Hiring a car shipping company is a safe, easy, and convenient way to make a move less stressful. However, before handing your keys over to a shipping company, you want to be sure you are hiring the right company for the job. You also want to make sure you understand the process. How can you go about finding the right auto shipping company? Research is key in finding a reputable company that prides itself on exceptional customer service. Therefore, you need to know which specific questions to ask so you can find a company that aligns with your needs and budget. Here are some of the most important questions to ask before shipping your car.
1. Are you licensed and registered?
When researching auto transport companies, the first thing you want to do is verify that you are dealing with a company that is properly licensed and registered. It is required by law that auto transport companies be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. In doing so, they receive a DOT number that can be used for verification purposes and to check the company’s safety reports. In addition to a DOT number, interstate auto transport companies should also be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can access this information and check for verification by going to the FMCSA website.
2. What services do you offer?
Obviously, auto transport companies are in the business of shipping cars. However, there are several different shipping options available for customers to choose from. For example, some companies ship via open trailers only while others offer the option for open or enclosed transport. Some have the ability to ship non-operable vehicles while others do not. Finally, some offer door-to-door pickup and delivery while others only offer terminal-to-terminal services. Find out what specific services the company offers so you can decide which is right for you.
3. How much does it cost to ship my car?
The prices for car shipping will vary depending on a number of factors. Things like make, model, size of your vehicle, time of delivery, and method of delivery (open or enclosed carrier) can impact the cost of shipment. However, if you provide this information to the shipping company, they should be able to give you a free quote for shipping. Just be sure to make sure the quote that is provided includes everything so you aren’t faced with hidden fees and charges.
4. Are you insured?
Insurance is important when it comes to shipping a car. Although it is unlikely that your car will be damaged during transport, it is still a good idea to make sure your car is properly insured just in case. Most reputable car shipping companies will provide some insurance coverage, so you will need to find out those specific details to make sure it is adequate.
5. How long will it take to ship my car?
When it comes to car shipping timeframes, most companies will offer you a window for delivery. It is nearly impossible to determine an exact date, given that things like weather, traffic, maintenance problems, and other unforeseen circumstances are bound to happen. However, the shipping company should be able to give you an estimate. If you are in a time crunch, be sure to inquire about expedited shipping.
6. How do I prepare my car for shipment?
There are certain steps that need to be taken prior to shipment. These include cleaning your car, taking photographs of your vehicle, performing routine maintenance, removing exterior accessories and personal belongings, and leaving the gas tank only ¼ full. Be sure to ask the shipping company for specific instructions on preparing your vehicle for shipment.
7. What documents do I need?
You will need the right documentation to ship your vehicle so be sure to ask what documents are required. This will ensure that your transport goes smoothly and there are no delays with delivery.
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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