So you are thinking about shipping a motorcycle and want to know what things to consider when selecting a shipping company to handle your shipment.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a company to transport a motorcycle. Some of these factors are the shipping rate amount, what method is used to transport the bike, what are the estimated time frames for pick up and the estimated time frames for delivery after pick up, what is the insurance coverage, what is the shippers safety record, will the bike be shipped in an enclosed trailer or on an open trailer, what are the maximum allowable dimensions and are there any oversize fees, are there any fuel surcharge fees that apply, are there any remote location fees that apply, what is the fee for extra insurance coverage, are there any preparations that are required to the bike prior to pick up, will the shipper transport extra items such as parts or riding gear along with the bike, what access does the truck need to the pick up and delivery locations, will able bodied assistance be required to help the driver at the origin and or destination locations, is there a down payment required and if so when is the balance due payment required to be paid.
One of the main factors to research in your search for a company to transport a motorcycle is the licensing requirements. A division of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) know as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the Federal entity who issues both DOT licenses and Motor Carrier licenses. Any transport company who engages in transporting vehicles for hire across state lines is required to apply for and maintain an active and current DOT license and Motor Carrier license. One requirement to keep a current DOT license and Motor Carrier license is to have drivers receive regularly scheduled medical physicals to ensure they are in good enough health to operation a large truck and trailer on public roadways and highways.
Additionally, in most cases transport companies must have there trucks subjected to regularly schedule safety inspections and weight checks at roadway weight stations. A transport company can be required to pull their trucks off public roadways and highways if they fail their safety inspections and or are found to be overweight.
In today’s online environment their are many web based services getting involved in the transport industry. Most of these online service do not have DOT licenses nor do they have Motor Carrier licenses. There services are acting as shipping brokers by bringing people looking to ship items like motorcycles together with companies who engage in shipping motorcycles. Their business model is considered reverse auction services. The transport companies bid down the cost of your shipment. This sounds good as a consumer but what is not known by most consumers is that most of these reverse auction bid websites are not DOT compliant and do not make sure the transport service providers bidding on motorcycle shipments on their websites are DOT complaint. It appears that the majority of transport service providers on these websites are not DOT licensed and to not carry cargo insurance. Many transport service providers on these websites use expired license numbers or try to act like a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) is adequate to be DOT complaint – it is not!
If a transport service provider is not DOT compliant they are operating illegally putting your shipment at risk of impound. If their truck gets impounded by the DOT your bike will get impounded also. There will be daily impound storage fees to pay on your bike and the shipper will likely require you to pay the storage fees. Also, if the transport service provider is not DOT compliant they cannot have cargo insurance to cover your bike in the event of a damage claim. If they are not DOT compliant they might have insurance on their truck and trailer but it will not be cargo insurance. Their truck and trailer insurance only covers their truck and trailer for damage not any bikes they are transporting in their trailer. The only insurance that will cover your bike while in transit is cargo insurance and the only way a transport service provider can get a cargo insurance policy is the have active and current DOT and Motor Carrier licenses.
Rest assured, all the shippers we work with specialize in transporting motorcycles and ship thousands of motorcycles each year. All the shippers we work with are fully DOT compliant with active and current DOT licenses, Motor Carrier licenses and cargo insurance.
Always ask any transport service provider you are considering for their DOT license number, their Motor Carrier license number and their cargo insurance certificate to protect yourself and your bike shipment from illegal transporters.