Do Car Transport Services Search Your Car When You Ship It?

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Do Car Transport Services Search Your Car When You Ship It?
Do Car Transport Services Search Your Car When You Ship It?

So, you’re ready to ship your vehicle. You may be sending your car to a nearby state, across the country, or across an ocean. Wherever your vehicle is landing, you might be wondering how auto transport services approach car inspections. 

It’s natural to ask vehicle inspection questions when shipping your car. Maybe you’re feeling uneasy about the prospect of someone looking in your vehicle—empty or not. It’s a given that all auto transport companies are going to inspect the outside of your car. Exterior car inspections allow an auto transport service to document your vehicle’s condition before the car’s arrival. Recording a vehicle’s condition protects the transport company from false damage claims. 

Interior vehicle inspections are another story. 

What’s the Likelihood of an Auto Transport Service Inspecting Your Vehicle?

Most auto transport services don’t have much interest in what’s inside your car. Quick interior vehicle inspections are most common when a vehicle travels to destinations like Hawaii or international locations. When an auto transport company performs an examination, their primary aim is to see how clean the car’s inside is. An unclean vehicle poses a certain level of risk.

Having loose items inside your car like electronics, air fresheners, or other miscellaneous items can cause damage to your vehicle’s interior. Damage inside your vehicle can occur if your car hits some uneven terrain and loose items begin to get tossed around your car. Removing unessential items like air fresheners and safely storing away more essential items like electronic equipment can help you maintain your vehicle’s interior sections. 

We’ll get more into car theft during auto shipping later on, but for now, we’ll make the obvious statement that every driver wants to minimize the likelihood of theft. GPS units are common interior vehicle accessories. Failing to remove an accessory like a GPS unit can signal an opportunity for theft—especially if you’re opting for open-carrier transport. 

A vehicle’s exterior inspection is ultimately more critical to a vehicle shipping service. You should be the one that invests the most time in inspecting your vehicle’s interior to lower your car’s risk of theft and damage. 

Auto transport customers often wonder about interior inspections if they plan to pack personal or household items in the vehicle they’re shipping. Before you set aside items to pack in the shipping vehicle, you must evaluate whether or not this is a legal practice.

Do Auto Transport Services Search Your Car When You Ship It

Is Shipping Things in Your Car Illegal?

The Department of Transportation is the highest point of reference when evaluating the legal status of packing personal items in a vehicle that you’re shipping. As of now, the Department of Transportation has not put out a statement saying vehicle shipping companies can ship personal or household items being stored in a client’s vehicle. Don’t lose hope if you’re planning on packing some personal or household items in the car you’re shipping. It’s technically legal to store personal items in the vehicle that you’re shipping. Different auto transport companies have various rules surrounding these practices. 

What Are Some Basic Rules Regarding Shipping a Vehicle With Personal Items Inside?

While it’s not technically illegal to pack personal or household items in the vehicle, you’re shipping, packing illegal items in your car is. Auto-shipping companies commonly communicate an item weight limit you’ll need to abide by when packing your car with personal belongings. The general weight range for this rule generally lies in the 100–150-pound capacity. Sticking within the 100–150-pound range allows you to pack personal items within your car free of charge. Many auto transport services will have a “below the window requirement.” 

The “below the window” rule refers to the practice of packing personal items in your vehicle below a window’s sightline. Sticking to the “below the window” rule helps minimize the risk of theft. Tall piles of personal belongings on an open-carrier transport trailer can potentially tip off a thief. “Below the window” doesn’t only assist vehicle owners. Overpacking a vehicle can result in the obstruction of a vehicle’s driver seat. Drivers hauling your vehicle need to have an open driver seat to move your car on and off of the hauler. 

Personal item weight limits are a great topic to explore during your consultation with an auto transport company. Ask for a specific weight limit per vehicle. Going over this weight limit commonly results in additional fees. Expect the auto shipping service to request that you secure the personal items that you’re shipping. Packing personal items in your trunk is a reliable way to secure your property. If you’re storing items in other sections of your car’s interior—do your best to pack these belongings away in closed boxes or containers. 

Should I Worry About Possible Thieves Within Vehicle Shipping Services?

Working with a reliable and professional auto shipping company will help minimize your chance of dealing with shady activity. We emphasize the importance of conducting a background check on an auto transport service you’re considering since some companies are up to no good. You mostly have to worry about the possibility of third-party thieves snatching personal items within your car. Following the guidelines mentioned above, like the “below the window” rule and selecting enclosed auto transport, can help you minimize theft risks. 

Car transport services won’t insure the items within your vehicle as their primary concern is the safety and condition of the car itself. The fact that personal items within your vehicle won’t be insured underscores the importance of locating a professional and reliable auto shipping company. While your personal items won’t have insurance, a reputable auto transport company will do its best to maintain the safety and condition of your personal property. 

How Can I Learn More About Storing Personal Items Within a Vehicle I’m Shipping?

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Joe WebsterWritten By:Joe WebsterConnect with Joe Webster on facebookConnect with Joe Webster on linkedin

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Satisfied Customers

“I am meticulous when it comes to everything. At first, I was thinking of just driving all the way to Illinois from New Jersey. A friend recommended me to go to A1 Auto Transport and told me a lot of good things about them. I refused initially because I had filed a 4 day leave just to drive and visit my mother. But things did not go well. My boss asked me to cancel my leave because a very important client asked for an urgent meeting, and the manager could not attend to it. I was hopeless and took the risk of asking help from A1. The notice was short and I forgot I needed to inform them in advance. After a couple of hours, I received a call and they told me they found a way to book me with no extra fees. I am so thankful I got to attend to my work matters. I did not get to see my mother, but the vehicle and items inside it were in perfect condition as if it was me who took care of it. I owe you guys big time! I got one huge deal from our client.”

“The plan was to ship my car from California to Utah. I went through nearly 20 quotes after using an auto shipping site which linked to a bunch of brokers. Finally, I found A1 Auto Transport, a company with its own trucks with great reviews. I was sold. Joe was very competent, gave off the impression he’d done this a million times, and it really showed throughout the transport. He listened to my request carefully, offered me several options, stayed in touch during the transport, and made sure I was happy with everything. Overall, a great company which I would definitely recommend to others!”

“I’m so glad I met you Joe!! A truly fortunate experience. Having to transport a car to Minnesota, I was stunned to see the company, who was supposed to take care of it, just vanish. I couldn’t reach them anymore, like they went bankrupt overnight. However, I was lucky enough to not pay anything, so I simply researched some more until I found A1 Auto Transport. Joe answered my call the first time and we soon agreed on a date and a quote. Unfortunately, I got caught up in work and forgot about it. The order was not confirmed, so Joe must’ve thought I changed my mind. I called him the next day and arranged for a new date. This time, I made a note on my phone and it went well. I replied to his email this time, and the driver arrived at a parking lot down the street on time, as promised. The driver was nice enough to not mention my previous mistake. He delivered my car in just 3 days. Upon careful inspection, there were no scratches or damage done to it during transport. Joe was there along with the driver and they both waited patiently until I was satisfied. Thanks!”

“A1 Auto is kind of like your favourite mom and pop pizza parlour, the one you can’t get enough of despite all the new, expensive avant-garde pizza shops that have mushroomed conspicuously across the entire neighbourhood and seem to have taken over the whole world...but not you. Because you value quality and genuine customer service, and know this business understands and works doubly hard to give you your money’s worth. I’ve been using A1 Auto Transport whenever I left California for business: they may not be the cheapest car transporters around, but the sheer professionalism, dedication, and heart they put into their work is just amazing and worth my every dime. I’m probably one of the most sceptical people you would ever meet. I’m rarely convinced when bombarded with dubious, self-congratulating ads of companies that look like they’ve spent tons of money on marketing materials just to lure your average guy in. A1 Auto Transport is the complete opposite of these companies. My car always arrived promptly on schedule, never with a hint of scratch or dirt or damage, and they keep me updated every step of the process. When you’ve found a company whose genuine care for their customers comes naturally, you stand by them no matter what. It’s the most logical thing to do.”

“A1 Auto Transport helped me move a vehicle to Iowa from Houston. I was a bit nervous, no knowing much about such services. Thanks to Joe, I was able to clear the fog a little. He answered all my questions and explained everything in a way that left no room for interpretation. The details were straightforward. I picked Sunday as the pickup date, since I wasn’t at work, and they accommodated me. The truck arrived an hour early, yet the driver patiently waited for me to arrive. He thoroughly checked my car for scratches or anything that might affect the transport then drove it onto the truck. I was given a 2 day time window during which the car was supposed to arrive in, and it got to Iowa in the evening of the first day. The trip didn’t damage it at all. Next time a friend wants to move, I’ll surely recommend A1 Auto Transport.”

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

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
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
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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