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Trucking Companies and Truck Drivers: Do You Need Non-Trucking Liability Insurance?

As an owner-operator (O/O) or an employee of a trucking company, you know that insurance is a must-have, but it also needs to be affordable. You need solid protection whether you’re on or off the clock, but how can you be sure your insurance choices are sound? Your truck and trailer values, cargo, and O/O status factor heavily when insurance companies decide how much needed coverages will cost. Here’s the rest of the lowdown on the essentials of non-trucking liability insurance.

First Step: Primary Liability Insurance

Before we get into what non-trucking coverage entails, let’s be sure that you have the basics covered. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all O/Os have primary liability (PL) insurance, which covers bodily injuries and property damages to third parties that happen during business use when hauling any type of cargo. 

The FMCSA requires at least $750,000 in coverage, but they acknowledge that most shippers and brokers require that O/Os with authority have at least $1M of coverage. Cost often depends on the industry you haul for and the commodities you carry. According to Zinc’s trucking expert, Josh Freet, “radius of operation, and the value of your equipment” will also be key components in figuring out your final PL premium.

We’ve already laid down the facts about primary liability, physical damage and general liability coverage–here’s what’s next!

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance

Your truck is your livelihood, but it’s also sometimes the easiest way to get around. That could mean that you’re using it on off days too. It’s during these times–when you’re not on dispatch (defining that is a whole other conversation)–that you want to be extra sure you’re protected. 

Whether you’re an O/O with authority or you’re operating under permanent lease to a motor carrier, when you’re driving your rig on personal time, non-trucking liability is a must. This coverage will pay for third party medical costs, injuries, property damage, and even death-related costs and legal fees. You never think you’ll need it, until you do. Then you’ll be mighty glad it’s there. Pair non-trucking liability insurance with a physical damage policy and your truck will be safe too, even if worst-case becomes reality.

Need an example to make this more real? Sure, no problem.

Let’s say that you’re driving outside of dispatch hours and you don’t see a patch of black ice. Your truck swerves, and you’re able to regain control, but not before you take out a long strip of guardrail. If you don’t have non-trucking coverage, general liability won’t touch that, and you could be stuck with an out-of-pocket bill. But with non-trucking coverage you can be sure that your policy will cover the costs. 

The same holds true if you’re driving your truck to the grocery store, to dinner, or to your kid’s soccer game and you are involved in a crash, damaging the other driver’s vehicle or causing them injury. And if that other driver is at fault but doesn’t carry insurance or is underinsured, your non-trucking coverage kicks in with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Non-trucking liability is meant to fill crucial gaps in coverage. We know truckers are on top of their game, but if there’s an emergency and out of habit you grab the keys to your rig, without this vital coverage in place that scenario could have a bad ending. For that reason, it’s common for motor carriers to require this coverage for O/Os with lease agreements. You’re protected, they’re protected, everyone’s protected! And that’s a win.

Non-Trucking Liability or Bobtail Insurance?

These two essential coverages are often referred to interchangeably. But beware–these are not the same! Here’s the breakdown:

Non-Trucking: Protection from harm caused by the truck when it’s operated outside of dispatch hours, whether it has an unloaded trailer attached or not.

Bobtail: Protection for the truck when a trailer is not attached, whether it’s being operated during dispatch or on personal time.

Now there are likely finer details to get into with your trusted Insurance for Truckers or Zinc agent, but that’s the basic outline. And when it comes to an accident or injury, knowing the difference and what your coverage entails is vital to be sure that you’re protected against liability.

How Much Does Non-Trucking Liability Coverage Cost?

Since the exposure window is pretty narrow–the hours you aren’t on dispatch–the price of non-trucking liability insurance is generally pretty low. In general, certain factors can affect truck insurance costs:

  • Ownership status
  • Vehicle type and value
  • Driving history and experience
  • Location
  • Operating radius
  • Business type
  • Coverage requirements

Those factors aside, non-trucking liability insurance is one coverage that won’t cost you any limbs. And it could be the one policy that saves you. Bundled together with the suite of options that Insurance for Truckers and Zinc offer, you’ll be safe wherever and however you’re behind the wheel.

Call On the Experts

Whether you’re insuring a trucking company or focused on protecting yourself as an O/O, finding the right collection of insurance policies can feel like a never ending run. There’s plenty to know and countless factors to remember. That’s why it’s so good to work with a pro who can figure out what’s needed and help you track down the right coverage options.

With Insurance for Truckers and Zinc at the helm you can protect your employees, customers, trucks, equipment, and your own good name while still running a profitable business. Reach out today to learn more or get your personalized online 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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