What exactly is a private motor carrier and what insurance they need?

Mar 04, 2020 in Regulations and road rules, Insurance 101

When it comes to transporting goods, there are two types of commercial trucking companies – a private motor carrier is one of those types. But what does it mean when a company is referred to as a private motor carrier? Well, private motor carriers are commercial trucking companies that transport their own goods instead of hiring another commercial trucking company or independent owner-operator to do it. If a company operates as a private motor carrier, it means that this company produces its own goods, sells its own goods and transports its own goods. And this is the main difference between a private motor carrier and other types of commercial trucking transport – private motor carriers transport only their own goods and not the goods of other companies.

One of the requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for private motor carriers is the United States Department of Transportation Number, also known as USDOT.

So, what is a USDOT?

The United States Department of Transportation Number required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration makes it easier for the FMCSA to track the records of the trucking companies, especially the safety record. It also gives quick access to information in case of audit, inspection, crash report etc. But what are the factors that determine if a company needs a United States Department of Transportation Number?

  • The company chooses to operate as a private motor carrier;
  • The company’s vehicles are involved in interstate commerce;
  • The company’s vehicles exceed the combined weight rating of 10,001 pounds;
  • The company’s vehicles transport hazardous materials. Specifically, hazardous materials that require an intrastate travel permit;
  • The company’s vehicles transport people – more than eight for which the driver receives a compensation from the passengers. Or if the vehicles transport more than 15 people without the driver receiving compensation;

Additionally, the USDOT is mandatory in Puerto Rico and 36 US states for intrastate commercial trucking. The USDOT number is acquired from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state.

How about the insurance coverage?

If a company operates as a private motor carrier, it will need trucking insurance coverage including:

  • Auto liability – all commercial truckers are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to carry liability insurance. The auto liability covers damage caused to other drivers and property on the road. It includes bodily injure liability and property damage liability. It does not cover damages to your own vehicle.
  • Physical damage – this one can help you take care of the damages done to your vehicle in case you end up in a road accident. There are two parts to the physical damage insurance – collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. The first covers the repair taxes for your damaged truck if these damages are sustained in case of an accident. The second covers damages sustained in case of theft, vandalism, animal attacks, fire and everything else that is not considered a road accident. Like damage from fallen branches, for example.

Whether you company is a private motor carrier or an owner-operator, commercial truck insurance still remains a complex thing to most people. But we at Bobtail.Insure can easily help you get the best deal. Just contact us or start saving money right now, by getting your FREE QUOTE.