What is non-trucking liability insurance?

Non-trucking liability insurance, often referred to as NTL insurance, is a type of commercial insurance coverage designed for owner-operator truck drivers who use their vehicles for personal purposes when they are not engaged in hauling freight for their motor carriers. This type of insurance is sometimes also called “bobtail insurance” or “deadhead coverage.”

Here’s a breakdown of the key concepts:

  1. Owner-Operator Truck Drivers: These are individuals who own and operate their own commercial trucks. They may contract with motor carriers or freight brokers to transport goods.
  2. Trucking Liability Insurance: Trucking liability insurance is the primary insurance that owner-operators have while they are actively engaged in hauling freight for a motor carrier. It covers bodily injury or property damage that might occur during the transportation of goods.
  3. Non-Trucking Liability Insurance: When an owner-operator is driving their truck for personal reasons or when not under a contract with a motor carrier to transport goods, they might still need insurance coverage. Non-trucking liability insurance covers situations when the truck is being used for non-business purposes, such as personal trips or when the driver is not actively hauling freight.
  4. Bobtail Insurance: This term is often used interchangeably with non-trucking liability insurance. “Bobtail” refers to a tractor-trailer unit that is being driven without a trailer attached. Bobtail insurance covers the owner-operator when they are driving the truck without a trailer, regardless of whether they are on a personal trip or not.
  5. Deadhead Coverage: Similar to bobtail insurance, deadhead coverage specifically applies when an owner-operator is driving the truck without a trailer attached, but it can also apply when the truck is pulling an empty trailer back to its point of origin. This typically happens after delivering a load and returning to the home terminal without cargo.

Non-trucking liability insurance is important for owner-operators because their primary trucking liability insurance might not cover them during periods when they are not actively hauling freight for a motor carrier. Accidents can happen at any time, even when the truck is being used for personal purposes or is empty. Non-trucking liability insurance provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage that the owner-operator might be liable for during these non-business activities.

It’s important for owner-operators to understand their insurance needs thoroughly and work with insurance professionals to ensure they have the right coverage for all situations they might encounter while operating their trucks.

Alex Rue