You will need to verify the company not only is licensed to perform your move, but also that they are adequately and legally insured to do so. A great resource to find this information is www.SaferSys.org.
SaferSys is a Web site operated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that allows you to search a motor carrier’s licensing information. Under the FMCSA Searches section in the middle of the page, click on Company Snapshot. Now, you will be directed to a page where you should type in the company’s DOT license number and click Search. Assuming the company gave you an accurate DOT license number, it will bring you to a page with a detailed list of information. (If the number is not accurate you should probably move on to another company.) Here are some key elements to look for:
- Does the company’s contact information match what they gave you?
- At the top right of the page, the field Out of Service should read “No” and the Out of Service Date field should read “None.”
- The Power Units and Drivers field will give you a good idea of the size of the company. Make sure this information matches what the company told you. For example, if they told you they have a 50 drivers but the form says they only have two trucks, they probably misinformed you and you should move on to another company.
- Some other fields to check out:
- MCS-150 Form Date field may contain the date of which the license was applied for.
- Auth for Hire field under Open Classification should have “X” next to it.
- If you are moving out of state, the Carrier Operation section should have an “X” next to Interstate.
- The Cargo Carried section should have an X next to Household Goods.
- You should also check their inspection record and the national inspection record. If their record in much higher than the average or if they have been in business for several years but have no inspections listed, this is a problem and you should probably use a different company.
Now, go to the bottom of this report and click on the FMCSA Licensing and Insurance site. Click on the Screen button, which will bring you to the company’s name, address and legal name. Within this information, there are key items to look for:
- The Authority Type column contains three listings – Common, Contract and Broker. The column to the left will indicate whether any of these authorities are active. The company should at least have the Common listed as active. If it indicates Application Pending or Revocation Pending, something is wrong.
- Also, the last table will indicate what type and level of insurance is required, as well as insurance the mover has on file. Companies are required to carry at least $750,000 BIPD insurance, and are required to carry cargo insurance filed with the FMCSA. A “$0” indication for BIPD or a “No” indication for cargo insurance should result in you deciding not to use this company’s services.