Shipping a car can be a bit daunting the first time. Understanding how to ship a car is critical when considering a move, whether local, nationally, or internationally. Risks are also involved in shipping a vehicle, but shipping a car may be the only option available if you must relocate.
Get to Know the Company
Auto transport companies are available across the country, so to make sure you have got a reputable company, do your research. Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for license records and any filed complaints.
Finding a trusted shipping company is essential. Otherwise, you risk ruining your vehicle in the process. In your search, it is a good idea to avoid transport brokers because you do not know which company they will reserve for you and your car, making it difficult to do proper research.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
It may not occur to you to do so, but you need to review your car insurance coverage for damages that happen during shipping. If shipping damages are not covered under your current insurance, you may want to compare car insurance companies and switch before making a move.
You will also want to ask the company what its coverage is if something happens to your car while it is in the company’s care. Unfortunately, damages can occur, and it is better to be prepared. Request an insurance certificate that shows how much is covered for your vehicle.
Determine Your Timeframe
Vehicles do not ship quickly and can take several weeks at a time. Nationally, you can expect transit time to take up to a month, while international transport can easily be double that time. Discuss the timeframe with the shipping company and expect that delays can happen. No one could have expected that the Suez Canal would have been blocked by a container ship for several days, but delays can and do happen despite best efforts.
Select a Location and Recipient
Location applies to where a transport truck can pick up and drop off your vehicle, including the physical street location, not just the city. There needs to be enough space to load or unload your car. Once the location is set, you may only receive a window instead of a specific day to send or receive the car. You will get a call from the company to let you know when the transport will be ready to pick up your car, so flexibility is a must. If you cannot be available upon your car’s arrival, make sure you have someone you trust to receive your vehicle.
Choose the Type of Transport
There are two main types of transport for vehicles: open and enclosed. Open transport is typically less expensive, while enclosed costs more. Choosing open transport also leaves your vehicle open to potential dents and damages, while an enclosed transport offers more protection. Your best bet is to compare options with your transport companies to choose the best option for your car.
Clean Out the Car
Before it is time to get it loaded, you will want to clean out the car. The only thing left in your vehicle should be a bit of gas so that it does not get stuck on the carrier. Emptying your car is essential, as anything loose inside can cause damage to your car’s interior or make loading or unloading difficult for the shipper. Valuables should also be removed because several people will have access to your vehicle before, during, and after shipment.
Always Inspect Your Vehicle
Upon drop-off, walk around your car to check for any existing dings, scratches, or dents. It is a good idea to take pictures or video so you have physical proof of your car’s condition before shipping. The company will also assess the vehicle before loading, so this is the time to approve or decline the inspection outcome.
If you agree, you will sign the report and get a copy for your records. Once your car arrives at its destination, inspect it again with the shipper present and document any damages that may have happened in transit. Additional photos documenting changes can be helpful if you must file a claim.