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New Jersey’s $1.5 million truck insurance hike goes into effect in July

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Starting in just a few more weeks, truckers will be required to carry more liability insurance in New Jersey.

In January 2024, the New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law S-2841/A-4292, requiring heavy duty truck owners to carry a minimum of $1.5 million in liability insurance for each truck in case of “injury to or death of, one or more persons in any one accident or for damage to property in any one accident.”

The insurance increase applies to commercial vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more.

The federal minimum requirement is $750,000.

The new insurance requirement goes into effect July 1, 2024.

While the text of the legislation is muddy on whether the insurance hike will apply to out-of-state carriers operating in New Jersey, transportation law firm Scopelitis suggests that both intrastate and interstate carriers could be affected:

There is no indication in the legislation that it is intended to apply only to intrastate New Jersey operations. There appears to be indirect evidence that the intent is that the new higher minimum limits under this legislation will apply to all commercial vehicles within its scope, whether in interstate or intrastate operations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has considered increasing the federal minimum insurance limits applicable to CMVs. To date, it has not elected to do so. Whether New Jersey’s statute will cause other states or even FMCSA to similarly increase their limits remains to be seen.

For several years, there has been a similar push to increase trucker minimum insurance requirements at the federal level.

Notably, H.R.6884, or the Fair Compensation for Truck Crash Victims Act, introduced in December 2023 would increase the minimum insurance requirement for interstate motor carriers from $750,000 to $5,000,000

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