If you own a semitruck and work as an independent contractor, you'll probably need insurance beyond what your motor carrier offers you. In most cases, when you're under dispatch, you're covered by the business insurance your motor carrier provides. However, once you're off the clock, you're also not covered by that policy. In order to bridge the coverage gap, many independent contractors purchase bobtail or non-trucking liability insurance.
Bobtail insurance covers you and your semitruck when you're not hauling a trailer or other load. For example, if you drop off a load in Sacramento and bobtail to Reno to pick up your next load for a different company, bobtail insurance will cover you for that portion of the trip. Bobtail insurance also applies when you drive home in your tractor after dropping off a load and the trailer.
Bobtail insurance will not provide coverage if you're hauling any trailer, reefer or other load. Even if your trailer is completely empty at the time of the accident, bobtail insurance will not offer you any protection. Whether or not your accident occurs during a personal or business trip should not affect your coverage. Using your tractor for personal errands, like grocery shopping, is fine as long as the errand does not involve you hauling a trailer or other equipment.
Non-Trucking Liability Insurance
Non-trucking liability insurance protects you from liability in accidents that occur when you're using your semitruck for personal use. Grocery shopping, going to the movies or even hauling some dirt for your new garden are all covered.
Non-trucking liability insurance should cover your personal errands, but the definition of personal trips has been clarified by various state and federal court decisions. Running errands before driving home after dropping your load may not be covered by non-trucking liability insurance. In that case, the courts have determined that the motor carrier owes you a ride home in your tractor, so the coverage your motor carrier provides may cover the accident. Trips that involve you taking your semitruck to a garage for servicing may also not be covered. The court decided that in this particular scenario, the motor carrier may be responsible if you were fulfilling the maintenance terms of your independent contractor business agreement.
Getting the Coverage You Need
When buying additional insurance, it's important to have a copy of your motor carrier's insurance policy to find out what coverage it provides. Next, make a list of all the possible scenarios that could occur when you're driving your semitruck. This exercise will help you clarify how you use your tractor and the possible coverage gaps that exist under your company's policy. Then, call Peachstate Insurance at 877-997-2478 to discuss the Georgia truck insurance policies available and to get your free quote.