Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Shipping Your Car

Whether you’re buying a car online, or moving to another state, when it comes to moving your vehicle from A to B, hiring a company to ship your car for you is usually a lot easier than having to drive it yourself. When you’re looking to ship a car across the country, or even across the world, there are 10 questions you should ask to help you find the right shipping company.

10. Are they registered?
Any business offering auto transport services, especially if they are crossing state lines, will need to be registered with the Department of Transport. As well as being able to provide you with their ‘DOT number’, interstate car transport companies should also have a Motor Carrier number that you can check on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. If you want to ship your car abroad, the company you choose will also need to be registered with the Federal Maritime Commission.

9. What services do they offer?
Ask what kind of services your car shipping company offers. Some may only operate regionally, and others might have a restriction on the type or size of vehicle they will transport. Find out whether they offer an enclosed or open car transport service. Interstate shipping can be tough on your vehicle if it’s left exposed to the elements, but an enclosed service could be a lot more expensive.

8. How much do they cost?
Car transport rates vary, so check out the prices for a few companies so you can get a comparison, and make sure you understand exactly what’s included in the cost – you don’t want to be hit with any ‘extra’ charges that you weren’t aware of. Most companies will be happy to give you a free estimate, if you give them some basic details about your vehicle and where it needs to go. You might also want to ask if the price is negotiable or, as many families often have more than one car, if there is a discount when you ship more than one vehicle.

7. What insurance do they offer?
Your standard motor insurance probably won’t cover transporting your car across the country, so you need to make sure your shipping company has adequate insurance coverage. Ask to see their insurance documents, and find out exactly what level of cover your vehicle will have while it’s being shipped. If you don’t think it’s sufficient, ask about increasing the cover. It might cost a little more, but the peace of mind will be worth it.

6. What documents do you need?
You need the right documentation to ship cars across the country, otherwise car thieves would have a very easy life. Usually this means being able to provide your registration and insurance documents, but check with your transport company to find out exactly what papers they will need to see to be sure you have the legal right to ship your car.

5. How do you get your car ready for shipping?
 Auto shipping companies are prohibited for moving cars that contain household items, so most companies will want you to make sure all you property is removed from the car. The Department of Transport also requires that all keys be turned over to the mover while the car is being transported, and it’s suggested that you have no more than a quarter of a tank of gas, so the company avoids any surcharges for excess weight, and you avoid any surprise costs.

4. How long will shipping take?
This will typically vary from one company to another, and is also dependent on how your car is being shipped, and where to. With car shipping, quotes for delivery time are rarely guaranteed, as things can occasionally go wrong. As a general guide, coast to coast transportation might take 1-2 weeks, shorter distances a few days, and overseas much longer.

3. What are the payment arrangements?
Some shipping companies will require you to pay the full amount up front, and others will take a deposit, and the balance on delivery. Make sure you ask what kind of payment arrangement the company requires, and also what methods of payment you can use when your vehicle is delivered, as some might not accept checks, or prefer not to have their drivers carrying large amounts of cash.

2. How do you make sure nothing happens to your car?
When you’re car is picked up by the transporter, they will carry out an assessment of the general condition of the car with you, so you can both agree what state it is in before it leaves. On delivery, you will carry out a similar check with the driver, to a make sure there has been no damage during transport.

1. What happens if your car does get damaged?
It’s important to do a thorough inspection when your car is delivered so that, if your car does get damaged during transit, it can be documented on the delivery report and signed by the driver. This will enable you to make a claim against shipping company’s insurance.

Car transport rates and the type of services offered can be different from one company to another, so it’s definitely worth shopping around and getting multiple quotes. If you’re like many people, and your car is your pride and joy, taking a bit of time and effort to ask these questions will definitely be worth it when your car arrives safe and sound.

Interstate car transport is a huge industry with some reputable and some not so reputable companies out there.
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