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Motor Carrier Insurance: Cost, Liability & Quotes From $11

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The trucking industry is very dynamic. For instance, we have companies that truck their own goods. There are also others that make money by trucking the goods of other businesses. And then, we have a few that, aside from trucking their own goods, also accept trucking projects from other companies.

If you’re planning to get involved in the trucking industry, it’s important to know what business insurance to get. Today, let’s talk about motor carrier insurance.

What is Motor Carrier Insurance?

Motor carrier insurance is a policy the Insurance Services Office (ISO) introduced in 1993. It covers private motor carriers, for-hire motor carriers, and private-and-for-hire motor carriers engaged in intrastate and interstate commerce.


Also read: Bobtail Insurance: Cost & Cheap Quotes From Only $8


Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

Motor truck cargo insurance is a type of motor carrier policy that functions to cover the goods of the motor carrier’s customer. It has the following coverages:

  • Earned freight charges coverage

  • Debris removal

  • Reloading expenses

  • Loading and unloading coverage

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How Does a Motor Carrier Insurance Policy Differ from a Trucker’s Insurance Policy?

A motor carrier policy offers coverage for private, for-hire, and private-and-for-hire motor carriers. On the other hand, a trucker’s policy can only insure for-hire motor carriers.


Image What is For-Hire, Private, or Private-and-for-Hire Motor Carrier Anyway?

  • Private Motor Carrier - these are subsidiary companies or parent companies that use their own vehicles to transport goods.

  • For-Hire Motor Carrier - these are the usual trucking or shipping companies that businesses hire to transport their goods. Examples of for-hire motor carriers are FedEx, XPO logistics, and UPS.

  • Private-and-For-Hire Motor Carrier - these are businesses that truck or ship their own goods and also offer trucking services to other businesses.


Which Should You Get? Motor Carrier Insurance or Trucking Insurance?

You no longer have to choose. Since 2010, all kinds of motor carriers have acquired their bodily injury liability and property damage insurance through motor carrier insurance coverage. Trucker’s policy might have become obsolete.


Motor Carrier Liability Insurance

So what liability policies are included in a motor carrier insurance policy? Motor carrier liability insurance policies usually offer commercial auto liability insurance and general liability insurance.


In a nutshell, commercial auto liability insurance will help pay for the cost of damage if a motor carrier’s vehicle caused an accident and injured another driver and his passengers. Note that this policy won’t cover damages to the motor carrier’s vehicle.


On the other hand, general liability insurance for motor carriers will help to pay for any bodily injuries or property damage the motor carrier inflicted to its customers.


But aside from liability policies, motor carrier insurance also has a trailer interchange policy and auto physical damage policy.


Auto physical damage policy will cover the damage of the vehicles the motor carrier owns. There are two types; collision insurance and comprehensive insurance. But note that some motor truck cargo insurance carriers also offer a third type of auto physical damage policy called fire and theft insurance.


Collision insurance for goods carrier vehicles takes care of any physical damage to the motor carrier’s vehicle resulting from a collision with a vehicle or an object. Comprehensive insurance policy, on the other hand, accounts for vehicular damage not resulting from a collision (e.g. a natural event). Finally, theft and fire insurance will kick in if the motor carrier’s vehicle is damaged because of arson or attempted robbery.


How about trailer interchange policy? Trailer interchange policy doesn’t provide coverage to the motor carrier’s auto but the hired or rented trailers instead. A motor carrier has the obligation to pay for the repair cost of non-owned trailers damaged while in their possession. And so, getting a trailer interchange policy is important because it provides money to satisfy such an obligation.


To be clear, trailer interchange policy will only cover non-owned trailers. Therefore, this is only useful if a motor carrier rents or hires a trailer for business purposes.


On the other hand, there’s no need to get a trailer interchange policy if a motor carrier uses their own trailers. This is because, aside from vehicles, owned trailers are also covered by the motor carrier’s auto physical damage policy.

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What Vehicles Can You Insure Using a Motor Carrier Insurance Policy?

Section 1 of the commercial motor carrier insurance coverage form specifically provides the types of vehicles the policyholder can cover. Numerical symbols are assigned for each covered vehicle for clarity purposes. Here’s a table as a comprehensive reference.

Numerical Symbol Vehicle Covered by Motor Carrier Insurance Clarifying Comments
61 Any “auto”
62 Owned “auto” only Any vehicles you own and any vehicles you will own after the policy takes effect. Code 62 also includes trailers or any other attachments you don’t own but are equipped to covered vehicles.
63 Owned private passenger type “autos” only Any private passenger type autos you own or will own after the policy takes effect. Examples of passenger-type autos are tour buses, trolleybuses, and light rails
64 Owned commercial “autos” only Trucks, tractors , and their trailers. Also includes trailers you don’t own but attached to a power unit you own.
65 Owned “autos” subject to no-fault insurance coverage Autos required by the state, where your motor carrier business is located, to have no-fault insurance coverage
66 Owned “autos” mandated by state law to be covered by uninsured motorist coverage These are autos that are mandated by the state, where you’re motor business is located, to be always covered by uninsured motorist coverage.
67 Specifically described “autos” Vehicles named as insured in item three “SCHEDULE OF COVERED AUTOS YOU OWN” on the motor carrier policy declaration form.
68 Hired “autos” only Vehicles you lease, rent, hire, or, borrow except passenger type vehicles
69 “Trailers” in your possession Trailers you do not own but you expressly agree to have liability in case of loss through an interchange agreement.
70 “Trailers” in the possession of others Trailers you own but are currently being used by others through an interchange agreement


Importance of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 in Insurance

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 played a pivotal role in specifying the financial obligations of motor carriers when accidents happen. This is because it placed the minimum worth of liability policy to be acquired. The bullet below shows the motor carrier act of 1980 minimum insurance requirements:

  • For-hire intrastate or intrastate motor carriers using vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more and transporting non-hazardous goods should have $750,000 motor carrier liability coverage


  • For-hire and private interstate or intrastate motor carriers using vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more and transporting hazardous substances should have $5,000,000 liability coverage (such hazardous substances are those specified in 49 CFR 171.8 )


  • For-hire and private intrastate or interstate motor carriers using vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more and transporting oil specified in 49 CFR 172.101 hazardous waste, hazardous materials, and hazardous substances defined in 49 CFR 171.8 and listed in 49 CFR 172.101; should have $1,000,000 liability coverage.


  • For-hire and private intrastate or interstate motor carriers using vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or more transporting any quantity of division 1.1,1.2 or 1.3 material ; any quantity of division 2.3 hazard zone A or division 6.1 packing group I hazard zone A material; or highway route controlled quantities of a class 7 material as defined in 49 CFR 173.403 ; should have $5,000,000 liability coverage


  • For-hire intrastate or interstate motor carriers using any passenger type vehicles with a 16-person seating capacity or more should have $5,000,000 liability coverage. Those using any passenger-type vehicles with a 15-person seating capacity or less should have $1,500,000 liability coverage.


FMCSA Minimum Insurance

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Cargo and Safety Association) mandates motor carriers to have the minimum insurance coverage depending on the type of their business operations. Here’s a table that shows what kind of form a specific motor carrier needs, the type of insurance to purchase, and the amount of coverage the FMCSA requires.

Type of Motor Carrier Business Form to be Filed Type of Insurance Policy Required Minimum Amount of Coverage Required
Freight forwarder BMC-91 or BMC-91X BIPD insurance FCMSA - Public liability insurance having bodily injury coverage, environmental restoration coverage, and property damage coverage $750,000 - $5 million depending on how hazardous the freight is
$300,000 for freight forwarders dealing with non-hazardous freight
Household Goods Motor Carrier or Freight Forwarder BMC-34 or BMC-83 Cargo insurance $5,000 per vehicle coverage
Freight broker BMC-84 or BMC-85 Surety bond insurance or Trust Fund Agreement $75,000 coverage
Motor Carriers Possessing Hazmat Safety Permit MCS-90 Liability policy (s) that can be added to motor carrier insurance through MCS 90 endorsement Policy limits mandated by the Motor Carrier Act of 1980

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Motor Carrier Insurance Cost

  • The average cost of $1 million general liability insurance for motor carriers is $145.83 a month or $1,750 a year

  • The average motor carrier liability insurance cost of $5 million general liability insurance for motor carriers is $186.78 a month or $2,241.36 a year.

  • The average cost of comprehensive auto insurance for motor carriers is $125 a month or $1,500 a year

  • The cost of collision insurance for motor carriers is $71.16 a month or $854 a year

  • The cost of third-party fire and theft insurance for motor carriers is $45 a month or $540 a year


Here’s a table showing the pricing of the most recommended motor carrier insurance companies for 2022:



Monthly Rates Annual Rates Best for
CoverWallet $84 $1,008 Cheap motor carrier insurance
Progressive $100.83 $1,209.96 Motor carrier cargo insurance with a lot of optional policies
Nationwide $135.16 $1,621.92 Motor carrier insurance with available discount options
The Hartford $154.66 $1,855.92 General liability insurance for motor carriers


How to Get Motor Carrier Insurance Quotes in an Instant?

Use our free motor carrier insurance quote comparison tool. All you have to do is click the “Get Quotes” button at the top of this page and fill up the form. Once you’re done, you will receive cheap motor carrier insurance quotes from the best motor cargo insurance carriers, all showing essential information such as the policies offered, the estimated pricing, and policy limits.


Also read: Contingent Cargo Insurance for Freight Brokers


Best Motor Carrier Insurance Companies

CoverWallet Motor Carrier Insurance


Why Get Insured by CoverWallet?

  • Best online quote comparison platform for motor carrier insurance

Why Take CoverWallet with a Grain of Salt?

  • Doesn’t sell or underwrite its own motor carrier insurance


CoverWallet tops our list as the best provider of motor carrier insurance. Even though it doesn’t sell its own motor carrier policies, CoverWallet helps you to find the cheapest quotes from the best motor carrier insurance companies in the United States. Additionally, CoverWallet has an application called MyCoverWallet where you can easily manage your motor carrier policy whenever and wherever you are.


Best for : Cheap motor carrier insurance

Average cost: $84

Our rating: 10/10




Nationwide Motor Carrier Insurance


Why Get Insured by Nationwide?

  • Has a lot of optional coverages

  • Has the liability policies and auto physical damage policies motor carriers need

Why Take Nationwide with a Grain of Salt?

  • Doesn’t offer environmental insurance coverage, which hazmat licensed motor carriers need


Nationwide covers motor carriers through its commercial auto policy, which is available for retail businesses, firms, contractors, auto repair businesses, wholesalers, and distributors. The company has the liability policies mandated by the FMCSA such as bodily injury, property damage insurance, and uninsured motorist coverage. Nationwide also offers comprehensive auto policy and collision insurance. But that’s not all, Nationwide even has optional coverages such as roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, expanded towing, and more.


Best for: Motor carrier cargo insurance with a lot of optional policies

Average cost: $135.16

Our rating: 10/10




Progressive Motor Carrier Insurance


Why Get Insured by Progressive?

  • Numerous discount options for motor carrier insurance

  • Has trailer interchange policy

Why Take Progressive with a Grain of Salt?

  • Only works with owned operators, for-hire motor carriers, and private motor carriers doing short-haul


Progressive claims to be the leading motor truck carrier insurance company in the USA. It provides flexible coverage and payment options, free filings, specialized heavy truck claims service, discounts, and expert support.

This company specializes in working with owned operators, for-hire motor carriers, and private motor carriers. Motor carrier policies Progressive offers are trailer interchange, general liability, and auto physical damage insurance. Work with this company because it has numerous discount options such as SmartHaul, Commercial Driver’s License Discount, and Business Experience Discount.


Best for: Motor carrier insurance with available discount options

Average cost: $100.83

Our rating: 9/10




The Hartford Motor Carrier Insurance


Why Get Insured by The Hartford?

  • General liability protection for motor carriers also covers employees and can cover other entities if extended

  • Has comprehensive auto physical damage coverage for motor carriers

Why Take The Hartford with a Grain of Salt?

  • Some customers reported that insurance disputes with The Hartford take a long time to resolve


Policies The Hartford offers motor carriers are general liability insurance and auto physical damage insurance. Its general liability insurance doesn’t only provide automatic protection to the motor carrier’s business but the employees too. On the other hand, The Hartford’s auto physical damage insurance covers the motor carrier’s vehicles that were damaged on-site or on the road. Optional policies motor carriers can get from The Hartford are multinational coverage, property in transit coverage, business income coverage, loss of use coverage, and more.


Best for: General liability insurance for motor carriers

Average cost: $154.66

Our rating: 7/10


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