Ohio Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements

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Last Modified: June 6, 2024

Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements

Ohio Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements for Motor Carriers start with Federal Requirements set by FMCSA.

FMCSA is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which oversees the Department of Transportation.

Commercial trucks hauling freight for hire across state lines must first register with FMCSA.


Commercial Trucks operating Intrastate in Ohio are also required to get a Federal DOT number.

Here’s the FMCSA registration portal to get your DOT number.


Why is Commercial Truck Insurance so Expensive for New Startup Motor Carriers?


One of the reasons Commercial Truck Insurance for new startups is so expensive is because of the scarcity of insurance providers.

Run estimates on your commercial truck insurance premiums with a professional truck insurance broker BEFORE you register for your DOT.  Insurance is likely to be among your highest expenses.

The trucking insurance industry is actually undergoing positive transformations for new start up Owner Operators and Motor Carriers.

A new Powerhouse trucking insurance provider is now offering coverage for new trucking startups in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Florida, and Texas through select agents.

They’ve been providing very attractive premiums for most of our Owner Ops and small Motor Carriers, and we’re excited to have them on board with CIS.

15 minutes really could save you BIG $$$ on your Trucking Insurance!

Cargo Vans, Sprinters, HotShots, Straights & Big Rigs are included in the new Trucking Insurance program
Cargo Vans, Sprinters, HotShots, Straights & Big Rigs are included in the new Trucking Insurance program



Required Proof of Insurance

Proof of minimum Commercial Auto Liability Insurance limits are then required by both FMCSA and OHIO PUCO.

PUCO is the Public Utililities Commission which oversees transportation in Ohio.


When you purchase your commercial truck insurance policy, that proof is sent directly to FMCSA with a BMC-91X Filing.

An MCS-90 is just the endorsement to your policy which guarantees the insurance to FMCSA.

At the same time your insurance provider will also send your proof of insurance to Ohio PUCO as a Form E.


FMCSA approves your MC, Motor Carrier operating authority.


Liability Insurance

Commercial Auto Liability includes Bodily Injury and Property Damage to others:


Bodily Injury Liability is insurance if you cause an accident that injures or kills someone.

It will pay for their medical bills, rehab, long term care, funeral expenses, lost earnings as well as pain and suffering.


Property Damage Liability is insurance if you damage another person’s property.

It can pay for replacements, repairs on other vehicles, structures or even a pet.


Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage for commercial trucking is usually in “CSL” or Combined Single Limits.

A Liability claim will only pay up to the CSL limits purchases in your insurance policy.


Requirements for Across State Lines

Commercial Truck Insurance Requirements for Motor Carriers hauling freight for hire across state lines:


$750,000 minimum for Commercial Trucks hauling general freight

$300,000 minimum for Commercial Trucks hauling household goods

$300,000 minimum for Commercial Van and Sprinter Insurance

Cargo Vans & Sprinters
Cargo Vans & Sprinters require $300,000 Commercial Auto Liability to haul freight across state lines




Additional Coverage Options

Ohio Commercial Truck Insurance additional coverage options include:


Uninsured or Underinsured (UM/UIM) Protection covers you and passengers for injuries and damages if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you.

UM/UIM reminburses you for medical bills, lost wages and also pain and suffering resulting from bodily injuries from an accident.

This coverage only applies if the other driver is At Fault and has insufficent or no liability coverage of their own.


Medical Payments (MedPay) Protection covers your medical and funeral expenses if you or your passengers are injured in a truck accident.


Your Professional Truck Insurance Broker can break down the individual insurance premium cost for each coverage option.

She will also go over your requirements for Motor Truck Cargo insurance and what is and isn’t covered on your policy.

Taking the time to work with her will help you to understand and purchase the best commercial truck insurance package for you.


Physical Damage Coverage is offered on most Ohio Commercial Truck Insurance Policies:

Physical Damage Insurance offers you Collision and Comprehensive (Comp) coverage for your truck.


Collision coverage protects your truck if it’s damaged in an accident.

It also pays to repair or replace the vehicle if it collides with another object, overturns, or rolls.


Comprehensive coverage protects your truck if it’s damaged by something other than a collision with a vehicle or object.

Examples of Comp include theft, damage from falling trees, wind, hail and animal hits.


Physical Damage insurance is based on either the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the truck or the Stated Amount of your truck.


A Stated Amount valuation should include all permanently attached equipment in your truck.

This can include aftermarket parts, mounted equipment and other permanent modifications.

Remember to include all accessories that work as a part of permanent devices or load securing equipment.


Here’s some examples of permanently attached equipment to consider:

  • Custom paint, decals and signage
  • Electronics that have been bolted or mounted to your truck
  • Coupling devices like 5th wheel receivers
  • Equipment and accessories for vacuuming
  • Mounted tool boxes, shelving and ladder racking
  • Tarps, chains and binders

What makes a truck a commercial vehicle in Ohio?

Ohio Revised Code Section 4501.01 | Motor vehicles definitions:

(J) “Commercial car” or “truck” means any motor vehicle that has motor power and is designed and used for carrying merchandise or freight, or that is used as a commercial tractor.

PUCO adds “All carriers that operate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) 10,001 lbs. or greater must have a US DOT number.”


That includes 1 ton Duallys with Trailers commonly used for HotShot trucking when the combination of both exceeds 10,001 lbs.

HotShot Truck insurance usually falls under the $750,000 limit requirement.


Dually HotShot Truck with Gooseneck Trailer
Dually HotShot Truck with Gooseneck Trailer is over 10,001 GVW








[Related Story – What is the Definition of a Commercial Vehicle]


Other Ohio Commercial Truck Requirements


Once you have your DOT number and insurance in place, it’s time for PUCO.

PUCO will still need their own separate Ohio Motor Carrier Application.

Download this cheat sheet to help you later for your Ohio Motor Carrier Application.


Be sure to remember your obligation to complete your UCR Filing.

Interstate Motor Carriers are required to submit annual fees to Unified Carrier Registration, or UCR.

Unified Carrier Registration supports funding for state highway motor carrier registration and safety programs.

The amount of your fee is based on how many trucks you have.

Up to 2 trucks is $37 each and 3-5 trucks is $111 each.


Note that UCR is clear that smaller units like HotShots, Cargo Vans and Sprinters are not necessarily exempt from this fee.

According to the UCR Handbook, page 30…

“Some motor carriers or freight forwarders may operate only vehicles that are not classified as ‎commercial motor vehicles, typically because the vehicles are lighter or carry fewer passengers than ‎vehicles included in the definition of the term commercial motor vehicle. Such a business must register ‎for UCR because these entities have a federal MC number. Because the MC numbers are generated in ‎the federal URS system, a USDOT number will also be issued, but it would ordinarily pay a UCR fee in ‎the lowest bracket, because it operates no commercial motor vehicles.”‎

If these lightweight vehicles pull trailers in interstate commerce and the gross combination weight ‎rating or gross combination weight is 10,001 or more, the entity will account for all of these ‎commercial motor vehicles and pay the applicable fee. ‎

Here is your UCR Registration Portal.

Unified Carrier Registration
Unified Carrier Registration







If you have any questions or just want to chat…give us a call at CIS.

We’d love to help you get on the road!

Finally another CHOICE for Expediting Truck Insurance
Finally another CHOICE for New Start Up Trucking Insurance


  • 2002 Founder and CEO of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Shelly Benisch specializes in providing Commercial Truck Insurance for owner operators and small motor carriers. Both CIS and TRS certified, She also writes a free educational trucking insurance advice blog dedicated to the little guy.

  • Executive Director of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Christina Cummings leads her team in providing the best Truck Insurance with the best rates for Owner Operators and small Motor Carriers. Christina is TRS certified as a Transportation Risk Specialist. She is your "go to" person at CIS with questions, tips and networking opportunities in our trucking and expediting community.

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