Reading : 3 minutes
Jan 16, 2024

For most people, auto shipping isn’t something they do very often. For this reason, it’s important for consumers to know about the many transportation rules and regulations that will have a direct impact on their auto shipping experience. Understanding the legalities of auto shipping will help consumers be more prepared when it comes time to ship their vehicle. We have compiled a guide that includes some of the most common concerns regarding auto shipment. These rules and regulations are industry standards that all shipping companies must adhere to at all times.

Licensing Requirements

First and foremost, auto transport companies must have the proper licensing and registration. Each state has different licensing requirements and these state-specific requirements are the first level of licensing requirements that an auto transport company is required to have. In addition to state requirements, there are several other licensing requirements and regulations that auto transport companies must abide by including:

-Registration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

-Registration with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT number )

Vehicle Weight and Height Restrictions

Nearly every road in the country has axle weight regulations that must be followed so it is important to note that carriers must adhere to these strict weight limits. The carrier will have to stop at multiple weigh stations along their route so they have to be in compliance. In addition to weight restrictions, all standard carriers have height restrictions of 7’ or less. If you believe your vehicle surpasses the height or weight limitations, be sure to let the transport company know so they can send the appropriate vessel to move your vehicle. 

Driver Hours

One of the reasons it is difficult to provide customers with an exact delivery date is because it is impossible to predict weather and road conditions that could impact travel time. Since drivers are regulated by federal law to only drive a certain number of hours each day, this could mean delayed shipment. Always proceed with caution if a company promises an exact delivery date. 

Documents Required for Shipment

If you are shipping your car using an auto transport company, you might need to provide certain documents so the company can verify that the vehicle being transported actually belongs to you. For domestic shipments, you will need to provide the following pieces of information:

-Original Title and Registration

-Proof of insurance

-Photo I.D.

-If you are not the owner, you might need to provide a notarized letter including the VIN number and the full name of the person acting on your behalf. 

In addition to these important documents, you will also need to sign a bill of lading upon delivery of your vehicle. This is a receipt that acts as an inspection report as well as the terms and conditions agreement between the customer and the transport company. 

Personal Belongings

It is important for customers to understand that auto shipping companies are not responsible for personal belongings that are lost, stolen or damaged during transit. If a customer chooses to leave personal belongings in their vehicle, they do so at their own risk. In some cases, it is strictly prohibited and could be a punishable offense. Therefore, be sure to check with your individual shipping company prior to leaving personal items in your car.  Furthermore, it’s the customer’s responsibility to make sure that prohibited items are never left in the vehicle. These items include (but are not limited to):


-drugs or any other illegal goods


-works of art

-fragile objects

-chemicals (including cleaning products or industrial chemicals)

-flammables or explosives

-food or perishable items

-plants and seeds

Frequently Asked Questions

Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions

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