Documents You’ll Need and Rules to Follow During Car Transport

documents and rules when shipping your car


Many people do not consider the documents that are required when you transport your car. Likewise, they think more about the pick-up and drop-off dates as well as the total cost of the job. There are a lot of considerations that need to be kept in mind when working with a shipping company to move your car from one location to another and it can be easy to lose sight of the important documents that must be collected by the car owner to protect them against problems to do with the job being completed.

There are only two documents that you must have when you are setting up and completing the shipping job process. Also, many people forget to inquire about either of them when they are moving to a new place. This can be found if everything goes to plan for your trip, but if something goes wrong while your car is being moved or if you have questions later about the job as it was completed, you will likely not be able to inquire without these documents in your hands.

If you are ready to learn more about the documents that you will need and the rules that you should follow during the car transport process, read on!

Documents That You Must Have to Ship Your Car

There are two essential documents that you must have when you are planning and completing the process of having your car brought to your new location by a transport company. The first document is collected before the contract is signed. The other document is collected when the car has been delivered to you. This second document confirms that you are satisfied with the condition of the car and how it was delivered.

Insurance Terms and Conditions

This is a critical piece of documentation that you must collect before you sign on the dotted line to have your car transported by any shipping company. This document shows the insurance information for the company and the details of what is covered and what’s not covered. This is critical to have on hand in case something goes wrong during the transport process. Also, having them on hand makes you sure that the company that you are working with is legitimate.

You will want to ask to see this document before you get a bid from any company that you are thinking of working with to move your vehicle to your new home. This is a critical part of the proper management of a shipping company and no company that is worth working with will be without insurance documentation that you can readily access.

You should make sure that this insurance will cover damages to an exotic or to a classic car that has harder to establish values. If you are moving these kinds of vehicles, you might have to inquire about the insurance that is offered by each transport company related to these kinds of vehicles. Not every company can offer you the coverage that you need for these unique vehicles. Therefore, you will want to be sure to work with a company that can.

The Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is the receipt that is given to you when your car is delivered. This is an important document that serves as the proof of delivery. It states the condition of the car at the time of pickup. If your car has been damaged in some way or there are issues with the delivery process, this should be noted on the bill of lading or you should not sign it. The bill of lading essentially says that you as the consumer have signed off on the job that was done for you.

No company that is legitimate will skip this step and you should be worried if there is no mention of a bill of lading in the bid or documentation that is offered to you before you sign a contract for the job. The bill of lading should also be taken seriously by the person delivering the car.

Always make sure that you get this bill of lading and that you do not sign off on it until you are sure that your car has been delivered in the condition that it should have been. If there are issues with your car when it is delivered, reach out to the transport company before you sign the bill.

Other Documents You Might Need When Shipping Your Vehicle

paperwork and guidelines for transporting a vehicle

If you are going to be shipping your vehicle to another country, there will be customs forms and other kinds of import documentation that must be filled out. You have to pay some of these charges upfront before the car is shipped to you in another country. You should also be sure that you will be able to certify your car to meet any of the emissions. Likewise, make sure that other standards are in place in your new home.

There are sometimes also differences in the required insurance that you will have to take care of before you can take delivery of your car in the country that you are moving to. Remember as well that you will need to sign a contract for the overland portion of the transport. Also, you will need to sign another contract for the portion of the trip that is handled by a ship. You will have a contract with each entity in most cases and this means that you will need to have the seagoing portion of the contract in hand as well as the overland contract to protect your interests if something happens to your car while it is being moved to your new home.

Rules to Follow During Car Transport

There are also some rules that you need to follow when transporting your car to a new location. There is nothing worse than surprises that crop up during the process and you can avoid the common pitfalls and accidents that impact people’s experiences if you make sure to follow these rules for your car transport needs.

1. Do Not Work With a Company That Does Not Offer a Contract

This is an essential rule that you must follow if you want to avoid scams. Scammers will not provide you with a contract that you need to sign. They would rather want to work with you based on a handshake deal.

Never work with a company that does not offer a contract you both sign to secure the deal. This is always a red flag and you should be aware. This is one way to seek recourse in the case of an accident or other mishap during transit. Therefore, you need to be sure that you are not being too trusting and accidentally working with a scam.

2. Ask to See Insurance Documentation

You should always ask to see proof of insurance from the company that you are thinking of hiring. You need to be sure that they are fully insured. This will certify that your car will be protected and replaced if there’s a major accident while it’s being transported.

Being unable to provide insurance information for the shipping company who took your vehicle to deliver it to your new home can make it much harder to file a claim and much tougher to get a payout if there has been an accident.

3. Check That the Company is Licensed and Bonded

rules and paperwork that’s essential for auto shipping

Just like asking for insurance documentation, you should inquire about seeing the licensing and bonding information for any auto shipping company you want to work with. This will allow you to make sure that you are not working with a scam. Additionally, find reviews and other information about the company if you know what their licensed and bonded name is.

This is a good rule of thumb for any kind of transport company job. Hence, don’t skip this critical step when interviewing companies that’ll ship your car to your new home.

4. Make Sure That Everything is in Writing

Even if you don’t have specific demands that you want to have satisfied related to having your car taken to your new home, you should be sure that every step of the transport process is in writing. You will want to be sure that the pick-up and drop-off times are clearly stated. Also, be sure that there is a clear statement of the price that you will be signing off on.

Leaving these details out can cause issues later related to disputes between you and the company. Having a signed and complete contract that states all of the details about the trip can make sure that you get what you paid for and that you can resolve conflicts later on after your car has been delivered to you.

5. Check Reviews

Look at the reviews for any company that you are thinking about working with for your auto shipping job. Reviews can tell you a lot about a company. Moreso, many people will call out issues that might make you want to avoid working with the company.

You will also find out information about companies that might be scammers as well, just by reading reviews. This is one of the best ways to vet companies before you even ask for a bid. Also, you can save yourself a lot of time just by checking out the public testimonies about the company.

6. Get Quotes From Many Companies

The cheapest quote is not always the best car shipping quote for your needs. You should make sure that you shop around and find the exact company for your car shipping needs. You might have to pay a little extra. However, one company might have a better delivery date available and offer better insurance for your needs.

Make sure that you are not only looking at the price as well. There are many factors that go into working with the right transportation company for this kind of job. Therefore, don’t look at one factor as the sole means for choosing the company that is right for you. Also, working with a company that gives you a bad feeling is also to be avoided. There might be no reason for your discomfort that you can put a finger on. Yet, you should never work with anyone that you do not feel totally comfortable with right away.

Shipping Your Vehicle Can Be Stress-Free When You Have All the Right Documents and Follow the Rules

Using these rules, make sure you get the right documentation in hand before and after the transport job you paid for. This can make all the difference in your stress levels related to moving your car to your new home.

Avoid scammers by using the rules on this list and make sure you ask for the necessary documents you need. You should be sure that you are able to get everything in writing for the job. Also, you should move on to a new option.

Being careful to get things in writing and taking the time to thoroughly research your car transport options can make all the difference in your overall experience when you move your car to a new location. This should not be a stressful experience and you should be able to feel secure that your car will be taken care of and delivered in great condition to you at the end of the job.


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We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.