Vetting Your Moving Company’s Licensure and Certification
For many people getting ready to move, understanding licensure and insurance requirements for moving companies can be tricky. Usually the types of licensure and insurance requirements can vary between each state and also between the three different kinds of moves: long distance, local and international. Moving companies should always have the appropriate forms of licensure and insurance no matter which of these types of moves they specialize in.
Long-distance movers must have a federal identification number, known as a United States Department of Transportation number. A total of 28 states require that all moving companies have one of these important numbers. The US DOT number is a way for the government to identify a particular carrier when collecting information from audits, compliance reviews, inspections, and other data sets. It is also used as a tool for enforcing and monitoring safety regulations.
Long-distance movers must also be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This operating authority, which is more complex than the US DOT, outlines the precise type of operation, cargo, and area in which a carrier can operate. They also can dictate the level of insurance that a moving company must carry. Keep note of this mandatory amount, so you can compare numbers when you call the mover. Asking to see physical insurance certificates can also provide you with accurate comparisons.
Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER system in order to find out if your moving company has a US DOT number. You can also check out one of your mover’s marked fleet vehicles by looking for the US DOT number printed on the doors of the cab and the rear tractor. Just make sure that the numbers on the truck match those found in the FMCSA system.
Since there are no moving regulations enforced by any single country, you need to be particularly careful when moving internationally. No matter what, your international mover should have a Freight Forwarder permit or a Federal Maritime Commission number. Choosing a moving company that is also a part of the FIDI Global Alliance can also go a long way in ensuring that you have a trusted and reputable mover.
The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) also provides Registered International Mover Certification, a program that continually monitors international carriers.
As very few companies hold this certification, if you see an international mover that does, they are more than likely to be reputable.