Freight Broker Bonds (BMC-84), Explained

Are you a freight broker or freight forwarder looking to transport goods on land in the United States of America? Then a freight broker bond, also known as a BMC 84 surety bond, is a must-have. Luckily, you’re in just the right place to obtain one.

Throughout this guide, we’ll introduce the various aspects of the freight broker bond, discuss the application requirements, and even tell you how we can help you acquire one!


What Is a Freight Broker Bond?

A freight broker bond, or the BMC 84 surety bond, is a type of license surety bond needed by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) equal to $75,000 USD. This requirement is mandatory and continuous, meaning that if the operating entity is still active, so is the surety bond necessity.

The bond is required by every single freight broker operating in the United States of America, even if your business is headquartered in Canada.

Freight broker bonds offer a kind of recourse for motor carriers hired by a freight broker.

For example, if you don’t pay a motor carrier for a job when payment is due, they can claim against the surety bond. Then, the surety company is required to pay the penalty amount if the problem isn’t solved by the broker. After that, the surety company seeks the claim amount from the broker, making the latter responsible for the amount paid on a claim.


The Basic Characteristics of a Freight Broker Bond

To give you a clearer understanding of freight broker bonds as a whole, take a look at three of their simple characteristics:

  • $75,000 USD — The amount of security needed by the FMCSA. It’s typically provided in a BMC 84 surety bond.
  • 3% to 4% — Any Canadian company requiring a BMC 84 should expect to pay between 3% and 4% annually for the bond premium. However, if you’re a well-established freight broker, you could benefit from a lower rate.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association — The freight broker bond is required by the FMCSA for every freight broker employing motor carriers in the United States of America.


The General Terms of a Freight Broker Bond

Freight broker surety license bonds are valid for 12 months from the issuance date.

If you or the surety company want to terminate the bond within the 12-month period, either party must send a 30-day cancellation notice to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association. Just keep in mind that during the 30-day notice period, the surety company is still liable for any claims made against the bond.


Who Requires a BMC 84 Surety Bond?

All freight brokers that contract motor carriers in the United States of America for land transportation require a $75,000 BMC 84 surety bond by the FMCSA.

Both freight brokers and forwarders must post the bond before receiving their freight broker license. If you fail to do so, you risk having your broker authority revoked by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

If you (the freight forwarder or broker) fail to pay your motor carrier as per your contractual agreement, then the motor carrier can claim against the bond. Upon claiming, the surety company pays the motor carrier and requests reimbursement of the claim’s value from you.


What Do You Need to Apply For a Freight Broker Bond?

We make getting a freight broker bond easy by connecting you directly to the perfect provider. Our process is simple:

  1. Submit a request using our secure inquiry form.
  2. We look at your freight broker bond requirements.
  3. Our team assigns one of our leading licensed surety companies with extensive experience working with your industry.
  4. The assigned company contacts you to help you through the application process!


To get a BMC 84 surety bond, you need to complete the application form from the surety company we connect you with and supply the following documents:

  • Your master carrier number or your freight forwarder number
  • Your Canadian employer identification number
  • Your Canadian or US tax identification number
  • Your driver’s license
  • Any driver’s license held by other company owners
  • Your most recent financial statements for your business (If it’s a new business, you need to supply your personal financial statements.)


As freight broker bonds are considered high risk, underwriters must examine a variety of factors when looking at your application. They will analyze:

  • Your personal credit score
  • Your years of experience in the freight brokerage business
  • The business’ financial statements

If you have plenty of experience in the industry and a good credit score, you can often benefit from better rates than those with fewer years of experience.


How Is The Freight Broker Bond Filed with The FMCSA?

The surety company that provides your BMC 84 bond files it electronically with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They submit the bond through the administration’s portal, making it viewable through the insurance lookup tool offered by the FMCSA.


How Much Does a Freight Broker Bond Cost?

Your surety company determines the price of your freight broker or BMC 84 bond. You should anticipate spending between 3% and 4% of the bond value in most cases.

So, to get a $75,000 freight broker surety bond, as required by the FMCSA, it could cost anywhere from $2,250 and $3,000.

With that said, you may be eligible for rates as low as 1.8% if you’re a long-standing broker. Generally, newer businesses can benefit from lower rates after one to two years of no claims.


Is The BMC 84 Surety Bond The Best Option For You?

The BMC 84 surety bond is the best option in most circumstances since you only have to pay an annual premium of between 3% and 4%.

The BMC 85 trust fund requires 100% collateral, tying up your money. It makes it much harder to gain financial stability. But if you’re still unsure, we can help point you in the right direction.


Why Choose ConstructionBond?

  • Ease — We make it easy for freight brokers and forwarders like you to access the bonds they need. You don’t need to be an expert in your field as well as ours. We take the confusion out of the surety world.
  • Affording you the time and space to make effective decisions — We know you’re a smart business person. That’s why we never rush you into decisions. We give you the time you need to make the best choices for your company.
  • Trusted by leading bond providers — We have exceptional relationships with leading surety bond specialists in the industry.
  • Dedicated support — Our team is dedicated to giving the support you need while getting BMC 84 surety bonds.


Frequently Asked Questions


What’s The Difference Between the BMC 84 Bond and the BMC 85 Trust Fund?

The BMC 84 surety bond doesn’t require collateral. The surety company determines the premium upon completion of the underwriting process. After you pay the premium, the bond is issued and stays in place for one year, automatically renewing at the end of the 12-month period.

On the flip side, a BMC 85 trust fund is a security provided by you, the freight broker. You must pay a yearly fee and put $75,000 into a trust account to cover future claims.

As you can probably imagine, many freight brokers prefer to use the bond over the trust fund, so they don’t have to tie up credit or cash. Choosing the freight broker bond improves your company’s liquidity and allows you to run a financially stable business more effortlessly.


Can You Get a Freight Broker Surety Bond If You Have a Bad Credit Score?

Yes, you can get a freight broker surety bond with a bad credit score — especially when you use ConstructionBond, as we have a 99% approval rating.

Although, bear in mind that your score will play a part in your overall premium price. Therefore, you may pay more than the average 3% to 4%.


What Are The Insurance Requirements for Freight Brokers Operating in The United States of America?

The FMCSA necessitates freight forwarders to purchase the following insurances alongside the $75,000 BMC 84 surety bond:

  • Public Liability Insurance — You need this insurance regardless of whether you transport freight or passengers. However, different coverage limits are necessary, as per the following:
    • Freight Requirements — Coverage between $750,000 and $5 million, based on the property type transported. For non-hazardous items transported inside vehicles weighing less than 10,001 lbs, a coverage limit of $300,000 is required.
    • Passenger Requirements — Usually, you need $5 million in this case. But for brokers operating motor vehicles seating fewer than 15 passengers, a limit of only $1.5 million is needed.
  • Cargo Insurance — You must have cargo insurance of $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence.


How Do Freight Brokers Register With The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration?

There are several steps involved when securing your registration with the FMCSA. Find a brief guide below:

  1. Buy the freight broker bond — Firstly, you need to purchase the $75,000 BMC 84 surety bond. We can connect you to the best provider for your business.
  2. Purchase necessary insurance coverages — After that, ensure you have the correct public liability and cargo insurance. Need help? We can put you in touch with the best insurers in the country.
  3. Assign a process agent — Then, designate a legal representative of your freight brokerage. This person must be able to receive court papers during legal proceedings against your business. In some cases, you can designate yourself as the agent, but check the requirements for this beforehand. Whoever you choose, they must mail a BOC-3 form to the FMCSA’s address (found below).
  4. Complete the registration application — Finally, complete the application through the FMCSA’s registration portal. The processing fee is $300 and should be submitted at the time with your filled-in application.

Once registered, it’s valid for five years from the date of issuance.


To renew your registration once the five-year period ends, you need to mail your finished renewal application, plus a $300 operating fee, to the address provided below.

The FMCSA’s Address

Office of Registration and Safety Information, MC-RS
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Room W65-206
Washington, DC 20590


Can a Brand New Freight Brokerage Business Get a $75,000 BMC 84 Surety Bond?

Of course! Here at ConstructionBond, we work with new freight brokerages and forwarders to find the BMC 84 bond they need.

The application procedure is the same. However, you’ll need to provide your most recent personal tax filing since your company won’t have any financial history. Alongside this, some surety companies may request resumes from executive-level members.

Additionally, you should anticipate a higher premium of around 5% per year, meaning you could pay up to $3750 yearly for the freight broker bond.


What Can Freight Brokers Do to Avoid Claims Against Their BMC 84 Surety Bond?

To avoid freight broker bond claims, you must stay mindful of the FMCSA’s regulations. You should also:

  • Pay all your shippers and motor carriers in full and on time
  • Never engage in, or allow your brokerage’s representatives to engage in, any fraudulent acts
  • Ensure you produce a verified contract complete with the shipment price for every single shipment


Are There Any Exceptions To The Freight Broker Bond Regulation?

The FMCSA doesn’t regulate the transportation of all commodities. If a motor carrier ships or transports anything listed in 49 U.S.C. § 13506 (a), they cannot claim reimbursement through your BMC 84 surety bond or trust fund.

The exemptions include but are not limited to:

  • Transportation of ordinary livestock, agricultural commodities, cooked and uncooked fish, poultry feed, and agricultural seeds or plants
  • Vehicles used to deliver newspapers only
  • Vehicles owned or used by a hotel for transporting only hotel patrons between the hotel and the carrier’s station
  • Transportation of more than 15 individuals in a roundtrip to commute to and from work
  • Transportation of used pallets and empty shipping containers
  • Transportation of natural, crushed rock to be used as decorations
  • Operation of vehicles within a national park or monument
  • Transportation of wood chips
  • Motor vehicles transporting teachers or pupils only to and from school




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