documents and rules when shipping your car

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

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

David Stone
Updated November 19, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    documents and rules when shipping your car


    Many people do not consider the documents that are required when you transport your car and 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.

    You will find that there are only two documents that you must have when you are setting up and completing the shipping job process and many people forget to inquire about either of them when they are involved in the throes of 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 and the other is collected when the car has been delivered to you and you feel satisfied with its condition and the process that was undertaken to bring it to you.

    . 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 as well as the details of what is covered and what is not covered. This is critical to have on hand in case something goes wrong during the transport process and it is useful to have on hand to be sure that the company that you are working with is a real and legitimate company.

    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 and 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 and 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 the delivery or the condition of your car, you will want to reach out to the central office for 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 will have to pay for most of these charges upfront before the car is taken to your new home in another country. You should also be sure that you will be able to certify your car to meet any of the emissions and other standards 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 and then another one 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 make sure to follow when you are sending your car to a new location with a car transport company. 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 and will want to work with you based on a handshake deal.

    This is always a red flag and you should never work with a company that does not offer a contract that you both sign to secure the deal. This is one of the only ways to seek recourse in the case of an accident or other mishap that happens during transit and 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 for the job. You need to be sure that they are fully insured and you want to be careful to make certain that your car will be protected and replaced if there is a major accident during the transport process.

    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 company that you are thinking of working with for the transport process. This will allow you to make sure that you are not working with a scam and you can more readily 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, and you should not skip this critical step when you are interviewing companies that might be able to take 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 and 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

    Make sure that you always look at the reviews that are posted for any company that you are thinking about working with for your auto shipping job. Reviews can tell you a lot about a company and 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 and 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 a little and find the exact right company for your car shipping needs. You might have to pay a little extra, but 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 and you should not be looking at a single factor as the sole means for choosing the company that is right for you. Consider as well, that 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, but you should never work with anyone for this kind of job 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 and making sure that you get the right documentation in your hands before and after the transport job that you have paid for can make all the difference in your stress levels related to moving your car to your new home.

    Making sure that you avoid scammers is easy if you use the rules on this list and make sure that you ask for the documents that you should have in your hands. You should be sure that you are able to get everything in writing for the job or 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.






    Absolutely fantastic. Guys were far better than I could have hoped for. THE NEXT DAY... NOT A SCRATCH OR DING.... STRAIGHT TO MY DOOR.
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    Called Eric La Gra from Mercury Transport he was able to get my truck shipped immediately got me a transporter who did a fantastic job.
    google Eric D. View review
    Joel at Mercury Auto Transport did an excellent job arranging to transport my vehicle quickly and at a competitive price.
    google Fred L. View review
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    First, we post your vehicle through our network, including all National Dispatch Boards for Auto Transport. This is where all licensed auto transport carriers can see your vehicle is available for shipping.


    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.


    Not until you approve your carrier and final logistics is your deposit due. Your deposit is included in your quote and goes toward the total price. The remaining balance is due at time of delivery. Nothing gets done without your approval.


    Your driver will contact you prior to your pickup and delivery dates to schedule a time for loading and unloading. Once your vehicle reaches its destination, you do a final inspection of your vehicle and pay the driver the remaining balance. You and the driver both sign the Bill of Lading and each keep a copy.