Bill Of Lading Explained

The bill of lading is a very important document that should not be brushed aside like some old dirty napkin. Most people that are moving, or having their cars shipped don’t even know what a bill of lading is. Just the name itself sounds rather confusing. First, let’s breakdown the name.We all know what a bill is, but in this case the word bill actually just refers to a document, contract or a piece of paper. It is not a bill, like your utility bill. The second word, “lading” simply means goods, items, or freight that is carried by a large vehicle. So if you put the two together you get, a contract that refers to goods carried by a large vehicle.

Why is This so Important

The bill of lading is the most important document when it comes to shipping your vehicle, or hiring a moving company. It is the contract between you and the company that you have chosen to either ship your vehicle, or ship your personal belongings. Without this piece of paper, all sorts of things could go dreadfully wrong. This document is required by law for every shipment.

Being that the bill of lading is a contract, it should be looked at very closely, and just like every other contract, the bill of lading should not be signed unless you fully understand what it means to you and your shipment. This is your responsibility.

If there is anything on the bill of lading that you do not agree with, don’t sign it until you and the auto shipping company or moving company have come to some sort of mutual agreement.

Here is what you should expect to find on every bill of lading.

The name and address of the company that is handling the move should be clearly written on the bill of lading. If more than one company is taking part in the shipping, then their name and address must also be on the bill of lading as well.

Contact Information

The bill of lading must also have a clear contact section that should list the name, address and phone number of who you are expected to call during the shipment.


The form of payment that was agreed upon must also be clearly written on the bill of lading.

Pickup and Drop Off Dates

The dates that the company is expected to pickup and return your merchandise should also clearly be written on the bill of lading.

Every vehicle that takes part in the shipping process must also include their vehicle identification numbers on the bill of lading.


The bill of lading must also list all of the costs associated with the move. It should list the terms of the payment, the method of payment, and the maximum amount that the company expects to charge you. If there is any type of insurance involved, it must also be on the bill of lading.

The bill of lading must also always be with your shipment at all times. This very important document must never leave the shipment until it is delivered.

Now that you know a little more about the bill of lading, you also know why it is so important.