More than 4.2 million miles of roadway, 600,000 highway bridges, and 25,000 navigable waterways connect the United States. Transportation infrastructure makes moving around the country possible, whether for a new job, educational opportunity, or changing family needs.

Of course, cross-country moves also prove highly stressful. Many factors come into play during a cross-country relocation, from uprooting your family to transporting your belongings safely and securely.

Successful moving is all about prioritizing, meeting reasonable deadlines, and finding the most expedient and cost-effective ways to get the job done. That’s why so many Americans work with a professional car transport company to move one or more vehicles.

Not all car transportation companies are created equal, though. In an industry full of transport companies, hiring the wrong one is a real worry. You must find a company that understands the importance of providing exceptional customer service. After all, the customer is the most important part of any business! With this in mind, here are seven questions you should ask before hiring an auto transportation company.

1. Is the Car Transport Company Registered and Licensed?

When researching the best car transport companies, don’t take anything for granted. To guarantee that the auto transport companies you’re dealing with can get your automobile from A to B, make sure they have the proper licenses. It seems like an obvious ask, but there are some less-than-reputable car transport companies out there operating without required licensing.

Companies who move vehicles must register through the US Department of Transportation (US DOT). When they do so, they receive a US DOT number. You can use this number for verification purposes and to learn more about a company’s safety reports and information. Feel free to request a US DOT number from any car shipping company you're considering working with. The customer service representative you've contacted should be able to give you it right away or find someone in the office who can.

And if they can’t provide you with one? That’s a red flag! When choosing auto transport companies, hiring one that can’t (or won’t) provide you with crucial information about their business practices is a bad idea.

2. Are No-Obligation Quotes Provided?

If you’ve already started researching car transportation companies via the internet, then you’ve likely seen free car shipping quotes offered on websites. These no-obligation quotes are a sign that the company’s on the up and up.

What if you stumble across a company that doesn’t offer no-obligation quotes? Then, you need to find another brand to work with.

The best companies offer complimentary, instantaneous vehicle shipping rates. To get one, you shouldn’t have to include personal information. That means no obligation and very little time investment on your part.

It’s simply good customer service to offer these free quotes. Don’t settle for less, or it could be a harbinger of more poor customer service practices to come.

3. How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

Let’s get something straight. Car transport rates can vary significantly from car shipping company to car shipping company. That’s just part of the industry and that’s something you’re going to contend with whenever you ship a vehicle.

Our best advice? Work with a reputable vehicle shipper that remains transparent about how much their services cost.

Sure, shopping around and finding the cheapest shipper has a certain allure to it. But, ultimately, you get what you pay for. Oftentimes, the cheapest option comes complete with risks that aren’t worth the savings!

You must consider more than price when choosing the right car transport company. After all, your car is likely the most valuable possession you own after you home. So, don’t leave its transportation to chance.

Find out more about how much it costs to ship a car.

4. Does the Car Shipping Quote Include Everything?

Whether we're talking about a birthday party or an unexpected gift, receiving surprises can feel exhilarating. However, when it comes to hidden car transport fees and expenses, that’s not the case. You deserve to know upfront whether a company's vehicle shipping quote includes everything.

And worst of all, murky car shipping quotes can lead to plenty of hidden charges.

What to do? Ask any company you’re considering to include a list of everything their quote covers. Then, go over this document with a fine-tooth comb, confirming that the charges are what you agreed upon.

If you find additional penalties or costs? Inquire about them ASAP. That way, you’ll avoid the kind of surprises that don’t come with confetti or balloons.

5. Will the Car Be Insured?

Plenty can happen when a car gets transported. Heck, plenty can happen in life. That’s why insurance of every stripe and type exists.

From travel insurance to ski insurance, you can find it all. So, don’t let a company skimp when it comes to shipping your vehicle.

Ask what is and isn't covered in your quote. If you don't like the answer, you may have a deal breaker on your hands. After all, do you want to accept the risks associated with potential damages to your car during transport?

6. What Do Shipping Time Frames Look Like?

When it comes to shipping time frames, most companies offer a handful of options based on budget and schedule. To get the best deal, book an auto transport company’s services as early as possible.

That way, you can rest assured you get what you need when you need it.

However, if you’re facing a time crunch, expedient options do exist. This is true for local car shipping, state-to-state car transport, and cross-country car shipping. Just understand going in that they also prove pricier. Don’t assume the initial quote you receive is set in stone when time frames change.

7. What’s Involved in Car Pickup and Delivery?

Most auto transport companies request that someone over the age of 18 be present at pickup and delivery. Why? Because this is when keys get collected, a vehicle inspection occurs, and paperwork gets signed.

What if you can’t attend the pickup or delivery? Then, have a stand-in ready, whether that’s a neighbor, family member, or friend. Since respecting a driver’s time is paramount, emphasize the importance of being punctual to your stand-in.

You’ll also need to have certain documents in order. These typically include a title, photo ID, and proof of insurance.

Making Your Upcoming Move Less Stressful

There are thousands of car shipping companies across the United States. While these companies serve the same industry, they have very different policies, quotes, and approaches to customer service. When picking auto transport companies, hiring should be based on the company’s reputation and ability to meet and exceed your car shipping needs.

For the least stressful move, aim to work with a car transport company that has an exceptional track record of getting vehicles from A to B. Asking the seven questions above will help you find the right company to meet your needs.

Other questions to ask, depending on your situation, include:

  • How can I pay?

  • Can you transport non-working vehicles?

  • Is door-to-door car shipping available?

Keeping the lines of communication open remains vital when working with a vehicle shipper, so don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Check out our guide to everything you need to know about car moving services for more information.

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