What is the Bill of Lading?
When you ship a vehicle, the most important document involved will not be your license or registration. It will be the Bill of Lading which will be proved by your car shipping company. The bill of Lading is a legal transport document distributed by a carrier to a shipper. It is proof of the agreement you have with the auto transport carrier to ship your vehicle.
It is also the title of goods which legally binds the shipper to turn over the car (the goods in this case) to the consignee (car owner). It serves as receipt that the vehicle has been inspected and all pre-existing damage has been noted. It also serves as receipt upon delivery that the vehicle has been received and any new damage that occurred during the shipment has been noted. The occurrence of damage during a shipment is exceptionally rare. This is essentially a formality for insurance purposes.
A bill of lading is not actually a contract. It is evidence of a contract. The contract between someone shipping a vehicle and the carrier is formed when person shipping the car books their shipment with the carrier to transfer the car from point A to B. You won’t receive the bill of lading until your driver arrives to pick up your vehicle. The bill of lading will usually include the following information: Pick-up and delivery locations of the car, vehicle information such as make, model, year, VIN number & mileage, The inspection report regarding the vehicle’s pre-existing condition and damage as well as customer and driver agreement to terms & conditions.
What you will need to do with it
You will simply need to sign the Bill of Lading upon pickup. When you sign, it means you agree with all the pre-existing damage noted. You will also need to sign upon delivery. This signature means you recognize the car has been delivered. As you would with any other important document or receipt, be sure that you keep your copy in a safe place just in the rare case you need to reference it or use it in the future.
It should be no surprise that there will be paperwork involved when you ship your car. Fortunately, the paperwork will essentially begin and end with the Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading is a document that you will need to sign both upon pickup and delivery. It will serve as a type of receipt for the auto transport service rendered. It will also serve several other purposes including but not limited to being the title of goods for the vehicle as well as being evidence of the contract between the shipping company and the car owner.