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

What's in this article?
  1. What’s The Likelihood Of An Auto Transport Service Inspecting Your Vehicle?
  2. Is Shipping Things In Your Car Illegal?
  3. What Are Some Basic Rules Regarding Shipping A Vehicle With Personal Items Inside?
  4. Should I Worry About Possible Thieves Within Vehicle Shipping Services?
  5. How Can I Learn More About Storing Personal Items Within A Vehicle I’m Shipping?
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?

The widespread amount of auto shipping companies available at your disposal can make selecting a single company a seemingly difficult task. A-1 Auto Transport offers high levels of experience and professionalism so you can achieve a stress-free vehicle shipping process. Contact A-1 Auto Insurance today at 1-800-452-2880, so we can answer any questions you might have about us transporting personal items within your vehicle.

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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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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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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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