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What are the FMCSA truck insurance requirements?

Updated: Jan 30

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a government agency that oversees and regulates the trucking industry. One of the requirements for operating a commercial trucking business is obtaining the proper insurance coverage. This blog post will explain the FMCSA truck insurance requirements, including the types of coverage needed and how to file insurance forms with the FMCSA.

The first and most important coverage required by the FMCSA is commercial auto liability insurance. This insurance covers accidents where the driver or the motor carrier is found to be at fault and results in damage to another person or their property. The amount of liability insurance a motor carrier needs is determined by the type of goods they haul. For example, for-hire interstate general freight carriers are required to have a minimum of $750,000 in liability coverage, while for-hire and private carriers of oil must have $1,000,000 in coverage. Carriers of other hazardous materials have a requirement of $5,000,000. If you have any questions, our wonderful team of licensed industry professionals at CarrierHQ can help you get the coverage you need!

Cargo insurance is another important coverage required by the FMCSA. Motor carriers who haul household goods, such as moving companies, are required to purchase cargo insurance at a minimum of $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence. While cargo insurance is not required for carriers of other types of goods, it is highly recommended as most shippers and brokers will not do business with a motor carrier who does not have cargo insurance. Physical damage insurance and general liability insurance are not required to obtain motor carrier authority but are often strongly recommended.

Other common supplementary coverages include the following:

  • Physical damage - covering truck or trailer damages from things like vandalism, collision, natural disasters, and theft

  • Bobtail aka non-trucking liability - coverage for driving the truck for personal reasons or is off dispatch

  • Trailer Interchange -physical damage coverage for trailers being pulled under a trailer interchange agreement. Basically this is physical damage insurance for non-owned trailers

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) - protection if another person hits you and doesn't have liability insurance)

  • Reefer breakdown coverage - coverage for refrigerated trucks for things like:

  • refrigeration breakdown

  • lost cargo

  • damage to products due to a collision

There are a lot of options to consider, it can be overwhelming. Our team can help you find the right coverage to maximize the value of your policy.

Once your insurance selections are made the FMCS requires a few forms to be on file. The motor carrier needs to submit several forms such as the BMC-91, the BOC-3, and the MCS-90. However, these forms are not to be filled out by the motor carrier, but by the insurance company to prevent fraud. The motor carrier must first file an application with the FMCSA and then contact their insurance company to file the required forms under their docket number. The FMCSA will not issue you an MC (motor carrier) number until these forms are submitted with your application. Your MC number gives you the legal right to cross state lines as a commercial carrier.

It is important to obtain insurance coverage from a reputable commercial insurance company. Comparing several companies at once will help the motor carrier find the best coverage at the best price. You can fill out our easy application to get multiple options right away. If you have any questions, our insurance agents have lots of experience in the trucking industry to ensure that all of the necessary coverage for your fleet.

In conclusion, obtaining the proper insurance coverage is a crucial step in operating a commercial trucking business. The FMCSA requires commercial auto liability insurance and general liability insurance however there are many more coverages that should be considered depending on your unique business needs. The motor carrier must also file the required insurance forms with the FMCSA through their insurance company. By understanding the FMCSA truck insurance requirements and obtaining the necessary coverage, trucking companies can operate safely and legally on the road. We hope this article helped, and we'd love the opportunity to earn your business.

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