California Motor Carrier Permits 101

If you are starting a new trucking business in California, there are many things to know before you begin, like how to obtain a motor carrier permit. It’s essential to apply for a motor carrier permit before you begin to operate your business and ensure you renew your permit on time.  Operating as a motor carrier without a permit is a misdemeanor, and you will be fined up to $2,500, according to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. Read on for a few helpful tips on how to apply for and renew your Motor Carrier Permit.

What is a Motor Carrier Permit?

A motor carrier permit (MCP) is a document issued by the DMV’s Motor Carrier Services. The permit is issued to the motor carrier as evidence of the registration with the DMV of their Carrier Identification number, as required by CVC Section 34620. The permit verifies that the motor carrier has met all the commercial requirements to operate motor vehicles on California’s highways. The document contains detailed information specified to the motor carrier, including name, renewal date, mailing address, #CA, and permit expiration dates.

 Who Needs an MCP?

Things can get confusing on who needs an MCP. Today, personal trucks are being categorized as commercial due to the increases in technology. We included a section from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to define who needs an MCP:

  • “Any person or business entity that paid to transport property in their motor vehicle, regardless of vehicle size or weight, will need a motor carrier permit to operate. People transporting property for compensation are deemed a ‘For-Hire’ motor carrier.
  • Any individual or business entity operating a commercial vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more for business or personal use. Persons operating such vehicles are deemed a ‘Private’ motor carrier.
  • Operators of any vehicle or a combination of vehicles transporting hazardous materials.
  • Operators of a motor truck and trailer, semi-trailers, pole or pipe dollies, auxiliary dollies, and logging dollies, which exceed 40 feet. For MCP purposes, a “trailer” excludes camp trailers, utility trailers, and trailer coaches.
  • Operators of any motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicle and trailer for which the operation requires a commercial driver’s license, with the exception of vehicle combinations, including camp trailers, utility trailers, and trailer coaches.”

How to Apply for a Motor Carrier Permit for New Carriers

If you are a new carrier, there are two crucial steps to complete before applying for your MCP. First, you’ll need to obtain a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Next, to obtain a CA#, you will need to submit a CHP 362 Motor Carrier Profile to a local CHP Motor Carrier Safety Unit. Make sure to include your USDOT number on the application.

After completing the first two steps, you can apply for your MCP online.

Before applying online, ensure you have all information ready and on hand for a seamless application process. Items needed to complete your MCP application:

  • Have your Carrier Identification (CA) number and the exact name as shown on your MCP.
  • Depending on the type of payment you choose, be sure to have your banking information (bank routing number and account number, as shown on checks) or credit/debit on hand.
  • Have your information ready, including the type of business entity, name, email, and CA#.

Renewal Process

Having the correct permits and knowing renewal dates will keep your business active and avoid penalties and fines. The renewal process is easy as long as you have all the important details in front of you. Once you complete the online application, it will take up to 30 days, and your new MCP will be mailed. If you don’t receive your permit within 30 days, you’ll need to call the Motor Carrier Permit line. Their phone number is (916) 657-8155.

Insurance Requirements

By law in California, all motor carriers are required to carry Auto Liability Insurance and Workers’ Comp Insurance in order to operate. You must show proof during your renewal and new MCP application process.  Workers’ Compensation insurance offers the following coverage:

  • Lost Income/Wages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Death Benefits
  • Rehabilitation Costs

Once you get your insurance policy from your favorite insurance agency (hopefully, that’s us), we will have the insurance company issue the MCP65 filing and send proof of insurance to the DMV.

We are here for you!

Alex Rue Insurance and The Truck Duck have your back! We are here to help you every step of the way. Allow us to assist in finding the best protection for your trucking business, like Workers’ Compensation and Truck Insurance. Let’s get started on finding you the best coverage and rates!

Alex Rue