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Evaluating Carrier Credentials: Certifications, Experience, and Insurance

Owning beloved vintage cars brings joy on the open highway, but that shining investment risks getting damaged when moving to new places. Chances are, you’ve probably heard stories of prized vehicles getting wrecked by amateur transporters without skills or the right carrier credentials. Most of the time, these rushed decisions overlook proper research and preparation.

Vetting different carriers to find a car transporter can feel overwhelming, but quick choices can lead to missed key details. After all, nobody wants their high hopes ruined when their possessions are scratched or dented by sloppy movers picked for cheap costs over competency. However, smarter options await those who plan thoroughly.

Connecting with experienced carriers, leveraging positive feedback, and prioritizing specialty experience can make all the difference in keeping your vehicle safe—and the numbers back this up. Data shows that $450 million yearly in luxury car transit damages happens due to owners choosing the lowest cost to ship over diligent carrier vetting beforehand.

The good news? At uShip, we’re paving smarter paths to find trusted carriers thanks to verified reviews, clear credentials, and more. Whether you’re shipping a rare Mustang or precious Lamborghini, here’s how to review experience, licensing, and coverage for peace of mind.


Choosing the right auto transport carrier involves navigating confusing industry jargon, but these codes actually represent important safety standards that protect vehicles in transit. Here’s a quick guide to key carrier credentials in simple terms so you understand what certifications carriers should have to demonstrate higher-quality services safeguarding cars.


At the core, a commercial driver’s license represents baseline legitimacy, verifying road readiness and hauling hefty loads. Three common categories exist—Class A, B, and C—ranked by vehicle weight capacities transported. Class A enables the secure transporting of almost all non-specialty automobiles. Custom state programs provide training to pass vital written and road tests, earning this critical transportation permit.


Additionally, registering with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allows carriers to legally cross state borders while shipping vehicles for business purposes. This registration procedure also requires submitting key insurance paperwork alongside license documentation to meet compliance standards, monitor road safety, and prevent trouble spots. Maintaining both active insurance and federal operating authority makes reputable partners, preventing unnecessary headaches all around.


While FMCSA registration remains an essential credential upholding interstate commerce laws, this typically accompanies an additional partner designation: the United States Department of Transportation number (USDOT). This unique identifier joins operations involving vehicles exceeding 10,000 pounds in gross weight class to facilitate safety tracking.

Specifically, the USDOT number enables government agencies to monitor registration, inspection, crash, and audit records all linked to particular transport companies. It functions like an internal passport, corroborating histories and oversight activities tied back to specific entities. This allows regulators and potential transport customers to vet operator backgrounds with transparency.

Currently, 47 states mandate securing a USDOT number for both interstate and local vehicle haul, underscoring near-universal adoption. Given widespread integration into compliance protocols, obtaining a USDOT number remains a guaranteed prerequisite for achieving fully licensed authority status to undertake vehicle transportation jobs.

In addition to CDL operator licensing and FMCSA filings, USDOT registration completes the credential trifecta that carriers must earn qualifying safety clearance across jurisdictions. Displaying all three badges readily demonstrates a commitment to best practices.


Insurance provides extra financial protection, too. It shields against collisions, storm damage, or other unexpected troubles. Companies must prove they can cover costs from potential mishaps before obtaining transport licenses. Regulators check if insurance covers the shipment risks frequently taken.

Good coverage holds carriers accountable for damage during shipping and gives customers peace of mind. Insurance passports also translate to increased oversight since regulators perform periodic checks to ensure standards match promises.

When in doubt about a carrier’s insurance coverage, purchase a uShip Protection Plan at checkout for ultimate peace of mind. 


Here are some tips for verifying certifications claimed by auto transport carriers:

  • Check with the certifying organization directly. Most organizations that issue carrier certifications have verification services on their websites where you can enter a company name or certification number to validate credentials.
  • Ask for copies of the actual certificates. Legitimate certificates should include details like the name of the transport company, the issuing organization, the certification name, issue and expiration dates, and a certificate ID number.
  • Look up the company on databases like that list verified auto transport companies and certifications. This can help you cross-check any claims.
  • Verify necessary operating authorities. Interstate transport companies should be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and have an active DOT number and motor carrier number. Check these details on the FMCSA website.
  • Watch for vague claims. Terms like “accredited” or “licensed” could mean almost anything without specifics on the issuing authority. Ask the carrier for more details.
  • Consider third-party validation services like VeriFacts that do the certification legwork for consumers. Their reports can reveal bogus claims.


carrier loading car on open trailer

When you’re researching auto transport carriers to move your vehicle, you’ll need to choose someone you can trust. You’re handing over your valuable property to strangers, and experience can help you find a reliable partner. Here’s how to assess carrier experience when shopping around.


Seasoned auto transport carriers have seen and dealt with just about everything on the road over the years. Like any industry, longevity indicates competence, financial stability, and proven processes. Ask potential carriers:

  • How long have you been in business? Look for 5+ years of experience at a minimum.
  • Are your drivers experienced with transporting vehicles like mine? Ensure they routinely handle cars, trucks, high-end vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, etc.

This experience leads to practical know-how to get vehicles delivered undamaged and on time.


The past predicts the future when it comes to delivery reliability. Get specifics on potential carriers’ on-time pickup/delivery rates and damaged vehicle statistics, including:

  • What is your on-time delivery record in the past 6 months? Here, a 75%+ on-time rate is ideal.
  • How many damage claims were filed against you last year? Damage should be rare (under 1% of transports).
  • What is the average time it takes you to resolve claims? Ideally, this process should take less than 2 weeks.


Independent consumer feedback helps verify marketing promises around experience and service quality. Review sites like or those found on uShip carrier profiles contain unfiltered testimonials that provide transparency into real customer experiences, for better or worse. Search for your carrier and watch for:

  • Consistent positive feedback on professionalism, communication, and integrity
  • Low damage rates and complaints overall
  • Quick issue resolution when problems occur

While no carrier is perfect, experienced service providers should demonstrate mostly smooth transport and happy clients. Beware of overly negative reviews that imply ongoing problems. Use reviews as a quality check on other promises made.

There are no shortcuts when evaluating carrier experience across the board. Do your due diligence, and remember that longevity, performance metrics, and reviews all provide clarity. 


Having adequate insurance coverage in place is a critical factor when hiring an auto transport carrier. As a vehicle owner, you want assurances that any damage, accidents, or other losses will be covered during transit. While no carrier can eliminate risks, the right specialty insurance policies demonstrate a commitment to assuming and managing common liabilities.


Reputable carriers carry overlapping insurance policies to cover different scenarios, including:

  • Motor truck cargo insurance: This is the primary policy that covers damage, theft, vandalism, or other losses directly affecting vehicles in transit. It includes coverage for road hazards like debris that cause issues.
  • Commercial general liability insurance: This policy protects carriers if third-party property damage or bodily injuries occur because of their services. It could help you recover costs if an accident is the carrier’s fault.
  • Garagekeepers Liability Insurance: This policy provides additional coverage if vehicles sustain damage while being stored/parked at truck yards, dispatch centers, or other carrier facilities during the shipping process.

Vetting carriers on these specialty insurance policies reveal a risk-aware company that embraces financial accountability for your vehicle while in their custody.


Like any insurance, carrier policies have specific limits, exclusions, and requirements that determine if a claim is eligible for payout. As the owner, make sure to inquire about:

  • Coverage limits per vehicle: Standard caps often range from $100,000 to $350,000. Higher caps add more protection.
  • Coverage exclusions, such as wear-and-tear, damages from loading/unloading, pre-existing conditions, etc. Lists vary.
  • Steps to file a damage claim: Ask about the timeframes to report, documents required, approval processes, etc.

Having coverage minutiae in writing lets you make informed decisions about potential gaps where you may want additional protection, too. Reputable carriers readily provide policy details.

When in doubt about a carrier’s insurance coverage, purchase a uShip Protection Plan at checkout for ultimate peace of mind. 


When you hire uninsured or underinsured carriers, you’re responsible for any transit risk as the vehicle owner. The consequences of non-verification can be dire, and vehicle owners may be left paying potentially large damage bills out-of-pocket later.

Always verify active insurance certificates directly before vehicle pickup. Proper specialty policies that align with industry norms indicate a transport provider who takes their legal and financial responsibilities seriously. Don’t compromise with half-measures here. Instead, always treat uninsured operations as an automatic non-starter.

At the end of the day, while no carrier can eliminate shipping risks, the right insurance protections demonstrate your vehicles are in dependable hands. Verify coverage to make the best choice.


 All uShip reviews are genuine and provided by real customers like you. It’s crucial to review a service provider’s profile and feedback before making a booking. Simply click on any service provider’s username to access this information.

At the top of each profile page, you’ll find the company name and feedback score, followed by a Company Snapshot. This section reveals whether the service provider is a broker or a carrier, the types of services they offer, and their operating regions. It also shows if they have a verified MC number.

Service providers may also include their Terms & Conditions in this section. Be sure to read these carefully, as you agree to them when booking. Additionally, look for icons or badges that highlight the service provider’s status or qualifications.


A great service provider is essential for a positive uShip experience. To help you make an informed decision, we offer all the information you need. Follow these guidelines to ensure you book a company that meets your expectations.

Read Feedback
We proudly feature genuine feedback from actual customers who have booked through our site. Click on a service provider’s profile to view their feedback, check their ratings, and read the comments. 

Check Cancellations
Review how often service providers cancel shipments. Read the cancellation comments to understand the reasons behind them, as some may not be service-related. For time-sensitive shipments, consider auto transporters with fewer cancellations.

Review Licensing
Registered service providers are encouraged to include their MC numbers in their uShip profiles. Look for SaferWatch seals, indicating that service providers have authorized uShip to monitor their authority. Since MC numbers are required for transporting certain items, check the requirements for your shipment before booking.

Service providers who communicate with you before booking are likely to do the same once you’ve booked. Use your listing or bid Q&A to ask questions or address concerns directly with service providers before accepting a bid.

Consider Price
While finding a good deal is important, the lowest price may not always be the best option. Consider if you’re willing to pay a bit more for a better timeline or a more experienced provider. Evaluate all factors and choose the bid that best suits your needs.

carrier loading vehicle on open trailer


Finding and validating specialized auto transport carriers requires significant legwork for vehicle owners. From verifying experience to reviewing insurance coverage, it’s essential to do your homework to make the best choice for your move.

When preparing to ship your vehicle, leverage our resources to connect with qualified carriers and validate final specifics around insurance certificates, licenses, inspection reports, and interactive communication. This due diligence, paired with our offerings, leads to ideal transparency and risk mitigation when outsourcing your transport needs. Get a quote today!


How do I verify a carrier’s certifications?

Reputable carriers will provide documentation like certificate copies and license numbers upon request. You can also check certification statuses directly through issuing organizations’ verification tools online.

What type of insurance should a reputable carrier have?

Look for overlapping policies like motor truck cargo insurance, commercial general liability insurance, and garage keepers liability insurance with at least $100k coverage per vehicle.

How important is experience when choosing a carrier?

Experience is paramount. Seasoned carriers (5+ years) have proven safety processes for securing cargo, weather contingency plans from past storms, and claim resolution experience if rare damage does occur.

Can I trust reviews and testimonials about carrier services?

Yes, but be sure to read both positive and negative feedback across various third-party sites to check for consistency and transparency in real experiences from different customers. Isolated complaints happen, but patterns reveal issues.

What are the red flags to watch out for when evaluating carrier credentials?

Red flags include no cargo insurance, a lack of operating licenses, vague credentials, little business history, missing contact info, overly negative reviews, resistance to questions, and very low prices relative to the market. These factors often indicate risky carriers that should be avoided.