Not all vehicle transport carriers are licensed and insured; there are indeed unscrupulous operators in the sector. However, reputable vehicle transport carriers are required to be licensed, bonded, and insured to operate legally.
- USDOT Number: In the United States, legitimate car carriers should have a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number, assigned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- MC Number: Additionally, they should have a Motor Carrier (MC) number, indicating they have the authority to operate.
- Liability Insurance: Car carriers are required to have liability insurance to cover any damage they might cause to other vehicles or property.
- Cargo Insurance: They should also have cargo insurance to cover the vehicles they are transporting.
How to Verify:
- FMCSA Website: Use the USDOT number or MC number to verify the carrier’s licensing and insurance information on the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System website.
- Carrier Agreement: The carrier agreement or contract should outline the insurance coverage they have in place. Ask to see their insurance certificate and verify the coverage details.
- Research Reviews: Before choosing a carrier, look for customer reviews and feedback online to ensure they have a good reputation.
- Beware of Low Bids: Be wary of carriers whose bids are significantly lower than others. They might be cutting corners with licensing or insurance.
- Ask Questions: Ask about their license and insurance directly and verify the information they provide.
- Use Reputable Brokers: If you are using a broker to find a carrier, make sure the broker is also reputable and verifies the licensing and insurance of the carriers they use.
- Get Everything in Writing: Ensure that all agreements, including insurance coverage, are provided in writing.
Remember, dealing with a licensed and properly insured carrier can provide peace of mind that your vehicle is protected during transit.