Auto Registration and Insurance Requirements across State Lines

There is an endless list of things to do in preparation for a move to a different state, such as securing housing, finding a job, or selecting a local doctor, among others.  The last thing you need is to be bogged down with additional, but necessary, details and requirements regarding the transport of your vehicle.  Unfortunately, if you intend to bring your vehicle with you, either by shipping or driving, you will also need to research ahead of time registration and insurance requirements for your new location.  A great resource in finding out this information is the destination state’s department of motor vehicles website.  A simple internet search can lead you to the correct page, although you will want to ensure the web-page ends in “.gov” because there are a variety of informative websites not regulated by the government that can give you incorrect information or lead you astray.  You can also ask your auto transport company for help, because they often have a much greater understanding of policy due to extensive past experience.

Some states require that you register your vehicle within 10 days of taking up residency, while others allow you a much more relaxing 90 days to complete the paperwork.  It is important to determine how much time you have, so you do not become subject to fines or other penalties if you miss a deadline.  You will also want to contact your current insurance provider to explore options for transferring insurance over state lines.  Some larger insurance companies may be able to help you transition smoothly if they are also licensed in the state you are moving to.  Otherwise, you may be able to obtain a recommendation from your current provider as to someone who can help get you transferred to a new insurance company.  If you do make arrangements to switch your insurance before the move, your new provider can be a great resource as to the state’s registration requirements.

A reputable and supportive auto transport company can really come in handy, not only for the actual vehicle shipping itself, but also because they can be an asset in other ways during your move.  The knowledge gained from years of experience can be passed along to you, in order to make your life much easier and the move all the less stressful.  Many auto transport companies can even provide helpful paperwork ahead of time, in order to make the registration process move along that much more smoothly.  They can also direct you to helpful resources or local contacts to aid in the insurance process as well.  Proper preparation ahead of your move will make all the difference between a stressful process, and a much easier, worry-free course of action.

What is an auto shipping broker?

Auto Shipping Brokers, henceforth referred to simply as brokers, are essentially the middlemen between the customer (you) and the carriers (the actual vehicle shippers).  There are a large number of brokers out there, and they make it a point to stay up to date on current trends and changes in the auto transport industry, so as to better inform and service their chief demographic.

A broker will start by figuring out what the customer needs, and then will encourage a large multitude of shipping companies to compete for the best deal in order to win the bid.  Brokers also have access to freight load boards, where they can post the jobs, and see which carriers might have transport resources in the relevant areas.  Because a broker has additional means by which to research, they can often find a better deal than a customer might be able to access on their own.

Once the broker can facilitate an arrangement between the customer and the carrier, he will put the two entities in contact, and at this point, his job is essentially done.  From there on out, the shipping company will assume all responsibility and must provide adequate insurance to cover the job at hand.  It is, however, important to note that oftentimes brokers and carriers are not mutually exclusive, and that some auto shipping companies provide brokerage services as well.

Changes in Policy

In 2012, President Obama signed a measure that would put additional stringent requirements on brokers in the auto transport industry.  The main implement of the act required brokers to raise the minimum mandatory bond from $10K to $75K.  It also allows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to review license status every 5 years and potentially revoke a broker’s license in the event of unethical business practices.  The “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” also allowed for more severe prerequisites for obtaining a broker license in the first place.  It was put into effect in October of 2013, and has helped raise consumer confidence in auto transport brokers in general.

Should you use a broker?

If you are considering enlisting the help of a broker in your search for a compatible auto transport company, it is important to ensure your broker is properly licensed.  Due to the low start-up costs to open a brokerage online, there has been a great influx of new brokers, many who may not be qualified or properly licensed.  Unfortunately, this has led to a large number of consumer-generated complaints regarding incompetent or even unscrupulous broker practices.  While utilizing a broker may help some find the best deal, others may feel more comfortable with putting in the legwork and researching independently to find the best match in an auto transport company.


Three Important Tips to Avoid a Scam

There is a lot that goes into moving, whether it is across country or simply from one side of town to another.  Enlisting the help of an auto shipping company can be a daunting and intimidating task for someone who has no experience in the field.  There are, however, some basic guidelines you can refer to in order to avoid becoming a victim of a scam or a shoddy auto transport company.

1. Check Reviews and References

Make sure to do your research by viewing online reviews and cross-referencing the company with the Better Business Bureau.  Keep in mind that people who write online reviews are most often driven to do so by a bad experience.  However, a high percentage of negative reviews with common complaints should be something to be wary of.  Of course, do not base your conclusions on volume alone.  If a company has 100 bad reviews, but ships over 100,000 vehicles a year, the percentage of people with issues is still very low.  Remember that no auto transport company is perfect, but you can weed out some of the consistently bad ones by viewing reviews online and looking for patterns.  If you feel more comfortable dealing with the company, ask them to supply you with some past references.  It is even okay to request a reference from someone who had a negative experience.  Often, the true indicator of a company’s accountability will be in their ability to turn a bad situation into a good one.

2.  Beware the “Too Good to Be True” Quote

When shopping for an auto transport company, the old adage definitely rings true.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  By comparing quotes across a multitude of companies, you will be able to get a general idea of what you can expect to pay.  So when you receive a quote that undercuts the others by a long shot, you should definitely be on your guard if you choose to contact that company.  There are great deals available, but any transport company still has to cover gas, storage, insurance, and overhead.  You may find that the quote doesn’t include something you require, such as door-to-door shipping or a closed container option.   Always make sure to read through a contract carefully before agreeing to it, as you never know what additional charges above and beyond the original quote may be hidden in the fine print.

3.  Broker vs. Shipper

A shipper is the one who actually moves your vehicle, while a broker is in charge of finding the best deal out of a large number of shippers.  Although, a broker may be cheaper, they will often find the lowest priced company in order to receive the highest possible mark-up for themselves.  This could lead them to negotiate a deal with a less than reputable company, that you may otherwise want to avoid.  When you deal directly with a shipper, you can expect the process to be quicker, and to feel secure in knowing that the company you contact will be the company that moves your vehicle.