If you are planning a long-distance move or you are interested in purchasing a car in another state, it may not be practical or possible to drive your car to your home. Car shipping is a convenient way to get your car from one destination to another without having to get behind the wheel. While the process is pretty straightforward, most consumers are new to the industry and do not have the slightest idea of how the process works or where to begin. Understanding how it works can give you a better idea of what to expect and how to go about finding the right auto shipping company.
1. Find a shipping company and get a quote.
The first step in the process is to do your research and find a reputable auto shipping company that meets your needs. Ensure that the company you are working with has proper licensing, registration, and insurance. You can verify this by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. You also want to check reviews both online and with the Better Business Bureau. In addition to checking credibility, you also want to ask for a price quote. Ultimately, you want to find a competitive price that seems reasonable. You don’t want to overpay, but paying too little can also be risky. The quote will be based on a number of factors including the size and weight of your vehicle, the distance you will be shipping it, the condition of the car, the time frame in which you need it delivered, as well as the type of transport you choose (open or enclosed).
2. Book your service.
Once you have decided on a car shipping company you can trust, it’s time to book your shipment. If possible, it’s best to book a couple of weeks in advance. This will ensure that a carrier will be available in your area. At this time you will also need to decide whether or not to use an open or enclosed carrier. You will also need to schedule either door-to-door service or terminal-to-terminal service. Finally, you will need to let the carrier know if you require expedited shipping services or if you are flexible with your delivery date.
3. Check insurance coverage.
At the time of booking it is always a good idea to check with the auto transport company regarding their liability insurance coverage. You may also want to check with your own insurance company to see what coverage you have and if you need to add more.
4. Prepare your car for shipment.
Once you have everything booked, it’s time to prepare your vehicle for shipment. Here are a few important things you need to do in order to prepare your vehicle to be shipped.
-wash the exterior
-take photos of the exterior of your vehicle and make note of any scratches, dings, or dents (these photos can be used to compare your vehicle’s condition upon pickup)
-perform an inspection of your vehicle and check for leaks, low tire pressure, low fluids, and check the battery
-make sure there is no more than a quarter tank of gas in the vehicle
-remove custom accessories such as alarms, spoiler, bike or luggage racks, or antennas
-remove all personal items from inside the vehicle
5. Gather your documents.
At the time your vehicle is picked up, the driver will ask for some important information to prove the vehicle actually belongs to you. You will need to show the original title and registration, proof of insurance, and a photo ID.
6. Sign the Bill of Lading.
Right before your car is loaded onto the carrier, you will be asked to give it one final inspection and make notes of any existing damage. At this time you will sign the Bill of Lading which acts as a contract to acknowledge the condition of your vehicle and the destination to which it is being shipped.
7. Pick up your vehicle.
The final step in the process is to pick up your vehicle. Depending on the arrangement, it may be delivered directly to your door or to the nearest terminal. Either way, you will inspect your vehicle again upon pickup and sign the Bill of Lading again to acknowledge receipt of the vehicle.
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.
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