We get this question a lot! Although it seems obvious to use your vehicle as a moving container since it's not on the road, it's actually not allowed for the most part.
The answer as far as the DOT is concerned is “no”. But the truth is that competition has made it so carriers allow for a small amount of personal items in the vehicle. The average is about 100 pounds. This is limited that way so it won’t put the carrier over their allowed weight limits. This would be the equivalent of a couple of bags of clothes or 2 full-size suite cases.
These items should be tucked in to the trunk area where they cannot be seen by prying eyes. Remember, the insurance only covers “motor-cargo”, so personal items should be placed at your own risk. This is because the Federal and State Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations prohibit the transport of household items in vehicles being transported by auto carriers. If you are sending your vehicle to Canada, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico you may not pack anything.
These vehicles must go empty. Items left in them will be discarded or destroyed at the port. Under NO circumstances can any vehicle being transported contain firearms, illegal substances, hazardous materials, or contraband.
Most carriers do not carry cargo insurance (not to be confused with motor cargo), therefore your personal items are not covered in the event these items are lost, stolen, damaged or cause damage to your vehicle. You are safer to ship them through an accredited shipping company that fully insures such items. If you do choose to put personal items in your vehicle the weight cannot exceed 100 pounds.
The Department of Transportation does not legally allow for the transport of household goods (personal belongings) in vehicles being transported on auto carriers. although rare, they have been known to take vehicles off the truck, for inspection, and simply force the carrier to leave goods sitting on the side of the road. All trucks are subject to this. Please remember this when preparing your vehicle for shipment with ANY carrier.