What Are the Insurance Requirements for California Commercial Trucks?

Large commercial vehicles are incredibly important for our economic prosperity. These vehicles ensure that goods are transported throughout the country and throughout this state. However, accidents involving larger trucks often result in significant injuries and major property damage. Because of this, commercial trucks are required to carry certain types of insurance that are above and beyond what most drivers are required to purchase.

Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements in California

The state of California has always been on the side of protecting its citizens. That is why the state sets strict insurance requirements for commercial trucking companies and drivers.

The insurance requirements for commercial trucks in California vary depending on the types of freight being carried. Every commercial truck driver operating solely within California state lines in a vehicle that is more than 10,000 gross vehicle weight (GVW) must have an intrastate identification number as well as liability insurance depending on the freight:

  • $1,000,000 liability insurance for transporting oil
  • $5,000,000 liability insurance for transporting hazardous materials
  • $750,000 liability insurance for transporting general freight
  • $300,000 liability insurance for transporting household goods
  • $20,000 per vehicle and $20,000 in cargo insurance per catastrophe 

What if a Truck Crosses State Lines?

The reality is that most commercial trucks that operate in the state of California also operate across state lines. In these cases, the driver and the trucking carrier must also follow insurance requirements set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), at least if the carrier wants to obtain their operating authority number (MC number). 

Similar to the requirements set forth by the state of California, the FMCSA also sets forth property damage and bodily injury insurance requirements depending on the type of freight being hauled:

  • $300,000 for vehicles under 10,000 pounds (carrying non-hazardous freight)
  • $750,000 to $5,000,000 for vehicles over 10,000 pounds (the amounts depend on the type of freight)
  • $5,000 per truck for household goods transportation
  • $10,000 per incident for household goods transportation

Will Crash Victims be Able to Recover Compensation?

Any accident involving a larger commercial truck can result in severe injuries and property damage for those involved. This is particularly true for those inside traditional passenger vehicles in California. The insurance minimums mentioned above are designed to help compensate an injury or property damage victim in the event the crash is caused by the truck driver or trucking company negligence.

However, it is not uncommon for these insurance minimums to not provide adequate coverage, particularly if the injuries are catastrophic. We strongly encourage any truck crash victim to work with a skilled Irvine truck accident attorney who can handle every aspect of the investigation. An attorney will get involved quickly and conduct a complete investigation into the incident. This will include gathering any evidence needed to prove liability and handling all negotiations with the insurance carriers and legal teams involved. Ultimately, the goal is for a truck crash victim to recover compensation for their emergency medical bills, all follow-up medical treatment, lost income, property damage expenses, as well as pain and suffering damages.