Though shipping your car is generally a safe process, accidents can and do happen. So, what do you do if your vehicle is seriously damaged during the shipping process? Here are a few things you need to know so you can be prepared in case the unexpected occurs during your vehicle’s transport.
Ask About Insurance Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until your vehicle is totaled to find out what kind of insurance your car carrier has. Rather, do your homework on the front end and prepare yourself in advance. It is required by law for auto transport companies to carry valid insurance and they should be able to present this information to you upon request. However, you need to find out what kind of coverage the company has and if the policy covers all damage or only certain items. Also, find out about any restrictions or limitations relating to weather or “acts of god” (earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, etc.) In addition to the auto transport's insurance, check with your own auto insurance company to find out if your vehicle will be covered during transport and purchase additional insurance if needed. Make sure you have everything in writing regarding the auto transport company’s insurance and your own personal insurance prior to transport.
Inspect Your Vehicle Immediately
It is critical that you inspect your vehicle immediately upon arrival. Assuming you performed a pre-shipment inspection, check for any new damage that may have occurred during shipment. If you find damage, take a photo of the damage right away and compare it with the photos you took beforehand. Along with the shipping representative, document any and all damage in the Bill of Lading and be sure to give specifics. Notify the driver or representative of the company immediately and make sure they sign the inspection documents. Next, you will want to visit a mechanic to get an estimate for repairs or have the vehicle declared totaled. Provide the mechanic’s report to the shipping company as well as your own insurance company.
If you are working with a reputable auto transport company, they should take responsibility for the damage and handle any and all costs associated with repairs and rentals. If you feel like the company has not been compliant, you should issued a complaint with the Department of Transportation and the Better Business Bureau.