Moving a vehicle from one location to another can be time consuming and stressful, not to mention the wear and tear it puts on the vehicle. Auto transport can make the process much easier and less stressful, especially for those who don’t have the time to drive their vehicle a long distance. Auto transport has become increasingly popular and it is the easiest way to transport your vehicle long distances. That said, there are many different car shipping companies and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. To help you make a more informed choice, here are some things you should know about long-distance auto transport.
Not Every Company is Created Equal
When you are paying a good amount of money to have your car shipped, you want to be sure you are using a transport company you can trust. You should always start by looking up the company’s safety record on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. You also want to spend time researching the company and reading reviews. You can even use car forums and reviews websites to ask for recommendations to ensure you are picking a reputable company.
Check for Insurance
When handing over your vehicle to a shipping company, you want to make sure the company is properly insured should anything happen to your vehicle. Your transporter should be able to provide a Certificate of Insurance that covers cargo. You should also check with your own auto insurance company to see if your vehicle is covered during transport.
Delivery Times Cannot be Guaranteed
Most auto transport companies require a certain window of time for scheduling a pickup and delivery. This window is usually between 5 and 7 days. Be wary of any company that says they guarantee delivery. Unlike airlines, auto carriers encounter several variables that can affect delivery time such as weather conditions, traffic, and road closures.
There are Different Types of Transport
You have the option to ship your car in an open or enclosed trailer. Open trailers are usually cheaper, but the vehicles are subject to potential damage from weather conditions, road debris, and theft. Enclosed trailers are typically more expensive but they keep your vehicle safe from outdoor elements and potential theft. Enclosed trailers are a better option for luxury or antique vehicles.
Prices are Subject to Change
While auto carriers should be able to provide you with a fairly accurate quote for shipping your vehicle, there are several variables that will determine the actual cost. These include the size and weight of your vehicle, the location of your delivery (door to door or terminal to terminal), the distance of your transport, and the type of transport (open or enclosed).
You Will Need to Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipment
Once you have chosen an auto transport company, you will need to take the proper steps to prepare your vehicle for shipment. Clean your vehicle inside and out and take pictures of your vehicle’s condition. Make a note of any scratches, dings, or dents. Remove all personal items from inside the vehicle. Make sure the gas tank is only a quarter full and check to make sure your battery is fully charged.
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.