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10 Helpful Tips for Shipping Car Safely

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Whether you are shipping your car domestically or internationally, it is essential to follow some basic vehicle safety measures to make sure everything goes smoothly. While you might expect your vehicle to be delivered to its destination without any damage, that's unfortunately not always going to be the case with some auto transport companies.

Tips for Shipping Car Safely

Your vehicle is one of your biggest investments, so if you want it to be delivered to your destination in the same condition as it was when the car movers picked it up, you should follow the below car shipping tips.

1. Leave enough time between shipping your car and moving

Shipping a car is not easy. It is bulkier, more expensive, and slower moving than moving your other possessions. And you'll need to plan in advance to choose the best carrier and figure out the timeframe required for loading and delivery. Unexpected delays can occur, so patience is crucial throughout the process.

These are the general car shipping delivery time estimates:

Miles No. 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. Research car shipping companies / find a professional car shipper

The next and most important step when shipping a car is to find the right company for the job. Many moving companies are highly committed to shipping your vehicle without a hitch, but you should be selective in hiring a good and reliable company. Do the proper research and get free quotes from each company so you can compare their pricing and the different services offered.

3. Learn more about the company

When transporting your automobile, you are risking thousands of dollars, so you need to use a company that you trust. While finding out more about a company via word of mouth is a great idea, you can also learn a lot about the auto transport company reading about the experiences of past customers online. Check out our review section for authentic audio clips and ratings to help you make a truly informed decision! Remember that choosing a reliable auto transport company is one of the most crucial car shipping tips.

Tip: Make sure to select the most reliable and reputable company you can find rather than going for the cheapest one, as your automobiles are some of your most valuable possessions. It's always best to entrust them to a dependable company. Saving a few dollars upfront could cost you in the long run.

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

After you've narrowed down your list of companies with the best services, prepare a list of questions that you can ask each company. The answers will make your decision much easier. Read our 10 questions to ask an auto transport company to check whether they are registered with a government-regulated company such as the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which lets you know their business license, insurance record, and complaint history.

5. Never pay the entire price upfront

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. Don't pay the entire price upfront. Most deposits will be a percentage of the final estimated cost. It shouldn't be more than 50 percent of the final cost. So, it's important to ask movers if they will retain the deposit in case of cancellation. You should also find out the penalty date before paying any deposits. Being cautious with the payment is one of the most useful tips for shipping a car.

6. Check insurance coverage

Check the moving insurance policy of your car before the shipment and ask the moving company about its liability insurance coverage. Typically, most companies have insurance coverage of $50,000 to $1,000,000, but you should still make this one of your questions. Even when you choose a reputable company, damage can still occur while in transit. If your vehicle does have damage that wasn't there previously, it's important that you document it as having occurred during transport. That way, the shipping company's insurance should cover repairs.

7. Pick up and drop off are important

Usually, 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 you have enough space on the street or in a parking lot to load your vehicle. Once your car reaches its destination, you then have to figure out 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 you want a covered or uncovered carrier

If you choose a covered carrier, it will cost you quite a bit more, but your car will be better protected from the elements of the open road like debris and weather. 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 seem like 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 opting for the enclosed carrier. Otherwise, you can choose an open-air carrier, which is more cost-effective.

9. Inspect your vehicle

Before shipping your car, inspect your vehicle thoroughly to be aware of its condition. Make sure that no fluid is leaking from any part of the vehicle, because this is very unsafe and may lead to further damage of your vehicle while it's in transit.

We suggest inspecting your vehicle with the movers when they arrive at your home to pick it up, so they know the vehicle's condition and can examine it closely before moving it. Even after the delivery of your car, inspect it very carefully for any damages or missing items. You can check it by referring to the initial form of inspection. During the inspection of your automobile by the representative of the company at both the ends of the move, make sure that you are present so you can dispute any potential discrepancies that may arise.

Tip: Taking pictures of your vehicle prior to shipment helps you to easily identify any existing damage to the vehicle so you'll know what damage occurred during shipment.

10. Make sure nothing is left in your vehicle

You may have many valuable things in your car that can lost, stolen or damage when your vehicle is being shipped. To get a positive experience when shipping your car, thoroughly check your vehicle to confirm that all of your personal belongings are removed from it.

  • Deactivate all of the alarms and remember to remove all of your removable gadgets such as radios, cassette decks, or CD players.
  • Check the battery prior to the vehicle's shipment to ensure that it's charged for the safety of your vehicle. If you find any issues with the battery, they should be resolved before shipping the car.
  • Always carry one set of keys with you and give another set to the movers.

As long as you follow these tips for shipping a car, the process should go smoothly, and your vehicle should arrive at your new home safely and without delay.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on January 25, 2013

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