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Bobtail Insurance Coverage for Truckers

There are many different types of liability insurance coverages providing varying amounts of protection.  As an owner/operator of a commercial truck, it is advisable to consult your lease agreement with your carrier to determine which type of insurance coverage you are required to maintain. Many contracts will use the terms bobtail liability and non-trucking liability together, suggesting that the terms mean the same thing. However, there is a subtle, and somewhat confusing, difference about the actual definition of bobtail liability coverage. You should know what bobtail liability is and have the right commercial truck insurance coverage in place before an accident costs you an enormous amount of money.

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Using your truck without the trailer attached is commonly referred to as “bobtailing” or “deadheading.” If you want to or are required to have insurance coverage for when your truck is operated without the trailer, the type of insurance you should purchase is bobtail liability insurance coverage. This type of liability protection will cover you when the truck is driven without the trailer, regardless of whether or not you are under dispatch and covers any damage that occurs to your truck. It would probably be helpful to have a few examples to further explain when and why bobtail liability insurance coverage is necessary. The insurance coverage would apply, for example, when your drive your tractor without its trailer to and from the terminal. It would also apply when you are traveling between loads without the trailer attached. Again, bobtail liability insurance coverage is applicable whether or not you were dispatched for these hauls.


True bobtail liability insurance offers broader coverage than other types of liability insurance. It can be more costly. Some motor carriers prefer their owner/operators to have bobtail insurance coverage. Because the coverage is so broad, it often limits the carrier’s own exposure. Sometimes, the motor carrier’s contract or lease agreement will have language in it stipulating the requirement for liability coverage as either bobtail or non-trucking liability. Or, the wording in the contract may require different degrees and/or types of coverage. As an owner/operator, it is important for you to ask the carrier specifically which coverage they want you to have. By asking specific questions and understanding what bobtail liability truly is, you can be certain what liability you need to assume for your truck.  Learn more about Non-Trucking Liability (Previously called "Bobtail or Deadhead").

Bobtail Insurance
  • Provides liability coverage when you are driving your semi without the trailer regardless whether or not you are under dispatch

  • Applies to moving the vehicle without cargo to and from the terminal

  • Also applies when you are between loads with no trailer attached

Non-Trucking Liability

  • Covers drivers when they are outside the scope of their lease agreement with the motor carrier.

  • Generally, this coverage applies when semi operators are driving their big rigs without trailers on their own time.

  • This insurance does not provide coverage to semi drivers while they are under dispatch.

How to get a quote:

(888) 498-0255