There are many reasons to hire auto transport services for your move--if you are traveling to your new destination by plane, if you have more than one vehicle, or if you are driving a rented moving truck to your new home. Of course, any service that will be moving one of your most important and valuable possessions requires careful scrutiny before making the decision to hire them. This guide lists some of the most imperative questions you should ask any auto movers before enlisting their services for your move.
Do you offer free quotes?
Some companies will actually charge you just to provide you with a quote. Make sure any company you are considering for hire offers you a free quote, so you can compare prices from a variety of companies. You can get started comparing free quotes from auto transport companies right now at Movers.com.
How do you determine your rates?
Before you hire any company, you will want to know how much you are going to pay. Auto transport prices are determined by a variety of factors, such as the distance your car will be shipped, the size and type of your vehicle, and the method of transport you require.
- Distance. The further your car needs to be shipped, the higher your cost will be. Additionally, if you require door-to-door transport rather than dropping off/picking up your vehicle at a terminal, you will incur greater charges. If you live in a rural, off-the-beaten path area, it will cost you more than an urban neighborhood where the shipping company does business frequently.
- Vehicle type. Larger vehicles like trucks, vans, and SUVs are more expensive to ship than compact and sports cars. Additionally, especially valuable or vintage vehicles may also cost more to transport, as well as cars that do not operate efficiently and need special care.
- Transport method. You will also pay more depending on the type of trailer used to haul your vehicle--enclosed trailers offer more protection than open-air trailers and often cost more money.
What insurance coverage do you offer?
Many customers are under the incorrect impression that their car insurance policy will protect them from damage occurring during transport. This is false--your personal policy only covers your vehicle while it is being driven or is parked, not when it is shipped. Auto shippers are required by the FMCSA to provide minimal coverage, but depending on the value of your vehicle, it may not be a sufficient amount. Before hiring any auto shipper, ask about the extent of their standard coverage and the rates for purchasing additional insurance. You can also purchase shipping insurance from your current car insurance provider.
When purchasing additional coverage, you should ask if there is anything that won't be covered. Windshields, spoilers, and car stereos are sometimes not covered by insurance.
When will my car arrive?
Your vehicle's arrival will depend on the distance it needs to be shipped, the location of its destination and the method of transportation. Vehicles being shipped to rural areas may take longer. A company should be able to provide you with a estimated delivery date and time, and may also offer tracking services while your car is in transit. The greater the distance your car is being shipped, the more adequately you can be updated on the progress of its transport. Expected dates and times of delivery are not guaranteed, because of delays that can easily arise from traffic jams, inclement weather, or accidents.
How will you transport my vehicle?
There are many different methods of auto transport--by trailer, by train, by plane, or by boat. The type of transportation utilized will depend on the distance your car is being shipped and the points of origin and destination. There are also different types of transport trucks, such as single-vehicle, multi-vehicle, open-air and enclosed trailers. The one you choose will depend on the value of your vehicle and the protection you require. Single-vehicle trailer and enclosed trailers are usually preferred for collector, vintage or luxury cars.
Are you registered and licensed?
Any auto transport company operating across state lines is required by the FMCSA to register for a US DOT number. Overseas carriers are also required to obtain a license from the Federal Maritime Commission. To ensure the company is reputable, make sure they meet all licensing requirements in your state as well.
What documents will I need?
You may need to provide your auto transport company with documentation, especially if your vehicle is being shipped overseas. This may include, but is not limited to, proof of registration and proof of insurance. Inquire about the necessary paperwork in advance so you will have it prepared when it's time to ship.
How should I prepare my car for shipping?
Most companies require that all unnecessary items be removed from your car prior to shipping so they are not held liable for any loss or damages. There may also be regulations on the amount of gas left in your tank (usually no more than a 1/4 gallon is permitted) for weight purposes and to prevent leaks. You should also thoroughly clean and inspect your vehicle before shipping so you are fully aware of its condition prior to transport. This way, you will easily notice any damage that's been inflicted on your car when it arrives. Ask any company you are contemplating for hire about their specific expectations so you can prepare your car accordingly.