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Risky Business

What is Non-Trucking Liability, Really

By Shelly Benisch, CIC with Commercial Insurance Solutions (CIS)
Posted Aug 8th 2013 5:47AM


Hi Everyone,

I've discussed NTL before, but from time NTL discussions require updating because the courts keep changing and modifying what we assume NTL will cover.

Here's one of many similar defintions of NTL:
NTL: Non-Trucking Liability (contingent liability) provides coverage to an insured on permanent lease to a motor carrier that supplies primary liability coverage, when using his/her scheduled auto for non-business, personal use. Non-Trucking Liability coverage does not apply when the insured auto is being used to transport any goods or merchandise, nor while goods or merchandise are being loaded or unloaded. Primary liability coverage must be retained from the motor carrier to cover the insured while operating his/her vehicle in a trucking capacity on behalf of the motor carrier.
In the real world, trial court rulings influence how the coverage applies. Some situations are pretty clear.  If you were under load when the accident occurs, the Motor Carrier policy is responsible.  

But don't assume because you are not under dispatch that your NTL coverage will apply for any other incident. In recent transportation law classes I attend,   we were told anything which in anyway benefits the Motor Carrier would then place coverage on the Motor Carrier policy.   For instance we used to say, "NTL covers when you are washing your truck or driving to get an oil change."   Nope, wrong, both those things benefit the Motor Carrier according to the courts.
Or, "We just dropped off the load in Vegas and took ourselves off dispatch.   The Grand Canyon is not far away and we want to go see it."   In the past, taking yourself off dispatch was the key, if you got into an At Fault accident then it’s probably NTL.   No again.  

Courts have determined that you would not be in AZ to begin with if the Motor Carrier had not sent you there.   And some also have determined they also owe you a ride home In most claims the insurance companies talk and decide with current law and other aspects like the state laws in which the accident happened will come into play, was it NTL or the responsibility of the Motor Carrier policy?   In rare cases an arbitration board/panel or court proceedings occur.
Most transportation attorneys believe NTL comes into play only about 2-3% of the time.   This is also why NTL only costs $300-400 per year vs. Primary Liability (24/7coverage) on a truck at approx. $4,000-$5,000+ per year. As always, take care and caution to be safe and responsible.  Report the accident immediately, take photos, write down the name of other party, witnesses and even record statements if possible.
We can replace trucks, we cannot replace you, so be safe!

Shelly Benisch, CIC


  • - August 9, 2013
    jjoerger-=|=-Good post Shelly.
    Thanks for the explanation.
  • - August 9, 2013
    jjoerger-=|=-Good post Shelly.
    Thanks for the explanation.

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