How to get bobtail insurance

How to get bobtail insuranceIf you’re an independent truck driver or a contract truck driver for a motor carrier and find yourself driving your semi without a trailer (aka bobtailing), you’ll need bobtail insurance. This is a separate policy from your trucking liability coverage.

Sometimes it’s included in your parent company’s commercial trucking insurance policy, but you should check with them to confirm.

What is Bobtail Insurance?

A bobtail insurance policy is a form of truck liability coverage that protects truckers when they’re driving their trucks without a trailer. It’s a common requirement for owner-operators who lease their trucks to motor carriers to have this type of policy. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, bobtail trucks caused 248 fatal truck accidents in one recent year. Despite being less likely to cause an accident than fully-loaded trucks, bobtail trucks still make up 5% of all truck crashes. This makes having bobtail insurance an important investment for truckers and their employers.

In addition to protecting drivers against liability, bobtail insurance helps cover repair and replacement costs for their trucks in the event of an accident. It can also help cover medical expenses and legal fees if a driver is injured while on the job. Bobtail insurance is typically paired with a physical damage policy to provide full protection for truckers.

A true bobtail insurance policy, however, only covers truckers when they’re bobtailing for work or on their way to or from a job run. It won’t cover truckers who are simply traveling from home to their first load or on the weekend for personal reasons. It also doesn’t apply to truckers who have dropped off their last load and are on their way home, but end up detouring to go shopping or grab dinner with friends.

While many truckers who have bobtail insurance also have trucker’s liability insurance, it’s essential to know that these two types of policies are not interchangeable. Trucker’s insurance only covers truckers for accidents that occur while they are on a business run for their parent company, whereas bobtail liability insurance offers broader coverage for situations when they’re off the clock.

There are a few different things that can affect the cost of a bobtail insurance policy, such as coverage limits, driver history, location, and claims history. Commercial insurers often take these factors into consideration when calculating quotes and determining whether to approve or decline a driver’s application. They also use local statistics when establishing insurance rates for each area, since certain regions may have higher or lower risk of truck accidents.

How Can I Get Bobtail Insurance?

Many commercial trucking companies will require their owner-operators to have specific insurance policies for accidents that happen when they’re hauling cargo. However, when the trucks are driving around without a trailer – a practice known as bobtailing – these insurance policies don’t necessarily apply. That’s where bobtail insurance comes in. It’s a type of commercial auto insurance that offers coverage for accidents that occur when trucks are empty.

It’s important to understand the difference between bobtail and non-trucking liability insurance, since some trucking companies and insurance agents use these terms interchangeably. Non-trucking liability policies cover leased owner operators who are on their personal time and not under dispatch, and it’s often paired with physical damage coverage. Bobtail insurance, on the other hand, covers leased owner operators for any time they’re not using their trailer and not hauling cargo.

Bobtailing can be risky, especially when truck drivers are not familiar with the best practices for doing so. This includes knowing the rules of the highways, ensuring that all of the proper paperwork is in order and following the procedures for loading and unloading. It’s also important to remember that a truck is much heavier without its trailer, so it can be harder to stop or turn. This can lead to dangerous situations for everyone on the road, and it’s not uncommon for a trucking accident to involve multiple vehicles.

Another issue is that if a truck driver isn’t familiar with the ins and outs of a bobtail policy, they may end up paying more than necessary for their coverage. This is because insurers look at a variety of factors when determining the cost of a bobtail policy, including the trucker’s driving history and coverage limits. It’s also important to note that if a trucker has filed claims in the past, they will likely pay more for their bobtail insurance than those with an excellent record.

Bobtail insurance is an essential policy for truckers who want to ensure that they’re covered in the event of a crash. Whether they’re delivering their cargo or just heading to their next stop, this is coverage that every trucker should have.

Bobtail Insurance Costs

The cost of bobtail insurance depends on a variety of factors, including driving history, coverage limits, and how often you drive your truck without a trailer. However, the average annual rate is around $400. In some cases, the amount you pay will increase if you opt for higher coverage limits. For example, if you want to buy $2 million in liability costs, your premium will be more than someone who opts for a $1 million policy.

You can also save money on bobtail insurance by bundling it with your non-trucking liability and commercial auto policies. However, the most important factor in determining how much you will pay is your driving record. If you have a clean driving record and a good DOT record, you are more likely to get lower rates.

Additionally, if you are a new owner operator who just bought a truck and is in between contracts, a temporary bobtail policy can be a great way to keep your vehicle covered while you’re waiting for a load. For instance, if you are driving from the dealer to the motor carrier’s garage where you will sign the contract, a temporary bobtail policy can help bridge the gap between your current lease and the start of your next one.

Another common use for bobtail insurance is to cover trips home from a drop off where your trailer was not hooked up. This can be useful for new truckers who have yet to complete the process of getting a trailer leased or for older drivers who don’t want to deal with the hassle and expense of hauling a trailer.

It’s important to note that bobtail insurance does not cover physical damage to your truck, as this is typically covered by your motor carrier’s policy. Additionally, bobtail insurance does not cover medical expenses or property damage incurred by third parties in the event of an accident. For these reasons, it is critical that you always have a full coverage trucking insurance policy in place when operating your vehicle on the road.

Bobtail Insurance Coverage

Bobtail insurance is a type of vehicle liability insurance that protects owner-operators when they’re driving without a trailer or with an empty trailer. It’s often paired with a physical damage policy, as trucking companies typically require that their drivers have this coverage. Drivers who work for independent trucking companies or who lease their trucks to motor carriers can usually obtain bobtail insurance through the carrier’s preferred insurer.

The main difference between bobtail and non-trucking liability is that the former covers semi-trucks even when they’re not hauling cargo. That means that the policy is effective when a driver is between assignments or heading back to their terminal after dropping off a load. Drivers who only use their trucks for personal trips should instead consider non-trucking liability.

If a driver is unsure whether they need a bobtail or non-trucking liability policy, they should check with their motor carrier or insurance agent. Many insurance agents also provide quotes from multiple insurers, so they can help truckers find the best bobtail insurance policies for their specific needs.

Since bobtail insurance only provides liability coverage, it doesn’t cover any physical damage to the truck or its contents. That’s why it is often paired with a physical damage policy, which can pay for repairs in the event of an accident.

However, if a trucker is able to afford higher limits of a bobtail policy, they can increase their coverage and reduce their risk of paying out large sums in the event of an accident. But a trucker’s usage and a region’s accident rates will also affect how much they’re required to pay for this coverage.

A bobtail policy can be particularly useful if you’re on a long-term assignment, such as when you’re waiting for your next load to be delivered. The longer you’re without a trailer, the greater the risk of an accident, so it makes sense to carry a bobtail policy as protection in case you get into trouble on the road. You can then choose to increase your limits as you see fit, although higher limit policies tend to cost more.