While motor carriers are required by law to carry primary liability insurance for any trucks that drive under their authority, owner operators who lease onto motor carriers are usually required in the lease agreement to carry non-trucking liability insurance to cover scenarios where they are not driving for the motor carrier.
Below we cover everything you need to know about non-trucking liability insurance - including coverage, costs, and the best companies offering NTL insurance.
For those just looking for a list of top companies, here are our favorites.
Non-trucking liability insurance (NTL Insurance) is a type of insurance that covers owner operators from liability claims when a truck is being used for personal reasons.
Most motor carriers will require NTL insurance in their lease agreement so that owner operators don’t make claims against the carrier’s insurance policy while not driving for the motor carrier.
It’s common to see the terms non-trucking liability insurance and bobtail insurance used interchangeably - these insurance types are usually required by motor carriers to ensure that owner operators are covered by insurance when they’re not driving for the motor carrier.
But there are key differences between bobtail and non-trucking liability insurance.
Here are the most important differences you need to know:
Owner operators that are leased onto a motor carrier will likely need non-trucking liability insurance. While not a legal requirement, most lease agreements will include it in the contract.
Motor carriers are required by law to provide primary liability coverage to their owner operators but carriers don’t want owner operators making claims against their insurance while not under dispatch. To prevent this, most carriers require their owner operators to carry non-trucking liability insurance.
Trucks that might need non-trucking liability insurance include:
Non-trucking liability insurance covers any expenses from damage or injury to a third-party when the vehicle is not under dispatch.
This can include damages to other vehicles and injuries to other drivers or pedestrians.
Coverage can include:
It’s also important to note what non-trucking liability insurance doesn’t cover:
While policy limits will vary depending on the insurance company, a typical non-trucking liability insurance policy will have the following limits:
Non-trucking liability insurance typically costs between $300 to $800 a year.
Compared to primary liability insurance, non-trucking liability insurance is less expensive because it only kicks in when the truck is being used for non-business purposes.
The cost of your policy is calculated using a range of different factors, including:
You can also get bobtail insurance or non-trucking liability insurance and physical damage insurance in a combined bundle. NITIC estimates that an owner operator with a $40k truck would pay around $4k a year in premiums for both coverages.
When choosing a non-trucking liability insurance company, there are some criteria to keep in mind to help you get the best policy at the best rate.
The annual cost of your non-trucking liability insurance will depend on a range of factors, including your credit score, policy limit, your age, and driving history.
While some of these factors you can influence, some are outside your control.
To get cheap NTL insurance, try these tips:
Some companies also offer discounts on non-trucking liability insurance when you pay your annual premium in full or when you bundle your NTL insurance with other types of coverage.
Choosing the right insurance coverage is an important decision with a lot of variables to consider so it is a good idea to get several quotes and carefully compare coverage and pricing before making a decision.
NTL stands for non-trucking liability insurance - it is a type of insurance that covers owner operators who are leased onto a motor carrier from liability claims when their vehicle is being used for personal rather than commercial purposes.
It’s advisable for owner operators to have the following types of insurance:
As requirements can vary, owner operators should discuss their insurance needs with their motor carrier and insurance company to find out what insurance they’re obligated to have.
The FMCSA requires that motor carriers have at least $750,000 in primary liability insurance - but they may need to be covered up to $5M depending on the commodities they are hauling.
Carriers moving vehicles under 10,001 lbs only need $300,000, while household goods motor carriers need $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence.
Unladen insurance provides coverage for a truck when it is not loaded, whether it is being used with an empty trailer - known as deadheading - or being used without a trailer - aka bobtailing. Unladen insurance protects you regardless of whether you’re using the truck for business or personal activities.
Non-trucking liability insurance only applies when a truck is being used for non-business purposes, whether or not they have a trailer attached. Non-trucking liability insurance is usually required for owner operators who are leased to a motor carrier.
Owner operators should discuss their needs with their motor carrier and insurance company to find out exactly what types of insurance they need.
Deadhead insurance is insurance that protects you when a trailer is attached to the truck but it is empty.
Non-trucking liability insurance is coverage that’s used when a truck is being driven for non-business purposes, whether or not a full trailer is attached.
They are two different types of insurance that cover two different scenarios - owner operators should discuss their needs with their motor carrier and insurance company to find out what insurance they need to have.
Geico doesn’t offer bobtail or non-trucking liability insurance. Find out more about the types of insurance Geico offers on their website.