If you are relocating across the country you are probably wondering how you are going to get your car to your new destination. Driving your vehicle is not always the best option, given that it can be extremely time consuming, costly, and exhausting. For many people, shipping their car is a much easier and more convenient way of transporting their vehicle. If you are wondering how to ship your car across the country, the following is a comprehensive guide that will help you every step of the way.
Step 1: Get a Quote from a Reputable Auto Transport Company
There are hundreds of auto shipping companies nationwide so how do you know which one to choose? You can start the process with a simple Google search, but remember that not all of these companies are reliable and trustworthy. Once you have found a company that seems to fit your needs, it’s time to do a little more research. Start by checking reviews and customer testimonials. You also want to make sure the company has the proper licensing and registration. Finally you want to be sure they are bonded and insured. Once you know the company is reliable, you should get a quote for the services you need.
Step 2: Choose Your Delivery Method
Depending on the type of vehicle you are moving, your needs may vary. For example, shipping an antique vehicle might require a different type of transport than shipping your family minivan. Here are your delivery options:
Open or Enclosed Transport: You will have the option of choosing between an open or enclosed carrier. Enclosed carriers are the more expensive of the two options but it is your best bet if you are shipping an antique or luxury vehicle or if you are concerned about your vehicle being exposed to the outdoor elements. Open carriers are less expensive and they are the preferred method for the majority of auto shipments.
Door-to-Door or Terminal-to-Terminal: Door-to-door transport allows for the personal delivery of your vehicle by the carrier and is the most convenient option, although this typically comes at a higher cost. Terminal-to-terminal is a cheaper option, but it requires you to drop off and pick up your vehicle from the closest terminal.
Step 3: Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipment
It is very important that you take the right steps to prepare your vehicle for shipment. Here are a few things you need to do prior to shipping your vehicle:
- Check your vehicle’s tire pressure, battery, oil, and check for any leaks.
- Remove the antenna as well as any other exterior accessories to disable the alarm system.
- Clean your vehicle inside and out and make a note of any scratches, dents, or dings. You should also take time-stamped photos of your vehicle’s condition prior to shipment.
- Make sure there is no more than a quarter tank of gas.
- Remove any personal items from inside the vehicle.
Step 4: Inspect Your Vehicle Upon Arrival
Once your vehicle has arrived at its destination, it is very important that you thoroughly inspect your vehicle for any possible damage. Be sure the driver is with you during this process and be sure to document any damage right away. Once you have inspected your vehicle, you and the carrier will sign the Bill of Lading and you are all ready to go!
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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