What Is Bobtail Insurance and How Much Does It Cost?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, bobtail trucks were involved in 248 fatal truck crashes and 2,534 accidents in 2020.

This information shows that bobtailing is just as harmful when the truck is loaded. Bobtail insurance is essential to have because it is both risky and a legal necessity in many jurisdictions.

On this page, we’ll go over bobtail insurance, how it works, what it covers, and when it’s needed. We’ll also go over how much it costs, answer some frequently asked questions, look at some of the best companies that provide it, and look at the differences between commercial truck bobtail insurance and non-trucking liability insurance.

What is Bobtail Insurance?

Bobtail insurance coverage is a type of liability business insurance that accounts for risks when driving trailer trucks not equipped with a trailer. Policies of this insurance apply when the driver gets involved in circumstances resulting in property damage or personal injury.

You can opt to get bobtail insurance for yourself. But before doing so, we suggest asking the benefits broker or HR because your company is obliged to get bobtail insurance for their drivers. 

Furthermore, bobtail and semi-truck insurance policies provide more comprehensive coverage. This legislation does not only apply to trucks, but also to semi-trucks in bobtail, as the name implies.

Bobtail insurance is typically reserved for cargo trucks. Some customers, however, have reported that this policy covers their farm tractors, commercial tractors, food trucks, dump vehicles, and even skid steers.

Another type of insurance that is given to drivers is trucker’s insurance. If you have this, you may believe that having a bobtail insurance policy is unnecessary or ineffective. You should be aware that this is not the case.

Only negative conditions resulting from actions not directly related to driving a truck are covered by the trucker’s liability insurance.

If you can’t understand what we mean, then think of things this way: bobtail insurance is only for driving-related accidents while the truck is running in bobtail, while truckers liability insurance is only for accidents caused by the driver doing something not business related to the parent company with his truck.  

What Does Bobtail Insurance Cover?

Bobtail insurance is a type of liability insurance that covers you when you are responsible for an auto accident while driving a truck without a trailer under someone else’s trucking authority.

For example, bobtail insurance would cover you if you are involved in an accident:

  • On the way back from a delivery
  • On the way to pick up your first load
  • After delivering a load and on your way to pick up another one

Keep in mind that since it is a liability policy, bobtail insurance does not cover damages to your truck in these circumstances — instead, it covers things like settlements, medical costs, and legal fees.

Bobtail Insurance Cost

So how much does bobtail insurance cost? Bobtail insurance costs about $30 per month or $360 a year on average for up to a $1 million dollar coverage limit. Of course, as always, bobtail truck insurance costs may vary from one business to another, so this has to be kept in mind.

However, this is only a broad overview of the market’s true pricing. Different risk factors influence the cost of bobtail liability insurance, including driving history, coverage limits, the extent of trailer-less use during the contracting process, company size, years in business, annual revenues, location, number of trucks owned and operated by the company, claims history, driver history, employee count, and so on. Commercial insurers take these risk factors into account when evaluating your bobtail liability insurance quotations.

So how do you save premiums for bobtail insurance? What we recommend you do is bundle policies, ensure that the truck is in perfect condition, and maintain a clean driving record. Through these methods, you can enjoy discounts that will make premiums cheaper. 

Comparing quotes might help you save money on premiums too and find the cheapest and best bobtail insurance coverage.

With this method, you can find the policy that fits the characteristics of your business, so that you don’t spend money on something that provides too much or too little coverage. Start comparing using our website’s quote comparison tool, all you have to do is click the “Get Quotes” button.

Benefits

If you are involved in and responsible for an accident while bobtailing, your general liability insurance will not cover the expenses.

Bobtail insurance provides the coverage you need to avoid significant income loss due to legal fees, medical costs, and similar expenses if you are found to be at fault in an auto accident.

Who Needs Bobtail Insurance?

Your trucker’s liability or motor carrier’s insurance only protects you when you are under dispatch or driving with a trailer attached.

You need bobtail insurance if you:

  • Ever drive a truck without a trailer under someone else’s trucking authority
  • Are required by your motor carrier to have this coverage
  • Want to protect yourself from extreme expenses if you are involved in an auto accident

Ultimately, if you work as a truck driver who delivers goods for different companies, you likely need bobtail insurance to be sufficiently covered.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance

Aside from bobtail insurance, non-trucking liability insurance is another policy you need to avail for commercial trucks. What this insurance does for you is cover accidents when the truck is used by the driver for personal purposes. Refer to the checklist below to see how non-trucking liability insurance works.

Non-trucking liability insurance covers a financial loss that may be caused by damage to third parties, be it an individual or a business. But non-trucking insurance coverage is only applicable when driving for personal matters rather than commercial purposes.

What does non-trucking insurance pay for? First of all, it will pay for damage caused by a truck. Second, it will pay for your medical fees if you turn out injured. Finally, it will also account for the auto repair costs involved.

Since non-trucking liability insurance doesn’t cover damage when the truck is used for business purposes, companies don’t offer this to their drivers. And so, if you’re a driver, you will have to avail yourself of this insurance on your own accord. 

What does non-trucking insurance pay for? First of all, it will pay for damage caused by a truck. Second, it will pay for your medical fees if you turn out injured. Finally, it will also account for the auto-repair costs for the truck if it is damaged. 

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance Cost

Here’s a table that shows the different costs of non-trucking liability insurance according to numerous websites:

MonthlyYearly
$29$348
$40$480
$50$600
$87$1,044
$99$1,188

Bobtail and Physical Damage Insurance

If you have bobtail physical damage insurance, you will be covered not just for property damage but also for any bodily harm. Combining a bobtail policy with physical damage insurance might also help pay for the harm your truck causes to others.

In the event of a faultless accident, you might be out thousands of dollars in auto repair costs. This protects you from having to cope with exorbitant damage charges in the event of an accident.

Physical damage is a term used for specific commercial auto insurance coverages that will protect your vehicle with collision, comprehensive insurance, and events like fire or robbery with combined additional coverage. 

Bobtail and physical damage insurance are essential because you never know when your truck might cause bodily injuries. If you’re a driver, a reckless driver might collide with you no matter how carefully you drive. If you’re an owner, you never know when a vehicle malfunctions and rams a vehicle.

Bobtail and Physical Damage Insurance Cost

Bobtail and physical damage insurance costs vary as do all average insurance cost estimates. However, you can expect to pay an average of about $30-$40 per month or $360-$480 per year in premiums for your bobtail and physical damage insurance coverage.

Trucking Liability Insurance

Trucking Liability Insurance does not cover your own vehicle’s damage. It does not protect you in the case of fire, burglary, vandalism, and other events that involve your truck. Even your trailer or freight damage will not be covered.

Trucking Liability Insurance generally applies to a “scheduled vehicle” approach. It means that each truck that is operated under your authority should be scheduled or listed on the insurance policy for a specific time frame. If your vehicle is not on schedule, then the insurance company will not provide any coverage for your vehicle.

Is Owner-Operator Bobtail Insurance Important?

Owner-operator bobtail insurance is essential, and it is advisable to consult with your carrier regarding the leasing agreement to determine the type of coverage you should maintain. Remember to understand bobtail liability and make sure to get the right commercial bobtail liability insurance to avoid unexpected costs.

Bobtail and Deadhead Insurance

Deadhead insurance is much like bobtailing in a way since with both bobtail insurance and deadhead insurance, the cargo has been delivered to its destination. 

However, with deadhead, the trailer is still on, only empty of any cargo. In contrast, with a bobtail, the trailer isn’t attached to the truck. Therefore, “deadhead” means with a trailer but empty as goods are delivered; “bobtail” means no trailer attached as goods are delivered. 

Deadhead insurance and bobtail insurance go hand in hand. Therefore, businesses shouldn’t opt to take one without the other.

Tips for Buying

Shopping for insurance policies can be difficult, so keep these tips in mind to help you find the best bobtail insurance policy for you:

  • Shop around: The coverage and cost of bobtail insurance vary from carrier to carrier. Be sure to shop around and get quotes from around three to five providers to find the right policy for you.
  • Fill in the gaps: Depending on your needs and risks, you may also need non-trucking liability and other types of insurance policies. Review your coverage to see what additional policies you should take out.
  • Work with an independent agent: Independent agents work with multiple insurance carriers to find the best rates and coverage. These agents can be a great resource if you are having trouble finding a good policy.

FAQ

Do I need bobtail and non-trucking liability insurance?

You may need non-trucking liability insurance in addition to bobtail insurance if you ever use your truck for personal reasons.

What is trailer interchange insurance?

Trailer interchange insurance provides coverage for physical damage to a trailer that is in your care but you do not own. This coverage is often added to truckers’ liability or business auto insurance policies.

Does bobtail insurance cover damage to my truck?

No, it only covers costs associated with liability. If you are involved in an auto accident while bobtailing, physical damage to your truck is not covered by this type of policy.

Summary

When driving a truck without a trailer while under someone else’s trucking authority, you will not be covered by your general liability or trucking liability insurance if you are involved in an accident. Instead, you will need bobtail insurance.

By understanding the cost of bobtail insurance, what it covers, and who needs it, you can make sure you are always covered when driving your truck.

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