What is Non-Trucking Liability Insurance? Everything You Need to Know

Strong Tie Insurance July 19, 2021 Our Blog

When you choose a commercial insurance plan for your truck, don’t forget to consider the limits of your policy. Non-trucking liability insurance keeps your truck insured even when you’re using it for non-business purposes. 

Not everyone needs non-trucking insurance, but it can be vital to some truckers. In this article, we’ll cover the most important features of this type of trucking insurance policy.

What Is Trucking Insurance?

Trucking insurance will pay for the damages in the event that your commercial vehicle is involved in an incident.

Most vehicles are required to have property damage and bodily injury liability insurance, also known as general liability insurance. This is the minimum legal requirement for trucks to drive in public. 

There are limits to general liability insurance, however. It applies when truckers are en route to the cargo’s destination under normal conditions. When a truck is driving without a cab, or a driver is making a detour for personal reasons, that policy doesn’t apply. 

There are many different kinds of trucking insurance meant to cover unusual trucking situations that the general liability policy doesn’t catch. Non-trucking liability is one example of a policy that acts as a stopgap. 

What Kind of Trucking Insurance Is Required by Law?

In most states, truckers must have insurance covering physical and property damage, along with general liability insurance. The amount of damage each policy must cover usually varies according to the type of truck and its purpose. 

For example, passenger carriers start at a $750,000 insurance minimum but can require up to $5 million, depending on how many passengers they can hold. More passengers mean more potential risk, so the required amount of coverage increases. 

Standard property-carrying trucks need to have at least $300,000 in coverage for vehicles under 10,000 pounds. For trucks over 10,000 pounds, including most semi-trucks, the minimum coverage should be $750,000. 

Hazardous materials, petroleum products, and expensive cargo all necessitate higher premiums because they are expensive to clean up or replace. 

Operating a truck without the legal minimum coverage is risky because it could result in fines or other penalties. It also means that you won’t be insured if an accident does occur, which can be financially devastating. 

What is Non-Trucking Liability Insurance?

Also known as NTL, this type of policy is designed to provide coverage for the moments when you need to use your truck for a non-business purpose. 

If you use your truck for personal use, those trips aren’t covered by your normal trucking liability insurance policy. You won’t be able to file a truck insurance claim for an accident that happens during personal use unless you have an NTL policy. 

Non-business purposes include any moment when you are not using your truck to haul goods or make deliveries. Examples of non-business purposes include going to the grocery store, picking up friends, or going out to eat.

You may not think you’ll end up using your truck for personal use very often, but unexpected situations pop up all the time. 

Normally, the trip home after dropping off cargo is covered by general insurance. However, some situations may change this. For example, if a trucker makes a detour or a visit to a friend on the way home, that visit may not be covered. 

What’s the Difference Between Bobtail Insurance and Non-Trucking Liability Insurance? 

These two policy types sound similar, but in reality, they provide coverage for completely different situations.

NTL insurance is designed to fill in the gap in coverage that may happen when a truck driver needs to make a personal stop or doesn’t have time to switch vehicles. Unexpected circumstances can pop up and force a driver to use his or her work truck for personal use. 

It doesn’t cover the time when a trucker is on the job but without a trailer, however. That job falls to bobtail insurance. 

Bobtailing is when a truck is being driven without a trailer attached. Driving this way is considered riskier than driving with one, and traditional policies don’t cover this period of time. 

Bobtail insurance protects trucks while they don’t have any cargo attached because that situation falls outside the limits of a general insurance policy. 

Both of these insurance policies provide valuable coverage, but they don’t overlap at all. 

When Do You Need Non-Trucking Liability Insurance? 

Non-trucking liability insurance is important as a way to protect yourself financially from becoming liable for any damage caused by your truck outside of business. It’s also legally required if you have your truck under lease from a motor carrier. 

Motor carriers require this insurance for the people leasing their trucks. Usually, carriers provide general liability insurance, but they need truckers to buy this type of insurance to fill in the gaps in coverage that might occur. 

Other drivers who end up using their trucks for non-business purposes may also want to look into this kind of policy. 

This type of insurance is not required for situations that are within normal behavior while delivering cargo. Some examples that should be covered under your standard policy include:

  • Washing the truck
  • Driving it to the auto shop
  • Driving home and back
  • Fueling up the truck

There is some gray area on occasions when a trucker makes a significant detour on the way home, including stops for personal reasons or long visits to family and friends. Insurance companies may assess those situations on a case-by-case basis.

How Much Does NTL Insurance Cost?

Since this type of insurance is considered supplemental, it won’t cost as much as your general liability policy. Like other kinds of insurance, the company will review the factors around you and your truck when offering you a price. 

Your driving history, type of truck, the cargo you haul, and the frequency with which you do personal driving with your truck are all taken into consideration. Riskier behavior and more frequent personal driving tend to raise the cost of your insurance. 

We provide commercial insurance for truckers at affordable rates. We have a wide range of policies designed to fit all your trucking needs.

To learn more about our insurance rates and get a free quote, contact us at Strong Tie Insurance today.