Hiring a car shipping company is a safe, easy, and convenient way to make a move less stressful. However, before handing your keys over to a shipping company, you want to be sure you are hiring the right company for the job. You also want to make sure you understand the process. How can you go about finding the right auto shipping company? Research is key in finding a reputable company that prides itself on exceptional customer service. Therefore, you need to know which specific questions to ask so you can find a company that aligns with your needs and budget. Here are some of the most important questions to ask before shipping your car.

1. Are you licensed and registered?

When researching auto transport companies, the first thing you want to do is verify that you are dealing with a company that is properly licensed and registered. It is required by law that auto transport companies be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. In doing so, they receive a DOT number that can be used for verification purposes and to check the company’s safety reports. In addition to a DOT number, interstate auto transport companies should also be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can access this information and check for verification by going to the FMCSA website.

2. What services do you offer?

Obviously, auto transport companies are in the business of shipping cars. However, there are several different shipping options available for customers to choose from. For example, some companies ship via open trailers only while others offer the option for open or enclosed transport. Some have the ability to ship non-operable vehicles while others do not. Finally, some offer door-to-door pickup and delivery while others only offer terminal-to-terminal services. Find out what specific services the company offers so you can decide which is right for you.

3. How much does it cost to ship my car?

The prices for car shipping will vary depending on a number of factors. Things like make, model, size of your vehicle, time of delivery, and method of delivery (open or enclosed carrier) can impact the cost of shipment. However, if you provide this information to the shipping company, they should be able to give you a free quote for shipping. Just be sure to make sure the quote that is provided includes everything so you aren’t faced with hidden fees and charges.

4. Are you insured?

Insurance is important when it comes to shipping a car. Although it is unlikely that your car will be damaged during transport, it is still a good idea to make sure your car is properly insured just in case. Most reputable car shipping companies will provide some insurance coverage, so you will need to find out those specific details to make sure it is adequate.

5. How long will it take to ship my car?

When it comes to car shipping timeframes, most companies will offer you a window for delivery. It is nearly impossible to determine an exact date, given that things like weather, traffic, maintenance problems, and other unforeseen circumstances are bound to happen. However, the shipping company should be able to give you an estimate. If you are in a time crunch, be sure to inquire about expedited shipping.

6. How do I prepare my car for shipment?

There are certain steps that need to be taken prior to shipment. These include cleaning your car, taking photographs of your vehicle, performing routine maintenance, removing exterior accessories and personal belongings, and leaving the gas tank only ¼ full. Be sure to ask the shipping company for specific instructions on preparing your vehicle for shipment.

7. What documents do I need?

You will need the right documentation to ship your vehicle so be sure to ask what documents are required. This will ensure that your transport goes smoothly and there are no delays with delivery.