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Trucking Companies & Minimum Levels of Insurance

Just like a motorist is required to carry a minimum level of insurance in order to drive, commercial trucking companies are also required to carry a minimum level of insurance in order to operate. Congress and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have long recognized the connection between the financial responsibility and the fitness of carriers operating in interstate commerce. In 1985, the Motor Carrier Act was passed into law. One of its stipulations required commercial trucking companies to carry a minimum $750,000 insurance policy.

Thirty years after the passage of the Motor Carrier Act, Congress and the FMCSA are revisiting the minimum level of insurance that trucking companies are required to carry. The minimum level has not been adjusted since the bill was passed and the FMCSA and Congress both recognize that with inflation and higher cost of medical care, $750,000 is no longer adequate to cover damages caused by commercial trucking accidents. The FMCSA released a report in April saying that if the minimum amount of coverage had kept up with inflation since 1985, it should be $1.62 million. And that doesn't even factor in the accelerated rise of healthcare costs over the past two decades. Some estimates say that when adjusting for the medical consumer price index, the minimum level of insurance trucking companies should be required to carry is $4.4 million.

Based on those reports, the FMCSA has introduced new regulations, including increasing the minimum insurance requirements that trucking companies are required to carry. Those regulations were sent to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation last week and are expected to be moved to final approval by the White House's Office of Management and Budget in early September.

The FMCSA has not yet release what the new minimum level would be.