Understanding Auto Shipping Terms & Conditions

Understanding Auto Shipping Terms & Conditions
Published on July 11, 2022

In daily life, we are used to accepting any terms and conditions that pop out while downloading an app or visiting a website without reading a word. However, when it comes to formal contracts, every letter counts. Therefore, it is important to know what you are signing for in detail and know the meaning of all terms and conditions. In this article, we will demonstrate the terms and conditions of auto shipping contracts in general:   

Common Terminology in Auto Shipping 

While reading the auto transport terms and conditions, you might come across some words with a specific definition. Below we’ll introduce the auto shipping terminology you can use when interpreting a contract. However, remember that sometimes meanings change according to the context, and it’s a better decision to consult the auto transport company for more details:

  • The shipment: the property or vehicle the company will transport.
  • The shipper: this word can hold two meanings. It can either refer to the person requiring the auto shipping or the carrier responsible for the transportation. Therefore, this term should be agreed upon when signing the contract.
  • The customer: the person or party requesting the transport from the auto shipping company.
  • The carrier/transporter is the trucking entity physically responsible for the auto shipping and could also indicate the shipping truck itself.
  • Carrier form: this refers to the documents and billing papers issued by the auto shipping company, such as shipping orders, inspection reports, and receipts.
  • Broker: generally, it indicates the mediator between two parties, and in the auto shipping industry, it nearly also has the same meaning. As it is the party hired to make arrangements and agreements, it suggests auto shipping companies to clients and provides them with options and information.
  • Customer’s agent: it represents a person legally authorized to sign and act on behalf of the client when they are unavailable.
  • Order: the order the customer submits to the auto shipping company for the shipping service. 
  • Order confirmation: it includes any written confirmation regarding the auto shipping services sent from the broker or carrier. 
  • Destination: it indicates the desired drop-off point for the shipment, which the customer specifies. Both parties should approve any modification in written form. 
  • Inoperable: when your vehicle can’t be driven onto a trailer and needs special equipment to load and unload it, it is called inoperable. (Read about inoperable car shipping).
  • Point of Origin: it is the shipment pickup site that the customer locates.  
  • BOL: this abbreviation refers to “Bill of Lading,” as it is a detailed listed receipt of the auto shipping service presented by the transporter. It also serves as a contract of all the included duties, such as the cargo condition, the pickup and drop-off points, updated reports, and additional services. It is essential to read before approving and ensure the auto shipping company is responsible for preserving your vehicle’s state.  
  • COD: an abbreviation for “Collect on Delivery/ Cash-payment on Delivery.” 

Find out more terms in Auto Transport Glossary.

The Service Sections 

This section explains the auto shipping company’s transportation process and commitments toward you as a customer. Moreover, it should also estimate the time frame, pricing, and transport type. Still, as many variables interfere with the auto shipping field, these data are subject to changes the company will inform you about. 

You are contracting with two entities when transporting your vehicle through a broker.

Therefore, pay attention to the type of responsibility the broker holds, whether it ends after fulfilling your needs for the most convenient auto shipping company or continues to stay in charge of the delivery process until the shipment is successfully delivered. 

The Entities Responsibilities 

It’s important to understand each party’s role to guarantee an effective auto shipping process. Therefore, the contract informs you of all the obligations and requirements of all concerned entities. 

The Broker 

It is the broker’s job to nominate several auto shipping companies that meet the client’s needs regarding time, price, and transportation type and reach out for an agreement; they arrange the logistics of the client’s shipment.   

The Carrier 

The implementation of the arranged transport plan is their primary goal, where they are responsible for:

  • Safely load, transport, and unload the shipment
  • Adhere to the point of origin and destination as close as possible
  • Regularly conduct inspections and reports about the shipment state 
  • Issue a bill of lading upon picking up and dropping off

The Customer 

In parallel, many contributions are required from the customer to disclaim their liability and ensure a better trip for their vehicle. These responsibilities include: 

  • Provide accurate information and locations
  • Prepare the car for shipping by fixing any malfunction and lost parts
  • Perform an inspection of the vehicle before and after delivery and carefully read the bill of lading before signing
  • Remove personal belongings and empty the glove pocket, trunk, and seats

Fees, payment, cancelation, and refund sections 

  • The chosen payment method and deposit policy
  • Consequences of canceling the reservation.
  • Conditions and percentage of a refund, and how to apply for it
  • Termination without compensation policy; where the auto shipping company has the right to cancel the shipment when discovering certain items in the shipment, for example, guns and weapons, anything flammable, explosives, alcohol and narcotics, live pets or plants, and anything considered illegal.


Ask for more details after reading the agreement, as it is your right to know and fully understand every item of the auto shipping contract. So, take your time before signing, and do not hesitate to ask questions. 

Tempus Logix has a professional team of agents ready to walk you through the process of transporting any type of vehicle across the United States. The company arranges all required documentation and offers a detailed explanation whenever requested.

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