The Essential Checklist: What To Do Before Shipping an RV?

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated: May 31, 2023 / Published: May 13, 2023

The Essential Checklist: What To Do Before Shipping an RV?

Shipping an RV across states or across the country involves more than just hiring a transport company. One question that every RV owner should ask is: what to do before shipping an RV? Preparing your RV for shipping is crucial to ensure its safe and secure arrival at the destination. Here’s a comprehensive guide outlining the key steps you need to take.

Pre-Shipping Checklist for RVs

Inspect Your RV Thoroughly

The first step in answering the question, “What to do before shipping an RV?” is conducting a thorough inspection of your RV. Check for any existing damage, such as scratches, dents, or broken parts. It’s a good idea to take detailed photographs of your RV from all angles, which can serve as proof of its pre-shipping condition. Don’t forget to inspect the interior as well.

Secure Everything Inside the RV

Before shipping an RV, it’s crucial to secure everything inside. This includes cupboards, drawers, doors, windows, and any loose items. Anything moving or shifting during transportation should be securely fastened or removed to prevent damage. Don’t forget to secure appliances, electronics, and furniture as well.

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Empty Tanks and Disconnect Utilities

Another important step when considering what to do before shipping an RV is to empty all tanks, including water, sewage, and propane. Any liquids can add unnecessary weight and could potentially cause issues during transportation. Also, remember to disconnect all utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water.

Remove or Secure External Accessories

If your RV has external accessories like antennas, satellite dishes, or awnings, you must remove or secure them before shipping. These items can easily get damaged during transport, so storing them inside the RV or removing them altogether is safer.

Perform Necessary Maintenance

Before shipping an RV, it’s essential to perform any necessary maintenance. Check the tires for proper inflation and good condition. Ensure the battery is charged, and all lights are working correctly. If your RV has any mechanical issues, it’s better to address them before shipping to avoid any complications during the transport.

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Inform the Transport Company of Any Special Instructions

When you’ve done everything you can on what to do before shipping an RV, it’s time to communicate with your transport company. If your RV has any quirks or specific handling instructions, inform the company. The more they know about your RV, the better they can ensure its safe transport.

For more insights on shipping an RV, visit this comprehensive guide on shipping an RV.

Check Your Insurance Coverage

Before handing over your RV to the transport company, ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. While professional transport companies usually provide some form of coverage, it’s important to understand the details of the policy. Verify whether your personal RV insurance policy provides any coverage during transport.

Prepare for Pickup

The final step in answering “What to do before shipping an RV?” is preparing for the pickup. Ensure your RV is easily accessible for the transport company. Check if any local regulations or permits are needed for the pickup, especially if your RV is particularly large.

Why CitizenShipper Is a Great Choice for Shipping an RV

When it comes to shipping an RV, choosing the right transport service is crucial. CitizenShipper offers an excellent platform connecting RV owners with a network of reliable, experienced transporters. They provide a competitive bidding system, thorough vetting of transporters, and an easy-to-use interface. This makes CitizenShipper a great choice for stress-free RV transportation.

Documenting Your RV’s Condition Prior to Shipment

Another essential step to consider when contemplating what to do before shipping an RV involves documenting its current condition. This process is vital for several reasons. It helps you have a detailed record of your RV’s condition before it’s moved, and it provides a reference point in case any damage occurs during the transportation process.

Begin by conducting a comprehensive inspection of your RV. Look for any existing dents, scratches, or other forms of damage. It’s advisable to focus on both the interior and exterior, leaving no stone unturned. Key areas to check include the roof, windows, tires, undercarriage, and all sides of your RV.

Next, take photographs. Photographs provide visual proof of your RV’s condition before shipping. Ensure you capture clear, high-resolution images that accurately represent your RV. Take multiple pictures from different angles and focus on areas that already have any noticeable damage. Remember to date these photos for reference.

In addition to photographs, consider creating a written record detailing your RV’s condition. In this document, describe any pre-existing damage you’ve noticed during your inspection. Mention the location of the damage and its extent. If you have any repair history documentation, include this as well. This record can be valuable if any disputes arise about new damage after transportation.

Lastly, share this documentation with your chosen transport company. Providing them with a copy of your RV’s condition before shipping ensures transparency and reduces potential disputes. It’s a good idea to go over the document with the transporter during the pickup to make sure they’re aware of any pre-existing damage.

In conclusion, taking the time to document your RV’s condition before shipment is a valuable step in the overall process of preparing an RV for shipping. It provides peace of mind and serves as a crucial part of protecting your investment during its journey.


Why do I need to empty the tanks before shipping an RV?

Emptying the tanks reduces the weight of the RV and eliminates the risk of spills or leaks during transport, which could cause damage.

How do I secure items inside an RV?

Secure loose items with straps, bungee cords, or ropes. Lock all cabinets and closets. Consider removing valuable or fragile items.

How much insurance coverage do I need when shipping an RV?

The amount of insurance needed depends on the value of your RV. Consult with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate coverage.

Do I need to be present when the RV is picked up for shipping?

Yes, you or a designated person should be present to oversee the pick-up, answer any questions, and sign necessary documents.

Why should I choose CitizenShipper to ship my RV?

CitizenShipper offers a network of vetted, experienced transporters, competitive pricing, and a user-friendly platform, making it a top choice for RV shipping needs.

Conclusion: Ready for Shipping an RV

In conclusion, knowing what to do before shipping an RV is crucial for a smooth and successful transportation experience. By following these steps and choosing a reputable service like CitizenShipper, you can rest assured your RV will be well taken care of.

Shipping an RV doesn’t have to be stressful. By following these steps on what to do before shipping an RV, you can ensure a smooth and secure transport process. The key is thorough preparation and clear communication with your chosen transport company. For more resources and regulations on RV transportation, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.