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What is MCS-90?

To be legal on the road, every motor carrier is required to show proof that it carries enough insurance to cover claims that they are liable to pay. The MCS-90 endorsement is the required proof that the motor carrier is in compliance with the federal rules. MCS-90 is nothing more than a guarantee that motor carrier could fulfill its financial responsibility to the public.

How do I know if I need to carry MCS-90 endorsement?

Whether MCS-90 is required or not depends on the type of commodity transported. As a general rule, most interstate motor carriers are required to show proof of MCS-90. However, MCS-90 financial responsibility rules could also apply to hazardous material haulers, private carriers and intrastate haulers.

Is MCS-90 an insurance policy?

No. MCS-90 is nothing more than a guarantee that motor carrier could fulfill its financial responsibility to the public. The MCS-90 is not an insurance policy and it is not filed with FMCSA. BMC-91X liability filing is submitted to the FMCSA as proof that the MCS-90 endorsement has been issued.

Is MCS-90 a financial guarantee?

Yes. Attaching MCS-90 endorsement to an insurance truck liability policy simply means that there will be a source of funds available to pay for claims that arise from the motor carrier’s negligence and claims that they are legally liable to pay (such as bodily injury, property damage or pollution cleanup). This financial guarantee is available regardless of the trucker’s failure to comply with the underlying insurance policy’s terms.

My company had an at-fault accident involving an unreported truck. Can my insurance company sue me for the claim?

Yes. The MCS-90 states that it “covers all vehicles owned, operated, or maintained by the insured regardless of whether or not each motor vehicle is specifically described in the policy.” MCS-90 does not constitute insurance for one very important reason: the insurance company issuing the MCS-90 has the right to recover (subrogate) from the motor carrier any payment made as a direct consequence of the provisions of the form. This is why it is extremely important to have all power units listed on a scheduled unit policy. Another example of where an insurance company can go after the motor carrier is in an event of a pollution claim paid under MCS-90 endorsement. In absence of separate pollution liability coverage or endorsement (such as the Broadened Pollution Endorsement CA-9948), the insurance company has the right to fully recover any environmental restoration costs paid under the MCS-90.

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