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California Truck Insurance Requirements: What You Need to Know

Ensuring your trucking business complies with California’s insurance requirements is essential for legal operation and protecting your investment. Whether you operate solely within California or across state lines, here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding the insurance requirements for your trucking business.

Local Trucking Insurance Requirements in California

For trucks operating exclusively within California (intrastate trucking), the state mandates specific insurance coverages based on the type of freight you haul. If your truck has a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) over 10,000 pounds, you must obtain a California Intrastate ID Number (T#) and meet the following minimum insurance levels:

  • $1,000,000 for Oil Transport

  • $5,000,000 for Hazardous Materials (Hazmat)

  • $300,000 for Household Goods

  • $750,000 for General Freight

  • $20,000 per vehicle and $20,000 per catastrophe for Cargo Insurance (Intrastate household goods movers and interstate contract carriers)

These coverages ensure that your operations have adequate protection against potential liabilities and damages related to your specific type of cargo.

Interstate Trucking Insurance Requirements

If your trucking business crosses state lines (interstate trucking), you must comply with both California state requirements and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. This includes:

  • $750,000 to $1,000,000 in liability insurance, depending on the type of freight being hauled.

  • Additional coverages may be required for certain types of cargo or operations, such as hazardous materials.

To operate interstate, your insurance agent must submit specific filings to both the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the FMCSA:

  • Form MCS-90: Certifies you have the required insurance coverage for public liability.

  • MCP-65: Required by the California DMV for proof of insurance.

  • Form H: Used for cargo insurance.

  • BMC-91 or BMC-91X: Filed with the FMCSA to demonstrate compliance with federal insurance requirements.

These filings confirm that your insurance coverage meets all regulatory standards, allowing you to operate legally across state lines.

Applying for Necessary Licenses

To comply with these requirements, you may need to apply for certain licenses and registrations. Here are links to where you can apply for the necessary licenses:

  • DOT Number: Apply for your U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number through the FMCSA here.

  • PUC License: For household goods movers and other specific operations, apply for your Public Utilities Commission (PUC) license here.

Key Points to Remember

  1. Determine Your Operation Type: Identify if your operation is intrastate (within California) or interstate (crossing state lines) to understand the specific insurance requirements.

  2. Ensure Compliance: Work with your insurance agent to complete and submit all necessary filings. This includes both state-specific and federal forms.

  3. Select Appropriate Coverage: Choose insurance policies that adequately cover your specific type of freight and operation to protect your business from potential risks.

Get Tailored Solutions with Univision Insurance Services

Get Tailored Solutions with Univision Insurance Services

At Univision Insurance Services, we understand that every trucking operation is unique. Our experienced agents will help you navigate these requirements and tailor your insurance policies to meet both state and federal regulations. We provide comprehensive coverage options and ensure all necessary filings are handled promptly, so you can focus on running your business smoothly.

Contact Univision Insurance Services today to get started on securing the right commercial truck insurance for your needs, whether you operate locally within California or across multiple states.


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