In the realm of car shipping, there's a common question that buzzes in the ears of auto transport companies: "Can I ship my car with personal items inside?" The discussion on shipping a car and belongings together is a gray area, and many customers get varying answers. Let's clear the fog and offer some guidelines for those contemplating shipping a car across the country with belongings.
The Official Stance on Car Shipping with Personal Items
It's tempting to utilize the space in your vehicle for some extra items, especially when embarking on a long-distance move. However, it's crucial to understand the stance of many car shipping companies, including Ship a Car Direct.
- Reality Check: The official answer to shipping car with stuff inside is a straightforward no. Although not the most delightful news, it's essential to be aware.
- Why Not?: Auto transport companies, including those operating in the USA, aren't licensed to broker the shipment of household goods. Furthermore, car carriers aren't permitted to transport personal items from state to state.
What About the Weight Limit?
This is where things get a tad ambiguous. While you might have heard that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, this isn't entirely true. The Department of Transportation could, technically, fine a carrier if they observe a car with personal items. However, they usually won't fuss over a few items as long as the car carrier isn't exceeding the weight limit.
Risks Associated with Shipping Personal Items
Shipping a car with personal items isn't merely about rules and regulations. There are practical considerations as well:
- Risk of Theft: Carriers often leave cars in lots overnight or during stops, which can increase the risk of theft. An enclosed auto transport may offer better protection, but it's no guarantee.
- Damages to Your Vehicle: Loose items can shift during transit, leading to potential damages to your vehicle's interior or windows.
- Insurance Coverage: Most insurance policies for auto transport service won't cover the loss or damage of personal items. Your car and belongings are two different entities when it comes to insurance.
Best Practices If You Must Ship Items
If you're insistent on transporting your car with goods inside, here's a way to tread the line cautiously:
- Trunk Storage: Aim to keep items in the trunk. It's the safest place if you're determined to ship items with your vehicle.
- Light and Essential: Stick to lightweight items and essentials. Avoid fragile items or those with sentimental value.
- Communication is Key: Always inform and discuss with your car carrier. If they're unaware and get caught by surprise, it might jeopardize the car shipping process.
Alternatives to Shipping Car and Belongings Together
Instead of trying to bundle car transport with personal items, consider these alternatives:
- Moving Companies: These firms are specialized in shipping personal items. Let the experts do what they're best at.
- Parcel Shipping Services: For smaller quantities or valuable items, parcel services might be more suitable.
The act of shipping a car and belongings together is riddled with potential pitfalls. While it might seem convenient to use your car as an extra moving box, the implications could be costly and stressful. By staying informed and making smart choices, you can ensure a smooth car shipping experience, sans the unnecessary risks.
Remember, auto transport companies, including Ship a Car Direct, prioritize the safe and efficient transportation of your vehicle. It's always best to separate the shipping of your car and personal items to ensure that each receives the care and attention they deserve.
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.