Moving Company Licenses and Credentials

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Are your movers legit?

In some cases, whether a moving company is trustworthy will depend on whether they have the licenses and protections as required by law.

Moving company licensing laws are complex and rarely understood to a person just looking to hire someone. However, the basics can be understood, so you can at least know whether your moving company should have a license of some sort. That will at least help you avoid moving scams and the likes. Here’s what you need to know:

Moving Company Licenses

A moving company does not necessarily need a license to handle a move. Additionally, even when a license is required, the type of license required may be different than what a moving company. It all depends on the type of move taking place.

A moving company needs a federal license if it is making an interstate move – a move that starts in one state and ends in another. The license is obtained through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), a federal agency. Federal government controls activity that occurs in two or more states. You can check a company’s license (US DOT license) on the FMCSA website.

*If a moving company is making an in-state move, then it need not have a federal license.

A moving company needs a state license if it is making a move in a state that requires a license. There are roughly 10 states do not require any sort of license for moving companies. Others vary as to their requirements – some require a federal license, others require a state license, some require bonding, and still others just require a certain type of vehicle registration. Check with your state department of transportation to figure out what exactly is needed.

Moving Company Associations

There are moving associations through the U.S. The American Movers and Storage Association (AMSA) is the largest. Moving companies join these associations to bolster their credibility. Though these associations are voluntary to join, if your moving company is a part of one, it’s a good thing. If you have a dispute with your moving company, you can contact the association to complain and get help, often in the form of arbitration.

Moving Company Insurance

All moving companies should be insured, in case they ruin your stuff during the move. Federal and state (to the best of my knowledge) law make moving companies liable for losses that occur while they are transporting household possessions. So, if your movers forget to lock up the back of the truck and your bed falls out, they should have to pay for the damages.

However, if the moving company is not insured, and if they don’t have any money, then you might be out of luck. Making sure your movers have insurance is making sure someone (besides you) will pay if your stuff is ruined.


Learn more about how to find a trustworthy moving company.