What Is MCS-90?

What Is MCS-90?

Chances are you have never heard of MCS-90. Unless you are in the trucking industry, it may not be familiar to you. Even if you’ve been in an accident with a commercial truck and are seeking compensation for injuries, MCS-90 may not ever be a factor. But if the trucking company isn’t carrying the required insurance or denies your claim, MCS-90 could be important for your case.

What Is MCS-90?

Like drivers of passenger vehicles in Pennsylvania who have to carry liability insurance, trucking companies are required to carry insurance on their fleet vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial trucks. Certain regulations under the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 require commercial trucks involved in interstate commerce to carry minimum levels of insurance to cover public liability. The FMCSA oversees compliance with these insurance requirements.

Truck accidents are known for tragic outcomes, particularly when they involve hazardous materials. The requirement for minimum insurance coverage is to ensure that money is available to pay for bodily injury, property damage, or environmental restoration when the trucking company is negligent and liable for an accident.

One way that trucking companies can certify compliance with the minimum required insurance coverage is through MCS-90. MCS-90 is an endorsement (add-on) to trucking insurance policies. It certifies that commercial trucks involved in interstate commerce have the required minimum levels of insurance to cover public liability.

Trucking companies may also comply with insurance requirements with a surety bond. In some cases, they may be allowed to be self-insured.

Is MCS-90 Additional Insurance?

No. MCS-90 is not insurance. It is basically a guarantee or confirmation that a certain level of funds is available to pay for damages to the public if the trucking company is negligent. 

If the trucking company does not have the proper coverage or a claim is denied under the policy, the carrier agrees to pay the injured party (if negligence is proved and a final judgment is issued against the insured). However, the carrier can seek reimbursement from the trucking company.

In a way, it’s similar to uninsured motorist coverage for passenger vehicles. MCS-90 helps bridge the gap and pay for bodily injury suffered by a member of the public if the trucking company fails to carry the required insurance or violates their policy, causing a claim to be denied.

How Much Coverage Does MCS-90 Require?

Regulations for MCS-90 impose requirements for minimum liability coverage depending on what the truck is carrying.

The minimum liability coverage requirements are:

  • $750,000: for trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 10,001 pounds carrying non-hazardous materials
  • $5 million: for trucks with a GVWR of over 10,001 pounds carrying certain categories of hazardous substances in bulk in cargo tanks
  • $1 million: for trucks with a GVWR of over 10,001 pounds carrying oil, hazardous waste, or other hazardous materials
  • $5 million: for trucks with a GVWR of under 10,001 pounds and carrying certain categories of hazardous materials 

Motor carriers failing to maintain the required coverage can be subject to fines and suspension or revocation of their operating license.

How Does MCS-90 Affect My Trucking Accident Case?

It may not affect it at all. Remember, MCS-90 only applies to trucking vehicles involved in interstate trucking. It does not apply to trucking companies operating only within the state.

Coverage under MCS-90 will only come into play if your accident meets the conditions that trigger the insurer to pay your claim. That might happen if the circumstances of the crash fall under an exclusion to the trucker’s policy, causing the claim to be denied.

If your accident requires you to access the carrier’s funds under MCS-90, that doesn’t necessarily affect the amount of money you could recover in your case. MCS-90 provides funds for minimum coverage that was supposed to be there anyway.

But if MCS-90 is involved, you are likely to face an even tougher fight with the insurance company since they are responsible for the damages. Even though they can seek reimbursement from their insured, that’s just another battle they would rather not fight. Plus, the trucking company could be bankrupt.

Issues involving trucking company insurance and MCS-90 are extremely complex. If you’re involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, contact a reputable truck accident attorney near you.

Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Philadelphia Today To Get Help With Your Case

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.