because you are not on dispatch. For this reason, you need bobtail liability coverage. As the name suggests, bobtailing insurance is a type of non-liability insurance product that covers your semi-trailer truck against liability when deadheading, including damage to your semi truck. As long as you are not hauling a trailer, the coverage will apply, even if you are using your semi-truck to run personal errands. In essence, you need deadhead trucking insurance if you meet or more of the following conditions:

• You drive an 18-wheeler truck under a carrier company without a trailer at any time
• You want to protect yourself from high out-of-pocket expenses or lawsuits in case you are at fault for an accident
• Your carrier company requires you to own this coverage

Scope of Deadhead Trucking Insurance

Bobtail trucking insurance applies whether you are on dispatch or not. In terms of cost, the monthly premiums range anywhere from $20 to $50 depending on factors such as your driving history. One of the main benefits of bobtail truck insurance is it provides much wider coverage than the standard liability insurance coverage. For instance, it covers uninsured or underinsured motorist liability. To put it another way, if you have bob tail trucking insurance and your semi truck was involved in an accident whilst bobtailing, your policy will cover the damages caused to the other party.

A typical lease agreement with a carrier company contains many different terms, such as deadhead, bobtail or non-trucking liability. For this reason, to avoid potential misunderstandings and save money, you should find out what type of liability insurance your carrier company requires you to have. It is worth noting that bobtail coverage primarily insurers class 7 and 8 rigs when they are not towing a trailer. In fact, insurance companies have different liability products to cater to the different niches in the trucking industry. A good example here is the hot shot truck insurance, which is specifically designed for hotshot truckers.

Policy Limit

In most cases, the coverage amount on a bobtail policy is up to $1 million. Of course, if you wish, you can purchase more liability. However, when you increase your liability, your premiums will also increase. Fortunately, if you purchase your bobtail and non-trucking liability insurance policies together from the same insurance carrier, the carrier will likely offer you a discount.

Tips for Purchasing Bobtail Coverage

The monthly premiums for bobtail insurance policies range anywhere from $20 to $50 depending on various factors including, among others, your driving history, the frequency of bobtailing, and the limits requested. For this reason, you should shop around for the best coverage at the best price. Some of the key factors to consider before buying this type of insurance policy include the total distance you normally cover deadheading. It is worth noting that most insurance carriers offer this coverage on business auto insurance policies by endorsement.

Hot Shot Trucking Insurance

In most cases, hot shot truckers use 1-ton pickup trucks to transport cargo to their clients as quickly as possible, making them the go-to truckers for emergency situations. Because of this, load brokers and shippers typically require hot shot truckers to have Hotshot truck insurance.

Hot Shot Truck Insurance Requirements

• The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires $750,000 in liability coverage, while most shippers and load brokers require $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
• A minimum of $5,000 in cargo insurance, but most shippers will require you to have at least $100,000. However, this is not a legal requirement
• Most shippers and load brokers will require you to have Physical Damage coverage for your truck and trailer
• Most states require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Remember, a CDL and experience will cut your insurance costs. In addition to a CDL, you will also need a DOT number and a Motor Carrier (MC) number if you intend to drive your truck across State lines.
• You may require IRP registration for your truck as well as PTI for your trailer.
• You will need to file forms MCS-150 and BOC-3

Cargo Insurance Considerations for Hotshot Carriers

In addition to having $100,000 in cargo insurance coverage, shippers and insurance brokers will require your coverage to match the loads you are transporting. For this reason, you should find an insurance carrier that would be willing to raise your coverage cap temporary at short notice in case you come across a lucrative job that requires you to have a higher cargo insurance coverage than you normally have.

If you are towing multiple loads on one trailer and each load has its own bill of lading, you need to insure each load separately for up to $100,000. In such a situation, you should ensure your cargo insurance policy is capable of handling this. Better yet, you should find an insurance broker that understands the demands of hot shot trucking. Such a broker would likely be able to offer you a custom cargo insurance policy to cater to your cargo insurance needs, even on a trip by trip basis.

At a minimum, your hot shot insurance policy should offer property damage and bodily injury insurance. However, a good hot shot insurance policy should offer a variety of key insurance products including, among others, self-employment, business liability, and medical insurance.

Tips for Finding the Right Hot Shot Insurance

When shopping for the best hot shot insurance coverage, ensure you review your application. This is because, to find you the best deal, some insurance agents may try to cut corners on your application. At the same time, ensure you are honest with your insurance agent. More specifically, ensure you disclose the types of loads you will be transporting, as well as your area of operation. By doing this, you will be able to get the right coverage for your needs. If you pay for your hotshot policy in full, you can save about $800 per year. However, if you are a new hot shot trucker, you may want to pay monthly until your business stabilizes.

Non-trucking Liability (NTL)

As mentioned above, bobtail truck insurance is only useful when your rig is not hauling freight. For this reason, you need other types of liability insurance to cover your 18-wheeler when it is has a load attached to it. For instance, if you regularly use your truck for non-businesses purposes you need non-trucking liability. Provided you are using your rig for non-business purposes, non-trucking liability insurance will protect your rig against liability in case it is involved in an accident, irrespective of whether you are an empty trailer or not.

Exceptions and Restrictions

Some of the activities that may be considered as business activities and therefore not covered under non-trucking liability include fueling up, washing your truck, deadheading, driving during layovers, and driving to the terminal. In essence, any activity that would be covered the motor carrier’s primary liability insurance would not be covered under the non-trucking liability policy.

It is worth noting that motor carriers may or may not provide their truckers with this type of coverage. For this reason, you should read your lease agreement carefully to find out whether your carrier company offers NTL or not. This will not only help you avoid double coverage but also help you address any gaps in your coverage.

Non-trucking Liability Policy Limits

A typical non-trucking insurance policy will have the following coverage limits:

• Bodily injury and property damage — up to $1,000,000 combined single limit
• Uninsured/underinsured motorist- up to $50,000 per person
• Uninsured/underinsured motorist- up to $100,000 per accident

Scope of NTL Policy

Non-trucking liability insurance covers liability associated with injury or damage to a third-party business or individual. The scope of coverage includes the cost to replace or repair the damage, as well as medical expenses. Remember, you will only benefit from NTL policy coverage if you are involved in a road accident while driving your truck for non-business purposes. Although some insurance carriers also offer coverage for trips home after leaving a motor carrier or a drop-off, some states consider such trips to be under the carrier’s liability insurance policy.

The Cost of Non-trucking Liability Insurance

Compared to other trucking insurance policies, non-trucking liability coverage tends to be generally less expensive largely because it is as broad as other policies. To calculate your monthly premiums, insurance carriers will consider various factors including, among others, your lease agreement, the frequency of personal driving, limit request and driving history.

Now, the main difference between bobtail insurance and non-trucking insurance is that the former covers your semi truck when you are bobtailing irrespective of whether you are on dispatch or not, whereas the latter only covers your semi truck when you are driving it for non-business purposes.


The most important trucking insurance policies for an independent trucker leased to a motor carrier include bobtail insurance and non-trucking liability insurance. In essence, you need these policies because your motor carrier’s insurance will not cover your semi truck in certain situations. For instance, it will not cover your truck when you are bobtailing or when you are driving your semi truck for non-business reasons.

If you’re a hot shot trucker, ensure you have hot shot truck insurance policies, which is generally more expensive than other types of trucking insurance policies. When purchasing trucking insurance policies, ensure you shop around because the prices tend to vary from one insurance carrier to another. To calculate your monthly premiums, insurance companies consider various factors, including your driving history and lease agreement.

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