There are only two documents that you’ll absolutely always need when having your vehicle shipped. However, we’ll walk you through the main types you may have to deal with during your transportation journey, inform you what they’re used for and when you may need them.
Auto Transport Document Types
|Document Type||When You'll Need It|
|Copy of Insurance Certificate||Prior to Dispatch|
|Bill of Lading||On Pickup and Delivery|
|Lienholder Authorization||At Sea Ports|
|Absent Owner Authorization||At Sea Ports|
|Title and Registration||Rarely Requested|
|Proof of Insurance||Rarely Requested|
|Photo ID||Rarely Requested|
Copy of Insurance Certificate
Although you as the customer do not typically need insurance to have your vehicle shipped, your Transport Carrier does. As the coverage amounts may vary, it is recommended that you check that the transporter is adequately insured. You may also wish to make sure you understand all terms and conditions that may apply to how and when your vehicle will be covered during transport.
Bill of Lading
The word ‘lading’ is an old English term that means ‘to load’. The word ‘bill’ refers to a receipt or written statement. The Bill of Lading is therefore a statement of receipt for your vehicle being loaded onto a transporter.
This document, sometimes referred to as the ‘BoL’, is of the utmost importance when shipping your vehicle. It serves as proof of a transporter’s possession of your vehicle as well as its condition at both pickup and delivery.
It is of vital importance to make note of any damage to your vehicle on this document prior to signing it. Insurance companies will not cover for repairs unless the damage has been listed in the BoL.
If you’re still paying off a vehicle loan, your financial institution, or lienholder, will require you to obtain formal authorisation before having your vehicle shipped from a sea port. It you are shipping your vehicle to or from Hawaii, a letter from the lienholder is required to give you permission to have the vehicle relocated.
Absent Owner Authorization
This document will only be require if your vehicle is being shipped through a port. You will need this if you want to authorize someone other than yourself to pick your vehicle up at the destination port.
Title and Registration
Most companies do not ask for these documents, but you may wish to ask your carrier prior to pickup just to be sure. The title proves ownership of the vehicle and the registration indicates that your vehicle has been legally registered within your home state.
Proof of Insurance
A customer is rarely required to have personal insurance for their vehicle to have their vehicle shipped. However, not all shipping companies will have adequate insurance for your specific vehicle type. In these situations, you may with to explore additional shipping coverage from your own insurance company.
A photo ID is rarely requested prior to having a vehicle shipped. However, should you insist on payment options outside of company policy, some shipping companies may require a copy of your driver’s license.
Although most companies will not require all of the above document from you, it’s always best to enquire as to what paperwork you may need to prepare prior to shipment. We recommend locating your paperwork early in the process to ensure everything is up to date and that you have enough time to contact your lienholder, if necessary.