How to Ship Your Car
Shipping your car across country or overseas can be a costly and risky endeavor. However, using a carrier to ship your car may be the only option if you are moving, or for other reasons such as taking delivery of a car from a private seller who is out-of-state. If the prospect of shipping your vehicle raises your anxiety levels, here are our top tips to ship your car.
Research the Shipping Company
Take a few moments to research several carriers, then go to the website for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, where you can check their business license, complaint history, and insurance record. When you have found two or three reputable carriers, ask for shipping quotes. Frequently, the best rates are during the winter, which is the off season for relocating.
Check Insurance Coverage
Check your own insurance policy to determine if you have coverage for shipping your vehicle. In addition, ask the shipping company about its liability coverage. In general, most vehicle shippers will carry $50,000 to $1,000,000 in coverage; however, always verify this and ask for proof of the policy. Do this as one of the first steps, not after you have signed a contract.
Select a Location
Typically, a car shipper will contact you when a truck that is headed towards your final destination has an open space. Prior to that, determine if your street has enough space for the loading process. If not, you may need to pick an alternate location for pick up. In addition, ask where the company will drop off the car. It may be someplace other than your new residence. You can ask for an exact pickup/dropoff date, but that may cost you extra than agreeing to a window of time.
Should You Cover Your Vehicle?
Keeping your car uncovered during shipping is generally less expensive, but it also means the car is susceptible to dents or scratches. An enclosed carrier offers the best protection, but it will cost significantly more. If you are shipping a vintage, classic, or luxury vehicle, this may be a better option. If you choose to use on open carrier, check for the option to have it top-loaded, which will keep the car away from road debris and other detritus.
Empty Your Vehicle but Not the Gas Tank
Empty your car of everything prior to loading onto a carrier. Failing to remove extra items, especially loose items, can jeopardize the safety of the shipment. Everything of value should be removed as well. Do leave your gas tank about one quarter full so it doesn’t run out of gas when it’s time to pick it up.