Whether you are purchasing a car online or moving across the country, shipping your car is usually much easier than driving it yourself. However, before handing over the keys, you want to make sure that you have hired the right company for the job. Furthermore, you want to be sure you fully understand the shipping process so that you can have the best experience possible. Given that most people don’t ship cars on a regular basis, you will likely have several questions about the industry and how auto transport works. Here are a few important topics you should discuss with an auto transport company before shipping your car.

What kind of car are you shipping?

One of the first topics you will want to discuss with an auto transport company is what kind of car you are looking to ship. The make, model, and size of your vehicle can help the shipping company get a better idea of what it will cost to ship your car. In addition, if you are shipping a luxury, antique, or classic car, you may want to consider additional options such as enclosed transport. Finally, you want to let the shipping company know whether or not your car is in working condition or if it’s inoperable, as this can change the equipment that will be needed to ship your car safely.

How much will it cost to ship your car?

This is likely one of the first questions you will have and any reputable car shipping company should be able to provide you with a quote. Keep in mind, however, that there are several factors that determine the cost of auto shipment. These include:

  • Size of your vehicle
  • Distance of shipment
  • Open or enclosed transport
  • Door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal delivery
  • Time of year
  • Flexibility of shipping dates

When you receive your quote, be sure to ask if the quote includes everything. You want to make sure you understand the pricing clearly, because the last thing you want are unexpected fees and additional costs.

Are they properly licensed and registered?

You want to be sure that the company you are working with is in compliance with all necessary licensing requirements. Any company that transports vehicles is required to be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. They should be able to provide you with a valid U.S. DOT # for verification. In addition, they should also be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and should be able to provide you with their MC #. You can look this number up on the Motor Carrier website to check the company’s transport history.

What services do they offer?

You want to be sure and discuss what kinds of services the auto transport company offers. For example, some may have restrictions on the size or weight of vehicles. Some may not have the proper equipment to haul an inoperable vehicle. There are also other specific services such as open or enclosed transport, as well as door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal services. You want to inquire about all of these services so you can find an auto transport company that best fits your needs.

Are they insured?

Insurance is a very important topic to discuss whenever you are handing over your vehicle for shipment. You want to make sure that the auto transport company you are working with offers adequate coverage for your vehicle. If you don’t think it’s sufficient, ask about increasing the coverage.

How long will shipping take?

There is no guarantee in the auto shipping industry and this might vary from one company to another. However, they should be able to provide you with an estimated delivery time. Just keep in mind that things like weather, road conditions, traffic, and mechanical problems can arise and affect your delivery time.

What are the payment arrangements?

Be sure to inquire about what payment methods are accepted, and ask about a deposit. Many auto shipping companies will ask customers to pay a deposit or partial payment when the shipment is scheduled, but rarely would you be asked to pay in full. Be sure you understand all of the terms and conditions of your contract so you aren’t hit with any surprise bills.

What documents will you need for shipment?

In most cases, auto transport companies will require title, registration, and insurance information in addition to a photo ID. They need proof that the car you are shipping actually belongs to you. That said, be sure to clarify exactly what documents are necessary so you have everything ready and won’t delay shipment.

How do you prepare your car for shipment?

Though the process of shipping is pretty straightforward, there are a few things you will need to do to ensure your vehicle is properly prepared for shipment. As the owner of the vehicle, it is your responsibility to make sure that your vehicle is prepared for shipment so be sure and ask what you need to do prior to dropping off your vehicle.