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Can I use bobtail liability insurance to get my tags?

The term bobtail typically means that a truck has no trailer attached to it. If you work for an employer, that company typically provides primary liability coverage while you are delivering the goods. Since this policy does not cover the times when you are driving but not delivering goods, it is a good idea to obtain bobtail liability insurance for these situations. (It’s really important to have the proper insurance.)

The bobtail coverage applies both when you are returning home from transporting a load and when you are driving from one customer’s location to the next. It can also provide coverage when you are using the truck for personal errands as long as you do not have a trailer attached.

Is bobtail liability insurance enough to get your tags?

The answer to this question is a definite no. Although having bobtail liability is a good idea, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers to show proof of primary liability insurance to obtain their tags. This is the basic proof of financial responsibility that all drivers must obtain regardless of whether they are leased to a motor carrier or work as an independent owner-operator.

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Requirements to obtain commercial trucking tags vary by state

Each state sets its own guidelines regarding how often truckers need to obtain tags, the proof they need to show, and how much they must pay for them. It depends on several factors such as your vehicle weight in gross tonnage, the types of goods you normally haul, and whether you typically cross state lines when making your deliveries. The Department of Motor Vehicles for your state can provide you with a complete list of requirements. However, you should be certain that you have the proof of primary liability insurance available when you go to obtain your tags.

Primary liability insurance requirements

While the FMCSA requires all commercial truckers to carry this coverage, the amount you must have depends on the weight of your truck and the types of commodities you normally transport. For example, the minimum insurance requirement for freight coverage is $750,000 while the maximum amount is $5,000,000.

The exception to the above is non-hazardous freight transported in a truck that weighs less than 10,001 pounds. The FMCSA drops the requirement to $300,000 in this case. If you transport passengers, you or your employer will need to carry between $500,000 and $1,500,000 in primary liability coverage for up to 15 passengers only.

Remember that primary liability insurance only provides protection for other drivers if you cause damage to their property or person. You have several options for obtaining optional coverage for yourself in case of injury, loss of a load, fire, theft, or other unfortunate circumstances.

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We work exclusively with the trucking industry to help drivers and owner-operators find the most robust coverage and affordable rates. We can help whether you need bobtail liability, trucker’s general liability, or another  type of insurance coverage to protect your investment. Fill out our online form or call us at 678-271-3449 for a free quote.