1. How can I be sure that my auto shipping company is giving me the best price?
Auto Shipping companies for your business just like any business would. Call or email several companies to get quotes. When comparing price, be sure that you're comparing the same service (door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal or open vs. enclosed for example).
2. Is my car insured by the auto transport company?
Your vehicle should be insured against damage and theft by your auto transport company. However, you should always ask for a copy of current insurance coverage. Ask if the carrier's insurance is primary or secondary to your own insurance in the event of damage during car transport. You also want to find out if there is a damage deductible. It is a good idea to verify all insurance coverages in writing.
In addition, your car insurance may cover your vehicle while in transit – you can check with your car insurance company to verify your coverage during auto transport. Keep in mind that many auto transport companies may discourage or prohibit you from leaving personal articles in your vehicle. Personal articles left in the car are not insured by the auto shipping company, although your home policy may cover these articles - check with your home insurance agent to verify. Please note: Overloading your trunk with heavy items may result in damage to your vehicle's undercarriage. Your auto transport company will likely not cover damage in that instance.
3. Do most auto transport companies provide guaranteed pick-up and delivery dates?
Most companies will provide a several day window in which your car will be picked up or delivered. You can also request a "picked up by" or "delivered after" date. Because of the nature of auto shipping, it is very difficult to provide exact dates. If a company does provide an exact date, it is a good idea to get in writing the guarantee and remedy if they do not pick it up on the promised date.
Learn more about shipping a car on our Car Transport Tips page.
4. Can I include personal items in my vehicle?
Most auto hauling companies prohibit the inclusion of personal items in vehicles being shipped. The three main reasons are:
- Extra weight in the car could cause damage to the undercarriage during loading and unloading.
- Neither the auto hauler's insurance and license nor the car owner's insurance typically cover any personal possessions included in a vehicle being shipped.
- Auto haulers have strict limits on the weight of loaded trucks and trailers. Additional, unanticipated weight of personal items could cause them to be overweight. In this situation, the auto hauler has to make a choice to drive overweight (risking fines and significant delays) or not take the vehicle.
5. Where will my vehicle be picked up?
Where possible, auto haulers will pick up your vehicle at your front door or driveway. However, some residential areas may restrict access for multi-car transport carriers. In this situation, you will typically be asked to bring your vehicle to a nearby open parking lot or a wider street where the auto hauler can park.
6. What kind of truck will my vehicle be shipped on?
Your vehicle could be transported on a car carrier that hauls anywhere from 1-10 vehicles. The most common are car carriers with space for 8-10 vehicles - the same type of trucks used to deliver new vehicles to local dealerships. Enclosed carriers are also available.
7. What is the difference between open and enclosed transport?
Open transport is the most common way of shipping a vehicle and the majority of people shipping a car choose open transport. It is the less expensive way of shipping a car. Enclosed transport is typically priced higher, and it protects your vehicle from dust, rain, snow and other elements. Enclosed transport is a good choice if you desire additional protection for a luxury or antique car.
8. What if my vehicle does not run?
It is important to let the auto transport company know when contacting them for a quote. The vehicle can still be transported but it will require a truck that can handle inoperable vehicles. Sometimes there is a small additional fee for vehicles which do not run.
9. How long should an auto transport take?
Shipping time depends on the auto transport company and the actual truck that will be taking your vehicle. Below are some ideas of typical time ranges. Be sure to ask the auto transport company you contact about estimated times for your specific shipment.
10. What type of paperwork (e.g. insurance, title, registration) do I need when shipping my vehicle?
If you are shipping your vehicle within the United States, the only paperwork needed is provided by the shipping company. You just need to sign it and do a visual inspection of your car with the driver of the car carrier. This is to verify any damage that exists at pick up.
11. What is the difference between door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal shipping?
For door-to-door shipping, the car carrier picks-up your vehicle at your home or workplace and delivers your vehicle to your final destination. For terminal-to-terminal shipping, you deliver your vehicle to a vehicle storage location where the car carrier will then pick up your vehicle. It is delivered to a similar type of location near your final destination.
While door-to-door shipping is typically considered more convenient, there are some instances where using a terminal may be preferable. For instance, you can drop off your vehicle on a specific date (e.g. when you need to take a flight) even if the car carrier will not pick it up for a day or two. And your vehicle can be delivered to a terminal near your final destination, even if you have not yet arrived.
You can also choose door-to-terminal and terminal-to-door shipping as well.
12. How far ahead should I schedule my pickup?
Giving an auto transport company two weeks notice is typically sufficient, unless you live far off of a standard route. While many auto shipping companies can get your vehicle on a truck in 1-7 days, it is best to not count on getting it moved in that short of a time frame.
If an emergency or some other issue makes an immediate pickup necessary, you can probably find an auto transport company that can help you. If they do not have a truck that can pick up your vehicle immediately, they can typically arrange for you to take your vehicle to a nearby terminal. However, you may pay a premium for the faster service.
13. Will my vehicle be driven at all?
If you are shipping your vehicle, it will typically be driven only on and off the truck - to load it and in some cases to unload and load other vehicles. Otherwise, it will stay on the truck until it gets to your final destination. If using a terminal, it will also be driven from the terminal onto the truck and to a parking location at the terminal. If you are concerned about it being driven more than that, you can check your odometer when your vehicle is picked up and when dropped off.
If you are using a driveaway service, a driver will drive your vehicle from your origin to your final destination.