Avoid Common mistakes When Preparing Your Car for Shipping

by | Sep 2, 2021 | News

Shipping cars to a particular destination can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on unforeseen expenses, whether it be something as plain as the gas itself or potential damages and maintenance is irrelevant. However, shipping your car for the first time, or better said, even the first couple of times in certain cases, can be extremely frustrating.

Today we’ll talk about avoiding common mistakes when preparing your car for shipping so that you can save yourself the stress and money at the same time, so without any further ado, let’s dive straight into it.

Not having the necessary paperwork


The majority of paperwork revolves around your personal information and the information about your car. Essentially, you’ll need a printed driving license or your passport, a printed e-mail confirmation of the booking order, the insurance certificate, your car’s registration papers, and proof of car ownership.

Each company handles its business differently, so you may annul your contract immediately if you fail to provide the corresponding documents. You may be given some extra time to provide them (with extra charges, though), or the driver may go with the documents you have on yourself.

The most dangerous of the three scenarios is the third one; ‘shady’ companies, or rather shady employees who would try to reassure you that you don’t ‘need’ all those documents are typically the people who would try to scam you.

The only reason why such an extensive amount of paperwork is needed for car shipments is that vehicles are expensive items. Without personal ID, the driver won’t be able to verify that they’ve taken the car over from you personally; without vehicle ID, no one would be able to verify that a particular vehicle was transported.

Litigation usually favors the side with more proofs in their bag, so make sure to collect the necessary and relevant paperwork in time.

Not having a clue about the Bill of Lading

One of the most important documents in the entire shipping procedure is the Bill of Lading. In more concrete terms, this bill is a legal document issued by the carrier to the shipper, which details the quantity, the destination, and the type of transported goods. 

Although the companies that handle the shipment will fill out most of the blank fields, you’ll need to put more than just your signature there. Aside from personal information, you’ll also need to provide detailed information about your car. In practice, most consigners write the type, weight, and value of their car, although additional information may be asked of you in certain cases.

One of the main reasons you should do your best to know as much as you can about this bill is that this document will be all you’ll need should you ever find yourself in a lawsuit against the shipping company. In simpler terms, the more accurate information you provide, the better your odds of winning the litigation will be.

Shipping a dirty car

First things first, your car should be as clean as possible so that any potential (existing) damages can be perceived better by the shipping inspector. One of the first steps of the process after making sure that the paperwork is checked is inspecting your vehicle for damages, and dirt can actually hide scratches, as well as deeper dents.

For instance, a dirty car in pristine physical condition can get damaged on the way; the inspecting agents typically don’t scrape the dirt to search for damages, so you can almost count on the potential damages not being filed in the papers upon arrival.

In that regard, by cleaning your car thoroughly, you encourage the inspecting personnel to make a more thorough search, which almost guarantees that potential damages will be present in the paperwork, which allows you to receive money on your contract.

Getting extra insurance for car shipping


It’s completely natural to feel uneasy about leaving your car in the hands of strangers for days or weeks, especially knowing that your car will be loaded onto a transport truck alongside several others.

We’ve all seen the movies where vehicles in action scenes would pop off trailers for no apparent reason, so out of fear that their car would be damaged, many people get additional insurance deals to try to counteract this.

The fact is that you do not need to have any insurance whatsoever for shipping your car. Essentially, transporting companies are legally obliged and carry insurance liability, according to the US Department of Transportation.

It is important to have car insurance for several other reasons. You’ll need to drive your car to the pick-up location and then drive it from the drop-off location to wherever you wish later on. Shipping insurance covers your vehicle while it’s being transported exclusively; it ends as soon as the transporter hands you the keys.

In that light, people who frequently ship cars may want to consider a company that offers approachable quotes and dependable services. If you don’t have any insurance contract still, you could use 4AutoInsurance services to compare quotes from various companies for free.

Leaving items in your car

Even if you have auto insurance, you should know that it only covers your vehicle as a singular object; whichever items you’ve left inside the vehicle are not in any way covered by the policy unless a special clause was added.

Given that most insurance contracts are ‘by approach’ type (fixed terms and conditions), it’s scarce in practice to see a contract that would cover in-vehicle items in shipping situations.

Pay extra attention when inspecting the interior of your vehicle before handing it over to the shipping driver, as physical damages are usually rarer than damages caused by fire or water.

For instance, if you’ve forgotten a wallet on the seat and your window was left slightly open, a day of heavy rain would not just ruin the seat, but the contents of your wallet (and the wallet itself) as well.

We hope that this guide was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on the common mistakes you need to watch out for when preparing your car for shipping. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through, and have a good one, guys!

Dmitry Petrov

Dmitry Petrov is an engineer who specializes in materials science, and has a deep passion for all things related to automotive technology. He is a true motorhead at heart, and spends much of his free time tinkering with engines and studying vehicular dynamics.


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