If you are embarking on a long-distance move, you will likely be bringing plenty of things with you. If you plan on shipping your car, it might seem reasonable to pack it up with some of those belongings. However, is shipping a car with personal items possible? Let’s take a closer look at the answer to this common question.
Is it legal to ship items in my car?
The Department of Transportation hasn’t specifically outlawed shipping a car with personal items. Though it is technically legal, many auto shipping companies prefer that you don’t do it. Most companies have their own preferences for shipping a car with items inside so you will need to check with your specific shipping company. For those that do allow it, there are typically stipulations involved with shipping personal items.
What factors affect what I can bring?
Weight Limit: Auto carriers have strict guidelines with regard to weight. Since they are usually carrying multiple vehicles, you need to be mindful of the carrier’s overall weight. If the carrier is too heavy, the driver could be subject to fines. This is one reason many shipping companies do not allow for personal items to be shipped inside the vehicles.
Risk of Theft: In addition to weight regulations, many carriers are also conscious of the risk of theft. On an open carrier, people can see inside the vehicles. When the driver takes breaks, it’s possible that people will notice your personal items and valuables inside your vehicle and try to break-ins. This is yet another reason why packing personal items is usually frowned upon.
Why it is NOT recommended to pack personal items when shipping your car:
Even if an auto transport company does allow you to pack some personal items in your car, it may not be the best idea. For starters, as mentioned before, this puts you at a greater risk of theft. In addition, your items are likely to shift during transport which could result in damage both to the items and the interior of your vehicle. Finally, there is no guarantee that your car will arrive on time so you don’t want to be stuck without items that you need. For these reasons, it is best not to pack personal items inside your car during shipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.
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