Truck Insurance: Primary Liability vs. Non-Trucking Liability Insurance Truck Insurance

As a trucking company owner or operator, it’s essential to protect your business with the right insurance coverage. Two common types of insurance you’ll come across are primary liability and non-trucking liability. While they both offer protection for trucking operations, it’s crucial to understand their differences to ensure you have the right coverage for your specific needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore the disparity between primary liability and non-trucking liability insurance.

Primary Liability Insurance:

Primary liability insurance is the primary coverage required for most commercial trucking operations. It provides protection for bodily injury and property damage caused by your trucking activities while operating under your own authority or as a leased owner-operator. This insurance is designed to protect you in case of accidents or incidents where you are at fault.

Key Features of Primary Liability Insurance:

  1. Legal Compliance: Primary liability insurance is mandatory in the trucking industry to comply with federal and state regulations. It helps ensure that any damage or injuries caused by your trucking activities are adequately covered.
  2. Coverage Scope: This type of insurance covers bodily injury and property damage to third parties, including other motorists, pedestrians, or property owners. It compensates for medical expenses, property repair costs, legal fees, and settlements resulting from accidents where you are at fault.
  3. Limits and Deductibles: Primary liability insurance comes with predetermined coverage limits and deductibles, which vary depending on your specific policy and insurance provider. It’s crucial to review these limits carefully and choose coverage that adequately protects your business.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance:

Non-trucking liability insurance, also known as bobtail or deadhead insurance, provides coverage for truckers when they are using their vehicles for non-business or personal purposes. This type of insurance is typically for independent owner-operators or leased drivers who do not have a trailer attached to their truck during non-business activities.

Key Features of Non-Trucking Liability Insurance:

  1. Coverage During Non-Business Activities: Non-trucking liability insurance covers accidents or incidents that occur when the trucker is using their vehicle for non-business purposes, such as commuting or personal errands. It fills the coverage gap between the trucker’s personal auto insurance and the primary liability coverage.
  2. Limited Scope: This insurance does not cover the trucker when engaged in business-related activities, including hauling a load or delivering goods. It focuses on providing coverage during off-duty or non-work-related situations.
  3. Additional Protection: Non-trucking liability insurance may include additional coverage options, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or medical payments coverage, to protect the trucker and their vehicle in non-business-related accidents.

Choosing the Right Coverage: When deciding between primary liability and non-trucking liability insurance, consider the nature of your trucking activities. If you primarily operate your vehicle for business purposes, you need primary liability insurance to comply with legal requirements and protect your business in case of accidents. However, if you are an independent owner-operator who uses the truck for personal use as well, non-trucking liability insurance can fill the coverage gap during non-business activities.

Consulting with an experienced insurance agent or broker is crucial to evaluate your specific needs and determine the appropriate coverage for your trucking business. They can help you navigate through various insurance options, compare quotes, and select the policies that provide comprehensive protection while keeping your budget in mind.


Understanding the difference between primary liability and non-trucking liability insurance is essential for trucking business owners and operators. Primary liability insurance is mandatory and covers accidents or incidents that occur during business-related activities, while non-trucking liability insurance provides coverage during non-business or personal use of the vehicle. By choosing the right insurance coverage for your specific needs, you can safeguard your business

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