Shipping a car to a new location can be a big, stressful task. If you're moving cross-country and need to transport your vehicle, it's important to prepare it well so that it reaches its destination safely.
In this ultimate guide, we'll explore how to ship a car across the country, several factors to consider when shipping a car, how to protect your car during shipping, and answer some common questions you might have about the process.
What to be Aware of When Shipping a Car Cross-Country
When you're not there to supervise your vehicle, shipping can be risky. Do your research: look for trustworthy transport companies with excellent customer reviews and competitive prices.
Check their credentials and make sure they have a license to operate and are insured. Ask for a written agreement and try to clarify all the procedures. Also, it's a good idea to document your car’s condition thoroughly before transporting it. Take high-quality images and make note of any damages or scratches it has.
If you can’t (or don’t want to) spend the time researching reputable companies, trust Ship a Car Direct to do it for you. We facilitate cross-country car shipping and only work with vetted, trusted car transport companies. We offer a damage-free guarantee to protect your asset and white-glove service.
How You Can Protect Your Car When Shipping
Once you have researched different companies and found the one that is the right fit for your needs, it’s time to prepare your car.
Start by cleaning it thoroughly to make sure it’s in good condition before transport. Any items in the car should be removed, and the fuel should be left with a quarter of a tank or less. You should turn off any car alarms, too.
How Clean Your Car Should Be Before Shipping
Before your cross-country vehicle transport takes place, cleaning it thoroughly is a good idea. This way, you can see any areas of damage that you may not have noticed under dust or mud.
Give your vehicle a thorough wash. You should remove any personal belongings, including anything of value, as most companies will not insure shipped personal belongings in the car. It can be a safety and weight concern, depending on what you have.
Can My Car Get Damaged During Shipping?
While transporting automobiles from one state to another, it is rare for damages to occur to the vehicle, but it’s always better to be prepared.
Choose an insured transporter to cover any losses in case of damage. Document your vehicle’s condition, and check its condition at delivery against the original condition at pickup. If there is any damage, notify the transport company immediately and take pictures if possible.
With Ship A Car Direct’s damage-free guarantee, you can be sure that your vehicle is covered during shipping.
Questions You Should Ask Before Shipping a Car
Before you take service from a car hauler, you need to ensure you're making the right choice for your car. Here are some of the questions you should ask any company you're considering:
- What kind of insurance coverage do they offer?
- What kind of delivery timelines do they provide?
- What licensing and certifications do they have?
- Do they have a damage-free guarantee policy?
- What payments are accepted for the service offered?
- Are there any hidden costs like fuel fees or surcharges?
- How do they handle difficult locations such as narrow streets or small communities?
That’s Everything You Need to Know on How to Ship a Car Across Country Stress-free
Shipping a car is a complicated process, but with the right preparation, it can be a smooth endeavor. By researching transport companies, preparing your vehicle, and understanding how the process works, your car will arrive at its destination safely and securely. If you still have questions on how to transport cars across country, check out these FAQs on car shipping.
Remember, when in doubt, always ask questions and work with a reputable transporter or facilitator that offers coverages like Ship A Car Direct’s damage-free guarantee.
"Looking to ship your car? Get a quote at our Ship a Car Direct website today!
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.