Everyone claims that they are something big on the internet and they guarantee that they are the best. However, it is only after a few trips or a disaster that we become wiser but in a costly manner. So when we need to transport something as expensive as a car, then we need to do a few checks to find out whether the company is truly a professional auto transport agency.
Certificate of Liability Insurance
The transporter needs a Certificate of Liability Insurance to cover the value of his cargo. As the value of the cargo can vary, the transporter must be prepared to have the right amount of insurance to cover the cargo at any given time. Usually, the transport company will have $250,000 for a standard unit carrying 10 cars but the value of the 10 cars must be around the given amount. However, if you need the company to transport 10 expensive cars for you, then the insurance amount has to be higher to match the cost of the cars.
DOT Certificate of Authority
All transporters in the country must have gone through the Department of Transportation (DOT) and should be having a Certificate of Authority to show that they are legally conducting their business. Check out http://www.dot.gov/ for more information. Also, the transporter must have bought permits or gotten the license to travel across state lines. Look out for a DOT number that the transporter would have gotten from DOT after a thorough check-up and inspection of all the equipment. So the company can now do any kind of business with the DOT certificate as long as only their equipment is used. Also, you cannot sub-contract your equipment to another company as that would make you a broker and you can only do it if you have a broker’s license.
This brings us to the Broker’s license which can again be gotten through DOT and to get their license, brokers must go through an insurance agency or a bank which gives them $10,000.00 bond. The bond must not be cashed in at any time and so one has to check the license as well as the status of the bond before working with the broker. It is always better to go through a broker as they now the inside story of all the companies that they work with and will give the customer the best ones depending on their availability. However, there are some brokers out there who may ask you for a non-refundable deposit offered in exchange for a really low attractive transportation charge. However, you may find out too late that there is no such low transportation charge and you would have paid the broker a deposit for no reason at all. So check whether you are dealing with a professional auto transport broker before signing up with them. www.safersys.org will give you more information.
Most companies will ask you to pay a small amount as a deposit which will usually be the broker’s fee. However, when the company asks you to pay the entire amount beforehand, take a step back and look out for another company. When you pay the entire amount you may not be able to claim damages from them in case your vehicle arrives in a battered condition. It is always better to pay the bigger amount after the vehicle has been delivered to you as then you can check the condition of the vehicle before payment.
Using the Right Carrier
There are many kinds of carriers available like “hotshots”, “flat-beds”, “Drop-decks” and many more. The advantage in choosing a professional auto transport company is that they will have a wide-ranging fleet to suit all your needs. Hotshots are good for transporting damaged or large vehicles which will not fit into other carriers and are used mostly for shorter distances. You might also need a Flatbed when you want to transport large vehicles like vans or trucks. It just will not do for the transporter to give you a sub-standard or an inappropriate vehicle as that might be more expensive or might damage the cargo.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.