If you plan to ship a motorcycle across state lines, you need to understand the insurance coverage the motorcycle transport company offers. There are many transporters in the motorcycle shipping industry and each one has different insurance coverage.
Today there are more and more unlicensed and uninsured illegal shippers bidding on motorcycle shipments. These illegal transporters will often state that they have insurance coverage. What they will not tell you is that their insurance only covers their truck and trailer, not the motorcycles they are transporting. The only type of insurance that will cover your motorcycle during transport for damage or theft is known as commercial cargo insurance. Cargo insurance is specifically designed for motor carrier transportation companies to cover freight from damage claims while in transit.
The only way a company can get commercial cargo insurance is to be fully Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant. There are a number of requirements a shipping company has to meet before they can get cargo insurance. A bike transport company must apply for and secure a DOT license and a Motor Carrier (MC) license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in order to be eligible to secure cargo insurance coverage. We always recommend that you verify a motorcycle moving company’s insurance directly with their cargo insurance company. Ask their insurer what the cargo coverage amount is along with their insurance deductible amount.
Some cycle shipping companies are moving to a type of cargo insurance coverage known as like and kind. This type of cargo insurance coverage determines damage claim amounts somewhat differently than traditional cargo insurance coverage. Like and kind cargo insurance coverage takes into account the age and condition of the vehicle being transported when determining the damage claim amount. If the vehicle is older and or not in good condition, like and kind insurance coverage might not cover the full damage amount. The way like and kind insurance coverage is calculated could potentially be based on using used parts pricing for the repairs. It is always a good idea to ask a transporter about the type of cargo insurance coverage they offer. This should eliminate any surprises that might arise if there were to be a damage claim on your vehicle while it is being transported.
Lastly, it is always a good idea to contact your motorcycle insurance company and get an insurance policy set up on your motorcycle prior to shipping a motorcycle. It never hurts to have this added insurance coverage just in case the motorcycle shippers insurance rejects your claim for some reason. It is a good plan to check with your motorcycle insurance company to see if they offer coverage for your vehicle while it is being transported on the shippers truck. Many motorcycle insurers will cover vehicles while they are in transit on the shippers truck. Some motorcycle insurers can add a rider to your policy to cover your vehicle while it is in transit. This could be a short-term policy change that will provide you with additional coverage while your bike is being transported. You may not need to have this as part of your ongoing insurance coverage with your motorcycle insurance company.