Auto Shipping Insurance and Liability Explained

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Auto Shipping Insurance and Liability

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Your car is probably one of your most expensive possessions. Like anything expensive, it can cost a lot to repair or replace. You are required to have car insurance just to own and use a car, but what about when you move it? If you need to enlist the help of an auto shipping company to transport your car during a move, where does the insurance come from? What type of insurance can keep your car safe?

Automatic insurance

Law requires auto shipping companies to have some sort of insurance plan in place to protect your vehicle when shipping. You already have your own car insurance just by owning a car, as well. Both insurances automatically come into play when shipping a vehicle.

When searching for a good auto shipper, you should always ask each company about their insurance coverage.
  • Make sure everything is in writing and ask for copies of the policies
  • You may have to pay extra for additional coverage to protect your vehicle
  • Things like water damage may not be covered in the base plan
Once you have a sense of what type of coverage the auto shipping company is going to provide, you should call your own car insurance provider. Ask them what type of coverage they provide for shipping a vehicle. You may already be sufficiently covered in the policy you have already bought.

Third party insurance

If you are not comfortable with the coverage that both the auto shipping company and your car insurance provider are offering, you could buy third party insurance from another auto insurance company. You may do this to fill the gaps in the coverage you already have, or simply use the third party company to cover everything. Try to keep track of what is getting covered by which company so you don't end up paying for things twice. Also, remember that the base insurance from the auto shipping company and your personal car insurance company are always going to be active.


Be sure you have copies of all the involved companies' insurance policies. The auto shipper should  provide you with the Bill of Lading, as well. All these documents are crucial for determining liability in case you need to submit a claim for damage to your car. With possibly three different companies in play, it is important to keep all of this paperwork well organized and labeled. Multiple companies may be liable should anything happen to your car and each of them is going to want written proof that it is their responsibility to pay.


The inspection process is another important aspect of determining liability for any damage to your car. Your vehicle must be inspected for functionality and aesthetic damage both before and after shipping. It would be a good idea to be present for these inspections so that you can photograph and document your vehicle's condition before and after the shipping. The company does this themselves, but your presence will ensure that the inspection is accurate and that they don't cut any corners. This is done to make sure that any damage to your vehicle that wasn't there before transit is attributed to the shipping process.

Remember that all companies involved will not be held liable for any items contained in the car during shipping or for any damage that they cause. You won't be allowed to ship your vehicle at all if the auto shipping company finds stowaway items in your car. Make sure your car is completely empty when preparing your vehicle for shipping.

Once you feel that you have all the necessary coverage for your car, you can ship it with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that in the rare case of it getting damaged, you will not have to pay for the repairs. That is the point of insurance, after all.

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on July 2, 2014 - Moving Expert
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