It may seem like shipping a car requires extensive paperwork, but in reality, if you know the two key documents you need and a few others you might want to keep handy, it’s relatively straightforward.
Follow this quick guide to be aware of the papers that you’ll need and the purpose that each document serves.
Necessary paperwork for a car shipment
If you’re using a professional car transport service, there are certain documents that you have to produce for the company to ship the car legally.
Depending on where you’re shipping from, here’s what you’ll need.
|DOCUMENT||WHEN IT IS NECESSARY|
|Bill of Lading||Always|
|Insurance Terms and Conditions||Always|
|Lienholder Authorization||Only if shipping from Hawaii|
|Absent Owner Authorization||Only if shipping from Hawaii|
|Title and Registration||If requested by the company|
|Proof of Car Insurance||If requested by the company|
|Photo Identification||If requested by the company|
Document breakdown and use
Here’s a brief description of each document, so you’re aware of why you need it.
Bill of lading (BOL)
This is the most critical piece of information that you’ll need to ship your vehicle. The bill of lading provides proof of delivery, and it records the condition of your car when it gets picked up and when they deliver it.
If the owner doesn’t note any damages on the BOL, you won’t be able to request compensation from the insurance company because you won’t have proof.
Insurance terms and conditions
The automotive transport company must have proof of insurance to ship all vehicles. The prices can fluctuate, so ensure that your chosen company has adequate insurance coverage. Review the terms and conditions before signing the contract.
If the car or truck has a lien, the customer must get the lienholder to give them a notarized letter with permission to ship the vehicle. This document is only necessary at ports.
Absent owner authorization
This document, in particular, is only required if your car has to be shipped through a port. This document is necessary only if you want another person other than yourself to pick your car up at the destination port. An example is if your friend is picking up your car because you’re moving to a new state.
Title and registration
Your registration validates that your vehicle has all the legal documentation required in your state of residence. Your title shows that you are the owner of the car.
The main reason auto transport companies do not require registration or title is that businesses ship vehicles for any number of reasons and cannot always produce these documents upon request.
Proof of car insurance
The customer doesn’t have to show proof of car insurance, though some companies may request the document. While the transportation company must carry insurance, the individual driver does not have to furnish evidence to ship their car.
A photo ID is rarely required to ship a vehicle. This requirement will all depend on whether or not the company wants to keep the information for its internal records. If a photo ID is required, a driver’s license will be sufficient.
The following documents will always be involved when shipping cars nationwide: The bill of lading and the insurance terms and conditions.
The other documents, such as absent owner authorizations and lienholder, are necessary when your car has to go through a port via a boat instead of a truck.
There are some situations where you will be asked to provide information like registration, title, photo ID, and proof of insurance. However, none of these documents are required legally to ship your car.