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Jul 10, 2024
can you ship a car with stuff in it

Shipping a car with stuff in it: A Comprehensive Guide by Ship a Car Direct

When planning a move or an car shipment, a common question we get at Ship a Car Direct is, "Can you ship a car with stuff in it?" The idea of packing your car with personal belongings is tempting for sure, and sure would streamline the moving process. However, the logistics behind shipping a car loaded with items are trickier than you might think. In this guide, we'll dive deep into the considerations, risks, and best practices to ship a car with stuff in it.

What You Need to Know Before You Ship a Car With Stuff In It

The possibility of shipping a car filled with personal belongings raises legal, practical, and safety concerns. Although not outright prohibited, shipping a car with stuff in it comes with caveats and recommendations designed to protect the car carrier, you, your belongings and, most importantly, ensure a smooth car shipping process.

Is It Illegal To Ship a Car With Stuff Inside?

It really depends on what you're planning to ship, we suppose, but legally, there's wiggle room to ship personal items in your car. However, auto transport companies, including Ship a Car Direct, often advise against it. The primary reasons include added costs plus the risks of theft, damage, and your truck driver's safety. Every vehicle has a weight limit, and surpassing this limit due to extra belongings can lead to increased shipping costs or even rejection by the carrier.

Risks and Recommendations When You Ship a Car With Stuff In It

Navigating Through Potential Pitfalls

Shipping your car with personal items isn't without risks. The visibility of belongings can attract theft, especially because car carriers make multiple stops. Also, the journey can be bouncy for any items inside your car, risking damage. Ship a Car Direct recommends:

  • Avoid shipping valuables.
  • Keep items out of sight, below window lines.
  • Refrain from packing fragile, liquid, flammable items, or firearms.
  • Adhere to weight limits to avoid extra charges. Under 100 lbs is ideal.

The Right Way to Pack Your Car

If you do choose to ship items in your car, doing so responsibly can reduce risks. Always communicate with your truck driver about your intention to include personal items and follow our guidelines to ensure the safety and security of your belongings.

Special Considerations When Shipping a Car With Stuff In It

Items You Should Think Twice About

Certain items require special consideration or are outright prohibited from being shipped in your vehicle:

  • Valuables and Sentimentals: High-value or sentimental items should be transported by more secure means.
  • Electronics: Pack them securely to prevent damage.
  • Medications and Perishables: Some may have specific storage requirements or are not allowed.
  • Hazardous Materials: Flammable, explosive, or corrosive materials are prohibited.
  • Illegal Substances and Firearms: Avoid these to comply with legal and safety regulations.

FAQs Addressed by Ship a Car Direct

Can I pay extra to send personal belongings with my car?

While some companies, including the drivers set up by Ship a Car Direct, may accommodate personal items for an additional fee, it's crucial to weigh the factors of insurance coverage, weight limits, and the value of the items being transported. That said, the amount you pay will be up to your truck driver and their assessment of the weight and their own risks. The amounts can vary from $100 to a few hundred, and there's no hard and fast formula to get you a price ahead of time, so get ready to play a game called "let's make a deal" on pick up day.

Can you put stuff in your car when you ship it to Hawaii?

Hard "NO" on this one. Overseas shipping companies, like Matson, are extremely strict on what they will allow (or not allow, in this case) to be in a vehicle being shipped between the mainland and Hawaii. There basic rule is "when in doubt, take it out". Or put another way, if it's not attached to the car, it could be an issue.

Are there guidelines for packing items securely in my car?

Yes, there are recommended guidelines for packing items securely in your car. It is essential to organize items properly and prevent them from shifting during transit. Utilizing appropriate packaging materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, and padding can help protect items from damage. It is advisable to distribute weight evenly to maintain balance and stability during transport. Additionally, make sure to avoid blocking the driver’s seat or obstructing windows for safe transportation and easy access if necessary. Following these guidelines can help ensure that your items are securely packed and transported in your car.

What items are typically prohibited for shipping in my car?

Never pack liquids, firearms, or flammable items. When shipping your vehicle with personal belongings, it’s crucial to be mindful of items that are often prohibited for safety, legal, or regulatory reasons. Along with liquids, firearms, and flammable items, other commonly prohibited items include hazardous materials like explosive or corrosive substances, perishable goods such as food and live animals, illegal substances like drugs, valuables such as jewelry and cash, firearms and weapons, delicate electronics like laptops and tablets, aerosol products containing cleaning substances or personal care items, medications that may require specific storage conditions, and highly valuable items of sentimental or monetary worth. To ensure a smoother and safer shipping process for both your vehicle and personal belongings, it is essential to thoroughly review the specific guidelines provided by your chosen shipping company and research any relevant regulations.

What about insurance coverage for stuff I ship in my car?

Great question! Items inside your vehicle are not covered by the carrier's insurance. It's essential to have personal property insurance on any items you ship in your car, in case of theft or damage.

Can You Ship a Car With Stuff In It: a Video Answer Straight From Our Owner


While the question, "Can you ship a car with stuff in it?" is certainly Risky Business, the guiding principle will always be to: "Use your best judgement"(IYKYK).

At Ship a Car Direct, we prioritize your car's safe and efficient transport. By understanding the complexities involved with shipping personal items, you can make informed decisions that align with your needs and the regulations of auto transport.

For a seamless auto transport experience, consider the implications, prepare adequately, and always communicate with your shipping company. Ship a Car Direct is here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring your vehicle, and optionally your personal items, arrive safely at their destination.

Frequently Asked Questions

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