If you have to move across the country, it might seem like a no-brainer to simply ship your belongings with your car so that you don’t have to hire a professional moving company or send them through the mail.
However, the process might not be as straightforward as it seems. So here’s what you need to know about shipping your car with your belongings and how to do it safely and successfully with Carvaygo:
Can I Ship My Car and Belongings Together?
Some shipping companies will allow you to ship your car and your belongings together, whereas others will not. If you’re interested in shipping your belongings along with your car, you should check with different auto transport companies to see if it’s something they allow.
Should I Fill My Car Before Shipping It?
Even if an auto transporter allows you to ship your belongings with your car, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t restrictions and guidelines that you have to follow. For starters, most auto transport services have a set weight limit regarding how many items you can have in your car.
This is because the trailers that they use to ship your car also have weight limits, and they need to be able to accurately calculate the weight of your vehicle to ensure that the entire load is under the maximum weight limit.
Generally speaking, many car transport companies will be okay with you including up to 100 pounds of personal belongings. However, anything over 100 pounds may prove more problematic and costly.
Is It Safe to Ship Belongings With My Car?
While it may be possible for you to ship your car and belongings together, it might not be the safest option. The road can be a dangerous place, and as a result, your car and belongings are at an increased risk of damage and theft.
For example, say that you have a 100-pound suitcase in your car and the driver has to brake suddenly. If your suitcase isn’t properly secured and packed, it could easily cause damage to your car and your belongings.
Or, say that your driver leaves your car and belongings on a trailer for a short time while at a rest stop. Someone walking by could see your items in the car and decide to break in and steal them before the driver returns.
These are all risks to consider when shipping your belongings with your car.
Can I Ship My Car and Belongings Internationally?
When shipping your car and belongings internationally, things get a bit more complicated. Again, while you technically may be able to ship your car and your belongings internationally, you need to be aware of the consequences and risks.
For example, the shipment of your car could be delayed if it needs to be expected by customs agents at the border. There may also be a higher risk of theft if you’re shipping your car and belongings internationally.
What Is the Best Way to Ship My Car and Belongings Together?
If you’ve decided that the benefits of shipping your car and belongings together outweigh the risks, here are ten tips to help ensure that your car and items arrive safely at their destination:
1. Keep Belongings Mainly in the Trunk
When you ship your belongings in your car, it’s always a good idea to keep your belongings mainly in the trunk of your vehicle. This is recommended for safety and security reasons.
In terms of safety, it helps ensure that your items will stay in the trunk and won’t shift around the vehicle when the driver turns or breaks. In terms of security, it helps ensure that your items are largely out of the view of passersby.
2. Keep Valuables Hidden, or Remove Them
If you cannot put all your items in your trunk, you should try to keep any valuables hidden from view or remove them entirely. If your items are visible to passersby, this increases theft risk. This is especially true if the items are particularly valuable, like televisions, computers, etc.
3. Be Reasonable About What You Ship
You also need to be reasonable about what you choose to ship in your car. In an ideal world, you could fit everything you own in your car without a second thought. However, in reality, you may need to be more strategic.
Since you’re likely working with a weight limit set by the transportation company, you should definitely prioritize packing lighter items in your car. Additionally, many transportation companies require that your items be fully contained in a container like a cardboard box, suitcase, or plastic storage bin.
As a result, you may not be able to reasonably ship large or oddly shaped items that wouldn’t easily fit into one of these containers.
4. Don’t Fill Your Car to the Roof
Additionally, you should avoid filling your car up to the roof. Not only is this not allowed by many carriers, but it also increases the risk of theft. Your items should be below window level as a general rule of thumb.
Ideally, they shouldn’t be visible from outside the vehicle. It’s also important that the driver’s seat remain clear so that the truck driver can easily enter your vehicle to load it on and off the trailer.
5. Be Aware of the Risks
Some risks come along with shipping your car and belongings together. So if you decide to do this, you need to be aware of the risks.
Specifically, you’re risking damage to your items, damage to your vehicle, and theft of your items.
6. Keep Insurance in Mind
Ideally, insurance would help mitigate some of these risks. However, the carrier’s insurance policy likely does not cover any of the items you’re shipping in your vehicle. Insurance likely does not cover any damage to your vehicle caused by your items either.
7. Ship With a Trustworthy Company
Trustworthiness is always important when choosing a car shipping company. After all, they’re responsible for your vehicle, which is likely worth thousands of dollars. However, it’s even more important to investigate the reputation and safety of a company if you’re planning on shipping your personal belongings with them as well.
As you now know, shipping your belongings with your car puts it at a greater risk of theft. As a result, you need to know that the company takes safety and security seriously to help mitigate this increased risk.
For starters, make sure that the company in question is properly registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and is properly insured. From there, check reviews on third-party review websites like Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
8. Check With the Company First
You should always check with the company first if you’re interested in shipping your belongings with your vehicle. Some companies will allow this while others will not. To avoid any issues on pick-up day, you need to clear any extra weight with the shipping company ahead of time.
9. Ask About Weight Limits and Fees
Even if you get the go-ahead from your auto transport company to ship your personal belongings along with your vehicle, you need to go a step further and get more detailed information about weight limits and fees.
Some companies only allow you to ship a certain amount of items free of charge. Others charge you for any extra weight added to your vehicle. Having this information ahead of time ensures that you’re prepared when it comes time to pack up your belongings and prepare your car for shipment.
10. Don’t Include Breakable Items
Finally, you should never put breakable items in your car when you’re shipping them. The road is rough and unpredictable. The vibration and motions of the road could easily damage fragile and breakable household items like glassware if you’re not careful.
Will My Items Get Damaged During Shipping?
There’s always a possibility that your items will get damaged during shipping. This risk is also present when you’re shipping items in the mail and even when you’re transporting items in a moving truck.
As a result, you should never ship fragile or particularly valuable items in your car due to the risk of damage. The best way to avoid damage to your personal belongings during shipping is to properly pack and secure them within a container like a storage bin or a suitcase.
You can pack your items using things like blankets, towels, and bubble wrap for added protection.
Will Personal Belongings Increase the Shipping Costs?
Putting personal belongings in your car for shipment can potentially increase your shipping costs based on the policies of your chosen auto transport provider. Some providers allow you to ship a certain amount of personal belongings in your vehicle for no extra cost. For example, you may be able to ship 100 pounds of goods along with your vehicle.
However, other providers will charge you for any extra weight you’re adding to your vehicle due to personal belongings. Additionally, you should always expect to pay extra if you’re looking to ship more than 100 pounds of items.
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay $200 to $300 more to be able to ship your personal items along with your vehicle. However, the cost is often lower for smaller and lighter vehicles like sedans than it is with larger and heavier vehicles like trucks and SUVs.
Are There Legal Issues If I Ship Belongings With My Car?
According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), you’re legally able to ship most items in your car. Instead of legality, it’s more so a policy issue since many transportation providers will not allow you to ship your belongings with your car. Instead, they typically ask that you remove any personal items from your vehicle before it’s shipped.
There’s also the issue of insurance and liability. When you ship your car, your vehicle is covered by your transportation provider’s insurance policy.
However, this policy likely does not cover any personal items inside your vehicle. This means that you’re shipping your belongings at your own risk, and you’re solely responsible for any damage or theft that occurs.
What’s the Best Shipping Service for Shipping Car My Car and Belongings Together?
When you ship your car, you typically have to choose between door-to-door service and terminal-to-terminal service. With door-to-door service, you determine the pick-up and drop-off locations based on what’s convenient for you.
For example, you could choose your home or your work. The driver comes directly to you to pick up your vehicle, hits the road, and drops it back off to you.
You are responsible for dropping off and picking up your car at an auto transport terminal with terminal-to-terminal service. These central terminals are usually located close to big cities and airports. From there, the driver picks up your car along with the other vehicles in the load all at once before hitting the road.
So which of these options is best when you’re shipping your belongings along with your car? Even though terminal-to-terminal shipping might be cheaper, it’s also riskier if you have extra things in your vehicle since your vehicle may be left unattended in the yard for some time before a driver picks it up.
However, with door-to-door service, a driver will immediately be there to supervise your shipment. Just keep in mind that the driver will still have to leave the vehicle at times for food and bathroom breaks, so there’s still some level of risk associated with this method of transport, although it’s lower than the alternative.
How Can I Reduce Costs?
Obviously, the best way to reduce the cost of shipping your car is not to include any of your personal items with the shipment of your vehicle. Doing so can add hundreds of dollars to your shipping quote if you’re not careful.
Another way that you can reduce the cost of shipping your car is to find an auto transporter that includes a certain amount of personal items with your basic quote. That way, you won’t be required to pay any extra money so long as you stay within the provided weight limit.
If you have too many items or aren’t able to find a company that offers a certain amount of items for free, you may want to consider alternatives like shipping your items through the mail or even hiring a moving company to transport these items for you.
What Am I Not Allowed to Include in My Car?
While you can ship many items in your car, there are certain things that you’re not allowed to include. For starters, you’re not able to have any illegal items in your car. You’re also not able to have any drugs, alcohol, explosives, firearms, or flammable items in your car — even if they’re technically legal.
The Bottom Line
So while it may be possible for you to ship your car and belongings together, it’s usually not recommended as it comes with greater risks. While there are ways that you can mitigate these risks through proper preparation and research, they can never be completely eliminated. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to determine how comfortable you are with these risks.
If you’re ready to move forward with the shipment of your vehicle, reach out to Carvaygo for a quick and easy quote in just three steps.
Carvaygo provides open transport and enclosed transport for customers relocating for work, school, or the military.
We also work with classic car collectors, online car buyers, and Snowbirds.
Trying to Select a Car Shipping Service | Moving.com
Licensing & Insurance Carrier Search | FMCSA
How to Prepare Your Car for Shipment | Move.org