Consider FMCSA your primary and official island of security and information whenever you feel overwhelmed by the car shipping choices that you have to make.
What is the role of FMCSA?
FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is an administration within the Department of Transportation (DOT) whose declared objective is “to promote safer driving within the commercial motor vehicle industry.” FMCSA also takes upon itself to inform you about the rights and responsibilities that you have when using such services as those offered by car shipping or relocation companies.
FMCSA grants auto transport companies operating authority. Within the car shipping business, FMCSA has the authority to grant companies with either a broker or carrier status. In other words, they receive a license to perfom the appropriate services.
Brokers receive an MC number (representing their operating authority), and carriers receive an additional USDOT number (meant to impose strict safety regulations) from FMCSA. In order to obtain these, carriers need to hold minimum personal, property and cargo insurance coverage. However, car shipping brokers are exempt from such insurance requirements, since they do not own any trucks. Nonetheless they have to file a surety bond agreement.
Why is this important to me?
You should only use car transport companies that are licensed by the FMCSA. Such a license is the basic guarantee that those you hire are recognized by a higher authority and have the ability and the right to satisfy your demands.
To check if a company is licensed you can simply access the FMCSA website or call them. FMCSA can also provide brochures or online resources on your rights and responsibilities when shipping your car or other goods, or offer guidance if you want to file a complaint.