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.
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.
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
-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.
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
-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
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.