Though shipping your car is generally a safe process, accidents can and do happen. So, what do you do if your vehicle is seriously damaged during the shipping process? Here are a few things you need to know so you can be prepared in case the unexpected occurs during your vehicle’s transport.
Ask About Insurance Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until your vehicle is totaled to find out what kind of insurance your car carrier has. Rather, do your homework on the front end and prepare yourself in advance. It is required by law for auto transport companies to carry valid insurance and they should be able to present this information to you upon request. However, you need to find out what kind of coverage the company has and if the policy covers all damage or only certain items. Also, find out about any restrictions or limitations relating to weather or “acts of god” (earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, etc.) In addition to the auto transport's insurance, check with your own auto insurance company to find out if your vehicle will be covered during transport and purchase additional insurance if needed. Make sure you have everything in writing regarding the auto transport company’s insurance and your own personal insurance prior to transport.
Inspect Your Vehicle Immediately
It is critical that you inspect your vehicle immediately upon arrival. Assuming you performed a pre-shipment inspection, check for any new damage that may have occurred during shipment. If you find damage, take a photo of the damage right away and compare it with the photos you took beforehand. Along with the shipping representative, document any and all damage in the Bill of Lading and be sure to give specifics. Notify the driver or representative of the company immediately and make sure they sign the inspection documents. Next, you will want to visit a mechanic to get an estimate for repairs or have the vehicle declared totaled. Provide the mechanic’s report to the shipping company as well as your own insurance company.
If you are working with a reputable auto transport company, they should take responsibility for the damage and handle any and all costs associated with repairs and rentals. If you feel like the company has not been compliant, you should issued a complaint with the Department of Transportation and the Better Business Bureau.
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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