Temporary Bobtail Insurance: Who Needs It, Cost, & Coverage

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

As a trucker, you are required to have minimum insurance coverages to operate your business. There are optional coverages that you might consider if you operate your truck at any time when not working or if you operate at any time without your trailer. You may have heard of bobtail insurance, but did you know you can get temporary bobtail insurance? 

In this guide, we will explore what temporary bobtail insurance is and where you can get the coverage. The following topics will be discussed: 

What is temporary bobtail insurance? 

Bobtail insurance is similar to non-trucking liability insurance. There are subtle differences between these two coverages. Bobtail insurance covers you when you drive your truck without a trailer attached to it. Non-liability trucking insurance protects you when you drive your truck for personal purposes. Learn more about the differences between these two and determine which one you need.

When you buy a commercial truck insurance policy, which includes bobtail coverage. That is permanent bobtail insurance. Temporary bobtail insurance means that the policy only provides bobtail coverage for a short period, usually up to 30 days. But you can buy the coverage for a few days or a week as well.

Who needs temporary bobtail insurance?

Bobtail insurance is for those instances where you are traveling without a trailer hooked to your rig. Even if you don’t typically travel without being attached to your trailer, you might have an occasion to do so. For those circumstances, some companies offer temporary bobtail insurance coverage. 

Below are a few typical scenarios that people buy temporary bobtail insurance:

  • You just bought a brand new truck and are about to drive it from the dealership to the motor carrier’s garage to sign the lease and start the business relationship. You may need a temporary bobtail policy for a day or two to protect yourself as you are driving to the motor carrier’s garage.
  • You just bought to new truck and needs to drive it to a DOT inspection or a garage for some mechanical checkup, a temporary bobtail policy should suffice.
  • Another scenario in which you might need bobtail temporary insurance coverage is one in which you are changing motor carriers. When you change motor carriers, you may experience canceled non-trucking liability coverage. Many companies require proof of lease to provide non-trucking liability coverage. In the period between the two motor carriers, you may need a temporary bobtail policy

What does temporary bobtail insurance cover?

Bobtail insurance is a liability-only insurance policy. You will only be covered if you are involved in an accident where you are responsible for the accident. If you were involved in an accident while traveling to the motor carrier’s garage, DOT inspection, or a mechanical checkup as mentioned above, temporary bobtail insurance would pay for the property damage or injuries of anyone involved.

Damage to your truck is not covered by bobtail temporary insurance. However, some companies may also offer temporary physical damage insurance, which will cover your truck damages in this case.

You are only covered if you don’t have a trailer attached to your truck. Traveling after dropping your trailer when you finish a job and heading to pick up another trailer, traveling between dropping your trailer and your home, or heading back to the yard where you begin your routes are all examples of operating as a bobtail. 

What does temporary bobtail insurance cost?

Regular bobtail insurance is one of the less expensive policies you can purchase. The average cost of a regular bobtail policy is $40 a month.

Costs of temporary bobtail insurance vary just as regular bobtail insurance costs vary. Depending on the company, you could qualify for temporary insurance for 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, ten days, or 30 days. The duration of the coverage helps to determine the cost of the coverage. On average, a temporary bobtail insurance policy costs $25 to $40.

Insurance companies use various criteria to determine their rates. The best way to determine the cost is to contact your agent to discuss whether your company offers bobtail temporary insurance and, if they do, ask them for a quote on the coverage. 

Learn more at how much bobtail insurance costs

Where do you get temporary bobtail insurance?

It’s possible that your insurance company offers temporary bobtail insurance. The best way to know whether your company provides temporary coverage is to speak to an agent.

Typically, there are restrictions regarding who can purchase a temporary policy. Usually, you must have two years of driving experience in general as well as two months of driving in winter weather conditions. These companies could offer temporary coverages for other eventualities as well. 

If your chosen insurance company doesn’t offer temporary services, consider looking for temporary coverage with another company. Companies offering daily bobtail truck insurance policies tend to be more flexible with their coverage terms than your typical permanent bobtail insurance. A company that specializes in insurance for the commercial trucking industry is more likely to offer temporary bobtail insurance. Below are a few options that you can consider:

Learn more at the best bobtail insurance companies

Wrapping it up

If you ever need to travel the roadways without your trailer hooked to your truck, you are a prime candidate for bobtail insurance coverage. Once you’ve determined your need for bobtail coverages, you must decide if you need temporary coverage or permanent policy. Temporary policies last between a day and 30 days, depending on the company and your individual needs. Permanent bobtail coverage become a rider on your existing trucking insurance policy. 

Even if you have never purchased and used a temporary bobtail insurance package, it can be helpful to know where to buy one. In the trucking industry, as well as many other industries, it is beneficial to be prepared for any eventuality. Knowing where to purchase bobtail trucking insurance, even a temporary policy, can be helpful in case you should ever need it.

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at realtor.com, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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