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How to Get an Oversized or Overweight Permit

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Oversized Permits
  2. Overweight Permits
  3. Divisible load permits
  4. Non-divisible load permits
  5. How to Get Oversized or Overweight Permits
  6. Directly obtaining a permit from a governing body
  7. Getting a permit through a permitting service
  8. Before Applying for a Permit
  9. Additional Fees and Regulations
  10. Insurance
  11. Pilot car services
  12. Why Choose A-1 Transport?
How to Get an Oversized or Overweight Permit

Oversized or overweight permits allow particular trucks and trailers to carry more significant weight than their standard counterparts.

They are not only legal but are also required if your truck exceeds a specific gross combination weight rating (GCWR).

There are two types of oversized permits available, one being an oversize permit and the other being an overweight permit. Both are issued by local jurisdictions and vary depending on the state.

Oversized Permits

An oversize permit is a special permit issued by the State Department of Transportation (DOT) for a vehicle that exceeds specific dimensions.

The purpose of the oversize permit is to allow drivers to transport oversized freight and equipment such as construction machinery, farm tractors, and trucks for highway use.

If your vehicle exceeds the dimensions of 53' long, 13½' high, and 8½' wide, you will need an oversized permit.

These dimensions may vary by state; you must check the requirements of each state you intend on traveling through to protect yourself from legal issues.

Overweight Permits

An overweight permit is required if:

  • The gross weight of your vehicle and cargo exceeds 80 000 lbs
  • Tandem axle weight exceeds 34 000 lbs
  • Single axle weight exceeds 20 000 lbs
  • You are carrying a non-divisible load

Depending on the cargo you're transporting, you will require either a divisible or a non-divisible load permit. See below for the difference between the two.


Divisible load permits

A divisible load can be broken into smaller pieces. For example, a pallet of goods would be considered a divisible load.

A larger piece of machinery that can be disassembled and put back together could also be considered a divisible item.

Non-divisible load permits

A non-divisible load is one whose total weight cannot be divided into smaller parts. For example, you could qualify for a non-divisible load permit if separating the load:

  • Will make the vehicle's intended use impossible to carry out, compromising its intended use and function
  • Will destroy the cargo or the vehicle's value by rendering it useless for the intended use
  • Needs more than eight hours of labor to disassemble the load using the proper tools (burden of proof is required to show the necessary hours to disassemble the freight)
  • Is impossible to disassemble without destroying the load

How to Get Oversized or Overweight Permits

Depending on your shipment's route to your desired location, you may need permits for the township, county, or state levels.

To determine which permits to get, you must know which entity owns the road your shipment will be traveling on.

You can get these permits directly from the governing body or through a permit service.

Directly obtaining a permit from a governing body

A pre-existing account with each township, county, and state is usually required to obtain a permit directly from the governing body.

These accounts allow for quick and inexpensive permits for companies when needed.

When searching for a transporting service, it's essential to check that the transporting provider holds the accounts for the specific route your oversized load needs.

This can save you money and ensure your shipment is delivered on time.

Getting a permit through a permitting service

If you want to move your shipment yourself, you can go through a permitting service.

A permitting service is a company that specializes in processing applications for oversized or overweight permits.

Permit service providers also use their in-depth knowledge of each state's criteria for permissions to obtain the oversized permits their clients require.

This option is ideal if you already know the route you want your shipment to take.


Before Applying for a Permit

Before applying for an oversized or overweight vehicle permit, you should check the following items off the list below:

  • The scheduled date for shipment
  • Beginning and end points for the route
  • Detailed descriptions of all cargo (length, width, height, weight, etc.)
  • Information on truck and trailer being used for transport (license plate, serial numbers, spacing distance, axles, make, and model)
  • DOT number of the transportation provider

The information you're required to provide may change depending on which option you choose to go with.

Additional Fees and Regulations

Jurisdiction regarding oversized and overweight loads varies from state to state.

It's important to double-check with the transport service provider and government websites to ensure you have the correct documentation and permits.


All vehicles carrying oversized loads must have insurance for the cargo.

The minimum amount of insurance required varies depending on the load being hauled.

Most companies offer coverage for heavy equipment in the contract. Talk to your shipping company for more information regarding shipping insurance and coverage.

Pilot car services

Many states require a pilot or escort car to accompany oversized loads during transport.

The purpose of a pilot car is to assist the truck driver carrying the heavy load. Therefore, the pilot car should always follow behind the primary vehicle.

Sometimes an additional pilot car is ahead of the truck to guide the other driver along the road.

Pilot cars help prevent accidents and ensure safe passage. Usually, sirens and lights are included in these vehicles.


Why Choose A-1 Transport?

At A-1 Auto Transport, we offer heavy equipment shipping services.

We can take on the hassle of oversized load permits and delivery your heavy equipment.

You can rest assured your equipment is in good hands with trustworthy service and competitive rates.

Contact us at 1-888-849-2447 to learn more, or visit our website for a free quote.

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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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... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

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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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