Trucking Insurance 101: Non-Trucking Use Liability

Non-Trucking Use Liability Image

Owner-Operators that lease onto a Motor Carrier are typically protected by that carrier’s liability coverage. But what about a trip to the bank, helping a friend move, or driving to a trucking show?

If you are driving your rig for personal use, and not to further the business of your motor carrier, you are not protected by its liability insurance. This is where Non-Trucking Use Liability comes into play.

Let’s take a look at what it covers, why to beware of the term “Bobtail insurance”, and what you need to know as a Motor Carrier or an Owner-Operator.

What does Non-Trucking Use Liability cover?

Non-Trucking Use Liability protects an owner-operator in the event of an at-fault loss while driving the tractor for personal use. There are two parts to this coverage: Bodily Injury and Property Damage.

Bodily injury coverage takes care of the expenses incurred if you were to cause physical harm to another person(s). Property damage coverage handles the cost to replace or repair another person’s property (i.e. cars, buildings, and signs).

Both coverages are subject to your policy limits; typically a $1,000,000 combined single limit (total expenses for bodily injury and property damage for a loss). However, other limit options are available.

What about Bobtail?

The term “Bobtail” insurance is commonly used throughout the industry to refer to Non-Trucking Use Liability. However, you need to be careful when talking about Bobtail.

Motor carriers oftentimes think the liability falls on the owner-operator once they unhook the trailer. “They’re bobtailing, so that goes on their bobtail insurance, right?” Not the case! The owner-operators’ at-fault losses fall on the motor carrier’s liability insurance any time the owner-operator is driving for the carrier; whether the trailer is hooked up or not, full or empty.

Additionally, owner-operators need to be careful when shopping for “bobtail insurance.” Since this is an informal term, different agents might have different interpretations of the coverage for which an owner-operator is looking.

For example, one agent might understand “bobtail insurance” to mean the full scope of coverages needed as an owner-operator. However, another might be selling only Non-Trucking Use Liability. The owner-operator may think it’s a great deal, but really there’s no coverage if anything happens to the driver (Occupational Accident) or the tractor (Physical Damage).

Whether you are an Owner-Operator or Motor Carrier, Truck Writers has specialized services to answer your questions and get you the coverage you need. Contact an agent today!

Kevin O’Neil, Agent – Blaine, MN office

Kevin has been with Truck Writers since April 2016. He started in our Independent Contractors Opportunity Network (ICON) department, providing insurance to owner-operators. Today, Kevin specializes in providing insurance to motor carriers and those operating under their own authority.

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