Can I Ship Personal Items Inside My Car?

It depends on the transport company—their most significant risks involved in the company and you.  Most shipping companies will not allow personal items due to the liability of the items.  However, you can put them in the trunk where no one will see them.  Although, this does have a lot of risk to it.

There are specific requirements for shipping your personal items or household goods.  Each of these rules can allow for sending some things in your car.  However, several companies will still tell you, “no, you cannot.”

What is the “Below the Window” rule when shipping your vehicle?

Several companies will allow you to ship personal items in your vehicle if they are in the trunk of below the windows of the car.  This does add to your weight and will cost you more to ship your vehicle.

You may find a company that allows you to ship up to 100 pounds of personal items for free.  Keep in mind, if you want to ship more, it may cost you an extra $100 or $200.  You also must keep your driver’s seat clear for the company to move your car.

What are the Risks for Shipping Personal Items in my Car?

The most significant risk is theft.  Drivers make several stops picking up and unloading vehicles.  If people see your personal stuff and decide they want it, you may receive your car with a broken window.  Now you have the issue of theft and damages.  The insurance will not cover theft or damages caused due to the theft.

It is tempting for people to try to get what they do not have.  If you have something that catches the eye of someone, they will do everything they can to get it.  Do not think the driver will stop them.  It is not their property and not covered by insurance.

You are aware of the risks before putting items inside your car.  Some companies still do not allow you to ship personal items.  This is due to the possibility of state fines, which creates a liability.

How can my personal items make it cost more to ship?

The most significant factor in this is your weight.  Your items will weigh down your vehicle.  When shipping your car, you are charged by the weight.  As you add weight due to personal items, the vehicle gets heavier.  Now it will start to cost more due to the weight of your car.

If you ever drive from state to state, you may have noticed the weigh stations.  These stations are designed to weigh the trucks.  Each truck has a log of the weight, and if they are overweight, they will be fined.  Therefore, if you load your vehicle with hundreds of personal items, it could cause the transport company to get fined.

How can Personal Items Cause Damage to Your Car in Shipping?

Your car is on a truck.  It is not going to be a comfortable ride.  Items will shift as the vehicle vibrates on the trailer.  If items are not concealed in a suitcase, it may cause damage to your car.  Also, if the bag has wheels, the wheels may cause damage.

Your personal items are not covered by insurance.  Therefore, you take the risk of your personal items causing damage to your vehicle.  Even though your vehicle is insured, the insurance will not cover damages that are caused by personal items.

If damage happens insider your vehicle and you believe it was caused by the company, if you have personal items in the vehicle during shipping, you cannot prove the company produced the damages.

Putting your personal items in your car is a significant risk and could make an insurance claim hard if you file one against the company.  Therefore, so many companies try to encourage you to not put items in the car.  They will also advise you of the risks.

What are the Legal Issues with Shipping Personal Items with Your Car?

Shipping companies will advise you of the risks.  Most have a “No Packing Policy” enforced.  Packing your car with personal items is forbidden by The Department of Transportation.  The federal law is strictly enforced throughout the country and in every state.  There is a $10,000 fine for any company that violates this law.

Shipping companies do not want this fine.  However, if you choose to not follow the policy that they have, the company could put that fine on you if one is imposed.

Do not think you can trick the transport company.  They do their research and know how much your car should weigh.  When you search your car on the internet, you can get the specifications of your vehicle.  It will tell you what the weight is.  Keep in mind, shipping companies do not go by this alone.  They will allow for slight changes in weight due to modifications you may have made.

For example, you installed this impressive sound system; it will add a little extra weight to the vehicle.  However, if you add a couple hundred pounds of personal items in the trunk, the company will know.  Most modifications will not change the weight that much.

Another example, a suitcase will weigh more than a CD case.  The company may notice the bag but will not notice the CD case.

Why Won’t Insurance Cover Personal Items when Shipping Your Car?

The simple answer is, “it is illegal to ship personal items in your vehicle.” Even if you get the additional insurance for your vehicle, it will not cover your personal items.  Shipping companies do not want to be fined.  If thy start insuring personal items, it is telling the customer it is ok to do it even when it is against the law.

Even though it is illegal, some shipping companies will allow you to add a few items if it meets three specific requirements.

  • Make sure everything is inside the trunk or under the window. If people cannot see it, the company will most likely not get a fine.  Law enforcement does not inspect every vehicle unless they have cause to do so.  Do not give them a reason to check.
  • Make sure the extra weight is under 100 pounds. If there is no much excess weight, it could cause the truck to be overweight.  This will cause a fine for the company as the truck goes through weigh stations.
  • Do not put items such as explosives, firearms, drugs, anything illegal, etc. You cannot ship these through the mail or any other way.  Do not think you can get away with shipping them in your vehicle.

Communication is important.  If you do choose to take the risk, let the company know the items are there.  They are a professional, and you should give them the professional courtesy of letting them know.  Even though your items are not insured, they are still committed to the safety of your vehicle.  The company will always do everything they can to get your vehicle to you without any damages.  Trust in them, and they will deliver.

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