Hiring a professional auto transport company is a convenient and reliable way to ship your vehicle across the country. It can also be a helpful service when purchasing or selling a vehicle from a distance as well. That said, many people are unsure of how the process works and might feel uneasy about handing their car over to a complete stranger to transport it thousands of miles away. Here are a few tips to help you choose a reputable shipping company and ensure your vehicle arrives safely at its destination.
As with any service, it’s important to shop around and compare prices. Most reputable shipping companies should be able to provide you with a free quote. Be watchful, however, for prices that seem too good to be true. If one company’s prices are drastically lower than everyone else, this could be a red flag that the company is not legitimate.
Research the Company
Before selecting a shipping company, be sure and do some research to make sure the company is reputable. Legal carriers should be registered with the Department of Transportation and should have valid Motor Carrier Authority. You can also check the company’s safety record on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. Finally, be sure and read all reviews and check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Confirm Your Carrier’s Insurance Coverage
When choosing an auto carrier, you want to make sure the company is properly insured should anything happen to your vehicle. Most carriers will provide $50,000-$100,000 in coverage, with some offering additional coverage at a higher price. Your transporter should be able to provide a Certificate of Insurance to prove their coverage policy. You should also check with your own auto insurance company to see if your vehicle is covered during transport.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipment
Before handing your vehicle over to the carrier, there are certain things you should do to prepare your vehicle for shipment. First, you should clean your vehicle and document any existing damage. It is also a good idea to take pictures as evidence of your vehicle’s condition. You should also remove all personal belongings from your vehicle and leave your gas tank ¼ full.
Keep a Realistic Timeline
Transporting your vehicle across the country could take a couple of weeks. Therefore, it is important to plan well in advance. In doing so, keep in mind that your expected delivery time is only an estimation and is subject to change. Unlike standard parcel shipping, auto shippers can experience unforeseen delays such as bad weather, traffic jams, and road closures. Whenever you are shipping a vehicle across the country, it's important to be patient and keep a realistic timeline.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.