Whether you are relocating to a new state, sending a child off to college, or purchasing a new car, using a car shipping company is a convenient and reliable way to get your vehicle from one location to another. Auto shipping takes the hassle out of driving long distances and can simplify the process of transporting your vehicle. For many people, this isn’t something they do on a regular basis so there may be a lot of unknowns. Understandably, people may be concerned about the cost of auto shipping as well as figuring out how the process works. The good news is that shipping a car isn’t as difficult as one might think and there are plenty of ways to save money. Consider the following tips for an affordable and hassle-free auto shipping experience.
Research Shipping Companies
Before booking an auto transport service, you want to be sure that the company you are working with is reputable and reliable. It’s important to research a few carriers so you can find a trusted shipper. You can start with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which allows consumers to check a company’s license, insurance record, and complaint history. You can also read customer reviews online or check with the Better Business Bureau. Once you have found a couple reputable companies, start asking for rate quotes.
Check Insurance Coverage
You always want to check your insurance coverage prior to booking a shipping service. While not anticipated, damage can and does occur from time to time. Most reputable auto shipping companies will offer liability coverage. In addition, you should check with your own insurance company to see if you have additional coverage.
Choose an Open Carrier Rather Than Enclosed
When shipping your vehicle, you will have the option of choosing between an open and enclosed transport carrier. The vast majority of carriers on the road are open trailers, and this is definitely your cheapest option. Since enclosed trailers can carry fewer cars, you will pay a premium price for them. Enclosed transport is recommended for a highly valuable luxury vehicle or an antique car. Otherwise, you can save money by choosing an open carrier.
Be Flexible with Your Pickup and Delivery Locations
Another way to save money is by being flexible with your pickup and delivery locations. While door-to-door service is certainly convenient, you can also expect to pay more for the service. A more affordable option would be to use terminal-to-terminal shipping. Furthermore, if you live in a remote location far from a major city or highway, you will pay more for shipping. The cheapest way to do it is by driving to the nearest terminal to drop off and pick up your vehicle.
Ship in the Off Season
If you aren’t in a hurry to ship your vehicle, another way to save money is by shipping it during the off-season. Coast-to-coast transportation carriers are busiest during the spring and summer from May-September while carriers that travel from north to south are busier during the winter months. If you can be flexible with your shipping dates, you can get a better deal by avoiding peak season.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Transport
In order to simplify the process, there are a few things you need to do to prepare your vehicle for shipment. For starters, you want to clean your car inside and out and inspect it for any dents, dings, or scratches. You want to take time-stamped pictures of your vehicle and document it’s condition prior to shipment. You will also need to perform a follow-up inspection at pickup to ensure your vehicle did not get damaged. In addition to an inspection, you should also remove any exterior accessories such as luggage racks, spoilers, bike racks, or antennae. You also want to check your tire pressure, fluid, and battery. You also want to make sure there is no more than ¼ tank of gas in your tank. Finally, you want to remove all personal belongings from inside your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Your Car Moving Questions
The hardest thing for people researching car moving companies to understand is that the prices they are getting are not hard and fast gaurantees, but rather ESTIMATES of what one company thinks it will take to get a vehicle moved promptly versus another company's opinion of what it will take. Don't be fooled, there are not carriers committed to take your vehicle at these quoted prices, the company you choose will still have to get to work getting a carrier to commit to move it at the price they quote you.
Your total price breaks down into two parts, the broker's fee (or 'deposit' as everyone calls it) and the carriers fee (your COD amount) Make no mistake about this, EVERYONE YOU ARE GETTING SALES CALLS FROM IS GOING TO BROKER YOUR MOVE. In this industry, there are brokers who try to fool you into thinking that they are the actual carriers and there are an equal amount of carriers who sell themselves on the fact that they have a truck or two but are not being honest about the fact that they broker out 90% of the orders they book. Here is a quick easy way to tell, if a company takes an up front fee, whether they call it a deposit or any other name, they are a broker. Carriers do not take any payment until the vehicle is delivered.
In our opinion, you are crazy to do so. Have you ever been paid up front for the work that you perform for your employer? Why would you pay a fee up front when there are reliable and trustworthy companies like ours that won't ask for it until we provide you with your carriers details?
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will be between one and two weeks. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.