Things to Know About Auto Transport Insurance


When it comes to shipping a car, whether for a relocation, a seasonal move, or purchasing a vehicle from another location, ensuring a smooth and secure transportation process is crucial. One of the key factors to consider is auto transport insurance. 

Understanding the importance of insurance coverage and taking necessary precautions, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is protected throughout the transport process. 

Do You Need Insurance to Ship a Car?

Short answer: No, you do not need insurance to ship a car. Auto transporters are required to carry liability and cargo insurance as regulated by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). This insurance is intended to protect against damage or loss that may occur during the transportation process.

Auto Transport Insurance: Things to Know

What does liability insurance policy cover?

It’s important to know that auto transporters’ liability and cargo insurance typically only covers damages they may cause while transporting your vehicle. This means it might not cover all the potential risks and damages your vehicle could face during transit.

As the owner of the vehicle, it is generally recommended that you have your own insurance coverage to protect against any unforeseen events or damages that may occur during the shipping process. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is adequately protected.

What are some auto transport insurance requirements to consider?

When selecting an auto transport company, it is important to verify that they carry the minimum insurance requirements. Here are some other important things to consider.

  • Motor Carrier (MC) number and Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements: Carriers need a valid MC number issued by the DOT to comply with regulations, including insurance requirements.
  • Enclosed auto transport: Ask if there’s an enclosed transport option. Enclosed auto transport is a service that provides an extra layer of protection for your vehicle during transportation.
  • Understanding deductibles, coverage limits, and types of damage covered: Understand the auto transporters’ insurance policies regarding deductibles, coverage limits, and the types of damage covered.
  • Optional additional coverage: Some companies offer extra coverage for extra peace of mind. Assess your needs to determine if additional coverage is necessary.

How much does auto transport insurance cost?

Auto transport insurance is included as a standard part of the service, and there are no additional costs associated with it. There may be supplemental or additional coverage options available for those who wish to further enhance their insurance protection.

Auto Transport Insurance: Tips for Smooth Car Shipping Experience

To have a smooth and secure car shipping experience, here are some tips to consider:

  • Request proof of insurance from the auto transport company: Before entrusting your vehicle to a transport company, ask for proof of their insurance coverage. Reputable companies will readily provide this information to protect your vehicle during transit.
  • Obtain written agreements and document special considerations: It’s important to have written agreements that outline the terms and conditions of the car shipping service. If any special arrangements are beyond the standard contract, document them in writing. This helps prevent misunderstandings and serves as a reference in case of any issues.
  • Check your auto insurance policy for coverage during transit: Contact your auto insurance provider to determine if your vehicle is covered during transit. While some policies may offer coverage, verify the extent of the coverage and any requirements, such as providing shipping notification. Having your insurance in place can provide extra protection for your vehicle.
  • Remove personal items from the vehicle: Before handing over your vehicle to the transport company, remove all personal belongings. Auto transport insurance typically does not cover personal items; leaving them in the vehicle increases the risk of damage or theft during transit. Ensure the interior of your vehicle is clean and free from loose items.
  • Conduct thorough inspections before and after shipping: Perform a comprehensive inspection of your vehicle before loading it onto the carrier. Note any existing damage and take photographs to document its condition. Upon delivery, conduct another thorough inspection to ensure it has arrived in the same condition. If you notice any damage, document it and inform the transport company immediately.
  • Properly document vehicle condition with the Bill of Lading: During pickup and delivery, complete a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s condition with the driver. Note any damages or issues on the Bill of Lading, a legal document proving the vehicle’s condition before and after shipping. This documentation will be essential if you need to file a claim for any damage during transit.
Prepare Vehicle Transport

Auto Transport Insurance: Filing a Claim

In the event of damages during transit, filing a claim for auto transport insurance can be a straightforward process if you follow these steps:

  • Acknowledge the rarity of damages during transit: While it’s uncommon for damages to occur during auto transport, it’s still essential to be aware of the possibility. Understanding this can help alleviate concerns while ensuring you’re prepared for damages.
  • Compare the vehicle’s condition before and after transport: Conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle before it is transported. Note any pre-existing damages or issues and take photographs as evidence. When your vehicle is delivered, compare its condition to the documented state before transport. If you notice any new damages or discrepancies, address them promptly.
  • Report damages to the auto shipping company: If you discover damages upon delivery, immediately inform the company. Contact their customer service or claims department and provide them with detailed information about the damages. They will guide you through the claim process and assist you in resolving the issue.
  • File a complaint if necessary: If the auto shipping company fails to address the damages adequately or provide a satisfactory resolution, you may need to escalate the matter. File a complaint with relevant authorities, such as the Better Business Bureau or the appropriate regulatory agency, who can help mediate the dispute and ensure a fair resolution.

Keep in mind that each auto transport company may have specific guidelines and procedures for filing claims. Please familiarize yourself with their requirements and follow their instructions to ensure a smooth resolution to your claim. 

Auto Transport Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about auto transport insurance and their answers:

Do I need my own insurance to ship a car? While not required, having your own insurance when shipping a car is highly recommended. The carrier transporting your vehicle should have liability insurance, but having your insurance can provide additional protection and coverage for any damages not covered by the carrier’s policy.

Is my vehicle fully insured during car transport? The insurance coverage for your vehicle during car transport depends on the carrier’s policy. Typically, carriers have liability insurance that covers common cosmetic damages such as dents and scratches.

Can personal items be shipped in the car? Personal items inside the vehicle are not covered by insurance. Removing personal items from the vehicle is generally recommended to reduce the risk of damage, theft, and comply with insurance policies. Some auto transport companies may allow you to store personal items in the car, but there are usually limitations on weight. It’s important to check with the auto transport company for their guidelines.

What should I do if my car is damaged during transport? If your car is damaged during transport, document it by noting it on the Bill of Lading and photographing it. Report the damages immediately to the auto transport company and follow their instructions for filing a claim. They will guide you through the process and help resolve the issue.


Choosing an auto transport company requires considering auto transport insurance to ensure a safe and stress-free car shipping experience. Understanding the details of this insurance can safeguard your vehicle and provide comfort during the entire process.