MCS-90: What is It and Why is It Important?

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MCS-90: What is It and Why is It Important?

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 places a number of requirements on interstate trucking companies and carriers, to prove that they are fiscally responsible. The law requires the motor company to pay any damages up to a statutory minimum if they cause any kind of damage to public property, in case they don’t have the liquidity to pay for any resulting damages. At East Insurance Group, we provide you with all the information you need regarding an MCS-90 endorsement.

Quite a few times, the MCS-90 is mistaken for an insurance policy, when that is not entirely true. MCS-90 is the proof that you have insurance in case you are at fault in case of an accident. At East Insurance Group, we have agents that will help you find answers to any queries in case you need more clarification.

What is an MCS-90?

An MCS-90 is an endorsement that must be attached to vehicle liability policies of certain regulated motor carriers to ensure that the coverage required by the state is in place. 

Is MCS 90 a Federal Filing?

An MCS-90 is not filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. MCS-90 is an endorsement that guarantees the minimum required coverage for those who are involved in accidents for which you are legally responsible. 

What Triggers MCS 90?

MCS-90 is triggered when the underlying insurance policy attached to which the endorsement doesn’t provide coverage or no other insurer is available to satisfy the judgment against the motor carrier. 

Does an MCS-90 Expire?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration, the latest MCS-90 form is available now and users can file the MCS-90 to participating states online. The form should remain the same until the next review in three years, which means that the new expiration date is 5/31/24. If an MCS-90 expires or is incorrect, the trucking company or the trucker may be fined by the Department of Transportation.

Who Should File MCS-90?

Trucking companies need the MCS-90 endorsement. Only if you are self-insured you don’t need to complete the form. However, if you are self-insured, you still need to prove that you can pay damages in case you are at fault for an accident. 

What is the Difference Between BMC 91 and MCS 90?

A BMC-91 is a document to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and it guarantees the FMCSA that you have enough liability insurance to cover the increased risk of transporting goods or people across the state. An MCS-90 is an endorsement that guarantees the minimum required protection for everyone involved in accidents for which you are deemed legally responsible. 

Do You Need an MCS-90 Endorsement?

If you are someone who has just ventured into the trucking business and also transport hazardous materials, the answer is yes, you do, especially if you are registered as an intrastate or interstate trucking company. But in case you are self-insured, you do not need to complete the form. Though, in case of an accident, you will still need to prove that you can pay the damages — if you are at fault — in an accident and in case you are self-insured.

Once the claims have been paid up by the insurance company, they are then clear to get a reimbursement from the insured. So effectively, what an MCS-90 does is compel the insurer to pay a premium, because, in case of a lawsuit, the alternative route (such as defending the insured) could be much more costly. While working with East Insurance Group, you can be sure of securing the proper documentation for producing an accurate MCS-90.

What Is an Accurate MCS-90?

It is vital that you have an accurate MCS-90 if you are a trucking company. This information is a way of telling the government that in case your vehicle is in an accident, your insurer pays any damages caused to the public property. The East Insurance Group will ensure that all proper documentation is secured for you and that you have all the forms required to produce an accurate MCS-90.

In case your documents are inaccurate or are lacking or if it is expired, you may find yourself facing action or fines from the Department of Transport. You should absolutely avoid this hassle if you want to don’t want to lose a great deal of money and time.

When Do You Need MCS-90?

  • In case of an accident, the injured plaintiff does not have any other source of recovery.
  • In case of an accident, the judgment is against the operator for operating a motor vehicle negligently.
  • The insurance policy has provided no coverage against the accident.
  • The plaintiff is somebody who has suffered any property damage or bodily harm.
  • The plaintiff has a claim for any type of environmental restoration.

Financial responsibilities are imposed on motor carriers by the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 who are operating under a federal permit and carriers who are operating under the state authority. The financial responsibility (minimum requirement) is decided, depending upon the type of cargo:

Type of Cargo


Hazardous substances that have capacities in excess of 3,5000 gallons (portable tanks)


Non-hazardous property


Hazardous materials, substances, oil


Read also: Motor Truck Cargo Insurance

Should I Be Worried about MCS-90?

If you are an insured motor carrier, you will want to familiarize yourself with MCS-90’s unique features. This is because the sole reason for its creation was to fulfill a law with a public policy surety. This is an assurance to the injured plaintiff that regardless of the liquidity of the motor operator, they (the injured plaintiff) will receive a minimum amount of recovery at least.

Even if a policy excludes coverage for an accident, the company that is issued the MCS-90, will be obligated to pay a claim. This is because instead of a specific vehicle, the MCS-90 attaches to the motor carrier.

Also, the MCS-90 allows the insurer to ask for a refund from the insured for any amount the insurer is required to pay because of the endorsement, which the insurer otherwise would not have to pay under the policy.

As a trucking company, you should always keep your policies and covered vehicles up to date, and this is where the East Insurance Group will be very useful for your business. With our team of dedicated, reliable agents, we strive to keep your business safe and keep your documents updated. We will always go that extra mile for you and ensure that the job is done to your satisfaction and that you always get a better price than everyone else.

Confused about MCS-90, or need some help getting a quote for your business? Call us or fill out a quote request form and get all the information you need fast and for free!