How to Choose Car Transport Services: Everything You Need to Know

Despite making over $110,000 a year on the road, most car shipping services fail to meet clients' needs. Choose car transport services that handle the complexities of this task to give you peace of mind.

Online car buying/selling platforms like VROOM have negative reviews regarding delivery delays. They are also criticized for taking too long to complete deals and having terrible customer service.

The future of the car buying/selling market is bright, with most vehicles expected to be autonomous. These new models will create avenues for car shipping businesses to improve their services.

Sending a vehicle from one city to the other should be seamless. You need a reliable car shipper that will guarantee the safety of your car. Here's how to choose the right company for the task:

Prepare the Car for Shipping

Remove all personal belongings from your car's trunk and interior. You should also take the vehicle on a ride to use up most of the gasoline in the tank. Clutter and fuel may add to the vehicle's total shipping weight, thus making it quite costly to ship.

Have your car waxed and washed before it's due for shipping. The fresh wax coat will repel debris, insects, or water that the surface encounters during transit. Remember to take high-quality pictures of the vehicle to act as visual proof of its current condition.

Inspect the car for dents, scratches, or paint chips. Take pictures of the damages spotted before sending the car to the shipper. You should also check the battery and tire pressure for leaks.

Find Companies that Offer the Specific Services You Need

Come up with a list of the essential services you'd need from the car hauler. Use this list to find a company that seems to address your car shipping needs.

For instance, if you prefer open car transport instead of enclosed transport, look for companies with this type of service. Don't make demands for the service at the last minute when the company doesn't offer it.

Depending on your preferences, you may consider a shipping firm offering international shipping. You may also go for either door-to-do service or terminal-to-terminal service.

Gather everything you can about the company and compare the information with your current situation. If you're still uncertain about which provider to choose, contact them and ask any burning questions you may have.

The auto transporters will ask for proof of ownership before shipping the vehicle. You should always have the original vehicle title, proof of insurance, and registration information.

Perform necessary maintenance services if the vehicle needs them. Check whether the battery is full or the fluids are in good condition. Note the vehicle's mileage at the time of pick up and delivery too.

Inquire About the Company's Courier Options

Auto transporters use enclosed carriers, multi carriers, and open carriers in their work. Though multi and open carriers are pretty cheap, they leave your vehicle exposed to harsh weather. If you want to transport and protect a luxury car, go for an enclosed carrier.

Reach out to the firm's representative and ask them about their shipping method. Inform them about the car you plan on shipping with them.

Find out how long the shipping process takes to know when to expect. Most car haulers give a one-month time range from the pickup time. It may take longer for them to ship the car overseas.

Expect the company to contact you when a truck comes to your place to pick up your car. They can also inform you about the exact pickup date at a fee.

Before entrusting them with your vehicle, know exactly who's shipping the car. That's because you may have booked their service through a broker.

Check Customer Ratings and Reviews

Business review sites like BBB have reviews and ratings about a particular company. Only consider ratings/reviews on sites that verify the reviewers.

Your friends/family can give you recommendations for an auto transporter if they've ever used one. Narrow down your choices to companies that seem high-quality and reliable.

Compare the company's positive to the negative to get a sense of their reputation. You'll discover whether the car shipper guarantees satisfaction with their work.

Reach out to all providers that appear trustworthy and give them all specifics of your car. Use the conversation to determine whether their reviews were accurate. The company will need your car model and make and the shipping locations/dates.

While reading online reviews, look for a firm that values friendly service and quick responses. The car hauler should also value helpful and efficient service and professionalism through every step of shipping. They should offer you a schedule that addresses your needs too.

Verify Their Motor Carrier Number

The US DOT (Department of Transportation) requires car carriers to have a motor carrier number. If the company is legitimate, they will openly showcase this number on their website. They'll also be willing to share it with you on request.

A fraudulent company will either give you a fake one or make excuses when asked about the number. You can verify the MC number through the DOT's Electronic Records under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The MC number is a 6-digit number that the FMCSA assigns to brokers and carriers looking to cross state borders. Without the number, it'll be illegal for a carrier to ferry cars to another state. You can use the MC number to check a company's operating status, inspections, and mailing addresses.

FMCSA maintains a list of sites that give easy access to insightful safety-related information. You only need the company's MC number, USDOT number, or name.

The FMCSA cautions you against transacting with any broker or auto transporter with a fake MC number. You can file a complaint or call a helpline provided on the FMCSA site if you fall victim.

Check Whether They Do Car Inspections

The car hauler should inspect your vehicle for previous damage before loading it for transport. You should thus pay close attention to the inspection and review the inspection report. The report (also known as the bill of lading) may be in the form of an electronic document or print paper.

Both parties should seal the inspection report with signatures for formality. Without the signature, you can't prove to an insurance company that your vehicle was in good condition before shipping.

Be willing to give the carrier keys to any locked compartment in your car. The truck driver will need the keys to drive your car on and off the transporter before shipping takes place. Have duplicate keys made and only give the auto transporter the copies instead of the original.

Ask the car hauler whether they'll inspect your car before loading it to the trailer and after unloading it. If you can't be present during the inspection, send a trusted friend or family member to the site. Your signature should appear on the report during the two inspections.

Learn More About Their Insurance Plans and Cancelation Policy

The auto transporter must have an insurance policy to cover your car while in transit. This policy can help you when your auto insurance doesn't apply to a vehicle being transported. It guarantees you compensation if anything happens to your car.

Ask the car shipper for proof of insurance before discussing further details with them. Consider another company if they are hesitant to give you this information.

Auto transporters need liability and cargo insurance to cover any losses incurred in transit. The policy only protects the vehicles and not personal belongings lying inside the car.

While reviewing their insurance policy, check the type of damages covered and whether there's a deductible. Ask whether the policy comes with limitations and whether you need additional insurance.

Review the auto transporter's cancellation policy if they have one. Inquire whether they have a deadline for the shipping service and fines for canceling. If you're unsure about when your car will be ready for shipping, ask the customer support staff on how you can cancel or reschedule.

Some carriers have penalties for canceling a reservation without prior notice. Others may allow you to reschedule the shipping for free. Either way, get the terms and conditions of the cancellation policy in writing before agreeing to it.

Inquire About Their Tracking Systems

Knowing the current status of your shipment gives you great peace of mind and allows you to plan your schedule. Most auto transporters offer a car tracker or tracking system to keep you updated with the shipping process.

The company should have a dedicated customer service team to give you the tracking information. They should give you a tracking number that you can use to check the location of your car. Upon request, the auto transporter must contact your driver and give you a personalized shipping update through email or phone.

Some car shipping providers have GPS systems fitted in their carrier vehicles. Tracking will only be possible if the driver is willing to activate GPS tracking on the truck.

Since auto-tracking is quite new and expensive in the car shipping world, many carriers are reluctant to implement it. Some companies prefer to stick to traditional tracking means like phone calls. You should thus discuss your expectations of their tracking services with the shipping company.

Ask About Payment Arrangements

The auto transporter may ask you to pay the shipping costs upfront or in installments. Check whether their payment plans match your car transport budget. Learn about their transaction, late payment, or installment fees before transacting with them.

You can also check their site or call a representative for a price quote. Most car transport companies offer free attractive quotes to compel consumers into transacting with them. Reach out to another carrier if the quote isn't appealing.

Though it's tempting to settle for cheap options for transport services, you might not get the best deal. Even more, you may encounter hidden fees and low-quality shipping.

Car hauling prices vary based on the mileage covered by the truck or trailer. Auto transporters charge lower per mile for long-distance moves and higher per mile for shorter distances. Since enclosed carriers offer more security and protection, they cost 40 percent more than open carriers.

Factors like size, location, season, and timeline affect the price of car hauling services. A heavier vehicle may cost more to ship, and it may be expensive to ferry a car to a rural location. You can save money in winter when the demand for car shipping services is low.

Find out About the Paperwork Required

The common documents required during the shipping process include the bill of lading, insurance terms, and conditions and title/registration. Other documents include photo ID and proof of insurance depending on the auto transporter. You may also need an absent owner authorization and lienholder authorization form.

Bill of lading is a piece of paperwork that acts as proof of delivery in the shipping process. It also captures your car's condition during pickup and delivery. Insurers may not compensate you for repairs if you don't include the damage in this document.

Always review the terms/conditions of your insurance policy before hiring an auto transporter. The document gives you a chance to agree to the right coverage amounts for your vehicle to be adequately insured.

You'll need a lienholder authorization from your lender to ship a car that's still on loan. On the other hand, an absent owner authorization will be crucial if you ship the vehicle through a port. In some instances, the car shipping company may ask you for a photo ID, proof of insurance, and title and registration.

Choose Car Transport Services Today

Though shipping a car can be tricky, it'll be less stressful when you follow the tips discussed here. Choose car transport services that are in line with your need and budget for a smooth shipping process. Seek clarification from the company on any confusing issue to avoid getting a bad deal.

You can count on our professional and punctual car hauling services for a stress-free experience. Our goal is to make shipping fast, safe, and personalized to your needs. Check out our cost calculator for instant shipping quotes.

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