Insurance Considerations for Hazmat Haulers

Transporters of hazardous materials have requirements under various agencies that involve reporting of materials they are transporting and documentation of training given to their personnel. Not only are they regulated under agencies that are part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), but there are also departments within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that regulate certain aspects of their activities. In addition, many states have their own regulations governing the transport of hazardous materials.

In spite of all of the regulatory scrutiny, training, and attention to safety that hazmat transporters undergo, there have still been many incidents involving hazardous materials transportation in recent years. With hundreds of these incidents each year, sometimes flammable liquids such as gasoline and fuel oils were released as well as pressurized gases, corrosive compounds, and poisonous substances.

Transportation accidents may cause environmental damage—bodily injury of transport personnel, passengers in other cars or in the area of the accident; loss of life; cargo damage—and can incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in cleanup costs. This is all prior to the defense costs associated with lawsuits against transportation companies.

All hazardous materials transporters are required to have liability insurance. However, depending on the classification of the cargo that is being transported, the required limits will vary. In addition, certain vehicles that are operated “for hire” must have an MCS 90 Endorsement which binds an insurer to pay for liability for bodily injury, property damage, and environmental restoration. This endorsement is not actually insurance, rather, it is proof of fulfillment of financial responsibility obligations. Although it obligates the insurer to pay under the MCS90, the insured is required to reimburse the insurer.

Environmental insurers have developed programs for transporters of hazardous materials that are designed to respond to claims against them for third party bodily injury, third party property damage, and cleanup costs. They do not have any reimbursement requirements and include coverage for defense costs. Learn more about environmental insurance products.

With so many coverage options available in the current marketplace, hazmat haulers have the opportunity to effectively and responsibly protect their investments by addressing their exposures. For more information about environmental insurance for hazardous materials transporters, contact us at

Information obtained from the following sources: