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Can I pack personal belongings in my classic car during shipping?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Why You Shouldn't Pack Personal Belongings in Your Classic Car During Shipping
  2. The Risks Involved
  3. Legal Implications and Insurance Coverage
  4. Alternatives to Packing Personal Belongings in Your Classic Car
  5. Conclusion
Can I pack personal belongings in my classic car during shipping?

When preparing your classic car for shipping, you might wonder, "Can I pack personal belongings in my classic car during shipping?" The simple answer to this question is typically no. Most car shipping companies strongly advise against packing personal items in your vehicle during transit. While it may seem like a convenient way to move some of your belongings, there are several reasons why this practice is discouraged. These include safety concerns, the potential for damage to your classic car, and various regulatory restrictions. It's essential to understand these factors before you hand over your precious vehicle to an auto shipping company.


Why You Shouldn't Pack Personal Belongings in Your Classic Car During Shipping

The idea of utilizing the extra space in your classic car to transport personal belongings might appear appealing. However, there are valid reasons why auto transport companies discourage this practice.

Firstly, safety is a primary concern. Unsecured personal items inside your car can shift during transit, potentially causing damage to your vehicle's interior. Furthermore, these items can turn into projectiles if the transport truck has to make a sudden stop or maneuver, creating a risk for the shipping company's personnel.

Secondly, the added weight from personal belongings can cause issues. Auto shipping companies calculate their prices based on the weight of the vehicle. If your car is heavier than expected because it's packed with personal items, you may be charged extra fees.

Additionally, car shipping companies are not licensed to transport household goods. According to regulations laid down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), only companies with a special license can transport personal belongings. If a shipping company is found in violation of these rules, they could face hefty fines.

Lastly, insurance is a critical factor to consider. Auto transport insurance typically covers the car but not the personal belongings inside. Therefore, if your items are damaged or lost during transit, the auto shipping company's insurance will not cover these losses.

The Risks Involved

Packing personal belongings in your classic car during shipping can expose you to several risks. One of the most significant is the potential for theft. While auto transport companies take measures to secure vehicles during transit, they do not provide the same level of security for personal items left inside. If your car has visible items, it could become a target for thieves.

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, personal items can move around during transit and cause damage to your vehicle's interior. Classic cars often have unique, hard-to-replace interiors, and any damage to them can significantly reduce their value.

Another risk is that your items might cause damage to the transport truck or other vehicles being transported. If your personal belongings move around and shatter a window, for instance, you could be held liable for the damages.

Finally, there's the risk of regulatory penalties. If a car shipping company is found to be transporting personal items without the proper license, they may face fines, which they could pass on to you. Moreover, your items may be confiscated during routine inspections by transportation authorities, causing you to lose valuable or sentimental items.

As you navigate the car shipping process, understanding the legal implications and insurance coverage is crucial. Auto transport companies are governed by strict regulations from bodies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations prohibit shipping companies from transporting personal items in a vehicle without a specific license for household goods.

Auto transport insurance is another critical aspect of shipping a car. It's important to note that this insurance coverage typically only applies to the vehicle itself and not any personal belongings inside. This means if your items are damaged, lost, or stolen during transit, you would not be covered.

Furthermore, if your packed items cause damage to your classic car or others on the transport truck, the repair costs may fall on you. The shipping company’s insurance may deny the claim, citing that the damage was caused by items that shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Lastly, if you're shipping your classic car internationally, consider the customs regulations of the destination country. Many countries have strict rules about what can and cannot be imported, and violations can result in hefty fines or confiscation of your items.


Alternatives to Packing Personal Belongings in Your Classic Car

Given the risks and regulations associated with packing personal belongings in your classic car for shipping, you might wonder about alternatives.

One option is hiring a professional moving service to ship personal items. These companies are licensed and insured to transport household goods, offering you peace of mind. Sure, it's an additional cost, but it ensures your items are handled professionally and arrive safely at your destination.

Another alternative is using parcel or freight services for smaller, less bulky items. These services have weight limits and size restrictions, but they can be a cost-effective solution for shipping items that won't fit into your luggage.

Additionally, some auto transport companies offer a personal items shipping service separate from their vehicle transport. If you have only a few items, this could be a viable option. However, always confirm with your auto transport company first to avoid any misunderstandings or issues.


While it might seem convenient to pack personal belongings in your classic car during shipping, it's generally not the best approach. The risks, potential legal implications, and lack of insurance coverage make it a risky proposition. Instead, consider alternatives like hiring a professional moving service or using parcel services.

Remember, the primary goal of an auto transport company is to ensure your classic car arrives safely at its destination. By keeping your car free of personal items, you can help facilitate a smoother and safer transport process. Always consult with your chosen auto transport company if you're unsure about any aspect of the shipping process. They can provide guidance based on their experience and expertise, helping you make the best decisions for your unique situation.

Ready to ship your classic car safely and efficiently? Trust A1 Auto Transport, the industry leader in auto shipping. We prioritize your vehicle's safety above all. Don't risk packing personal items in your car; let us handle your precious cargo professionally. Get a free quote today!

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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