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Trucking Companies and Truck Drivers: Do You Need Bobtail and Deadhead Coverage?

Whether you’re a trucking company or an independent owner-operator (O/O), finding the right insurance at the best price is a must to keep your business safe, profitable, and sustainable. That includes making sure you’re protected from every angle. Because while you’re out on the road, there’s risk at every turn. How can you be sure you're choosing the right coverage that will be there when you need it most? 

Always Start With Primary Liability Insurance

We’ve already talked about why it’s so important to carry a primary liability insurance policy. For this vital coverage you’ll want a bare minimum of $750,000 to cover potential bodily injury and/or property damage to third parties. That said, many (if not most) folks you work with could demand a primary liability policy of at least $1M. That round number also means that you’re better protected while behind the wheel.

Motor carriers will typically provide O/Os under a permanent lease (LO/O) with a primary liability package. If you’re an O/O with authority then you will need to secure your own primary liability coverage. There are plenty of options out there, but your neighborhood trucking insurance expert is right here to help.

What is Bobtail/Deadhead Insurance?

Other types of trucking insurance cover you while you’re hauling various types of loads, with coverage typically dropping off once you made the delivery, are on the way to another job, or are headed home. Bobtail and deadhead insurance are different–they pick up during these on-the-road but maybe off-the-clock times. 

It’s important too, to know the difference between these two terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, along with non-trucking liability. They’re nuanced, but different, to be sure.

Bobtail: operating your tractor without hauling a trailer or other load

Deadhead: you’ve dropped off your load and are now hauling an empty trailer

Bobtailing happens most often when you are between jobs. So you’ve dropped off a trailer for one carrier and now need to travel a distance in your rig to pick up your next trailer for another carrier. Deadheading is also common between drop-offs and pick-ups. Unless your next load of cargo is at the dock where you’re dropping off, you will be bobtailing or deadheading at some point. And even though the only reason you’re on the road is to get your next load, this time may be considered as “non-business activity.”

Whatever the case may be, a lot can happen on the roads between points A and B; especially if they’re states and hundreds of miles apart. In the unfortunate event that you’re involved in an accident while not hauling a load, the carrier you’re working for probably won’t cover it. You could be responsible for carrying insurance to protect yourself between jobs. The same often goes for physical damage as well.

Bobtail and deadhead insurance are often required for LO/Os but not necessary for O/Os with their own authority. If you operate both under a contract and independently, then having your own bobtail and deadhead insurance is a must. If you own a fleet and employ drivers, this coverage covers your drivers between loads and during trips to and from truck servicing or truck wash stations. Feel free to reach out to the team at Insurance For Truckers to iron out details and be sure you have the protection you need.

How Much Does Bobtail/Deadhead Coverage Cost?

Costs could vary widely, and that most often depends on the driver themselves. From one person to the next, key data points will differ. These factors can affect the cost of any type of trucking insurance, including bobtail and deadhead:

  • Ownership status
  • Vehicle type and quantity
  • Driving history and experience
  • Driver age 
  • Claims history
  • Business location
  • Operating radius
  • Downtime storage location
  • Cargo types
  • Business type
  • Coverage limits
  • Deductible amount

Bobtail/deadhead insurance is a bit more expensive than the somewhat related and often confused non-trucking liability insurance, but both have a recommended coverage limit of at least $1M.

To get the most accurate estimate, your agent will need to know just what your truck is worth, along with all the other above-listed info. No matter what your policy premium is, there are always ways to save. Your trusted Insurance For Truckers by Zinc agent can help.

Work With Trucking Insurance Pros

We know you’re busy. We also know that shifting regulations and other factors can make it hard to keep up. You want to be sure you’re protected on the road, but maybe you don’t know where to start. Let us do that work for you. 

At Insurance For Truckers by Zinc our trained group of trucking insurance experts know your industry and the risks you face everyday. But thanks to their years of insurance experience they can also help you to decipher coverage options and insurance jargon to track down the right policy. Together we can get you on the road to solid protection for yourself and your livelihood without compromising profits. Reach out to learn more and request your free quote.

This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.
  • Josh Freet

    ZINC's Contractor Insurance Expert

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