What Is Bobtail Insurance?

The driver may drive the cab without the truck trailer when not working.

Bobtail insurance is a type of truck insurance. When a truck driver drives the entire truck to deliver products to a location, the driver's trucking operations insurance policy provides coverage. If the truck is not making a delivery run, the truck driver may just drive the cab, or tractor, of the truck without the trailer attachment, and the cab is also known as the bobtail. A bobtail, or deadhead, insurance policy provides coverage while the driver is not using the truck to deliver products, so it is also known as a non-trucking operations policy.

Full Coverage Requirement

Bobtail insurance is a necessary purchase when a trucking-related policy does not cover non-work driving. A truck, like other types of vehicles, must have insurance coverage to drive on public roads. The truck is not always in use delivering packages, and sometimes it must travel to another location, such as a repair shop. The driver may also wish to use the truck for personal reasons, such as travel to a family member's house.

Insurance Company Conflicts

When a truck driver purchases bobtail insurance, the insurance company that sells the bobtail insurance is not always the insurance company that provides the driver's trucking operations insurance policy. The insurance company that provides work insurance must clearly exempt the truck from non-work coverage to avoid sharing responsibility for other accidents. A state, such as New York, may pass a law that prevents an insurer from exempting the truck from non-work coverage, to ensure that vehicles on the road have insurance at all times.

Trucking Operations Definition

A trucking operations insurance policy does not cover accidents that occur only when the truck is currently delivering a load of products. When the truck trailer is empty and the truck driver is traveling to pick up products, this is work-related driving, according to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The policy covers all incidents that occur when the truck driver is using the truck to carry out job duties, even if the trailer is not attached.

Bobtail Insurance Cost

A bobtail insurance policy is cheaper than a work insurance policy. A crash where the driver is driving only the cab causes less damage than a crash that involves one or more full trailers, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, so the truck driver needs less coverage on the bobtail policy. Truck drivers frequently work long hours, so the truck is normally in use on a job more often than the driver uses it for other purposes.

Coverage Areas

A bobtail insurance policy includes both bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage. A state establishes minimum insurance coverage limits that apply to any truck on the road, so the bobtail insurance policy must meet the state requirement for each type of coverage.