There is much confusion when it comes to the required filings when getting MC Authority in the United States. While the FMCSA is one of the few government agencies that has a wealth of information on available to assist you during the process, it can still be difficult to understand what exactly a specific form is, and if it applies to your business. One example is form MCS-90 which is the “Endorsement for Motor Carrier Policies of Insurance for Public Liability”.
The MCS-90 is actually not a filing. Rather, it is an endorsement that is attached to a motor carrier’s insurance policy. It is used as a guarantee that there will some form of financial responsibility in the event of an accident that does damage to public property. The form was created with the greater good of the public in mind.
What is Form MCS-90?
While form BMC-91 is used to actually file a carrier’s public liability insurance (BI & PD) policy with the FMCSA, the MCS-90 form is not an insurance policy.
Should a loss or damage occur, and a carrier doesn’t have the required insurance to pay the losses, the MCS-90 issuing insurer will stand in the carrier’s place to pay for the losses (up to the legally required amounts). If this scenario occurs, the issuing agency can and will most likely seek repayment from the carrier.
Who Does it Apply to?
There are some misconceptions about who actually requires form MCS-90, but the explanation is simple. It applies to both Interstate and Intrastate commerce. FMCSA requirements are based on the commodities hauled, even if a company is operating private vehicles (not for-hire). When determining if form MCS-90 applies to your business, you should keep in mind:
Because the form is issued by an insurance company, it is not required of motor carriers that are self-insured. When carriers are self-insured, they usually provide proof to the FMCSA that they will pay for damages when found to be at fault in an accident. This is usually done through the use of a surety bond.
Both private and for-hire motor carriers that operate interstate or intrastate, and operate portable tanks or hopper type vehicles that have a liquid capacity of 3,500 lbs or more are required to obtain the form.
For-hire motor carriers that operate commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs or more are required to obtain the form.
While these are not all of the requirements, they cover a majority of carriers. If you’re applying for MC authority, chances are that you require the form to be in compliance.
If you are starting a trucking company, it’s imperative that you ensure compliance with all requirements that are set by the FMCSA and DOT. Failure to comply could lead to your authority being denied, revoked, or worse; the financial consequences could be massive should an accident happen. Form MCS-90 is a prime example of a requirement that is imperative to a motor carrier’s authority.
To help you stay organized while you’re starting your own trucking company, download our motor carrier authority checklist.