Shipping a Car With Personal Items Inside: Is It Legal?

May 8, 2020

Any given American will probably move about 11 times in their lifetime.

Are you about to embark on the next move of your life? Then you’ve probably already settled on using car shipping services as a headache-free way to get your vehicle to your new home in one piece.

But of course, you most likely have other things you need to bring with you. So is shipping a car with personal items in it possible? 

Can You Ship a Car With Stuff in It?

If you want to ship a car with stuff in it, unfortunately, it’s not always possible. As for the legality, the Department of Transportation hasn’t specifically said auto shippers can’t do it.

In the end, it’ll boil down to the company you choose and their policy. While some will 100% refuse to ship a car with belongings in it, others may not be as strict and may allow you to put a box or two in. Some may even allow you to pack it to the brim.

Most commonly, if auto transport companies agree to let you ship your car with stuff in it, it’ll have several factors that affect what you can bring. Let’s explore them below.

Weight Limit

A car hauler will contain other vehicles besides yours. Because of that, they need to be mindful of how much the hauler will weigh overall.

Otherwise, it may become overweight, which will get the trucker a fine. Not to mention, it can cause damage to your car too.

Risk of Theft

If you go with open car transport, then people will be able to see inside your vehicle. Your driver will probably have to take breaks, which means the cars will be temporarily left alone. If you have valuables or noticeable boxes in your car, it’ll be more at risk for a break-in.

For this reason, they may require that you only fit personal items in the trunk to keep thieves at bay.

Why Shipping Personal Items With Your Car Is a Bad Idea

Even if an auto transport company agrees to let you ship your personal items with your car, it may not be the best of ideas. For one, as we’ve mentioned above, this puts your car at a higher risk of theft, especially if you use open car transport and have items in your seats that are easily visible to the public.

In addition, depending on where you have your items, and how much of it is in your car, they can shift around while in transit. Not only can this damage the belongings themselves, but it can also damage the interior of your vehicle. If your car is relatively new and in good condition, this may not be a risk you want to take.

Some Things to Note for Shipping a Car and Belongings Together

If you’ve decided that the benefits far outweigh the risks, then you might want to go ahead with shipping a car with personal items in it. If so, then there are some things you need to know.

Firstly, you’ll want to let the auto shipping company know ASAP if you want to ship your car with belongings in it. That way, both of you won’t be surprised when they come to pick up your car and you have boxes waiting for them and they refuse to ship them together.

Secondly, be prepared to pay more for this service. You might want to save some money by shipping your boxes in your vehicle instead of mailing them. But many companies won’t let you do so for free.

Thirdly, know that all reputable auto shipping companies will use drivers who have up-to-date cargo insurance policies. This will cover any damages to your vehicle; however, this will not cover damages to your belongings that you choose to ship with your car. So should anything happen to your items while in transit, the insurance policy will not reimburse you for it.

Lastly, if a driver allows you to ship your boxes with your vehicle, make sure you tip them well at the end of the trip. They have no obligation to carry extra cargo and the responsibility that comes with it, so you can show your appreciation by giving them a larger tip than you normally would.

Shipping a Car With Personal Items Isn’t the Best Idea

At the end of the day, an auto shipping company’s job is to ship your vehicle, not your personal belongings. For that reason, shipping a car with personal items isn’t the best idea, especially if you’re planning on filling it to the brim with things like heirlooms.

For most companies, that won’t even be possible, as they usually have an “under the window” policy. This is because the trucker needs to be able to get in your vehicle to load and unload it onto their hauler, and they must have a clear line of sight when doing so.

In any case, if your auto shipper agrees to ship personal items, it may be alright to put some boxes in your car so you don’t have as many to deal with in your relocation. So long as you understand the terms and are ok with the idea of the items potentially getting damaged in transit (and the driver not taking responsibility for it), then it can be an idea worth exploring.

If you go this route, just make sure to understand all the terms and conditions. That way, you won’t be in for a surprise if anything does happen to your items.

Are you ready to get started on auto shipping services? Then get a quote from us today.