Private carriers who are moving their own cargo, “for-hire” carriers hauling commodities that aren’t federally regulated, and carriers operating in a federally designated commercial zone are not required to have operating authority. the building blocks for carrier selection when moving interstate freight include an active DOT number and active FMCSA operating authority. Doing an MC number lookup on the FMCSA’s Licensing and Insurance website validates active authority status and provides visibility as to whether the carrier has sufficient Bodily Injury Property Damage (BIPD) insurance on file, and which insurance provider writes the coverage.
SAFER is a searchable, online database maintained by the FMCSA. It helps businesses make better informed decisions about which carriers and/or companies to contract with to make sure they’re fulfilling their internal safety and risk management standards. The FMSA’s Company Snapshot is one of the Searches available at SAFER that can help protect a business from risk when selecting a carrier to do business with.
The FMCSA SAFER database can be searched using a company name, DOT Number, or MC Number for a Company Snapshot. The Company Snapshot provides “a company’s identification, size, commodity information, and safety record, including the safety rating (if any), a roadside out-of-service inspection summary, and crash information” for free. Data is updated daily with the exception of inspection and crash counts which are updated every week.
In general, the Certificate of Insurance and any additional certificates should be issued by the insurance agent who wrote the coverage, and should provide the contact name, phone and address, policy number, insurance coverage, limits, effective and expiration dates. In every case, it is important to request the Certificate of Insurance from the agent, and not the carrier. You’ll find in the long run that it’s much easier to avoid fraudulent certificates and claims if all information is gathered from the correct sources and kept in order.
Last time we discussed how not having a Certificate of Liability Insurance from a potential trucking company business partner can itself be an unexpected form of liability. Now that we’ve established why a certificate is effectively required to carry out a freight transportation partnership without surprises, let’s take a moment to examine what the Certificate of Liability Insurance form is, exactly. This deep dive includes the liability insurance and certificate formats most commonly used in freight transportation and how to ensure your specific needs are met.
The savvy broker will require the Liability Insurance Certificate to clearly state the primary insurance policies applicable in terms of cargo insurance, auto, bodily injury, and property damage (“BIPD”) as well as Worker’s Compensation and General Liability Insurance in order to prevent either the wrong party, or multiple parties, from being held financially accountable for liability they did not take on. A good rule of thumb is to always include a section wherein both the insurance producer (or agent) and the insured are named, and their contact information and phone numbers are listed. It’s also probably a good idea to keep the policy number on file.