Can you put stuff in a car before shipping? | Citizenshipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

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Continuing our informal odd-questions-answered series, here’s a query we get every now and then. Customers want to know, can you pack a car that is being shipped? As in, load it with personal items that also need to be moved? So you kill two birds with one stone…?

If you’ve ever considered this option, rest assured that you wouldn’t have been the first. Sometimes when moving house, you desperately need a little bit of extra space in the loading truck. So maybe you pop a few of the boxes into the trunk of a car that’s also going the same way. What’s the worst that could happen?

We’ll get to that, but as far as the basic premise goes, it’s technically doable. Does your car have to be empty to be shipped? No, it does not. You could ship a car full of stuff… but this comes with a couple of important caveats.

Caveat #1: Let the driver know of your plans

When arranging for the car to be shipped, you’ll need to state what objects will be stored inside. The transporter that you hire will want all the cards on the table, avoiding any misunderstandings at drop-off.

Some transporters might refuse to ship a car stuffed with personal objects. If they’re worried about liability in cases of theft or property damage, they’re within their rights to say no. Assuming they’ve agreed, they might want the extra cargo enumerated and added to the shipping contract.

The additional weight is rarely an issue unless you’re *really* stuffing the car with junk. But if the items are valuable, transporters might add a surcharge to account for the added liability. As always, it’s up to you to negotiate these details personally.

Caveat #2: Understand the risk that you’re taking

Of course, stuffing the car with extra cargo does carry a certain risk. If the items aren’t properly secured, they can be shaken loose in transport. This might result in damage, either to the items themselves or the vehicle’s interior.

Perhaps more importantly, your car is unlikely to be shipped straight to its destination, with no stopovers. When they park, any personal items inside the car practically invite burglary. That’s why transporters might ask you to position all the bags or boxes low, unlikely to be seen from the outside.

In case of theft, you’d hold the transporter liable for damages, so make sure they’re insured. If their policy doesn’t cover items stored in the car, you might be looking at a long legal process.

So, the final call…?

Considering the caveats above, can we stuff a car before shipping? Yes, technically you can, if your driver agrees. Here’s a quick list of dos-and-dont’s you might want to consider first:

  • Fragile items stored in the car might need special packaging
  • Try to keep all the extra containers below the window line
  • Avoid loading the car with particularly valuable items
  • Never load the car with items the driver is unaware of

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