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An important part of protecting your assets as a trucker, especially if you are an independent trucking professional, is maintaining the proper levels and types of insurance. Some insurance types, such as generalized liability insurance, are well-known necessities of the industry. Unfortunately, general liability insurance doesn’t cover all situations. For example, in situations where you are bobtailing or deadheading, specialized bobtail insurance might be needed.


What Are Bobtailing and Deadheading?


Those involved in the trucking industry are typically well-versed in the terms bobtailing and deadheading. Bobtailing involves the periods of time a trucker is on the job but is not pulling a trailer. This could mean the trailer has been dropped off at a previous customer’s place of business and you are on your way to pick up another trailer. Similarly, deadheading occurs when a trucker has dropped off the contents of a trailer and is heading to another location with an empty trailer.


Most trucking industry individuals consider the terms to be interchangeable, focusing on only the distinction that the truck is in route between jobs without an attached loaded trailer. If you have finished with your job for the day, bobtail insurance would no longer apply. Your non-trucking insurance policy would typically cover the cost if you get into an accident in this situation.


What Is Bobtail or Deadhead Trucker Insurance?


Although policies differ, it’s important to read the specifics of your liability policy to see where gaps of coverage may occur. Bobtailing or deadheading insurance essentially serves to fill in the gap of time when regular liability insurance coverage falls short. Independent truckers often find that typical insurance coverage ends when a load is dropped off at one client, even if the next stop is an immediate pick-up from another customer. If an accident occurs during this time, the liability policy would not cover the resulting property or injury costs.


Unlike non-trucking insurance, which provides coverage for the truck when it isn’t being used for business purposes, the times you are bobtailing or deadheading between customers is considered business-use time and is not covered under a non-trucking policy. An example of non-business use would be driving the truck home at the end of a day or completing a personal errand while not in transit to another customer.


How Can You Obtain Bobtail or Deadhead Insurance?


The best way to approach bobtail insurance is to be methodical about your insurance planning. First, check with your current liability insurance coverage to look for gaps, either in situational liability, injury claims or property damage. After noting the gaps, request information and quotes from insurance companies. To save you time on this step, reach out to a reputable corporate insurance company that will do some of this legwork for you. Once you have decided on a plan, make sure you review regularly to make any necessary changes as your situation changes.


As in any industry, making sure you are protected in the unfortunate instance of an accident is a key component to long-term financial stability. Understanding gaps in standard liability coverage can help you decide if supplemental coverage such as bobtail insurance should be a part of your business maintenance plan.