5 Need-to-Know Tips for Shipping a Car

You must understand the car shipping process and hire a reputable company to move your car.
CHIBA, JAPAN - JANUARY 17: About 3,000 Honda cars wait to be exported to North America at a port January 17, 2003 in Chiba, Japan. The strength of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar has adversely affected the export-dependent stock of Honda. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Most car owners ship their vehicles when moving to a different state, but there are additional reasons, including car show appearance, injury, or a surprise delivery. Whichever the reason, you must understand the car shipping process and hire a reputable company to move your car. Below is a list of tips when researching reputable auto shipping services and preparing your vehicle for delivery and pick-up.

Prepare Your Car’s Documents

Before searching for a reliable auto shipper, you must prepare the paperwork needed by the auto shipper to verify that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle. These documents must be prepared early to minimize last-minute hiccups. Auto shipping companies require clients to upload copies of the car title, proof of ownership, insurance, registration, and valid identification such as a passport or driver’s license.

Consult with your auto carrier to establish any additional paperwork needed for international shipping. Whether you are exporting or importing your vehicle, you may be required to show a certificate of title, tax payment, and import duties and consent from the bank for those who may have financed the car overseas.

Research Multiple Car Shipping Companies

You may not require the services of an auto shipper daily. However, researching various businesses by checking out the years of experience, online reviews, insurance, and licensure is essential. Consult the shortlisted auto companies and establish whether they provide specialized services, including car covers, GPS tracking, and floor mats. Some companies offer specific precautions that luxury and antique vehicles require. Evaluate online reviews, local car dealerships, business websites, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues to secure a reliable auto transport company, like here.

Learn About Various Car Shipping Options

If you are new to the auto shipping industry, you must educate yourself to understand the work of the industry. Auto-shipping quotes vary due to weather, traffic, accidents, and unforeseen circumstances. You can ship your car through a carrier or a broker, and the best method depends on the shipping budget, schedule, and trip details.

Car shipping brokers link clients to auto shipping companies. The brokers provide clients with multiple quotes and a swift schedule which keeps the overall cost down. Clients often face difficulties with communication upon hiring a broker and must keep in touch and connect with the driver during the route. On the other hand, a car shipping carrier allows you to stay in touch with the customer service team during the trip with minimal communication gaps. Carriers provide specialized equipment, including enclosed shipping containers, wheel nets, and hydraulic lifts, to minimize damage. They are also synonymous with experience in loading and unloading, navigating routes, and professional driving skillset.

Ask About Payments and Deposits

Most auto shipping companies, especially brokers, have specific payment requirements. Some require payment for delivery or pick-up, while others require deposits. When researching an auto shipping company, talk to your representative to establish how they will safeguard your deposit. Establish the type of payment accepted by the auto transport company as some use a combination of cashier’s check, credit cards, and cash. Go through your contract for any hidden fees and designated payment schedule.

Discuss the Schedule, Location, and Destination

The schedule, location, and destination details are crucial, and the American auto shipping company requires them to create a route plan and services. Delivery and pick-up dates may vary due to uncontrollable weather and traffic. The auto transport company provides clients with up to seven days for drop-off and pick-up. You are advised to stress punctuality, especially if you require your vehicle in the new location by a designated date. The company may charge you an extra fee for such strict schedules.

The delivery and pick-up points impact how the transporter will unload and load your car. You could organize a meet-up location with adequate space if you have minimal space on the street close to your area. Local companies use their terminals when delivering or picking up cars. You may ask whether the company has concierge services to deliver or pick up the vehicle from your house.

Follow the above steps when shipping your vehicle to facilitate smooth sailing. Consult your car insurer to establish whether your vehicle is covered during the process.


Alicia Baker
Alicia is a Canadian writer whose enthusiasm for cultural and automotive are combined in her writing. Her background includes links to insurance, finance, and automotive safety.