What Are the Documents Needed to Ship a Car?

More things are involved in the process of shipping a car to another state or country than just finding a reputable auto shipper and making reservations for shipping.

Certain paperwork will be required by any legitimate auto carrier as part of the requirements to ensure the safety of your vehicle and their company.

You have to pay serious attention to details when shipping your car. It is important to make available relevant paper works to fast-track your car shipping.

When shipping your car, motorcycle, RV, truck, or ATV across the United States through an auto shipping company, you will be required to provide certain information, which includes documents like photo identification, original title, and registration, as well as proof of insurance.

However, you can easily get confused about the documents needed for your auto transport, but not all the time. Although you may have to work with several documents when shipping your car, however, two documents are most necessary, and they are your insurance policy and your bill of lading.

Apart from these, there are also some others that will be required by various stakeholders that are involved to clear your car. In this post, we want to highlight the documents needed to ship your car.

What Are the Documents Needed to Ship a Car?

In this article

Basic Documents Required by Car Shipping Agents

Below is the full list of the documents you are to submit when shipping your car to another state or country:

Bill of Lading

There is no document as important as the auto shipping bill of lading, which is also known as BOL. It serves as proof of delivery and indicates your car’s condition during pickup and delivery.

You won’t receive any claim from insurance companies if you do not indicate any damage on the bill of lading, which is supposed to serve as proof.

Proof of Car Insurance

Proof of insurance is needed to transport your car, so contact your provider to know if your policy is still valid because your vehicle cannot be shipped without a valid insurance policy.

Personal Information

Usually, your personal information will be required by everyone involved in the shipping process. Two copies of driver’s license, passport, or any government-issued identification will be required by the shipping company so they can work perfectly with all the necessary paperwork.

Original Registration and Title

You must provide this to ensure your vehicle gets shipped. Notarized permission to ship the car in the form of a letter is required from the lienholder if a lien is indicated on the title, whether it is leased to you or financed.

The required information includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), the name of the auto transport company, and the full name of the person acting on behalf of the owner.

Title Lien

If there is a lien on the car, then a letter from the lienholder is required, that you have the full permission to ship the vehicle. You will attach three certified copies of the Original Certificate of Title to the letter.

In some cases, a lienholder authorization is required if your car shipping company will be transporting through a seaport. This condition is only applicable to Hawaii; however, make sure you ask your financial institution for clarity’s sake.

Insurance Terms and Conditions

You, as a customer, don’t necessarily need insurance to ship your car, but your shipping company does. There are different kinds of coverage amounts, so you need to find out how much cover your auto transporters can provide.

Make sure you carefully read the insurance terms and conditions before going into agreement with any car shipper.

Photo Identification

You need to provide a passport from your country of residence or a state-issued identification or driver’s license. These means of identification have to be active and up to date.

Absent Owner Authorization

This is another document required by an auto shipping company if your car is to be transported through a seaport. It is mostly required if you want to authorize a third-party to pick up your vehicle at the destination seaport.

Original Power of Attorney

The Original Power of Attorney document is required if you are sending or receiving your truck, RV, car, Motorcycle, or ATV as a third party. This document gives you legal permission to import or export the vehicle on behalf of someone.

Other Information

Create a list of all personal belongings (if any) traveling in a container along with your vehicle. Although the auto shipping company is not liable for any of the personal items loaded in the car, it is nice to give them a list of the contents so that they can add it to your booking details.

Shipper and Consignee Information

You will be given this form to fill out by the car shipping company. The necessary shipper and consignee information includes the following: name, address, and email, and phone number for the two persons shipping the car from the country of origin, including the consignee (the receiver of the car) at the destination country.


You can use credit cards for the initial deposit. Only certifiable funds such as money order, ACH, cashier’s check, direct deposit, or wire transfer (which attracts a bank fee of $15) are acceptable for the remaining balance.

The initial deposit is determined by the estimated shipping cost during booking. The remaining balance is due for payment when the car is picked up or dropped off if you plan to deliver the car to the port of origin.

FAQs on Car Shipping Paperwork

What is the meaning of a bill of lading?

A bill of lading is simply a receipt or invoice for vehicle transportation. It serves as proof of vehicle delivery and your vehicle’s condition at both pickup and delivery.

You can think of a bill of lading as an inspection report that you use to note any damage incurred on your vehicle during transit.

For more on a bill of landing, read the ultimate car shipping checklist.

What is the meaning of lading?

Lading means to load. It is an old English word. A bill of lading is a receipt or invoice for items that are loaded onto a transport truck or boat.

Is a bill of lading necessary?

Yes, it is. You will be given a bill of lading by the car transport company to verify delivery and also allow you to record any damage to your car while making the trip.

Am I required to have insurance by the U.S. DOT?

There is no need for personal insurance to transport your car; only the car transporter is required to provide insurance. However, you may contact some insurance companies that offer car shipping insurance as additional coverage.

Can I use a debit card to ship my car?

The majority of vehicle shipping companies allow debit cards, cashier’s checks, personal checks, or credit cards as a means of payment.

Click our article on the cost of a car transporting to know more about shipping prices.

What does lienholder on a car title mean?

The car lienholder is the lender that the car owner is expected to repay to gain possession of the title and it is one of the essential documents required for car shipping. In as much as you are yet to pay off the loan on the car, the name of the lienholder remains on the title.

What does a Lien Title mean?

A lien title can be referred to as the fact that an entity (this unnecessarily the “owner”) has rights or is in possession of a piece of property, such as a car, house, or other related properties. The lien title implies that the registered owner’s loan has not been settled.

However, other reasons besides a vehicle loan can make a car to have a lien on it. If the registered car owner is owing to the government, such as back taxes, or others, a lien might be on the car until the owner pays off the debt.

Car manufacturers or loan companies are usually in possession of liens over cars because dealerships do provide car buyers a loan. Hence, in as much as the vehicle or truck has financing on it, the car lien belongs to the manufacturer of the loan company.

Other Information about Car Shipping

You may still have some questions to ask about how to ship your vehicle even though you’ve decided to ship it. There may be a need for you to know the cost of shipping a vehicle.

You also may want to know the role of an auto shipping broker as well as their responsibilities. You can find all the information you need right here in the article section of our website.

We have provided answers to many of your car shipping related questions.

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