Many customers who are shipping a car are doing so for the first time. As they navigate the process, they are likely to come across a few terms that might not be familiar to them. One of these terms is a “bill of lading” also abbreviated as BoL. This term is used a lot in the auto transportation industry as well as other shipping and freight industries, but it’s not something that the average person knows much about. The bill of lading is one of the most important documents involved in shipping a car so let’s learn a little bit more about what it is and why it’s so important.
What is a Bill of Lading?
The bill of lading is an important legal document that specifies exactly which vehicle will be transported, where it is being transported to and from, and who is doing the transport. It also includes detailed information regarding the condition of the vehicle before it is turned over to the transportation company and then the condition of the vehicle is documented again before it is handed back over to the owner. Essentially, this document serves as a legal contract between the transport company and the owner of the vehicle. The law requires that a bill of lading be prepared by the auto transport company prior to shipment. It acts as a receipt for record-keeping and it is also required by insurance companies should a claim need to be made on a vehicle that was shipped. This document should be prepared by the auto shipping company, and both the owner of the vehicle and the driver hauling the shipment must receive a copy prior to shipment.
What Information is Included on the Bill of Lading?
There are six important pieces of information that must be included on the bill of lading and these include:
- Shipping Company and Driver Details- The bill of lading should include which transport company is handling the shipment as well as their address, contact number, the motor carrier ID number of the carrier, and details of the driver. Should the vehicle be transferred to another carrier along the way this information must also be included.
- Pickup and Delivery Information- Every BoL should also state the exact time, date, and location of pickup as well as an estimated delivery date and the delivery location.
- General Vehicle Information- The BoL should include information about the vehicle being transported including the year, make, model, color, license plate number, and VIN number.
- Vehicle Condition- Prior to shipment, the owner of the vehicle and the transport driver will perform an inspection of the vehicle and document its condition. Any physical damage such as scratches, dings, or dents should be noted on the BoL. This same inspection will be performed upon delivery of the vehicle and any damage should be reported immediately and noted on the BoL. This is required for insurance claims.
- Payment Information and Terms and Conditions- The BoL should contain information regarding the form of payment being used, as well as any deposits or advanced payments that may have been made. It should also include any specific terms and conditions that have been agreed upon.
- Signature- Finally, the vehicle owner, driver, and shipper must sign off on the BoL before the vehicle can be shipped.
The bill of lading is an extremely important legal document that protects both the owner of the vehicle and the shipping company against damage, payment fraud, or fraudulent insurance claims. It is required by law and allows a shipping company to transport one’s personal vehicle from one location to another. It acts as proof of transport and must be signed upon delivery and pickup of the vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Your Car Moving Questions
The hardest thing for people researching car moving companies to understand is that the prices they are getting are not hard and fast gaurantees, but rather ESTIMATES of what one company thinks it will take to get a vehicle moved promptly versus another company's opinion of what it will take. Don't be fooled, there are not carriers committed to take your vehicle at these quoted prices, the company you choose will still have to get to work getting a carrier to commit to move it at the price they quote you.
Your total price breaks down into two parts, the broker's fee (or 'deposit' as everyone calls it) and the carriers fee (your COD amount) Make no mistake about this, EVERYONE YOU ARE GETTING SALES CALLS FROM IS GOING TO BROKER YOUR MOVE. In this industry, there are brokers who try to fool you into thinking that they are the actual carriers and there are an equal amount of carriers who sell themselves on the fact that they have a truck or two but are not being honest about the fact that they broker out 90% of the orders they book. Here is a quick easy way to tell, if a company takes an up front fee, whether they call it a deposit or any other name, they are a broker. Carriers do not take any payment until the vehicle is delivered.
In our opinion, you are crazy to do so. Have you ever been paid up front for the work that you perform for your employer? Why would you pay a fee up front when there are reliable and trustworthy companies like ours that won't ask for it until we provide you with your carriers details?
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will be between one and two weeks. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.