Can I Ship Personal Belongings In My Car?

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Shipping your car is an easy way of transporting it from point A to point B, should you want to take your vehicle with you to your destination. But when it comes to getting everything ready, there’s always a typical question that comes to mind: Can I ship my personal belongings in the car? 

We know how useful it is to transport your things in your car during shipment while you fly to your destination. This may keep you from having to pack or carry your belongings based on airline’s policies or any other travel regulations. However, is it actually legal to transport your personal belongings in your car during auto-transport? It’s time to answer that question! 

Shipping Personal Items in Your Car

Per the DOT’s regulations, no vehicle being involved in the car shipping process may contain any personal items. 

That being said, most auto-transport companies have their preferences on what they will allow and require some stipulations for doing this. While this varies from auto transport company to auto transport company, most of the requirements revolve around a few key points. But before we get to know them, there are several factors that affect what you can and cannot put into your car. Let’s find them out! 

1. Weight: The Most Important Factor

Remember that when you ship your car, it will be loaded into a hauler that will contain other vehicles. A hauler holds up to 9 cars approximately, which is quite a lot of weight for the carriage. If the weight exceeds the amount allowed, then the carrier may get fined for driving an overweight trailer. Because of this, some carriers will stick to the DOT rule and refuse to allow any personal goods inside the vehicle. However, many carriers will offer the option of having up to 100 pounds of personal items. Every so often, a carrier will be willing to accommodate a heavier amount of goods, but be prepared to potentially pay hundreds more for the extra weight. 

2. Car Damage: Pack Correctly

A car being auto transported into a hauler isn’t the same as driving a car. That means, movements in the carrier are going to be stronger, whether they are vibrations or shifts. That’s why transporting things that are too heavy, not well packed or in hard-made materials, can damage the inside areas of your vehicle due to excessive movements along the road. And, the worst part of it is that even though you are insured during the shipment by the carrier’s cargo insurance, during the shipment, any damage caused by your personal items will not be covered by either your broker or your carrier. 

3. Theft: A Potential Risk

Whether it’s a short or long-distance journey, your driver can take multiple breaks to rest or any other reason that allows him to stop driving for a while. That results in leaving the truck alone, which means leaving your vehicle alone as well. Although there are few chances that thieves actually come to the hauler and take things out of the cars, let’s be honest, that is a potential risk that can happen at any time, anywhere. There are higher chances that noticeable or valuable items are taken away, leading to a loss of your belongings, as well as damage to your own car. 

Tips For Shipping Your Belongings In Your Car

As you’ve seen along the reading, there are chances that your personal items or your vehicle can result in damage due to shipment of your own belongings. Therefore, there are a few things you can do in order to prevent it and ship what’s necessary. If a carrier agrees to let you pack 100 pounds of items: 

  • Place your items in areas that is hard to see and reach, and avoid shipping anything of value in your vehicle 
    • This will prevent thieves from reaching your items and stealing them. The best location for placing your personal items is the trunk. In fact, most carriers who allow 100 pounds of items will insist they all be stored in the trunk and nowhere else. 
  • Pack only necessary items 
    • Pack things that you consider won’t result in future damage to your vehicle. Many auto shippers will pack a suitcase with some clothes and toiletries to get them through the first few days at their new destination before the rest of their belongings arrive via home movers.
  • No insurance coverage
    • Keep in mind that the things you pack into your car will not be covered by insurance in case of any loss or theft. It’s much smarter to transport your more prized possessions via home movers. 
  • Size and weight
    • Be extremely careful about the amount of items you pack. Many people decide to fill their car to the brim with items they are shipping to their home. You must remember that auto transport companies are not home moving companies. If you fill your car with more than the agreed upon 100 pounds, your carrier will likely insist that you remove it all, charge you hundreds more for the extra weight, or refuse to take the vehicle all together. Be sure to follow the instructions given by your customer service agents when discussing these matters. They can assist you with the best way to communicate your transport needs to the carrier.
  • Do Not Pack Anything Forbidden or Illegal
    • When transporting your car, keep in mind the following limitations that are implemented by most auto-transport companies:
      • Items like drugs, alcohol, explosives, firearms, flammable items or anything of that nature is qualified as illegal to transport via car carrier.
      • You must inform your carrier and driver about everything you leave in your car. 

The good and the bad side

Saving extra space when moving is incredibly useful, and having the chance of shipping your car with personal objects in it couldn't be more helpful. As long as your items match the shipping requirements, you will be able to receive them right at your new destination in good condition. 

However, weight limitations probably won't let you pack everything you want to, and the chances of risk will be still there in relation to any potential damage or even a theft. Sometimes you will be required to pay extra if you want to put additional items, or shipping your things in a safer transport way, such as enclosed auto-transport. Keep this in mind and consider the items you will be shipping to avoid any issue!

Get everything ready for shipment

Remember that before shipment, there are certain things you must take into account so that you get your vehicle delivered in perfect condition in a timely manner. Take a look at some of them:

  • Clean the inside of your car: Remove electronics, fresheners, cables, chargers, or any other element that might be exposed during shipment. 
  • Wash your car: Taking note of any scratches or dents before shipping is a required step during the process. That’s why keeping your vehicle clean can be helpful for you and for the drive to notice them easily.
  • Disable elements: Turning off your alarm as well as removing toll devices is something you can’t forget before transporting your vehicle. Otherwise, your driver will have to look for a way to deactivate the alarm in case it sounds, or you’ll be charged for tolls during the road.
  • Gas tank: Fill your tank up to ¼ of it. Not more or less, you only need your vehicle to have the necessary amount of gas for loading and unloading.
  • Check and repair any mechanical problem: Tire pressure, radiator, and battery, among others, are some of the elements you have to keep in perfect condition before initiating transportation. In case they result in damage, you must fix them up or replace them.
  • Take pictures of your vehicle: Taking pictures of the inside or outside of your vehicle will help you identify and support any damage to your car during its transport. Remember to take good quality pictures in different angles so you can see details clearly. 

Ship With AmeriFreight

AmeriFreight has years of experience in the vehicle transportation industry, ensuring you and your vehicle and excellent service and experience along the journey. Our agents are available for you in case you have any questions or doubts, and will give you personalized customer service from the moment you request your shipment, until you get your car delivered. We make thousands of customers happy, and can’t wait to help you out with your vehicle transportation while providing you transparency and safety throughout the whole process. 

Chat with our agents about your car shipping needs, and be sure to mention if you plan on shipping your vehicle with items inside. The more information they receive, the better they can communicate with potential carriers to make sure they find the perfect fit for you and your beloved car. 

Request a quote on our website or call us today! We are more than happy to assist you.