Insurance Coverage for Truck and Commercial Vehicle Accidents
A motor carrier is any individual, company, or business entity that provides for the transportation of goods or passengers by a motor truck or bus. A for-hire motor carrier transports cargo or passengers for compensation. The trucking company J.B. Hunt is an example of a for-hire motor carrier. Private motor carriers transport cargo for a particular entity. For example, a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer transporting goods to a Wal-Mart store would be a private motor carrier.
INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR INTRASTATE (GEORGIA ONLY) MOTOR CARRIERS
If a trucking company doesn’t send trucks outside of Georgia, then the trucking company is only subject to Georgia’s laws (although Georgia has also adopted most of the federal regulations). In Georgia, motor carriers are required to carry liability insurance with at least $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per accident. The minimum requirements are increased to $100,000 per person, and $500,000 per accident when applied to buses carrying over 13 passengers.
Large trucks are classified in many ways, most often by their size, and their cargo. All of these classifications of trucks are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA determines and enforces the amount of insurance that is required for trucks to operate.
INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERSTATE MOTOR CARRIERS
When it comes to driving trucks across state lines, the minimum insurance limit is considerably higher than Georgia. Before a business can send trucks out on the roads, the business must apply for operating authority and specific insurance, and must provide the FMCSA with certain documents. Interstate trucking companies must submit forms to the FMCSA proving that they have the right amount of insurance. The amount of liability insurances required varies by the weight of the truck and the cargo being transported. Federal regulations say that any motor carrier transporting cargo or property must carry insurance with at least $750,000. For large trucks carrying hazardous materials, the liability limit needs to be at least $1 million, and for certain tanker trucks transporting hazardous materials, the coverage increases to at least $5 million. These limits apply to trucks that have a gross vehicle weight rating or “GVWR” of 10,001 pounds or more.
Other forms are required for carriers of household goods like moving companies. This form guarantees that the trucks meet the minimum amount of cargo liability insurance. The MCS-90 is an endorsement that is attached to a business’s already existing policy.
TRUCKS CARRYING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
The type of insurance that trucks carrying hazardous material must have is determined by the type and amount of hazardous material it is transporting. In addition to insurance coverage, the transporters of these materials must also possess certain permits. The U.S. Department of Transportation and FMCSA requires drivers carrying hazardous material to carry with them a “hazmat safety permit.” The materials that are most often considered hazardous include: radioactive materials, explosives, and materials that are toxic if inhaled.
TRUCKS CARRYING PASSENGERS
If a vehicle is designed to carry 16 or more passengers and will drive across state lines, then it is required to have $5 million dollars in insurance. If a vehicle is designed to transport 15 passengers or less across state lines, then it is required to carry $1.5 million in coverage.
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