Cars & Vehicles

Car Shipping Insurance: Importance of Bill of Lading

Nobody wants their vehicle to sustain scratches, dents, or mechanical issues when it is being shipped. However, all these can happen regardless of how professional and skilled the staff of an auto shipping company are. Yes, the company’s expertise and skills can reduce the chances of these damages happening, but it does not completely eradicate it.

There are so many factors at play when it comes to the safety of a vehicle in transit. This is why the answer to the question “Do you need insurance to ship a car?” is a big yes. Without insurance, you would have to pay out of your pocket for any damage your car gets while being shipped.

When it comes to making a car shipping insurance claim, the content of a particular document may make or break your case. This document is known as the bill of lading. Unfortunately, not a lot of people using auto transport services understand the importance of this document. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss what this document is and how it can help you secure your car shipping insurance claim.

Meaning of Bill of Lading

The term bill of lading (otherwise called BOL) is used to refer to a legally binding contract between a shipping company and the customer. Typically, the company prepares this document and both parties will have to sign it. Not only is BOL a contract, but it also serves as the receipt for the transaction.

For you to claim your vehicle upon delivery, you will likely be asked to provide the BOL. On-road inspectors may also ask for the BOL to be sure the carrier is carrying what they claim to be carrying. When it comes to your insurance claim, this document is also the legal tender for you to prove the damage done to your vehicle.

Meaning of Bill of Lading

Importance of Bill of Landing to Auto Shipping Insurance

During pick-up, the company will inspect the vehicle and note the dents, scratches, and other damages the car might already have. To aid this inspection, ensure that you thoroughly clean your car (either at home or in a vehicle wash) to make any cosmetic damage on the vehicle visible. You can check to learn how to thoroughly clean your car at home. After the inspection, the current damages on the vehicle will be documented in the BOL.

Afterward, the company will keep a copy of the BOL and give you your copy. When the car is delivered, you would then inspect it and check for any new damage. If you find any, you will first speak to the carrier about it, and then document it in the BOL.

The BOL will be required when you file a coverage claim for the current state of your vehicle. Because this document is legally binding, it will be legal proof of your claim. Without this, it will be very difficult to prove that your vehicle was the way you said it was.

This is what makes BOL a very important document when it comes to your auto shipping coverage. Although, you can take additional evidence like before and after pictures and video of your vehicle, the BOL is the major evidence that the insurance company will require. Also, because this document is legally binding, you can tender it as evidence during a court hearing. Going to court may be your last resort if the company denies your claim; in this case, the BOL will go a long way in proving your case.

What Information Does a BOL Have?

BOLs typically contain six important details. It is these details that make it possible for you the customer to present a BOL as proof for your insurance claim. The first information is the shipping company details such as name, address, and contact info. This section must also have the name of the driver, their ID number, and other important details.

The next important information a BOL must have is the pick-up as well as, delivery details like locations, date, and time. The vehicle’s information comes next; this includes important identification details of the car like type, make, model, plate number, color, and VIN. These details are necessary to prevent mix-ups and confusion.

The next section of the document will contain the car’s current condition. This is the most important section when it comes to the coverage. Every existing damage is noted in this section during pick-up to prevent dishonest customers from making false claims afterward. In the same way, you’ll note any damage you notice after delivery in this section.

BOLs must also include shipping terms such as payment options, transportation modes, third parties, and so on. Finally, as a contract, BOLs must have the signatures of both parties. This element is very important as the document can’t be legally binding without it; you can check here to read about the importance of signatures. With the signatures of all parties on the document, it can be used legally to make your insurance claim.


It is one thing to have insurance coverage on your vehicle when shipping it. It is another thing to be able to lay a proper coverage claim. Thankfully, with a bill of lading a person has legal proof for their shipping coverage claim. In this article, we have discussed how this document can help you make a proper insurance claim for any damage your vehicle sustains during the shipping process.

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