If you are in need of transporting a vehicle across the country, you may be considering hiring a professional auto shipping company. This is a safe, efficient, and hassle-free method for getting your car from point A to point B. However, before handing over your keys, you need to carefully consider the company you are working with and understand what determines the cost of shipment. You also need to understand all of your shipping options as well as how the entire process works. Read on to learn more about the car shipping process so you can be sure your vehicle arrives safely and on time to its destination.
How Much Does it Cost?
One of the first things people want to know before using a shipping company is how much it will cost. The truth is, there are a number of factors that will determine the actual cost of shipment. Some of these factors include the size of your vehicle, the distance of shipment, open or enclosed transport, location of pick-up and drop-off, time of year, and fuel prices. The best way to get an idea of cost is to shop around and ask for quotes based on your specific needs.
You Need to Do Your Homework
Your car is a valuable asset so you don’t want to just hand it over to anybody. You need to do plenty of research to find a car shipping company that is reputable and reliable. For starters you need to make sure that the shipping company has the proper licensing, registration, and insurance. You also need to spend time reading reviews and checking the company’s safety record using the safer.fmcsa.dot.gov website. Finally, check with the Better Business Bureau as an added precaution to be sure you are dealing with a legitimate car shipping company.
Never Base Your Decision on Price Alone
While it’s certainly understandable to want a good deal, it’s also important to remember that cheapest isn’t always the best. If a deal seems too good to be true, chances are you should follow your gut. You want to choose a company that offers competitive prices, but also provides excellent customer service and has a good track record.
Open vs. Enclosed Transport
You will have two options when it comes to shipping your vehicle- open or enclosed transport. Open transport is the cheapest and most common method of shipment and it involves your vehicle being shipped on an open carrier. Keep in mind that your car is susceptible to the outdoor elements with open transport. If you are shipping a luxury, antique, or exotic car, you might need additional protection in which you could choose enclosed transport. Though this is a more expensive option, it provides maximum protection for your high end or classic cars.
You Will Need to Prep Your Vehicle
There’s more to car shipping than simply handing over the keys. There are a few things you need to do in order to prep your vehicle for shipment. You will need to wash the exterior and document and dings, dents, or scratches. You will also need to top off all fluids and make sure there is no more ¼ tank of gas. You need to check the battery and tire pressure and take care of any mechanical issues. Finally, you need to remove all exterior accessories as well as any personal items from inside the vehicle.
Understand that Delivery Dates are Not Guaranteed
It is nearly impossible to guarantee a delivery date with auto shipment. That’s because there are a number of variables that can impact shipment such as weather, traffic jams, road closures, or mechanical issues with the carrier. Remember to be flexible with shipping dates.
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.