Whether you are preparing for a cross-country move, purchasing a new car from another state, or just heading to your vacation home for a few months, you might be in need of car shipment services. Since this isn’t something most people do frequently, it might seem like a daunting task. The truth is, car shipping is a fast, simple, and reliable process but there are certain things to look for before signing on the dotted line. Most auto transport companies have specific terms and conditions so it’s important to read and fully understand your entire auto shipping contract before signing it. While these terms and clauses can vary from one company to another, here are a few important terms and conditions to look for when shipping your vehicle.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
Just like with anything else, there may be a time when you need to cancel your auto transport order after you have already made it. Even if you have made a deposit, it should be possible for you to cancel your order as long as you do so within the appropriate time frame. Since each auto transport company is different in regards to their policies, it is important to fully understand the parameters of your contract when it comes to cancellations. Keep in mind that even if you are able to successfully cancel your order, you might not be refunded right away. It could take several days to process your refund so be sure to check for this in your contract.
Pickup and Delivery Terms and Conditions
Be sure and read the full terms and conditions regarding pickup and delivery. In most cases, customers are only provided with an estimated pick-up and delivery date since it is difficult to give exact dates in this industry. Given that there are a number of circumstances that could impact delivery time, estimated dates are most common. In most cases, auto transport companies are not held responsible for any damages or loss caused by any type of delay, such as car rental fees and lodging. Furthermore, be sure and familiarize yourself with the dropoff and pickup locations.
It is important to understand the liability information fully. While the exact terms might vary slightly from one company to another, generally most companies have similar terms and conditions regarding liability. For example, customers are responsible for properly preparing their vehicle for shipment by removing any low hanging accessories, spoilers, loose parts, or external racks and alarm systems should be disabled. The vehicle should also have no more than half a tank of fuel and be in good running condition. Furthermore, most transport companies do not allow customers to leave personal belongings inside the vehicle during shipment. They will not be liable for anything that is damaged or stolen.
Insurance Coverage, Claims, and Damage Reports
Most reputable auto transport companies provide liability insurance for your vehicle during transport. This means that they are responsible for any damage that occurs to your vehicle as a result of their negligence. These conditions, however, might exclude damage from outdoor elements (acts of God) theft, or other conditions that are out of their control. Also, the amount of coverage might vary from one company to another so be sure you are well informed of your vehicle’s coverage. In the event that your vehicle is damaged, there are specific terms and conditions regarding claims and damage reports. Generally, any damage claims must be reported immediately, designated on the bill of lading, and signed by the customer. In addition, most insurance claims must be submitted in writing within 24 hours of delivery. Again, these specific terms could vary from one company to another so be sure and read the full disclosure.
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.