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Federal Motor Carrier Insurance

Interstate or inter-country motor carriers and those carrying hazardous materials must abide by rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA requires higher insurance premiums for these situations to prove financial responsibility.

Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility

To satisfy proof of financial responsibility, you can either:

  • Purchase liability insurance.
  • Purchase a surety bond.

Insurance Requirements for Carriers of Non-Hazardous Property

$750,000 of liability insurance is required if:

  • The truck weighs more than 10,001 pounds.
  • Carries of non-hazardous property that travels interstate or between countries.

Insurance Requirements for Carriers of Hazardous Materials

Trucks Weighing Less Than 10,000 Pounds

$5 million of liability insurance is required if the truck:

  • Weighs less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Travels interstate or to foreign countries, or intrastate (within the same state.)
  • Carries radioactive materials, explosives, gases in excess of more than 3,500 water gallons, any amount of materials that are poisonous by inhalation.

Trucks Weighing 10,001 Pounds or More

$5 million of liability insurance is required if the truck:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more.
  • Travels interstate/inter-country, or intrastate.
  • Carries bulk explosives or materials poisonous by inhalation.

For-Hire or Private Trucks 10,001 Pounds or More, Carrying Other Hazardous Materials

$1 million of insurance is required if the carrier:

  • Carries, in bulk, miscellaneous hazardous materials not included in either of the above scenarios, including oil, or listed in the hazardous materials table.
  • Has a truck weighing more than 10,001 pounds.

For more information, look at FCMA's hazardous materials information pages.

Insurance Requirements for Motor Carriers of Passengers: Interstate or Foreign For-hire

16 or More Passengers

$5 million of insurance is required for motor carriers with 16 or more passengers (including the driver) if the carrier goes between states or countries.

15 or Fewer Passengers

$1.5 million of insurance is required for motor carriers with 15 or fewer passengers (including the driver) if the carrier travels between states or countries.


School buses, taxi cabs with fewer than 7 passengers, and commuter vehicles with less than 16 passengers on a daily round trip are excepted from this higher premium.

Surety Bonds Instead of Insurance

Motor carriers, property brokers, and freight forwarders can purchase surety bonds instead of insurance in the same amounts as given above.

Contact a FCMSA field office for information.

Where to Purchase Insurance

Select a company dealing in commercial insurance for motor carriers. Some larger insurance companies may sell both regular passenger-vehicle insurance as well as insurance for motor carriers.

The agent will ask you:

  • How much the trucks weigh.
  • Where the trucks travel.
  • What the trucks carry.

The insurance company should help you file the appropriate commercial trucking forms with your home state and the FCMSA.

For more help, contact FCMSA's Insurance Information line at (866)637-0635 or read about licensing and insurance.

Proof of Insurance

Proof of insurance must be kept in two places: at the main business office and in the vehicle. A copy may be kept in the vehicle. Acceptable proof is either:

  • Form MCS-90: Insurance proof from the insurance company.
  • Form MCS-82: The surety bond proof.

If you do not have this proof with you, you will not be able to reenter the United States.

Penalties for Having No Proof of Insurance

Driving without proof of insurance could trigger an investigation and inspection of all of the company's vehicles and record keeping by the federal government. In addition, you or your motor carrier could be subject to state and federal fines and loss of your commercial driver's license. If you are involved in an accident and have expired insurance, the courts will impose additional penalties or criminal charges.

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