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10 Car Shipping Tips for Your Next Move

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Nothing is scarier than shipping your belongings to a new location -- especially when one of those belongings is your car, something you've spent thousands of dollars on. Whether it's a brand new car or a hand-me-down from your parents, this car is yours. And if something happens to it, you'll be devastated.

car shipping tips

It's important to hire a well established shipping company to transport your car to wherever you're going, but be warned, it's not going to be cheap.

1. Leave enough time between shipping your car and moving

The bigger the item, the longer it takes to ship. Once the vehicle is picked up and ready to go, it should take one day of transit time for every 500 miles. Don't forget that the carrier will also need time for loading and delivery. As with any other shipment, unexpected delays can occur, so time and patience is crucial throughout this process.

Miles Number of days
100 to 500 1 to 2 days
500 to 1,000 2 to 3 days
1,000 to 1,500 3 to 4 days
1,500 to 2,000 4 to 5 days
2,000 to 2,500 5 to 6 days
2,500 to 3,000 6 to 7 days

2. Don't pick the first company that comes up in Google

Research a handful of auto transport companies and compare them. Make a list of pros and cons in a spreadsheet. Each company will be different, and it will be helpful to compare them side-by-side.

3. Reading a bunch of facts by the company is not enough

Of course they're going to say they're a "top notch" company; they don't want to lose business! This is where reading a legitimate reviews comes in handy.

Being able to read reviews from real customers on their experiences with the company are some of the most helpful bits of information on the internet. You can check out the Movers.com review section for authentic audio clips and ratings to help you make a truly informed decision!

4. Come up with a list of questions to ask the movers

To help narrow down some of the companies on your list, we suggest coming up with a list of questions that you can ask each company. The answers will make your decision much easier. Download our moving company questionnaire to easily track their responses.

Check if they are registered with a government-regulated company, such as the Better Business Bureau of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which lets you check their business license, insurance record and complaint history.

5. It's normal to pay a deposit

Collecting a deposit is a good sign that you are dealing with a real and reliable company. However, an unreasonably high deposit may be the sign of a moving scam. Never pay the entire price upfront. Most deposits will be a percentage of the final estimated cost. It should not be more than 50 percent of the final cost.

It's also important to ask first if they company will retain the deposit in case of cancellation. Know the penalty date before paying any deposits.

6. Most reputable carriers offer insurance

Typically, most companies have an insurance policy of $50,000 to $1,000,000, but make this one of your questions. Even when you choose a reputable company, damage can still occur when in transport. If your vehicle does have damage that wasn't their previously, it's important to make sure it's documented as occurring during transport. Then, the shipping company's insurance should cover repairs.

7. Pick up and drop off are actually really important

Typically, a company will contact you if they have room on their truck and are headed towards your destination. When a company calls you, it's then up to you to determine whether your have enough space in the street or in a parking lot to load your vehicle.

Once your car reaches its destination, you then have to find where your car will be left. Shipping your vehicle from a major city to another major city will be much cheaper than moving it to a small town.

8. Consider whether want a covered or uncovered carrier

If you choose a covered carrier, it will cost you quite a bit more, but you car will be safe from dents and dirt that it could encounter along the way. To ship a mid-sized sedan from New York to California in an open carrier will cost you roughly $925, but if you decide to ship your vehicle in an enclosed carrier, it will cost roughly $1,664.

While this may be a lot of money to move your car, consider how much your car is actually worth. If it was expensive or has sentimental value, we suggest swinging for the enclosed carrier. If you don't care if your car gets dirty or damaged, feel free to save that extra money.

9. Inspect your car before you surrender it

Before you ship your vehicle, the company will look at any pre-existing damage done to the car. This includes dents, dings and scratches. We suggest doing this inspection with a representative of the shipping company, so it's documented that you both agree with the existing damages. Take extensive photographic proof before you relinquish control of your vehicle.

10. Make sure that nothing is left in your vehicle

There are a number of people that could come in contact with your vehicle before you see it again, so anything that you care about should not be in the vehicle when being shipped as they can become lost, stolen or damaged during the moving process.

When it comes time to ship your car, allow yourself enough time to research, review, interview and inspect. Remember to take your time and follow the steps mentioned above to ensure a positive experience when moving your car.

Movers.com is a great resource when it comes to moving your belongings. We can help you get multiple quotes from reliable movers in your area in a short amount of time. Just fill out the quote form to receive estimates from local auto transport companies!

Nicole Schurott  Posted by Nicole Schurott on December 12, 2018

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