A Guide To Shipping Your Car In The USA
Shipping a car can be scary, especially if you do not know how the process works or what to avoid. The car shipping process, when done correctly, is quite simple. You might be wondering where to start or what you might need.
We will discuss the step-by-step process of shipping a car, addressing the process and some of the things you should and shouldn’t do when you decide to ship a vehicle.
Understanding how auto transport works
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, auto transport or auto shipping is a service for anyone looking to ship their vehicle to a different destination. You will come across terms such as auto transporter or auto transport broker, who may play a part in the shipment process depending on the auto transport company in question.
Car shipping process
The first thing you need to do is get a vehicle shipping quote from different shipping companies. Because many companies have their websites with such information, you can research, compare companies, and determine which one best suits your budget.
Many of these websites have forms that generate the quote from the information you will provide.
These rates are not constant. The cost will be influenced by your vehicle type, the destination you plan to sip your car, the mode of transport you plan to use, and many other factors.
If you do not trust the website-generated quotes, you can call up the companies you are interested in and have them calculate and present the quote over the phone.
Next, you should choose the company you are interested in to ship your car. Now that you’ve compared different quotes from various companies, this step should be simple.
However, do not base your decision on price alone. Before you settle on the company to handle the shipment, check out how experienced and well-reviewed they are. Handing over your car for shipment by just anybody might end up badly.
The mode of transport, the number of destinations served, the level of experience, and the price should help you select the best company to handle your vehicle.
You should confirm with your company about their liability insurance coverage. Make sure you understand how much their policy covers and its cost. Importantly you must establish what is covered in the event of an accident by your and the auto transport company’s insurance.
Tip: Insurance is important as you risk receiving a damaged car. This could happen to anyone due to the variables involved in vehicle shipping. You want to be well prepared and avoid potential distress from a company that either doesn’t cover this damage or will outright refuse your claim.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before selecting the shipping company
- Am I satisfied with the company’s customer care and service provision?
- Have all my questions been well answered?
- Is the price acceptable?
- Does the company have a reputable business with a loyal following?
- Does the company provide all the services I will need?
- How well does the insurance cover any damage, and do they mention anything about what to do in the event of damage?
Preparing your vehicle for shipment
Last in the car shipping process is preparing your vehicle for shipment. A well-prepared vehicle has an even lower chance of sustaining damage that an unprepared one. Take a look at the steps involved in preparing for shipping.
This establishes whether any preexisting damage is present before the transportation happens. Washing the car exterior, checking for leaks, and performing a thorough check is part of the inspection phase.
Take pictures from several angles and have close-up shots of any damage preset on your vehicle.
Make records of any cosmetic damage and date all this evidence. Ensure the transporter or a company representative officially notes these personal records.
Remove all personal items or custom additions
You will have to remove any accessories, personal belongings, or any foreign additions to your car that may break off or get lost during the process.
Additionally, you don’t want anything moving around while in transit; this way, you minimize the risk of getting your vehicle damaged from all the unloading and loading.
Additions to your vehicle might slow down the clearance at customs. The process is way smoother if your vehicle has no loose items or additions that may interfere.
TIP: Vehicle transporters are not licensed to transport goods. Packing your car with personal items might therefore result in penalties or fines.
You want your vehicle up to date on maintenance. Even though your vehicle will be driven minimally throughout the process, ensure it is in good driving condition. Keep your fuel tank low. Many companies recommend that you leave it at a quarter full before shipment.
Ensure the battery is fully charged and all fluids save for the fuel are topped off. Ensure the driver knows your vehicle's mechanical issues to avoid unforeseen delays or damages.
Tip: Take care of small details like ensuring the alarm is off or securing the top if your vehicle is a convertible. The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will be.
What to do if the car is damaged during shipping?
Immediately you discover that there is damage to your vehicle, you must contact the auto transport company.
Waiting might do you more harm than good. Many car shipment companies have policies that may restrict you from filing your claim after a preset amount of time.
As a result, speaking to the company representatives may give you a clear way forward. Some companies may have varying protocols depending on the time frame you report the damage claim.
Be prepared for anything before the shipment
Before you agree to anything, reviewing your and the auto transport companies' insurance is important. This way, the value of your car is protected by these policies. Do not be afraid to ask questions like who is liable in case of accidents and damage during the process. The shipping insurance policies may cover any repairs depending on their policies.
Inspect your vehicle upon arrival
Once your vehicle arrives, conduct a thorough inspection for any change in your vehicle’s state before the shipment.
You can compare the results to what you found in the initial inspection you conducted before shipment. You should be able to spot any damage with an immediate inspection.
Informing the auto company immediately and attaching pictures and evidence of your claim is important. If necessary, write a brief report indicating the inconsistencies.
If possible, inspect with the driver or company representative there. This way, you may document the damage in your bill of lading. You may note the damaged areas on the appropriate forms that you may have with you. Ensure the driver or company representative signs the document before you leave.
Tip: When collecting evidence of damage, especially pictures, take them as they were before shipment. This way, the proof of damage is evident.
Getting an estimate
Your claim is incomplete unless it has an estimate for the damage repair attached to it. Visit a mechanic or expert to conduct an inspection and determine how much it will cost to fix. This estimate will be sent with the evidence of damage incurred during shipping.
Auto Transport Company refusing my claim
Try as you might; you may find yourself in this uncomfortable position.
If your vehicle shipping company refuses your legitimate claim, it might be time to involve the relevant authorities.
While filing a report to the police might be overkill, intermediaries such as BBB will help reach a reasonable agreement. This is usually a last resort, but a neutral third party should help resolve any misunderstanding.
Before taking these measures, ensure you have contacted the company's insurance, informing them of your claim and reviewing if the compensation they offer is fair.
What if movers damage your car?
Depending on the damage to your vehicle, the mover might not be responsible. If the damage is weather related or purely a consequence of the shipment process, then the mover might be innocent.
If you choose a reliable company, you might find information on compensation or repairs in their insurance policies. Again, some of these damages can be avoided by choosing the right auto transport companies and correct shipping options.
Damaged car after purchase
First, it is illegal for a dealer to sell a damaged car without informing you, the buyer, of its condition.
If you purchase a vehicle with concealed damage details, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them. It is a violation of consumer protection laws. However, the burden falls on you to prove that the dealer has violated your rights.
Maybe you bought the vehicle out of state, and it received damaged during transport which you organized. The dealer is no longer liable for these damages, but the shipping company or mover is.
Tip: If you suspect your consumer rights have been violated, you can use your state lemon laws to get a refund or replacement.
These laws vary from state to state but are set up to protect you because you are purchasing a new car whose value is lower than the price you are paying.
Protecting your vehicle during shipment
Before things turn dark and you find yourself dealing with a “car damaged during shipment” crisis, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself before moving the vehicle.
First, you must select a reliable auto-shipping company with different shipping options.
Take careful consideration when deciding who to hire. Companies that are big on insurance should be some of your top choices. Please find out the extent of their policies, what happens when damage occurs during shipping, and how they deal with these issues. If you need reassurance, get some customer testimonials on their efficiency.
Buying a car out of state – Costs and shipping
Traversing state lines might land you a better deal on a vehicle, but is it worth the trouble? Read on for more on buying a car out of state and having it shipped.
The out-of-state purchase option is great, especially in terms of variety. You can choose from many vehicles and deals you might not get in your home state.
There are, however, difficulties that come with purchasing a car out of state. Understanding the procedure should help guide you to making the right decisions when buying a car from out of state and shipping it.
Can you buy a car from a different state?
Out-of-state vehicle purchases are more of a matter of Should you rather than Can you make the purchase?
The process is not as tedious as many of us assume. However, it is all a matter of determining whether the pros outweigh the cons of an out-of-state car purchase. Some of the major downsides
Expenses incurred when making an out-of-state vehicle purchase will not end with your dealer; several other expenses come with such deals. Here is a quick run-through of what you should expect to cover even after paying for your new car:
- Sales tax
- Car insurance
TIP: Sales taxes are paid on your new car in the state where you choose to register it.
Some states expect that you register the vehicle within the state where you live. You may confirm the information on registration from your state DMV.
Pros and cons of making an Out Of state purchases
Some car models are rare; however, borderlines shouldn’t stop you from getting the car of your dreams. Crossing state lines might offer you a wider variety from which you can select.
Once you purchase your vehicle, you must register and insure it. The expenses you encounter might outweigh the money you were trying to save by making an out-of-state purchase.
- Meet vehicle requirements in your state: Washington and several other states have adopted the California Air Resources Board standards that have emissions requirements. Any vehicle you purchase must comply with the emissions regulations in these respective states. Some cars have stickers indicating whether they are emissions-compliant. You can confirm the information with the dealer if you cannot find the sticker.
- Costs of shipping a car from another state: Transportation is an extra expense with out-of-state automobile purchases. Before you make the purchase, you should establish how the vehicle will arrive to you. Shipping is a common and convenient way to transport your vehicle from the dealer to your doorstep. You may browse for a well-established or experienced auto-sipping company to make the transfer convenient. Every company offers a quote on how much it will cost to deliver your car to the destination. You can get these quotes on the company websites or call them up and have them deliver the quote vial phone.
What will affect the cost of shipping your vehicle?
The number one factor that will influence the cost is the size of your vehicle. Other factors, including the distance, fuel costs, route, or season, should influence the auto transport company you choose to work with.
However, none of this matters if you do not select the best shipping company option. Do not base your decision on price alone; use information such as level of experience or insurance coverage to make the best selection.
TIP: When finding the best-suiting company to ship your vehicle, consider the types of shipment available that will suit your vehicle and agree with other factors.
You wouldn’t want to pay for an open auto transport option during hail storms and wind up with a damaged vehicle do you? Overall, focus on quality over quantity when it comes to these things; you will not regret it.
Tips on buying cars out of state
Once you understand the conveniences and inconveniences of buying a car out of state, making the purchase shouldn’t be as difficult. Here are some pointers on the same.
- Ask questions: Before you venture out across state lines, get in touch with potential sellers or dealers and ask them about the car you might be interested in. You can include questions about CARB standards compliance and any other related questions that you might have.
- Organize everything beforehand: You might not need to go in with an exact model in mind, but it is important to organize some aspect of this purchase including transporting the vehicle. Decide on how far you want to go searching, make a travel budget and set a spending limit for your new car. Do not forget to include money for the expenses outside the purchase including takes and transportation.
- Inspect the vehicle: Thoroughly inspecting the vehicle will save you a lot of trouble. Check your car's physical and mechanical conditions before finalizing the purchase. Confirm that everything is as advertised before signing the purchase documents. Failure to do so might result in you returning from your home state to return the vehicle after discovering problems later on. If possible, hire a mechanic to inspect and deliver a professional report on the vehicle's condition.
- Obtain a vehicle history report: With a vehicle report, you can establish important details, including damage history, odometer readings, car service records, and such. National Motor Vehicle Title Information System offers a report you can buy and review.
Shipping a vehicle involves a lot of work and even more patience. However, it should be smooth sailing once you choose a good shipping company, make good choices based on the risk factors involved, and prepare your vehicle properly. Depending on the method of shipment you choose, you might expect damage from weather or theft.
You can ship your car two ways – open trailers or enclosed trailers. Open trailers are cheaper but expose your vehicle to damage from weather or the external environment. Enclosed trailers are more expensive but have lower chances of damage or theft.
What is the cheapest way to ship a car?
The cheapest would be the open transport way. In this instance, your car is loaded with ten or more other cars and transported on the road. However, if your car is a luxurious brand or an exotic classic car, you may opt for enclosed transportation. In other places, the terms consolidated and sole container shipping are used. In the first instance, your car is bundled up with other cars, while in the second method, you have one car per container.
How do I track my car through direct shipping?
In today’s technological world, tracking your shipment isn’t that hard. Once your car is loaded onto a freight company, you will be issued a tracking ID which you can log in to the net and check out the progress of your good. The tracking ID uses GPS technology to show your package's movement accurately. The tracking ID will also accurately show when the car left a certain port and the estimated arrival time.