Auto Shipping Questions & Answers
How much will it cost to ship my car?
How do I know if my car is insured?
How do I find out when my car will arrive?
When & How do I pay?
What about pick-up and delivery rates?
Where can I get references?
Releasing your car to the carrier
Accepting your vehicle for delivery
What if damage should occur?
What are the different trailer types?
Moving or specialized auto shipping company?
1. How much will it cost to ship my car?
Obtain quotes from several car transport companies. Auto
mover estimates are free, so take advantage of them. To get
accurate information, be prepared to provide the following
Origin city/destination city
Approximate departure date (when your car is available for
Type of vehicle(s)
Special transport requests (e.g., drop off at terminal vs.
at your home)
Perform some "due diligence" regarding the car moving company
you are considering. The cheapest move quote you receive may
not always be your best bet. If you pay too little, the likelihood
that your vehicle will be transported in a timely manner is
diminished. Pick a car transporter that responds well to your
request for information, has a solid track record and can
provide you with good value.
2. How do I know if my car is insured?
The company with whom you contract to transport your vehicle
should provide adequate insurance to protect against driver
negligence. Ask for a copy of the "certificate of insurance"
and familiarize yourself with the types of coverage provided.
Most car moving companies specifically exclude road damage,
damage or theft of personal items left in the car, small nicks
& dents, and glass breakage. If you want to verify or
supplement the coverage, call your current automobile insurance
Beware of shipping your car with a company that is exclusively
a "broker." Many of these companies do not own auto carriers
and depend upon the carrier that actually carries your car
to provide insurance. If the truck driver's insurance coverage
has lapsed for any reason, you will be unprotected.
3. How do I find out when my car will arrive?
All reputable auto moving companies have customer service
representatives who can provide information about where your
vehicle is in the transport process. Be aware that most companies
use "estimated" dates since it is impossible to schedule vehicle
freight precisely. Some companies do offer an optional "guaranteed"
or premium service that assures a specific date of delivery.
4. When and how do I pay?
While some auto transport companies may not require payment
in advance, others require a deposit (10-25% of the total
cost), or full payment in advance. If a deposit is given,
the amount due (C.O.D.) is always required at time of delivery
-- oftentimes with a cashiers check or cash. If full payment
is required prior to car transport, consider using a credit
card so that charges may be reversed if circumstances warrant
5. What about pick-up and drive away car
Ask for estimated pick-up and delivery times from your car
transport company. You should be able to get a 3-day window
for pick-up. Once pick-up is made, your auto transport or
auto driveaway company should provide you with a fairly precise
estimated delivery date. If you need an exact date for pick-up,
most car transport and auto driveaway services can pick-up
your car and hold it at a terminal for an additional charge.
6. Where can I get references on auto movers?
While individuals are generally reluctant to act as references
because of the "nuisance factor," corporate clients are usually
willing to do so. Also, van line companies refer many car
transport and auto driveaway companies. Ask for several references
of car movers, if possible.
7. Releasing your car to the auto carrier
Prior to leaving your car with a driver or car transport
company, be sure you receive an "Original Inspection Report."
This report provides pick-up and delivery information, current
mileage, and most importantly, shows the condition of your
car at time of pick-up -- pre-existing scratches and dents,
cracked glass/mirrors, general paint condition, etc. Keep
this report and use it when you receive your vehicle.
8. Accepting your vehicle for delivery
At the time of delivery, inspect your vehicle and compare
the condition and mileage against the "Original Inspection
Report" provided by your car transport company at origination
(see item above). Many car transport companies also provide
a copy of this report at time of delivery. If there are inconsistencies,
note them as exceptions and be sure the driver signs it. Never
accept your vehicle at night if you cannot verify its condition
-- without being viewed and signed by the driver, you have
little recourse if damage had occurred during transit.
9. What if damage should occur to my car?
The majority of car transport experiences are worry-free,
with your damage-free vehicle arriving at the estimated time.
On occasion, a vehicle may become damaged in transit. If this
should happen, note all damage on your inspection report (see
item above), obtain the driver's signature, and contact your
car transport company. The car transport company should then
work with you to reimburse you for verifiable damage done
to your car.
10. What are the different car trailer or
auto carrier types?
In order to ship your car to your new home most efficiently
and cost-effectively, it's important to know about different
shipping and car carrier techniques, such as open and closed
auto trailers. The model of the car you have, and the destination
where you will transport it, will help determine whether you
need an open or closed car trailer.
What is an Open Auto Trailer or Carrier?
An open auto trailer is the more popular and the more frequently
used trailer. They carry anywhere from 10-12 vehicles at a
Open car trailers are cheaper than closed trailers. Price
is determined by the weight of the vehicle being shipped.
Open car carriers and trailers will be subject to the elements
of nature. (i.e. rain, snow, wind, dirt and dust).
What is a Closed Car Trailer or Carrier?
A closed car trailer or auto carrier is a vehicle that has
a covered freight area. It is most commonly used when shipping
an expensive or classic car that you wish to protect. If your
car will be traveling cross-country and going through some
dry and desert territory, you may consider using a closed
trailer to protect it from wind blown sand and heat. If the
vehicle is not being shipped through extreme climates, consider
using an open trailer.
Tips: Remove all valuables from the car, leave as little gas
as possible in the gas tank for weight and safety purposes,
and always insure your car, just in case it gets damaged.
The car is well protected from the elements of nature.
Closed auto trailers and car carriers cost more. Remember,
price is determined by the weight of the vehicle being shipped.
11. Should you choose a moving company or
an auto transportation company?
- Car carriers generally charge lower rates than movers
do. Shop around and compare pricing. If your quote seems
extraordinarily low or high, ask the vendor why. Always
remember that the lowest price isn't always the best option.
A company's good reputation often goes a long way.
- Always get a written contract with approximate delivery
dates and carefully read the terms and conditions, especially
clauses dealing with insurance. Check to see if there are
cancellation fees before committing to service. There could
be a charge of up to $200. Car or auto carriers generally
have shorter delivery times than movers do.
- Research the auto companies' history before soliciting
bids for car moving services. Some auto moving companies
frequently change their names due to complaints. Others
may even go by as many as five different names. It will
be in your best interest to investigate this.
- As of 1990 the Department of Transportation ruled that
you may NOT load any items in a vehicle other than
clothing. Auto carriers are NOT licensed to carry
household goods or personal items. Any damage to your vehicle
due to household goods shifting or breaking will not be
covered by insurance.
- Ask to see the facility where your car will be stored
before being loaded on the truck. Many companies claim they
have secure storage for your car, but in actuality, they
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