Do I Need Insurance for Shipping My Car? Everything You Need to Know About it

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated: May 31, 2023 / Published: January 31, 2021
car, lifted

Do you need it? No. But should you get it? probably. It depends on the moving company, but it’s essential to check carefully the possible damages their insurance covers and consider on this basis if you buy additional insurance for the transport. Damage during car transport is rare, but it’s still important to be protected against potential accidents through comprehensive insurance.

The Legal Framework

No law requires you to insure your car for transport. By law, carriers are held responsible for having liability insurance from the United States Department of Transportation. But this just counts for carriers. The transporter industry separates between two structures of moving companies (and hybrids): Brokers and carriers. Brokers are often the companies that are the middlemen between customers and carriers. Many of the websites you encounter in your research for car transporters are broker websites. Usually, they work with a network of carriers, which are those people who are implementing the transport themselves and own the transporters to do so. These carriers must have insurance. Brokers don’t need to have insurance.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

The minimum your carrier’s insurance should include is liability insurance with cargo insurance. Most transporters have both. Cargo insurance covers all damages incurred during the transit of your vehicle that goes above the deductible. It is essential to know that this basic insurance doesn’t cover anything in the car, such as your possessions. The deductible, the terms, and the amount of money that the insurance covers an accident can vary with every company and its insurance. Before signing any contract, you should carefully read all of this insurance’s circumstances and don’t forget the fine print. Sometimes, eventualities that change the insurance coverage are written in the sections that are often overlooked. . 

Which Coverage is Enough?

For many people, this minimum insurance is not enough. While planning your vehicle transport, you should make sure that you have insurance that you feel safe with and protect you from any eventualities, so you’re not surprised if something happens. Again, find out the exact terms and details of the insurance your transporter provides. You should talk your car shipper directly the following questions:

  • What type of damage is covered?
  • Are extra items and add-ons, such as spoilers, included?
  • Are all parts of the car covered, or are specific pieces of the vehicle excluded?
  • What is the limit of your coverage?
  • Will I need to get additional coverage?

How Can I Secure Myself?

There are a few things that you should do before you finalize your decision on a car transport company and the insurance they provide.

Request Proof of insurance

First, you should check if your transporter is authorized by the Department of Transportation and carries its Motor Carrier number. Furthermore, you should ask every company you consider working with for a copy of their insurance certificate. They are legally obliged to give it to you, and if they are professional they will be more than happy to supply you with proof of their insurance and discuss its details. If the company is hesitating, it’s a bad sign for their credibility.

Contact Your Private Car Insurance Provider

You should talk to your car insurance provider to determine how much your insurance covers during the shipping and under which circumstances. Tell them about your plan to transport your vehicle, and maybe they offer additional coverage that you might consider purchasing.

Remove Your Possessions from Your Car

As mentioned before, your possessions are usually not covered by standard auto transport insurances. Removing them while preparing for the car shipping will give you peace of mind and secure your belongings.

Inspect and Document Your Car

You should document your car’s original condition before you give it to the shipper of your choice. This should be standard procedure for carriers, but it’s even safer to do your inspection beforehand. Take pictures of your vehicle from all angles and record any damages, lice chips, or scratches.

Insurance for Overseas Shipping

There are no legal requirements to get insurance when shipping vehicles overseas. Still, you should look for one covering all the possible damage occurring to the car as this is more likely to happen on a long international journey than a local one. Again, speak to your private insurance provider to find out about your possibilities.

How Do I Claim a File?

You should check your car very carefully during the delivery, document it from every angle, and take pictures of damages. If you can’t be present, you should ask a friend or family member to do this job. You must act fast if you discover any damages because you have a small window of opportunity for filing them. If you find damage, make a note on the Bill of Lading and get the driver to sign this form. Only then, should you accept the car and then contact your shipping and insurance companies immediately. If you found a reliable provider, they will want to resolve your complaint fast and smoothly. If not, you should file a complaint through the Better Business Bureau. 


It’s unlikely that your car gets damaged during transport, but it’s crucial to be prepared for all eventualities and unexpected accidents. Ensure you do detailed research prior to the trip and be informed about all your relevant insurance policies. Have a smooth car shipping experience!