Shipping your vehicle across the country can seem overwhelming, but with the right auto shipping company, it can prove to be a convenient, time-saving solution for transporting your vehicle a long distance. There are lots of things to consider when choosing the right car shipping company so it’s important to understand the basics of how it all works. Here are a few things you need to know about long-distance auto shipping.
The Cost Will Vary
There is no set price when it comes to shipping a car. The price will be based on the size of your vehicle, the distance it is being shipped, and the value of the car. Other factors that can influence the price include the type of carrier that is being used, the location of the delivery (door to door or a terminal), and additional insurance coverage. You should be able to get an accurate quote for all of these fees prior to shipping your car.
You Need to Prep Your Vehicle
There’s a little more to auto shipment than simply handing over your keys. You will need to prep your vehicle to get it ready for shipment. Preparations include washing the vehicle, checking the battery, inflating the tires, filling up the gas to no more than a quarter tank, and removing all personal belongings. You will also need to do a thorough inspection of your vehicle prior to transport to note any cosmetic or mechanical issues.
You Will Pay a Deposit
Most auto shipping companies require a deposit or partial payment prior to shipment. You will pay the remaining balance upon delivery of your vehicle.
You Have Transportation Options
There are two primary methods of auto transport: open carriers and enclosed carriers. Open carriers are more affordable and account for the majority of vehicle shipments. This method is usually more efficient , since more vehicles can be loaded onto these carriers. Enclosed carriers are more expensive but are a better option for luxury or antique vehicles because they aren’t exposed to the outdoor elements.
Delivery Times are Subject to Change
Be wary of any company that guarantees a delivery date. This is nearly impossible to do, given there are a number of circumstances that can affect your delivery date. Poor weather conditions, unforeseen traffic, construction delays, and unexpected mechanical problems can all delay your delivery. You can however, expect updates of your car’s status along the way and an anticipated delivery date as the carrier gets close to your location.
Delivery Options Vary
Some auto transport companies offer door to door shipping services. This means that your vehicle is delivered directly to your home. However, some factors prevent this from being possible. If you live in a remote location or on a road that is too difficult for a large carrier to navigate, they may not be able to offer this service. Other companies deliver your vehicle to a terminal where you will pick it up at a scheduled time.
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.