If you drive your semi without trailer to or from a terminal or from one load to another, bobtail insurance covers you.
For independent owner/operators who might travel from one terminal to another, one load to another, or travel home empty, bobtail insurance is recommended. The motor carrier you work for likely will not cover you under its insurance when you are not actually hauling for it.
Bobtail Versus Non-Trucking Liability
Non-trucking liability policies (see separate article) cover you when you deviate from business. If, for example, you take a route home that is slightly longer than “necessary”, you do any personal business, no matter how minor, along the way, you visit someone along the way, you take longer to make the trip than the insurer believes you should have taken, or you pulled your own trailer to the point of delivery (and thus are not owed a ride home by any trucking company), non-trucking liability is appropriate. Bobtail insurance, on the other hand, covers you while you are on “business” but not covered by a motor carrier’s policy because you are not actually pulling one of its trailers.
Deductibles and Limits
Limits of coverage, which is the maximum amount the insurer will pay in case of a loss, should be the same as you have under your primary liability policy; the same with deductibles, which are the amount that you must pay before the insurer begins to pay. Note that as rigs are generally not driven a great deal of the time without trailers, bobtail liability coverage is not expensive.
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