A common question from customers inquiring about auto shipment is “Can I ship my vehicle with items inside?” While this is a perfectly understandable concern, the answer is a bit complicated. It makes sense that someone who is moving might want to load their car up with belongings to simplify the moving process, but this isn’t always recommended and here’s why:
- Although it is legal to ship items in your vehicle or trunk, many companies prefer that you do not as there is always a risk of theft or damage to the items during transport. Most companies recommend that you remove all personal items from the vehicle prior to shipment.
- It can cost more to ship your vehicle with items inside because each car shipment has a weight limit based on vehicle make and model. Going over these limits can increase charges or cause your vehicle to be rejected by the carrier.
- Shipping items in your car can be a risky move. Many car transport companies request that items inside the vehicle be packed below the window lines to avoid the possibility of theft. The carrier makes several stops at rest areas and fuel stations and if your vehicle is full of items, people passing by could see this as an opportunity to steal. Unfortunately, if your window is broken and items are stolen you would be liable. Furthermore, items in your vehicle are subject to damage from being jostled around during transport.
Best Practices for Shipping Items in Your Car
Although it is not recommended, you have the right to leave things in your car if you choose. There will always be some risk involved, but follow these tips to avoid unfortunate situations.
- Never ship valuables.
- Make sure any boxes, bags, or suitcases cannot be seen from the windows.
- Do not pack items that are fragile.
- Avoid packing too many items that would go over the weight limit.
- Check with your auto shipping company before packing items in your trunk.
- Never pack liquids, firearms, or flammable items.
Michael starting working in car shipping over 20 years ago, in 2002; back in the days when fax machines ruled the roost, being the first name listed in the yellow pages was King and google wasn’t yet a verb. Sometimes he foolishly thinks he’s seen every situation imaginable when it comes to shipping a car, but about once a year he’s proven wrong.
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.