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US DOT Insurance Requirements

The trucking industry is a fast-paced and often hazardous business, which means it’s necessary to have certain security measures in place. If you transport anything in the U.S., be it people or cargo, you are required to have some kind of liability insurance, which is enforced by the Department of Transport (DOT). Not only is insurance a wise use of money, but without it, you won’t be able to receive a USDOT number, which is what allows you to legally transport goods in the U.S.

USDOT insurance is ultimately designed to keep you and your business safe while on the roads, as well as the people or cargo you transport. Insurance covers any damaged goods in transit should an accident occur. It also covers the cost of injury to employees, passengers, or another third party. Requiring liability insurance not only protects the public and your company but also reduces the number of accidents related to commercial vehicles.

The cost of your liability insurance will vary depending on the type of motor carrier you are. For an entire fleet of trucks, it’s recommended that trucking companies have at least $1 million in liability insurance. The size and type of your business and what you transport will determine how much money you need in liability insurance, and therefore, how much your premiums will be.


What You Need To Know

When you’re ready to file for liability insurance, here’s what you should expect from DOT insurance requirements.

When to submit forms 

Once you apply for operating authority with the DOT, you will receive a designated docket number and a notification to register. As soon as you’ve been notified to register for insurance, you need to submit your forms within 90 days. Contact and work closely with your registered agent and insurance company so that you can meet the 90-day deadline.

What forms are needed

Your insurance company needs to file BMC-91, 91X, 34, and 84 forms with the FMCSA and financial institutions should file form BMC-85.

Where to file forms

In an increasingly digital world, it’s best to find and file your forms online. You will likely need to create a filer account with the FMCSA in order to submit the following forms— insurance companies and insurers (but not insurance agents) should be able to make these filer accounts.

File online at the FMCSA website or mail your forms using the following address:

Office of Registration and Safety Information (MC-RS)
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, W63-105
Washington, DC 20590


Next Steps

Trucking companies need to freely move around the country and to do so legally and safely, the DOT insurance requirements must be met. Alongside getting the right kind of insurance, trucking companies should be doing all they can to de-risk their business, which is what we specialize in. Learn more about how the highest performing trucking companies are breaking free from risk with HNI.

DOT Insurance FAQs

Is this insurance required?

Yes, in order to legally transport goods in the United States as a means of making money or running a business, you must meet the DOT insurance requirements.

Do you need insurance to get an MC number?

In addition to a DOT number, you will also likely need an MC number, which is an interstate operating authority. The FMCSA insurance requirements also include insurance to get an MC number. You can apply before you have insurance, but your MC number will not be activated until you officially have insurance.

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Topics: Transportation Safety / Compliance