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Commercial Truck Insurance Basics: Bobtail Insurance Can Save You Money

If you're an independent truck driver making a living by contracting out to multiple motor carriers, your commercial truck insurance needs are very different than those working with a W2 from a trucking company.

Many independent truck drivers might be overpaying for their truck insurance without even getting high quality coverage amounts.

Why? Because many don't realize all they need to pay for is bobtail insurance.

Bobtail insurance, or non-trucking liability, is a policy that exists solely because of independent owner/operators.

Independent Owner/Operators

Research published by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that there are about 3.5 truck drivers in the United States, and just shy of 400,000 of them work as independents.

The trucking industry needs to utilize independents for many reasons--even huge commercial trucking companies need to employ independent contract truck drivers to efficiently run their businesses. UPS, for example, employs about 60,000 workers and almost 10 percent of them are owner/operators.

Bobtail Insurance and Non-Trucking Liability

If you've been in the trucking business for a while, you're probably well aware that commercial truck insurance is extremely specialized, and there are many different types of coverage that can be confusing to the average driver.

But bobtail insurance and non-trucking liability are some of the easiest policies to own for independents.

Independent truckers are almost always covered by their motor carriers insurance, meaning their rig falls under the company's primary liability, cargo insurance, trailer insurance and any comprehensive coverage the motor carrier might own.

The independent truckers are covered during all the times they're technically commissioned, meaning driving to the jobsite, making deliveries and even the trek home allow the independent trucker to utilize the company's insurance.

But the coverage stops there. Independents need a policy for the times they are not commissioned, such as when maintaining their truck, taking it to truck washes, driving for an independent party with no insurance or just using the vehicle recreationally. (Ever take your bobtail to the store to pick up a gallon of milk? Showoff!)

A Note about Comprehensive Coverage

Since independent truckers save on their truck insurance because they only need to pay for sporadic periods of time, every independent should consider comprehensive coverage to protect their bobtails from things like vandalism, theft and the like.

After all, it is your livelihood! Talk to your agent about bobtail insurance to make sure you're not overpaying, and always ask them to clear up any coverages you don't understand.

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