When you think about handing your vehicle over to a complete stranger to have it shipped across the country, it’s only natural that you might feel a little nervous. After all, a car is a very valuable asset and you don’t want to put it in the wrong hands. Finding a reputable shipping company online that suits your needs can seem like a daunting task, but the good news is that there are plenty of things customers can do to research car transport companies before handing over the keys. Here are a few helpful tips for choosing a trusted auto transport company.
Check for Proper Licensing and Registration
Most people begin their search for a shipping company online, but it can be difficult to determine whether or not a company is legitimate when you can’t visit their physical location. One way you can easily tell if a company is legitimate is by checking to see if they are properly licensed and registered. First off, it is required by law that all auto transport be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You want to look for an MC docket number, which verifies that the company is indeed registered with the FMCSA. Another federal licensing requirement is being registered with a USDOT number from the United States Department of Transportation. Although this is only required in 37 states, most reputable companies will have one and this is one of the best ways to check a company’s background and history. Finally, there are licensing requirements specific to each state so you want to make sure the company is properly licensed for their state.
Check Online Reviews
Once you have verified that a company online is properly licensed and registered, the next step is to check their reviews. Reading online testimonials and reviews can give you good insight into the company and how well they performed their services. In addition to reading reviews on the actual website, look for other reviews on sites like Yelp or Google Reviews. Most companies are only going to show positive reviews on their own websites, so these other sites can give you more authentic reviews. You also want to check reviews on social media as well as with the Better Business Bureau.
The industry is packed with different auto transport companies, but the most reliable shipping companies should compare well with others. While it’s normal to want to look for the best deal, beware of a company whose price is far lower than their competitors. Oftentimes, if something looks too good to be true, it is. It is impossible for a company to offer the same service at a price far below the market price, so watch for these “red flag” quotes so you don’t get scammed.
Contact the Company
Even scammers can fool consumers with a fancy website. Don’t make a decision without making personal contact. Reputable companies should always have a phone number as well as a physical address. Be sure to call and speak with a knowledgeable worker who can answer your questions and clearly explain how the process works. A company that cannot answer your questions is a company you should avoid.
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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