Getting an automobile across a long distance can seem difficult to arrange since you only have a few options to choose from, including driving the vehicle yourself or having someone drive it for you. But a third option that takes a lot of hassle out of the process is to use an auto shipping company. The biggest question when looking for a company to ship your vehicle is: which company will do the best job at a reasonable price? Finding the right auto shipping company is easy when you follow some simple steps.
Method 1 of 1: Finding the best auto shipping company
- Cell phone
- Paper and pencil
To find the best auto shipping company, a little research goes a long way. Research is the first step to finding the perfect company to ship your vehicle. Find out all you can about the shipper and how a company performs when it comes to their customers. Remember that you must also ask the right questions to make sure that you understand everything about the shipping process.
Step 1: Research and explore your options. Fully research the companies you are potentially interested in using. This includes checking any customer reviews, because how they treat their customers and their vehicles can tell you a lot about a company.
- You should also check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints about the company. If you find a complaint, check to see if there was any follow up by the company, and the result of the follow up. Even the best companies can suffer from miscommunication, and how they respond should tell you a lot about their character and trustworthiness.
Step 2: Get an online quote. Next, get a quote online from the companies you have researched and are interested in. Some recommended options include Ship a Car Direct, eShip, and Executive Auto Shippers, to name just a few. Some of the companies specialize in certain types of vehicles, such as luxury cars for Executive Auto Shippers, so make sure to check the type of vehicles they deal in before approaching the company for a quote.
- Warning: Steer clear of auto shipping companies that require an upfront deposit. These type of companies will sometimes take your money and not render services.
Step 3: Verify your choices. Make initial contact with the companies you are interested in using. Try to get in contact by phone with a representative of the company. In addition, one of the first things you should do is verify that the carrier has all of the required licensing and bond information on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Through the FMCSA, you can research the safety record of the auto shipping company.
- Tip: You can contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to check on a shipper's license and insurance record. You can also find complaints by customers about shipping companies on the FMCSA site.
Step 4: Ask about the shipping process. Ask questions dealing with any shipment you plan on making with an auto shipping company. Some questions to ask auto shipping companies you are interested in using include:
How long does the shipping process take? Auto shipments do not happen overnight. Auto shipping companies usually give a time range of one month from time of pickup, and even longer if delivering overseas.
Do they offer covered or uncovered carrier options? While an uncovered carrier is the least expensive option, it also exposes your vehicle to the elements when making its way to the destination.
How does scheduling a vehicle pickup work? Most often, a company contacts you when a truck comes open to transport your vehicle. Shipping companies do this to save money by making stops as they travel from point A to point B. To get an exact pickup date, you will probably have to pay extra.
What delivery options do they offer? This includes door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal vehicle delivery. Door-to-door delivery costs more, but the convenience of the shipping company picking up and delivering your vehicle directly to you is convenient. If the company uses terminal-to terminal delivery, you have to travel to the terminal where the company drops off the car to retrieve it.
Tip: Make sure you know who is actually shipping your vehicle. Most often, the initial person you contact at the company is actually a broker and might not even be with the company you are thinking of using. If possible, select only those brokers and companies who represent themselves and not a third party.
Step 5: Know the terms and conditions. Read all terms and conditions of the carrier you plan on using, and make sure you understand them. You should also find out what kind of liability insurance the company has in case your vehicle is damaged while in transit. In addition, check with your own insurance company to see if they offer any type of coverage for such a situation.
Step 6: Schedule the pickup. Once you are satisfied, choose a carrier and schedule a pickup. Additionally, make sure to keep up with all documentation dealing with the shipment in case there are problems later.
Shipping a vehicle can be tricky, but if you take some time to research a company, the experience will be less stressful. You should consider having your vehicle inspected by an experienced mechanic before shipping it to make sure nothing is wrong with it before handing it off to a third party. Then, if the vehicle arrives at its final location damaged, you have proof that the damage occurred during the shipping process.