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Tips for Shipping a Car With Household Goods

What's in this article?
  1. Three Things To Consider When You Ship Household Goods
  2. Use Packaging Appropriate For Home Goods Shipping
  3. Consider International Customs Regulations
  4. Find Moving Companies That Move Cars And Furniture
  5. Get Insurance To Ship Goods
  6. Don’t Stuff The Interior With Household Goods
  7. Clarify The Delivery Terms And Costs
  8. Choose Enclosed Transportation
  9. Follow The Carrier’s Instructions To A Tee
  10. Should You Be Shipping A Car With Household Goods?
  11. Don’t Ship Household Goods Without Hiring The Right Carrier
Tips for Shipping a Car With Household Goods

Some people who ship cars have additional transportation needs. This may involve household goods, personal items, etc.

It’s often tempting to see shipping a car with household goods as a cheap solution to all your delivery needs. But while it’s legal, it can be more complicated than you think and not always advised unless following specific protocols.

Three Things to Consider When You Ship Household Goods

Whenever you ship a car, the carrier weighs your cargo. The weight directly impacts the delivery cost. The more items you pack in your car, the heavier it will be and the more you’ll have to pay when shipping a car while moving interstate.

If shipping a car with household goods was your solution to not pay for delivering those goods, you could be in for a rude awakening, especially when shipping household items that weigh a lot.

Granted, the extra weight may or may not make a big difference in delivery costs. Another thing you might want to consider is theft. If you leave valuable household goods in your car, someone might be tempted to break in and steal them.

This is particularly dangerous when you want to ship household items, but you pick an open trailer transport for your car.

Lastly, think about what those goods are worth to you – and not just the monetary value. Maybe you can go forward with the home goods shipping method of storing them inside your car. Perhaps your insurance even covers them. Well, money won’t make up for their sentimental value if they get damaged, stolen, or destroyed.

If you do want to solve your household good shipping needs simultaneously with relocating your car, have a look at the following tips to ensure you do it correctly.

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Use Packaging Appropriate for Home Goods Shipping

Shipping a couple of items that fit in your trunk may sound like a good idea. You can easily conceal them to prevent theft, and the trunk can offer shade and protection from road debris and the elements.

But don’t make the mistake of stuffing your items in the trunk without packing them. Using even a single layer of bubble wrap goes a long way toward preventing scratches, dents, and fragile items from breaking.

You may also want to sort and store items in multiple boxes for delivery. Household items that aren’t separated can bang against each other the entire time they’re in transit.

If you want to be extra safe, you can take it one step further and buy plastic storage or shipping crates. Many storage crates are waterproof and come with thick walls that provide an extra layer of protection.

Furthermore, you can stack crates, which leads to more efficient space usage. This can enable you to ship even more items and save yourself from having to wait on multiple deliveries.

If you’re not sure how to pack your items, ask the carrier for some guidance. If they allow home goods shipping, they could give you some tips or even guidelines you must follow.

You should also know that some drivers may refuse to take your car unless everything is neatly packed and secured inside it.

Consider International Customs Regulations

Goods shipping overseas comes with its own problems. Just because your car clears customs doesn’t mean the valuables inside will be allowed in by customs agents.

Talk to your carrier about any restrictions you might encounter with home goods shipping to a foreign country.

This might help you decide whether it’s possible, what you can send, and how it should be packed.

It may not seem important, but not following specific guidelines can cause problems and halt the international moving process before it leaves the country. A great example of this is if you’re trying to ship an e-scooter to another country.

While there’s nothing wrong with the scooter itself, disassembled and packed inside your car, airlines require specific packaging for lithium batteries. Otherwise, they won’t accept them as cargo.

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Find Moving Companies That Move Cars and Furniture

This should go without saying, but not everyone thinks about it when planning to ship household goods.

You need a specific type of carrier to ship items inside your vehicle. You need to hire a moving company that provides home goods delivery services.

If a carrier isn’t specialized in home goods shipping, they can refuse to handle your delivery. Household items can have this effect on shippers when introduced into the mix.

This mostly happens due to how the cargo insurance works, not to mention the extra headache it can cause.

Get Insurance to Ship Goods

Speaking of insurance, when you ship your car, carriers cover it through cargo liability insurance.

But just because your car is considered cargo, it doesn’t mean your phone, clothes, microwave oven, or other items inside it are classified as insured cargo.

The typical car transportation insurance only covers the vehicle itself and its components, not non-vehicle-related items and accessories.

This is very important to understand if you ever planned to hide some items in your car to ship them for free. If something happens to those items, you can’t blame the carrier.

Furthermore, even if the carrier wants to help you out, the insurance won’t cover anything but the cargo.

Before you ship, household goods insurance should be a priority.

There are a couple of ways to get it. First, you can ask the carrier if they handle household goods shipping. If they do, there’s a good chance they have separate insurance to cover cargo transported inside your car.

But that’s not a guarantee. You can talk to a transportation broker if your carrier doesn’t have insurance. Freight brokers connect customers with carriers based on the customers’ needs and the carrier’s service package.

In addition, some brokers sell extra insurance packages that may cover liability coverage for goods shipping inside cars.

And if that doesn’t work, perhaps you can talk to your own insurance provider to find out if they have a policy that fits your needs for shipping a car with household goods.

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Don’t Stuff the Interior With Household Goods

If you’re working with a carrier that offers home goods delivery services, be mindful when you start packing items.

Putting things in the trunk is recommended. Leaving items on the backseat or behind the front seats on the floor is okay.

However, putting your boxes or crates in the front of the car isn’t recommended. This could make it difficult for the carrier to move your vehicle and require them to handle your extra cargo directly. The latter could cause some issues with the liability coverage.

Clarify the Delivery Terms and Costs

Most car transportation companies are different from moving companies that move cars and furniture. This means they’re unlikely to get involved with home goods shipping.

But some carriers want to go above and beyond to satisfy their customers and will offer this as an add-on, optional service.

You must understand the terms if you really want to ship goods inside your car.

Every carrier will have their own internal policy on how to handle these requests. Each shipper may have a unique method for calculating the home goods delivery cost based on their coverage, the extra weight, the value of your items, etc.

Don’t ship anything inside your car until you know how to pack it, if the carrier has liability insurance, and how they provide security during transit.

One of the most critical aspects to clarify is the weight limit and cost per extra pound. Remember that some carriers do multiple deliveries in a single run. Therefore, your car won’t be the only one hauled on the trailer.

This means there’s a strict weight limit the carrier must abide by to avoid getting fined. If the trailer is already stacked with vehicles, you might not be able to ship many household goods.

Knowing the weight limit is essential to figure out if a carrier can meet your requests and how much you can expect to pay.

Choose Enclosed Transportation

Household good shipping is best reserved for cars shipped inside enclosed trailers. People rarely try to steal cars directly from trailers. But breaking the windows and running away with some boxes is really easy.

While open trailers can be attractive targets, enclosed transport trailers make good deterrents. Additionally, a closed trailer will conceal everything inside your car. This will make break-ins less likely to occur due to a lack of temptation.

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Follow the Carrier’s Instructions to a Tee

Assuming your carrier agrees to ship household items stored inside your car and outlines their terms, don’t forget to follow the rules to the letter.

Contracts are drafted to protect both the shipper and the customer. But you’ll often find that if you skip some packaging steps, ship the wrong items, or don’t adhere to some terms, the carrier might not be liable for what happens to your goods during transport.

Don’t rely only on common sense judgment when packing your items. Do it as the carrier instructs, and prepare your vehicle accordingly before pickup.

This will prevent an insurance appraiser or carrier from using contractual loopholes to punish you for your negligence.

It may sound harsh, but plenty of customers try to take advantage of carriers this way too. Ensure you understand the contract, terms, and obligations, and be contractually savvy. If you stick to the instructions, you’ll have more peace of mind and guaranteed coverage for your cargo.

Should You Be Shipping a Car With Household Goods?

As already mentioned, this isn’t exactly standard industry practice for car carriers. That doesn’t mean it’s rare or impossible to find a home shipping service that can help you kill two birds with one stone.

But here’s a question you should ask yourself. Do you need to mix transporting your car to a new location with household good shipping?

If you’re moving and taking a lot of furniture and appliances with you, chances are those items won’t fit in your car anyway. So, if you’re going to rent a moving truck or hire a furniture moving company, you can probably ship your car and home goods separately.

In some cases, shipping a car with household goods or personal items can make sense.

Say you don’t have more than a couple of boxes to take with you, and they easily fit your trunk. You can probably send those with your car, provided the carrier allows this and can do it safely.

That way, you may save a few bucks by not having to pay for a second delivery, and all your possessions will arrive at the same time as your car, ready to unload and use.

As you can see, shipping household items can be highly situational. Before getting involved with what is an arguably more complex process than shipping an empty car, at least be certain this is a service you need.

Don’t Ship Household Goods Without Hiring the Right Carrier

Home goods delivery services and shipping cars don’t always go hand in hand. Many carriers offer a complementary home shipping service that separates the cargo and uses different vehicles.

But if you want to combine the two to ship goods, know that it’s possible. It’s just not a standard service, which means you must do your due diligence before attempting it.

First, find a carrier willing to ship household goods inside your car. Then, ask them how to ship household goods to ensure they’re covered by liability insurance and protected from theft and damage.

Don’t try to ship household appliances and other items without notifying the carrier. They won’t be responsible for their safety by default, and getting a better deal isn’t guaranteed either.

Sticking to good, honest practices and working with reputable carriers will always yield better results.

If you’re still looking for assistance with home goods shipping, are curious about costs, or want to learn more about this process, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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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.
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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.

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Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!
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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!

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

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.

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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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