Vehicle Registration Guidelines for Ministries

Do you use commercial vehicles that transport more than 15 passengers or carry cargo from one state to another as part of your ministry? If so, you are required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and obtain a USDOT number. This allows the USDOT to monitor the safety and management practices of the organization through safety audits, compliance reviews, and roadside inspections.

Brotherhood Mutual offers additional risk management information regarding ministry vehicles:

When a ministry needs a larger vehicle to do its work—a van, truck, or bus—along with the greater capacity comes greater registration responsibilities and insurance coverage requirements.

Any organization operating a commercial vehicle that transports passengers or carries cargo, including hazardous materials, must have a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. This unique identifier allows the USDOT to monitor the safety and management practices of the organization through safety audits, compliance reviews, and roadside inspections. Organizations that offer “for hire” transport of passengers or cargo across state lines need a Motor Carrier (MC) number.

When is a USDOT Number Needed?

A USDOT number is needed if the ministry owns a vehicle that will be used to travel across state lines and has at least one of the following characteristics:

  • The gross vehicle weight rating is greater than 10,000 pounds. This information can usually be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb.
  • The vehicle is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers, including the driver, for compensation.
  • The vehicle is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation.
  • The vehicle is used to transport hazardous material.

Some states require commercial vehicles to have a USDOT number regardless of whether or not they cross state lines. Learn more about the requirements for a USDOT number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), or contact your state department of motor vehicles for more information. To obtain a USDOT number, visit the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and complete form MCS-150.

When is an MC Number Needed?

An MC number is required on vehicles operated as “for hire” carriers. A “for hire” carrier transports goods or passengers for compensation or for the benefit of a commercial enterprise. For churches, this most likely does not include transporting individuals who contribute money to defer the cost of transportation.

An MC number is obtained by registering a form OP-1 with the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Proof of Liability Coverage for USDOT and MC Numbers

Most states require vehicle operators to provide proof of financial responsibility. Typically, the proof of coverage cards received in an insurance policy satisfy this requirement.

Organizations with vehicles that have an MC number are also required to keep a form MCS-90 in the vehicle. This form is issued by the insurance company. Brotherhood Mutual can provide assistance to any policyholder who needs a copy.

If you have any questions about insurance coverage or requirements for ministry vehicles, please feel free to contact us or reach out to your local agent directly.

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