If you need to ship your car, your biggest concerns are probably the cost and the risks. Leaving your car in someone else’s hands on a long drive can be worrisome, but thankfully damage and losses are rare with professional auto shippers.

However, not every auto transport company takes that responsibility seriously. If you want to ship your car safely, it’s essential to choose the right auto transport company, do your research, and prepare your car properly. Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Understanding How to Ensure Secure Auto Transport

Though safety during car shipping is a common concern for many car owners, accidents and damage are very rare with professional, experienced auto transport companies. These companies transport over 450,000 vehicles each year and know how to make the process as safe and efficient as possible.

However, it’s worth noting that auto shipping is done in two different ways, which affect the security of auto transportation. This includes:

  • Open auto transport: This is the most common and economical shipping method. Cars are loaded, secure, and shipped on an open trailer.

  • Enclosed transport: As the name suggests, enclosed transport involves shipping cars in a fully enclosed trailer to protect them from road debris and the elements. This option is more expensive, so it’s usually used for luxury, classic, exotic, or high-value vehicles instead of daily driving vehicles.

There are specialty services as well, including door-to-door shipping, expedited shipping, seasonal relocation, classic car shipping, cross-country shipping, and shipping for motorcycles, golf carts, and other types of vehicles.

Whichever method you choose, having the right auto transport broker is a crucial part of the process. Brokers act as intermediaries between carriers and clients to arrange the transportation of vehicles with safe, reputable companies.

2. Preparing Your Car for Safe Transportation

Shipping your car is a safe option, but some of the responsibility for safe shipping falls on you. It’s important to prepare your car for shipping to enhance its safety. Here are some tips:

  • Remove personal items: Check your car and trunk for any loose items, such as toolboxes, jacks, or gas cans. You should remove all loose personal items, especially anything that can be hazardous like weapons or medications.

  • Check for problems and perform repairs: Make sure your car doesn’t have any fluid leaks, such as oil or brake fluid, that may damage other cars on the trailer. If your car needs any repairs, make sure to complete them before your shipping date.

  • Minimize risks of damage: Before shipping, push in your side mirrors if you can and lower or remove antennae. Check soft-top convertible or vehicle covers for tears, which can become holes due to wind exposure. Get them repaired if possible or patch them for the trip.

  • Document everything: Take photos and videos of your car’s interior and exterior from multiple angles. This evidence will provide proof of your car’s condition before the trip if it sustains damage during shipping.

3. Selecting a Reputable Auto Transport Broker

Choosing a reputable auto transport broker ensures you have a safe and smooth shipping process. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Licensing and registration: Make sure the broker is licensed and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which indicates they meet the industry regulatory standards.

  • Insurance coverage: A reputable broker should provide insurance coverage as an option to protect your car during transport. Make sure to evaluate the coverage limits and the type of damage that’s included in the policy.

  • Experience and reputation: Look for brokers with a proven track record and positive reviews from past clients. You should also look at the negative reviews to see what went wrong and how the company worked to resolve problems.

  • Transparent pricing: The broker should have transparent pricing with no hidden fees. You should get a detailed quote that outlines all the costs associated with shipping your car so you can plan accordingly.

  • Customer service: Exceptional customer service should be a top priority. Look for brokers who address concerns and questions throughout the process.

  • Shipper screening: Reputable brokers will thoroughly vet carriers to ensure that they are licensed, insured, and bonded. This helps you avoid unreliable transport companies and possible shipping scams.

  • Contracts and agreements: Before you finalize anything, review and understand the terms and conditions of your contract. Make sure there are detailed guidelines for insurance, delivery windows, and possible problems that may arise in transit.

If your primary concern is safety during the shipping process, a reputable broker plays a huge role by choosing reliable and experienced auto transport companies with a proven track record of safety and compliance.

Understanding Auto Transport Insurance

Auto transport companies often have insurance coverage to protect against damage or loss, but you may have the option to increase your coverage.

Generally, carriers are responsible for the cargo on their trailer, which includes your vehicle. However, their responsibility is limited. If there’s an accident, for example, the insurance adjuster will determine the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle at that time. The cost to repair or replace it will determine what the carrier has to reimburse.

In addition, insurance doesn’t cover “Acts of God,” which are often nature-related incidents like tornados or floods. The likelihood of these events damaging your vehicle is rare, so you won’t be covered unless you have additional insurance coverage to protect against this possibility.

You don’t have to have your own auto insurance policy in place to ship a car, but if there’s damage that isn’t covered by the carrier’s policy, you will be responsible for the damage out of pocket.

Carriers have coverage limits as well, which you need to know before booking shipping to determine if you need additional coverage. Working with a broker can help you navigate this process and understand what’s covered in the event of damage or a total loss.

Shipping Safety Protocols and Measures

Professional, reputable auto transport companies take safety seriously. There are several safety protocols and measures they use to ensure cars are as safe as possible during transport, including:

  • Properly loading and securing vehicles onto trailers.

  • Performing routine maintenance of shipping vehicles and equipment used in the shipping process.

  • Ensuring drivers are trained and certified in vehicle handling and safe driving practices.

  • Planning routes carefully and accounting for traffic and weather conditions.

  • Monitoring shipments throughout their journey.

  • Providing adequate insurance coverage for vehicles to protect against damage or loss.

  • Complying with all relevant regulations and industry standards for vehicle shipping.

4. Understanding and Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Shipping a car can be a safe, smooth, and stress-free process when you have a professional, experienced carrier. However, you have to do your due diligence to avoid the common pitfalls with auto shipping, including:

  • Failing to research thoroughly: Always research the company before booking auto shipping. Verify licensing and insurance, ask for references, and check reviews on Better Business Bureau (BBB), TrustPilot, and other third-party sites.

  • Shopping by price: Cost is a consideration when you’re shipping your car, but cheaper isn’t always better. Consider the company’s reputation, experience, and customer service alongside cost factors.

  • Not checking insurance coverage: Make sure the transport company has adequate insurance coverage for your car and verify the coverage limits and inclusions.

  • Not reviewing the contract: Read your contract carefully to understand all the terms and conditions prior to signing. Pay special attention to liability clauses and cancellation policies.

  • Failing to prepare your vehicle: Follow our tips to prepare your vehicle for safe shipping, including performing repairs and removing personal items before shipping.

  • Not documenting your vehicle’s condition: Your vehicle needs to be thoroughly inspected and documented at pickup and delivery. Failing to do so gives you no evidence to verify its condition if there’s a damage or loss claim.

  • Not showing up for pickup or delivery: You or a trusted party should be available to release and receive your vehicle at both pickup and delivery.

Though many auto transport companies are reputable and trustworthy, scams can occur. Here are some red flags to look out for:

  • No contact information or physical address: Legitimate companies will have contact information and a physical address.

  • Unrealistic promises: A company that promises extremely fast delivery times or unusually low prices could be a scam.

  • No licensing or insurance: Always verify that the auto transport company is licensed and insured.

  • A lot of poor reviews or complaints: If you notice a lot of negative reviews and customer complaints, especially ones the company ignored, it speaks to poor customer service.

  • Full payment upfront: Reputable companies usually require a deposit with the balance due on delivery. Avoid companies that require full payment upfront.

Shipping your vehicle can be nerve-wracking, but advanced technology options can add to your peace of mind. Auto transport companies may offer tracking services that you can use to monitor your vehicle’s journey in real time using GPS tracking devices. Keeping an eye on your vehicle in transit can give you confidence that it’s in one piece and scheduled to arrive safely and on time.

Get Peace of Mind with Your Car’s Shipping

Shipping your car is one of the safest ways to get it from point A to point B, but some of the responsibility falls on you with your research and preparation. Working with a reputable auto transport broker can facilitate a smooth and secure shipping process, including getting a responsible, professional carrier with proper safety measures and insurance coverage.

Looking to ship your car? Nexus Auto Transport is an industry leader in safety and customer satisfaction. Contact us today to schedule your car shipment!