What Does Bobtail Insurance Cover?

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What Does Bobtail Insurance Cover?

December 23, 2016

If you’re an independent contractor and own a semi-trailer truck, you probably are already required to carry non-trucking liability insurance by the trucking industry or the company you contract with. This protects you, should you have an accident while using your truck for personal reasons or when not involved in driving for for the carrier. Larger trucking companies may reimburse or cover drivers for this insurance while smaller companies may not.

Bobtail insurance is a completely different policy than the non-trucking liability, and it’s necessary if you tend to drop a trailer and head to another stop without a trailer. Most know this as deadheading from one stop to another without a trailer. It also covers you when you drop a trailer and then drive your semi home. Some companies that hire independent contractors also require drivers to have bobtail insurance. Depending on the trucking company, most require independent drivers to carry the insurance at their own expense.


So what does bobtail insurance cover? The policy is specifically for truck owner/operators that drop a load or trailer at one location and drive to another location to pick up a trailer. During the trip when the trailer was dropped off to the new destination, the driver and semi without a trailer are covered in the event of an accident.

Why have bobtail insurance?

It’s often confusing for owners of semi’s working as independent contractors to have two separate insurance policies. However, if you are actually working and on your way to pick up a load and do not have a load and involved in an accident, your non-trucking liability insurance would not cover damages since you didn’t have a trailer at the time of the accident.

If you engage in a lot of deadheading, the bobtail insurance policy is must-have to protect your semi when you do not have a trailer.

How much is a bobtail policy?

Policies for bobtail insurance will vary depending on the amount of liability you want. Commonly, the policy is written for $1 million, but you can purchase more if you wish. The amount of the liability you choose will impact your premiums. Many companies will write both your non-trucking liability insurance and bobtail policies together and may offer a discount for having more than one policy with the agency.

Saving money on insurance coverage

As with any insurance coverage, shopping around and getting quotes will ultimately save you a great deal of money. First, consider the amount of time and distance you typically are deadheading, if you do this often and for long hauls, the bobtail policy with a higher liability is definitely something you will want to consider.

If you only contract with one trucking company, you may ask them for advice on purchasing a policy cheaply. Since the company probably has other independent contractor drivers, you may find out some insight to obtain a good price on a policy. Lastly, make sure you find out if the company you contract with reimburses you a portion of your bobtail insurance policy.

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