The process of shipping a car can be confusing, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Fortunately, shipping companies typically understand and want to help the process go as smoothly as possible for you and your vehicle.
Though it features a few extra steps, using a car shipping service is often better than driving yourself because it lowers your car’s risk of damages and simplifies your personal transportation (i.e., you can take a short flight instead of a long drive).
Car shipping can be a boon for your relocation process, but it can just as quickly become a complicated mess of red tape. For the best experience possible, here are six tips for stress-free vehicle shipping.
Research to select the best car shipping company
Extensive research will come in handy when picking the best car shipping company for your car. It’s advisable to contact at least three different auto shipping companies to compare quotes, customer satisfaction, services, and insurance. This real-time comparison will help you understand which company will make you feel most at ease.
These companies will all have designated procedures for car shipping. As a consumer, you should focus on:
The shipping service provider’s reputation
The company’s insurance coverage
Be sure to read online reviews as well. Websites like Yelp are beneficial because business owners can’t alter negative reviews.
Consider the shipping options
Once you’ve found a reputable shipping company to hire, they’ll offer several transportation options. In most cases, the value of your car should dictate the choice you make.
Open auto transport is suitable for most vehicles. Enclosed carriers are best for when your car value exceeds the insurance coverage that the open auto transportation offers. For example, if you were shipping a luxury or classic car, that would be an excellent time to consider an enclosed transport.
Regardless of the options available, the final decision is yours to make. You’re the boss, and shipping should happen the way you choose. Whichever service you choose, just make sure you’re with a company that makes you feel seen and heard.
Consider the pick-up window
The pick-up window refers to the time a shipping company comes to take your car. Immediately upon hiring a service, you should let them know when your vehicle will be available for pick-up.
Of course, it may take the car shipper a few days to find an available driver. It’s advisable to pay for your own transportation only after a truck and driver are available. Don’t book an expensive one-way flight until you know that your car will meet you at your final destination on time.
Try to be flexible
The main worry for most movers is how long it’ll take the car shipping company to deliver your car. Naturally, the duration will be dependent on distance, traffic volumes, and prevailing weather conditions.
As such, you need to build some flexibility into your moving plan. Though the driver will do their best, there’s no guarantee that the car will get to you on the exact delivery date. Don’t stand for a significant delay, but one or two days might be unavoidable if there’s inclement weather or road construction.
Remember also that your car may not be the only one your driver is transporting at a time. Therefore, you may be left playing the waiting game if other clients’ delivery dates come before yours. Make sure your company gives you an estimated delivery date so that you can plan around it by a few extra days.
Prepare your car for shipment
Your car will need a little preparation before it goes on the transport. If your vehicle isn’t in good enough condition to drive on and off the ramp, your transporter may charge you a non-operable fee.
To avoid this unnecessary cost, ensure you thoroughly prepare your car. First, wash it and note any damages, including dents and scratches. Take photos and a short video to ensure you’ll know if any damage happens during transportation. Next, know that insurance coverage doesn’t apply to items inside your car, so you should remove any valuables.
To make life easier for your transporter, disable your car alarm, and ensure there’s enough gas for driving it on and off the transport. About a quarter of a tank should be sufficient.
If you aren’t personally at the destination during the arrival date, have someone there waiting to inspect your vehicle and sign for it.
Understand that location matters
Location will be a significant factor in the cost and delivery time of your car shipment.
For example, finding a truck to transport your car to an urban or populated area can take less time than transporting it to a remote location. The reason is that urban areas will have transports passing through more frequently, whereas far-out places will require drivers to go out of their way.
If you plan to ship your car, the above tips should help you with your transportation preparation and scheduling. Make it a priority to research reputable car shipping companies, settle on the best, and the rest will follow.
Also, remember, automobile transportation is not as easy as shipping any other package. It’s a process that requires effort and time to schedule and carry out.