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BMC-84 Freight Broker Bond Guide

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What is a BMC-84 Bond & What Are the Requirements?

The BMC-84 (also known as a freight broker bond) is a surety bond that protects shippers/motor carriers, which is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA) in order to obtain a brokerage authority. If you don’t follow FMCSA rules, claims can be filed against your bond which you’re responsible to pay.

For example, if you don’t pay motor carriers in a timely manner, a claim can be made. Learn more about how surety bonds work and how not having a full understanding can put your brokerage at risk. Formerly known as an ICC bond, the freight broker bond is still sometimes referred to as a transportation broker bond or property broker bond.

BMC-84 or BMC-85: What’s Right for You?

You have two options to get your license: obtaining a freight broker bond (BMC-84) or a trust fund (BMC-85). They both offer advantages and disadvantages depending on you and your brokerage. Read our detailed article to determine whether you should get a BMC-84 or BMC-85.

What Does a Freight Broker Bond Cost?

The cost of a freight broker bond ranges from $750 - $9,000. The pricing is based on a small percentage of the full $75,000 bond amount (usually around 1-12%). The percentage is based on your financial strength, e.g. personal credit.

If you're ready for a firm quote, you can apply online to get a free quote now. You can also read more about freight broker bond costs here. You can also take a look at our most frequently asked surety bond questions.

Freight Broker E-Book Guides

You can take a look at some of our free freight broker guides below, which cover the most important information you'll need to know as a freight broker. Take a look at the topics covered in our e-book guides below:

Freight Broker Guides
  • How much it costs to become a broker
  • How to get your authority
  • The importance of training
  • How to get the proper training
  • How to leverage/find the right load boards

These e-book guides were created specifically with freight brokers in mind, and provide all of the crucial information you need to help ensure your brokerage thrives in this competitive profession.

What Makes a Good Freight Broker Bond Company?

There are many companies that provide freight broker bonds, but not all are created equal. Find out what makes a good freight broker bond provider so you can save hundreds and avoid paying false bond claims.

Trust in Numbers: The Nation's Leading BMC-84 Provider

Our company is the nation’s largest provider of freight broker bonds in the U.S. In fact, we write twice as many bonds as our closest competitor. Why does this matter to you?

Our high volume of freight broker bonds written allows us to provide you the lowest rates in the industry and offer industry leading protection with a team of freight claim experts.

However, don't just take our word at face value. Take a look at the top freight broker bond providers chart below (statistics provided courtesy of FMCSA).

Your Bond is Worthless Without Strong Financial Backing

When you get a surety bond, a surety company is providing you a form of credit by guaranteeing that any potential claims caused by your freight brokerage will be paid. If you do cause bond claims, the surety will step in to pay them.

However, you'll ultimately be responsible to pay the surety back. With a freight broker bond, the surety company is guaranteeing your performance by backing you financially.

If the surety company who writes your bond is financially weak, this is a red flag that they may not have the cash to pay claims on their customers' bonds. The FMCSA will reject your bond, forcing you to buy another, and you will likely receive no refund for your rejected bond.

Don't run the risk of purchasing a worthless bond. Our agency's freight broker bonds are backed by one of the strongest (A+ rated by A.M. Best) and largest surety companies in the nation.

Dedicated Team to Help You Fight False Claims

The freight broker industry is filled with bond claims, and many of them are false. The high amount of false bond claims are due to delayed payment to shippers and motor carriers who believe they are getting ripped off, while in reality the payment is often just delayed.

If you don't have support to refute false claims, money will be coming out of your pocket to pay them. Our agency has a team of claim specialists that will help you dispute and provide proof for bogus claims so you can avoid spending hundreds of your hard earned money needlessly. Keep in mind, it's crucial that you work with an expert in the industry. Learn more about how to ensure you choose the proper bond company.

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How to Get a Freight Broker Bond (BMC-84)

If you’re starting a new freight brokerage, you'll need to register with the FMCSA in order to obtain your freight broker authority (you'll also want to ensure that you have a business plan in place).

Once registered, you’ll need to get a freight broker bond (BMC-84) from a bond company and ensure your bond gets filed with the FMCSA (as mentioned above, this was previously referred to as an ICC surety bond).

You can read our complete guide to getting your freight broker license for more detailed information. If you're unsure of where to get the proper training to become a freight broker, take a look at our top freight broker training schools.

How Bond Claims Put Your Brokerage at Risk

You’re responsible to pay bond claims in full which can be as large as the full bond amount (including legal costs). The indemnity agreement you must sign to get your transportation broker surety bond is a legal contract that pledges your corporate and personal assets in the event of bond claims.

Watch our video for an easy to understand explanation of how bond claims work. Unfortunately, most bond agencies won’t take the time to explain how bond claims can put you at risk and how to avoid them; if this happens when working with a bond agent it should be a big red flag to reconsider doing business with them.

How to Save Money on Bond Claims

Your bond agency should be your first line of defense against bond claims. In order to avoid claims, simply follow FMCSA regulations and make sure to pay motor carriers when necessary.

Remember, you are responsible to pay for any bond claims that you cause. There is a large number of false claims in the freight broker industry; learn how we can save you money on claims if they occur. If you need help understanding exactly what your bond guarantees you will and will not do, please contact a bond professional.

What Are the Freight Broker Insurance Requirements?

There are a few requirements you must meet if you'd like to become a freight broker. Take a look at the insurance related requirements mandated by the FMCSA below:

Public Liability Insurance

Besides the surety bond for freight brokers, motor carriers are required to get public liability insurance to insure against bodily injury, property and environmental damage.

BOC-3 Filing

Brokers and carriers will also need to file the BOC-3 form with the FMCSA. This form is required to designate process agents and is required to operate your brokerage legally.

Download Form BOC-3

If you'd like to avoid the extra paperwork, our company can handle your BOC-3 filing for you.

Unified Carrier Registration

You will also need to obtain your Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). For freight brokers, it’s relatively simple and inexpensive at only $76. If you’re also a motor carrier, then your registration cost will vary depending on the size of your fleet. In either case you’ll need to re-register and pay the fee annually. The UCR system registers and collects fees from the operators of vehicles engaged in interstate travel. Registering through this system can be done online at the UCR application website.

What Freight Broker Bond Amount Do You Need?

As of October 1st, 2013, freight brokers and forwarders are now required to get a $75,000 freight broker bond to get their authority. However, highly qualified freight brokers can also get an optional $25,000 in bond coverage to provide extra protection for their shippers and motor carriers. Learn more about how you can stand out from the freight broker crowd.

Get a FREE Freight Broker Bond Quote Today

Get free freight broker bond pricing from the best bonding companies in the U.S.

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Why You Should Be Cautious With BMC-85 Trusts

As mentioned above, you can either get a freight broker bond or a trust fund to obtain a license for your brokerage. However, it’s crucial that you understand not all trust funds being offered meet the FMCSA standards, and have led to hundreds of freight brokers losing thousands of dollars.

If your trust is not properly funded, you may not find out until it is too late. The FMCSA has shut down BMC-85 trustees in the past for only partially funding trusts, resulting in Federal indictments and leaving freight brokers scrambling to pay for a new bond or trust to remain in compliance. If you choose to go with the trust fund option, you should verify that you’re BMC-85 trust fund is acceptable.

How to Verify Your BMC-85 Trust

If you're buying a trust, you need to make sure that you are getting what you're paying for. The FMCSA declared that the group trust funds are not an acceptable option. Therefore, if you are purchasing a BMC-85 trust fund and not providing $75,000 in cash collateral, you must provide an Irrevocable Letter of Credit (ILOC) to the trustee, or they must post the ILOC on your behalf.


Obtain a copy of the ILOC (see: example ILOC)


Check the ILOC to ensure it specifically lists your company


Contact the bank backing the ILOC to confirm it is legitimate


Contact the state in which the bank is licensed to confirm its status

If the trustee refuses to provide you a copy of the ILOC, it should be a huge warning flag that you are not getting what you are paying for and the trustee may be at risk of getting shut down. You don't have to verify that a surety bond is properly funded, as it is already done for you by the Department of Insurance and third parties like A.M. Best. Bonding companies are given both a financial size category and financial stability grade by the rating agency. These ratings are used by the government to verify everything is in place for you.

Frequent Questions

What does a freight broker bond cost?

Costs are a percentage of the $75,000 bond amount that’s required by the FMCSA, which is based mostly on your personal credit. You can apply online to get an exact quote. You can learn more about surety bond costs and how they are determined by reading our comprehensive pricing guide.

Will I qualify for the $75K bond?

Most likely. We can approve nearly any freight broker or forwarder with good or bad credit, and never require collateral. Apply to get an instant approval. This is made possible by our high risk market, which is exclusive to our agency. If you go to another agency, they will likely broker the bond through us, possibly costing you extra money and time.

What is the difference between the BMC-84 bond and the BMC-85 trust fund?

The BMC-84 is the form used for the surety bond option, which only costs a percentage of the required bond amount. The surety bond is a form of surety credit to you, as the surety company is guaranteeing you will follow FMCSA regulations. Since you do not need to post collateral with the surety bond, this frees up working capital, improves your liquidity, and helps you operate a more financially sound business.

Is the BMC 84 surety bond the best option?

Yes. The trust fund ties up your money by requiring 100% collateral, while the bond only requires an annual payment which is a percentage of the bond amount. The bond also comes with a team of claim specialists that will assist you in fighting false claims, which is priceless since the freight broker business has a high frequency of false claims. Learn how your brokerage can standout from the crowd with $100,000 excess bond coverage.

What is the required freight broker bond amount?

A $75,000 bond is now required as of October 1st, 2013. We strongly advise that all freight brokers are compliant before they continue operations in order to keep their authority and avoid unnecessary fines.

Where can I get a BMC-84 bond form?

Technically, there is no physical bond form, as it is an electronic bond filing which we will handle for you. However, you can take a look at the official FMCSA BMC-84 form that was previously used. Once your bond is filed by our team, you can view it on the FMCSA website.

What if a false claim is filed?

You must contact us immediately, as we have a team of claim specialists here to find a resolution for you. Keep in mind, it is crucial that you work with an expert in the surety industry. Learn more about how to ensure you choose the proper bond company.

Are you looking for a different type of bond?

You can take a look at our full list of license and permit bonds.

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