Bobtail Insurance

Most truckers have or think they have Bobtail Insurance. The coverage provides a unique form of commercial auto liability coverage. Owner Operators are leased to Motor Carriers. Leasing with a Motor Carrier requires executing a contract where both parties commit to an ongoing relationship.

As long as the driver is under dispatch, the primary liability coverage will be provided by the Motor Carriers Trucking Liability Policy. This will be the case during the period that the contract is in effect.

Bobtail Insurance provides coverage when the truck is being operated without a trailer attached. Bobtail Insurance Does Not Provide Coverage While Pulling A Trailer. Examples of when your truck would be covered by a Bobtail Policy include:

  • Driving between your final terminal and your home
  • Driving truck to a location for maintenance or repairs
  • Driving back and forth to work

If you are one of the many truckers that pull trailers while not under dispatch, please read on before panicking. There is a good chance that you don’t have Bobtail coverage. Instead, you should have a Non-Trucking Liability Insurance Policy. Also referred to as NTL and as we have seen, confused with Bobtail Insurance, the coverage provides liability protection to owner/operators while not under dispatch.

Deadheading, or pulling an empty trailer adds a significant amount of risk. Experienced truck drivers are aware of this added risk and make adjustments. They must be aware of the impact wind will have on an empty trailer. They must also alter their approach to braking with systems which are designed to be effective while under a load.

The biggest difference between Bobtail and Non-Trucking Liability is the trailer. Bobtail specifically excludes all liability coverage while a trailer is attached. A Non-Trucking Liability Policy will provide coverage while hauling a trailer if the driver is not dispatched. The bottom line is that NTL provides coverage while Bobtailing or Deadheading.

If you still unclear and would like additional input, feel free to give us a call at (502) 410-5089.

Deadhead: What is Deadhead?

Deadheading truck exposure drivers, vehicle sharing the road with then and increase companies to as much as 2 1/2 times greater risk that a semi tractor trailer under load.

Delivering a load and picking a new one up at the same locations isn’t counted on by most truckers. Sometimes they drive hours to pick up cargo for the next leg of their trip. During this leg of the journey, the trucker is hauling an empty trailer, which is referred to as deadhead, or deadheading.

There is not much that is good, to say about deadheading. It is an unfortunate part of the job.

Drivers are exposed to increased risk. A significant increase in risk. Many driver training programs fail to prepare students for deadhead driving. The weight of loaded trailers creates a stabilizing force. The deadhead or empty trailer is significantly lighter, which can quickly become a sail if exposed to high winds. The tractor-trailer is a combined system, which was not designed to be operated without weight on the trailer. While deadheading braking systems do not operate as designed. During a deadhead leg, experienced drivers compensate in various ways.

Related Term: Bobtail references the operation of the tractor only.

CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)

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In order to drive a vehicle and/or trailer with a combined weight over 26,000 pounds, you are required to have a commercial driver’s license (aka a CDL.)¬† There are three different classes of CDL’s and six endorsements.¬† The classes¬†are:


Class A CDL

As previously stated, the operator of any truck and trailer with over 26,000 Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is required to have a CDL.  Additionally, the driver of any truck hauling (or pulling a trailer) with a GVW that exceeds 10,000 must have a Class A CDL.

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL is required to operate a vehicle with a combined weight of 26,001 pounds pulling another vehicle with a gross weight of that is less than 10,000 pounds.


Class C CDL

Drivers of passenger vehicles carrying 16 or more people are required to have a Class C CDL.  The same is true of vehicles hauling hazardous materials.


In addition to the 3 classes, are 6 endorsements.  These six endorsements indicate successful completion and testing, authorizing the driver to operate specific types of commercial vehicles:

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  1. School Buses
  2. Tankers
  3. authorization to pull more than one trailer
  4. Commercial vehicles transporting passengers
  5. Haz Mat
  6. Combination Haz Mat/Tankers





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Trucking Insurance: Trailer Interchange Coverage

Trailer interchange insurance provides Physical Damage coverage for non-owned trailers operating under the authority of a trailer interchange agreement. While coverage will vary from policy to policy, the intent of a trailer interchange policy is to cover losses stemming from accidents, theft, vandalism, fire, and explosion.
Understanding the covered causes of loss is essential prior to purchasing a policy. Understanding the amount of coverage, or limit, is essential before binding a policy. At the heart of this issue is the value of the trailer. After all, the entire purpose of this policy is to provide for a replacement trailer of equal value should damage occur under the drivers watch. Be that as it may, coverage limits are predominately a function of the trailer providers. Most providers have a set limit, which typically ranges between $20,000 and $25,000.  Before contracting drivers will be required to show proof of coverage which meets or exceeds their requirements.
Drivers and insurance agents alike, can at times confuse Trailer interchange insurance and Non-Owned trailer coverage. While similar in several ways, they are undeniably, not the same. A simple, two question test should be sufficient to determine which policy fits your needs:
1. Who is responsible for the trailer when it is not attached to your truck?
  • If YOU are, then a trailer interchange policy should fit as it will cover the trailer when not attached to a power unit. The non-owned trailer coverage will only cover the trailer while attached to your truck.
2. Will you be operating under a written trailer interchange agreement?
  • If NO, then a trailer interchange policy will not be the answer. Trailer interchange policies provide coverage only while operating under a Written Trailer Interchange Agreement.
For additional information feel free to visit our website at or contact us at (502) 410-5089.