As an owner operator it’s important that you understand the coverages your motor carrier requires you to carry. There are a two primary liability options, in regards to insurance for owner operators and depending upon your specific trucking activities and motor carrier, you may have the opportunity to make some coverage decisions on your own.
One coverage in particular, that any commercial trucking operator should consider, is Non-Trucking Liability insurance.
Non-Trucking Liability insurance provides coverage in the event that an accident or loss occurs while you are using your commercial vehicle for non-business or personal use and is typically activated when a driver is using their vehicle for something other than transporting goods or merchandise.
Simply put, Non-Trucking Liability coverage does not apply when:
You are pulling a loaded trailer
Operating on behalf of a motor carrier or leasing company
Using a vehicle for any revenue generating purpose
The above activities would fall under your carrier’s primary commercial trucking liability coverage. It’s important to remember that if a motor carrier is providing your primary liability coverage, their coverage will not apply 24/7.
For example, as a commercial trucker, you can receive coverage from your motor carrier while on dispatch – once your delivery is made and you are “off-the-clock” it’s critical that you obtain a form of liability coverage that can protect you as an individual. Let’s say you take your commercial truck for a quick trip down the block; just stopping to get some milk before Sunday dinner – then suddenly, you find yourself on the side of the road, collecting another driver’s insurance information. That accident you were just in, during your own free time, is not covered by your motor carrier’s liability insurance—precisely why securing your own liability coverage is critical.
Non-trucking liability insurance is sometimes called bobtail insurance. However, bobtail insurance may not be the same thing as non-trucking liability insurance. Non-trucking liability protects the tractor when it’s being operated off dispatch, regardless of whether or not it’s pulling a trailer. Bobtail insurance typically protects a tractor when it’s being operated without a trailer, regardless of whether or not it’s under dispatch.
Oftentimes, motor carriers will require that their trucking operators specifically obtain their own liability coverage– since bobtail insurance coverage is generally broad; it often limits and places less emphasis on the carrier’s own risk exposures. However, at times you may find that your carrier’s lease agreement will leave the decision up to you, allowing you to secure the coverage you choose; making it all the more important as an commercial trucking operator to open the lines of communication and specifically which policy option you are required to maintain.
Interested in learning more about the specialized commercial trucking options we can offer you? Contact the coverage experts at Wolpert Insurance to discover your specialized commercial insurance options today!