Auto Shipping Glossary

Auto Shipping Terms


A surety bond or trust fund in the amount of $75,000 is required by the FMCSA in order to maintain an active broker’s authority. The bond or trust fund is in place to offer some recourse in the event that a broker does not pay a carrier for transportation fees due.


Executive Auto Shippers is a broker licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A broker acts like a travel agent or travel booking website. Brokers facilitate a shipment by sub-contracting a qualified carrier that is able to meet the specific needs of the customer.

Cargo Insurance

A cargo insurance policy is a liability policy intended to cover possible losses for cargo being shipped. This type of policy is attached to the specific power unit (truck) that is carrying the cargo, owned, and maintained by the carrier that owns that equipment.


A carrier or motor carrier is the company that owns the car carrier equipment. This company performs the physical aspect of the shipment, takes possession of the freight.

Certificate of Insurance (COI)

A standard insurance document that is issued by an insurance agent. This document provides details about insurance coverages such as policy number, liability limitations, and expiration dates.

Classic Car

For the purposes of shipping, we classify any vehicle manufactured prior to 1980 as a classic car. For most classic cars our auto shipping experts will strongly suggest enclosed auto shipping.


This is an acronym for Cash On Delivery. This type of payment indicates that the payment is due upon delivery of your vehicle shipment. It also means that the acceptable forms of payment are Cash, Certified Check, or Money order.


This is an acronym for Cash On Pick Up. This type of payment indicates that the payment will be made when your vehicle is picked up. It also means that the acceptable forms of payment are Cash, Certified Check, or Money order.


The dispatcher is typically responsible for planning out each specific load and acts as the liaison between the driver and customer service. This process entails combining separate shipments that all meet certain criteria into one load.


A service that provides electronic signature services. Please ask if you are interested in signing your Shipping Order Form electronically.

Door To Door

Door to door is a common term used in the auto shipping industry and can be very misleading if not fully explained. It does not mean that the vehicle will literally be shipped from your door at the origin address to your door at the destination address. It actually indicates that there is no terminal involved at either origin or destination.


ELD is an acronym for Electronic Logging Device. This is a digital device that replaces paper logbooks, which as of December 18, 2017, has been mandated by the U.S. DOT.

Enclosed Transport

A car carrier that is enclosed on the sides and top, sheltering the vehicles and offering an additional layer of protection. Enclosed auto carriers can be either Hard Side or Soft Side carriers.


If you are shipping an INOP and your vehicle is not capable of rolling and steering correctly, you may need a forklift to load and unload your vehicle. For the purposes of auto shipping, a forklift is actually a large end loader. To load/unload it must be capable of lifting an entire vehicle 12′ into the air with forks that are at least 10′ long.

Hard Side Enclosed Transport

An enclosed car carrier with hard sides, typically made of aluminum or fiberglass. These types of enclosed car carriers are virtually airtight and offer the highest level of protection.


INOP is short for inoperable. For the purposes of auto shipping, a vehicle may be considered inoperable if it is unable to start and drive a great distance without issue. Non-functioning brakes, steering, or parking brakes may also cause a vehicle to be considered inoperable.

Open Transport

A car carrier that is open on the sides and top making the load of vehicles visible. The most common type of car carrier.

Pick Up Window

Pick up windows are used when setting a schedule to have your vehicle shipped. This is a range of days that your vehicle will be available for pick up. The specific range of days is estimated, not guaranteed and based on similar previous shipments.


Acronym for Privately Owned Vehicle.


Roll-On/Roll-Off refers to a type of overseas shipping whereas the vehicle is actually driven on/off of the seagoing vessel, rather than being loaded inside of a container first.


A small car carrier that typically only hauls one vehicle at a time. This type of equipment is normally used for very short routes or shipments within a city.

Soft Side Enclosed Transport

An enclosed car carrier with soft sides that open and close for the loading/unloading process. The sides are typically made of an industrial strength canvas. These types of enclosed car carriers offer more protection than an open transport by completely enclosing the vehicles. Since the sides do open and close this type of a car transport is not always airtight.


The tariff is the total amount you will pay for your auto shipment. This amount includes both the deposit payment as well as any COD or COP payments.


A terminal is a local business with a secured storage facility that may be used as part of an auto shipping solution to assist with pick up, drop off, or add additional services. Terminals are typically in the automotive industry, such as towing companies or automotive repair facilities.

Transit Time

The length of time from the carrier picking up your vehicle at the origin to the carrier delivering your vehicle at the destination.

Wheel Straps

Wheel straps are a method of securing vehicles on to the carrier. They are typically a soft strap that goes either over and around the tire or through the openings in the wheel.