Interstate Transportation Filings
Laws that govern federal truck filings offer protections to commercial drivers and trucking businesses. The laws also protect residents, other drivers, and pedestrians in the event of a chemical spill, auto collision, or accident.
Many of the regulations are set by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
What Is Interstate Commerce?
Interstate trucking and cargo transportation involves trade, traffic, and transportation that take place across several different states.
To qualify as interstate commerce, one of the following must cross state lines:
- The vehicle.
When dealing in interstate commerce, commercial drivers must comply with federal safety regulations and operating rules, as well as all applicable state and local regulations. This includes:
- Paying vehicle registration fees.
- Submitting to inspections.
- Completing several different interstate transportation filings to verify the correct commercial auto insurance coverage.
There are several different federal filing requirements. Before diving into the different requirements, understanding the following definitions may help you get a clearer picture of these requirements:
- Motor carrier – A company that transports passengers or property for compensation.
- Freight forwarder - An individual or entity that provides transportation of property AND:
- Assembles and consolidates shipments and performs distribution operations of the shipments.
- Assumes responsibility for the transportation from the place of receipt to the place of destination.
- Uses a rail, motor carrier, or water carrier for any part of the transportation.
- Freight broker – An individual or company that arranges transportation of property by a motor carrier.
Federal Insurance Filing Requirements
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires you to have on file different forms that show that you meet any federal insurance requirements that apply to you.
BMC-91 or BMC-91X
This filing is required for motor carriers and freight forwarders as verification of liability insurance. A freight forwarder who does not operate vehicles can get a waiver for this requirement.
Liability insurance under this filing will cover:
- Bodily injury.
- Property damage.
- Environmental restoration.
Unlike personal vehicle liability insurance requirements, the minimum limits for vehicles subject to these filings are not separated into different categories. Instead, liability limits for commercial vehicles are one combined single limit.
Federal liability limit minimums for commercial vehicles are as follows:
- $750,000 to $5,000,000 depending on what is being transported.
- Vehicles weighing less than 10,001 lbs. transporting non-hazardous freight:
- Passenger vehicles:
- Passenger vehicles with a seating capacity of 15 passengers or fewer:
BMC-34 or BMC-83
This filing is a proof of cargo insurance. You are subject to this filing if you are a household goods motor carrier or a household goods freight forwarder.
The minimum limits for cargo insurance under this filing are:
- $5,000 per vehicle.
- $10,000 per occurrence.
The MCS-90 is an endorsement that acts as a proof of liability insurance. Hazmat safety permit carriers are subject to this filing.
The MCS-90 is often misunderstood as an insurance policy. However, this endorsement is a guarantee that you have and will continue to maintain a public liability policy.
If you fail to maintain your liability insurance and are subject to financial responsibility after being found at fault for an incident, the insurance company that signed the endorsement will provide the coverage agreed upon in the endorsement. You will be held responsible to reimburse the insurance company for these costs.
How to File
Your insurance filings should be completed and filed by your commercial auto insurance provider.
After you apply for registration with the FMCSA, you will be sent a letter that shows:
- Your docket number.
- A date of publication of your public notice of intention to register.
Your filings must be received by the FMCSA within 90 days of that publication date.
Your insurance provider can send your filings by mail to:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Office of Registration and Safety Information, MC-RS
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE W63-105
Washington, D.C. 20590
Your insurance company can submit your filings online ONLY IF it has a “filer” account with the FMCSA.
To check the status of your filings, you can call one of the following numbers:
- (202) 385-2423.
- (202) 385-2424.
- (866) 637-0635.