Whether you’re a new owner operator or the owner of an upstart small fleet
trucking company, you are going to need your commercial truck insurance agents to start the filing of the required
federal trucking insurance liability and cargo forms immediately after
obtaining your designated docket number.
The liability and cargo insurance forms must be submitted directly by the home
office of the trucking insurance company furnishing the coverage and the filings must be received within 90 days
after the FMCSA has published public notice of intention to register the
Keep in mind each state in which you or your drivers will travel in conducting
business will want to know all about your company. After obtaining your federal registration documents, you must
register with every state where your big rigs will be rolling. Of course,
they all want a piece of the pie...your money and they'll get it either
by business license fees or big fines.
What Does The FMCSA
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires you to provide
the minimal amount of insurance shown below. These requirements and additional registration requirements can
be found on their web site, http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration-licensing/licensing/registr.htm
||AUTHORITIES SUBJECT TO
|BMC-91 or BMC-91X
|| Public liability insurance (bodily injury/property
- Motor Contract Carrier and Common Carrier
- Freight Forwarder (Note: Non-vehicle operating freight
forwarders may seek waiver of this requirement.)
- Freight:--$750,000 - $5,000,000, depending on commodities
transported; $300,000 for non-hazardous freight moved only in vehicles weighing under 10,001
$1,500,000 for registrants operating only vehicles with seating capacity of 15 or fewer
|| Cargo insurance--$5,000 per vehicle; $10,000 per
- Motor Common Carrier
- Freight Forwarder
| BMC-84 or BMC- 85
- Surety Bond--$10,000
- Trust Fund Agreement--$10,000
| Broker of Freight
|| Legal Process Agents
|| All Authorities
While these minimal insurance amount requirements will get your trucking business
going in respect to getting your Federal Authority, they should not be
the only insurance coverage discussed with your insurance agent or
Before leaving the minimal liability and cargo insurance discussion behind, do
have a thorough personal financial asset discussion with your agent to
determine if you need to bite the bullet and go ahead with increasing
your liability limits for two reasons; repairing your damaged big rig and
for losing a lawsuit where a lawyer is seeking more than $750,000.
The minimum liability amount means that their insurance will cover up to $750,000
of damage or injury to the other party in an accident.
A judgement against you for over $750,000 might be for more than that amount which
means a lawyer may go after your savings, your house, and future income while seeking reparations.
How far an attorney can go after your personal assets may be determined by how you
set up your business at the beginning. Did you incorporate or remain a sole proprietor where you personal and
business monies were put in the same banking account? You need to discuss the ways to set a business with legal
counsel to decide how to best protect your personal assets.
As a "For Hire" carrier, you are required to carry cargo insurance for most
Will increasing your limits allow you go after more lucrative electronic cargo
loads like cell phones, computers and printers?
What Is Typically Covered?
Coverage is for cargo that is lost or damaged due to:
Striking of a load
Debris removal after a load is dumped on the highway
Earned freight to replace wages lost as a result of not delivering the
Reloading expenses to put a load back on the truck
What about flood waters damaging the cargo or the cargo polluting the
environment after an accident? Are These Covered? (Verify with your trucking insurance agent)
On the opposite side of the potential cargo insurance limit increase: There may be
certain types of freight loads (commodities) where cargo insurance
requirements are waived by FMCSA.
Definitely discuss this possibility with
your trucking insurance agent to make sure you are not needlessly spending money to protect loads that do not meet FMCSA requirements.
Now that your Federal Authority is filed and the state
requirements are met, it's time to jump in the big rig and fire it
Stop before the wheels hit the pavement, did you discuss these types of
insurance products listed below with your commercial truck insurance
While not requirements of FMCSA, some of the insurance products may be
requirements of the state that your business is registered.
The other products while not required by any federal or state laws may be a very
smart business move to protect your personal financial well being and the health of your company.
At least discuss every insurance product listed below with your trucking insurance
agent to make an educated decision.
All Risks Coverage versus
Named Perils Coverage - Small Print Can Be Very Tricky
Definitely discuss the differences with these two policies with your agent and all
risks that can put you out of
Imagine sitting on Interstate 40 and the water is quickly rising to where your rig
and freight load is underwater in a very short time. Which of the
coverage of any did you buy?
Well, flooding was not a named peril in your Named Peril Coverage so you lost. Or
flooding was listed as an exclusion in the All Risks Coverage so you lost
BigrigCentral.com is just saying be careful, read the fine print and ask a million
Coverage - Don't get caught without it and verify the definition of the term "Bobtail
Insurance" with your commercial truck agent. There is a confusion between this coverage and the Non-Trucking
Bobtail insurance is for insuring the tractor when it is being operated without a
trailer regardless if the tractor is under dispatch.
Coverage (Dead Heading) - Another Don't Get Caught Without It Coverage
Covers your liability in the event that you lease out your equipment to a motor
carrier whose insurance will (if agreed upon by you, them and your trucking insurance company) provide liability
protection for you as long as you are transporting or loading/unloading any goods or merchandise for the motor
Typically, the motor carrier provided liability coverage immediately stops when
you start deadheading and at that time your Non-Trucking Liability Coverage will kick in because you are now using
the tractor and trailer for non-business, personal use.
Another Read The Fine Print To Protect Yourself - If you are in an accident while
deadheading or with a motor carrier's freight, you don't want to hear your agent say "sorry" but your rig was not
Insurance - The Government requires that you maintain a worker's
compensation policy if you have employees. This is for your protection in
the event one of your workers is injured on the job.
Protection Policy - Occupational Accident Policy
You didn't need Workmen's comp since you are a single owner operator but what happens
to you and your business if a fall out of a trailer puts you down for 6
months unable to work. This type of policy if put together correctly will
pay Accident Medical, Accident Disability Income and for Accidental Death
Truckers Policy versus Motor Carrier
Will you be a "for hire" motor carrier or a private
carrier or a combination of both? Don't insure as just a private carrier then "hire out" because you may find
yourself uninsured even though you are paying premiums.
Discuss what this required endorsement actually
includes protection wise and means to your trucking insurance agent. What attachments are included that protect the
owner operator or trucking company owner? Don't find yourself caught empty handed in the event an accident pollutes
the environment and the commercial truck insurance carrier comes a knocking demanding reimbursement.
Needed to protect you from non-owned trailer
physical damage claims when entering into an documented trailer interchange agreement where you as the insured will
have care and custody of trailer.
Truckers sometimes don't think about the downtime
meaning of "you're not making money if the truck is not rolling" until it is too late. Definitely discuss this type
of Business Interruption Coverage with your agent to keep the money rolling in the event your tractor or trailer is
damaged from an insured peril. (Remember the All Risks Coverage versus Named Perils Coverage)
As you see, there is some very important
information and types of trucking insurance coverage to consider to protect your personal
assets, your company and your health.
There may be more commercial truck insurance
products out there that offer even
more financial protection.
Discuss the coverage listed above with several trucking insurance agents to see who offers the best advice for you to be successful.