Moving to a new city or country might require you to ship your belongings and this might include your vehicle. Or perhaps you are buying or selling a vehicle and you will need to ship it to a new location. Whatever the reason, there are certain transportation laws and regulations that you will need to be aware of before you arrange for your car to be shipped. It is important to understand the laws that are in place so you can be sure you are in compliance with the Federal Government to ensure your vehicle arrives safely at its destination. Before completing any transportation formalities, familiarize yourself with the following laws and regulations regarding auto shipment.
According to federal law, auto transport drivers can only carry a specified weight per trip. The weight limit is dependent upon the number of axles in the transporting vehicle. Transport drivers will determine the weight of your vehicle based on the make and model of the car and an additional 100 lbs is added to the estimated weight. This is one reason why it’s important to make sure your car is not loaded with other personal belongings when it is being shipped. You don’t want to add additional weight to your vehicle because the transport drivers are required to weigh their trucks at certain weigh stations to be sure they are in compliance with weight regulations. If a transport vehicle is in violation of the law, they will receive a fine which will then be passed on to you.
Federal law has certain restrictions on the height of the vehicle that is being transported. Standard carriers can carry vehicles up to 7 feet high. If your vehicle is taller than the permissible limit, you will have to arrange to have it transported on a special type of carrier.
Shipping companies might promise a delivery date for your vehicle but this date might get pushed back in certain cases because federal law says drivers can only drive a certain number of hours each day. This means that if your driver gets stuck in traffic jams, it could push your delivery date back. You should never anticipate delivery in just a couple of days. Always plan for at least 7-10 days to transport a vehicle coast to coast.
Importing a Motor Vehicle
There are special laws and regulations that you must comply with if you are importing a vehicle from another country. You must have the proper paperwork in order to get clearance from Customs and Border Protection including the authentic bill of lading from your carrier, the foreign registration, the bill of sale, and any other documents related to your vehicle. You will also have to declare the proper safety and emissions provisions to ensure your vehicle meets the emission standards of the US. It is important to contact the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency prior to shipment to be sure your vehicle is eligible for shipment to the U.S.
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.