What Documents Are Required to Ship a Car?

by | Transport Tips

If you’ve never shipped a car or truck before, you’re probably wondering what documents are required for the transport. Do you need to provide the title to the car? How about a registration, or proof of auto insurance?

You may be surprised to learn that none of those documents are required to transport a vehicle. In fact, the vehicle doesn’t even need to have current tabs!

Since the vehicle isn’t being driven on the road and is merely being shipped from one location to another, no documentation is required.

Auto Insurance is Worth Considering (but Not Required)

It’s not required to have auto insurance when you ship a car, but it’s strongly recommended. I’d say 90% of the vehicles we transport have auto insurance coverage on them.

Now you might be asking: Why is auto insurance strongly recommended? Isn’t my vehicle covered by the carrier’s cargo insurance?

That’s a great question. Yes, your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s cargo insurance except for “Acts of God.” That’s just a fancy way of saying any damage done to the vehicle due to weather or “nature-related” events during the transport are not covered.

Let’s say a freak hailstorm pops up while your car is being transported. Guess what? That hail damage your car has now isn’t going to be covered by cargo insurance. You’ll have to file a claim with your personal auto insurance company. And if you don’t have auto insurance, then you’ll be out of luck. You’ll be paying for that damage out-of-pocket.

While these weather and nature-related events are extremely rare, they can happen. That’s why we strongly recommend you have auto insurance on your vehicle in case something like that happens during the transport.

Please note, if you have insurance coverage on your vehicle, you won’t be required to show any insurance documents to us or the driver to prove your vehicle has insurance. You don’t even have to tell us you have insurance on your vehicle. That’s for your own peace of mind and for your own protection.

The Vehicle Condition Report (a.k.a. Vehicle Inspection Report)

There is one document that is required for an auto transport – the vehicle condition report, or also known as the vehicle inspection report. This is a document that the driver will be providing.

When your vehicle is picked up the driver will do an inspection of the vehicle (exterior only) and document everything he sees. He’ll be noting any existing damage and defects. The driver usually takes photos as well.

BONUS TIP: Even though a driver usually takes photos as part of the vehicle condition report, we strongly recommend our customers to take their own photos prior to the driver picking up the vehicle. You can never have enough photos when doing a transport. They can only help to settle any potential disputes if damage does occur during the transport.

After his inspection is completed, he’ll have the pick up contact person review it and then sign off on it. Then when the vehicle is delivered, the person accepting delivery will get a copy of the report and will inspect the vehicle to ensure the condition of the vehicle matches the document. This is how we determine if there was any damage during the transport. If there is vehicle damage that wasn’t on the document at the time the vehicle was picked up, then we know the damage occurred during the transport.

After the person accepting delivery has reviewed the document and inspected the vehicle, that person will sign off on the report. At that point the transport is officially completed!

What About Title, Registration, and Current License Tabs?

Our customers are often surprised that they don’t have to provide documentation such as title, registration, and current license tabs. You would think in this day and age those would all be required, but they are not – at least for now. Who knows, that may change some day.

The reason those documents aren’t necessary is because the vehicle isn’t being driven on the road, nor is any transfer of ownership taking place with us or the driver. We’re simply transporting a vehicle from Point A to Point B.

There is one thing to consider when it comes to these documents. Sometimes we have to have a customer meet the driver at an agreed upon location at the time of pick up or delivery because the driver can’t get right to the customer’s house. This happens when we’re dealing with weight restrictions on residential roads, narrow residential roads, a tight cul-de-sac, etc.

Because we’re asking our customer to meet the driver, the vehicle will have to be driven to the meeting location. The meeting spot could be a couple blocks away or a couple miles away. Either way, the vehicle needs to be driven on the road for a brief period of time.

If you get pulled over during that brief drive and the vehicle isn’t registered, or the tabs are expired, you could get a ticket. You’re rolling the dice driving the car on the road under those circumstances. We don’t recommend it.

The bottom line is that shipping a car is very easy. You simply get an instant quote from us and place an order. Then we schedule a pick up date and set a delivery date and transport your vehicle. There aren’t any contracts involved and we don’t ask for any documents from you. The process is as painless as it can be!