Shipping a car is easy when you are prepared. Often, when moving your household, you may also need to transport your vehicle. Or maybe you’ve just bought a car online and need to bring it home.
Are you taking your classic beauty to a show and it’s imperative it gets there on time and without a scratch? Whatever your reason for car shipping might be, you must find yourself wondering about how it works.
How to ship a car?
For starters, simply jot down a few things on a piece of paper. Think about what you know and what you don’t about how to ship a car. Write down your options.
Can you just hop in and drive the vehicle to its final destination? If the distance your car needs to travel is no more than 200-300 hundred miles, driving would be a viable solution. And what if you need to transport your vehicle across or even half-way across the country? You’ll need to account for all the costs involved: gas, tolls, hotels, meals, and make sure your car is mechanically fit for a long road trip. And what about time? Would you be able to allocate time for this kind of a road trip?
Should you hire a driveaway company? It’s a viable option as long as you are ok with the idea of a complete stranger driving your car.
Another alternative would be to use an auto transport company and let professionals move your vehicle. It will save you wear and tear on your car and you won’t have to plan an untimely road trip. Hiring a car shipping company is also a good option if you have more vehicles than drivers in your household. And it becomes your only options in case your car doesn’t run under its own power or your vehicle is traveling to a show.
Are you worried because you have never dealt with any car shippers? You have no idea where to begin and what to do? Don’t worry. About 90 percent of people who hire auto transporters are first time shippers.
To start, create a simple checklist. It is always helpful to have a list to go by when you need to ship a car to make sure you won’t miss anything important.
It’s official: I am shipping my car. Now what?
Research and find a reliable auto mover. Searching for car shipping companies is easy. You can start by asking around to get first-hand recommendations. Or you can turn to Google for help. We’ll assure you that online search for a “vehicle shipping company” will return plenty of hits. You will find hundreds of companies from which to choose. Pay attention. In your search for auto transporter you will come across the following entities: brokers, carriers, lead provider and auction websites. It’s important you understand what the difference between the four is before you give your John Hancock.
A broker company can help you locate a licensed carrier that serves your route. A carrier company only serves certain routes and thus may not be able to ship your vehicle, if are are even able to contact them. Brokers are the entity that connect customers with vetted carriers that serve specific routes. This is the fastet and safest way to book a service.
Auction websites foster underbidding wars between auto transport companies, driving vehicle shipping prices down to unrealistically low rates. Booking at a “too-good-to-be-true” means you usually end up waiting for weeks for a carrier to pick up your vehicle.
Lead provider websites make you believe they are either brokers or carriers when in reality they are none. These companies collect your information only to sell it to brokers and carriers; which means you, the customer, end up with an unnecessary double brokerage that affects your shipping price.
For obvious reasons, we recommend you stay away from the last two. And whether you choose to work with broker or carrier, make sure you select a reputable company. Choose a company based on your good judgment and maybe a couple of referrals. Don’t just go for the lowest rate because this may hurt you later. Verify the company’s licenses and insurance with the USDOT. Seek answers to all of your auto transport questions and make sure you have contact details for your agent.
What options do I have when shipping a car?
You will have a choice between open and enclosed transport, standard and expedited shipping, and door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal delivery. Additionally, you’ll be able to request top-load for your vehicle for an extra fee. It all depends on your budget, timeframe, the level of protection you want for your vehicle, and pick up/delivery locations.
Open auto transport is a standard shipping method and also the most affordable. Your car will be shipped on a double-deck trailer designed to carry up to 10 vehicles at a time. Small one- or two-car open carriers are often used for local, less than 300 miles, and expedited deliveries.
If you are looking to add an extra layer of protection for your vehicle, you can choose to ship it via enclosed auto transport, which completely shields vehicles from destructive weather and road elements. Due to the extra protection it offers, enclosed auto transport is a pricier option.
Whether you are shipping via open or enclosed auto transport, you can request a top-load for your vehicle. For an extra fee, your car will travel on a top-deck of a trailer, which ensures against possible leaks from other vehicles.
If you are on a tight timeline and need your vehicle to be delivered on or by an exact date, request expedited shipping. Guaranteed delivery is a premium service that comes at a premium price. If you choose standard delivery, your vehicle will be picked up within 5 business days from your first available date. The transit time will depend mainly on the distance between pick up and delivery locations.
Many companies offer door-to-door delivery as a standard service. It means that the vehicle will be picked up and delivered as close to your door as legally possible. And although most of the customers prefer door-to-door service, auto transporters may also be able to arrange terminal-to-terminal delivery to accommodate your particular circumstances.
How much will I pay to ship my car?
Contact the companies you have found and request car shipping quotes. But beyond the figure, it’s important to understand the equation behind the car shipping rate. The final cost depends on a few variables.
Your vehicle’s make and model make up the base of your auto transport rate. The bigger and heavier is the car, the more expensive it will be to ship it.
Shipping a modified vehicle may add to the base price since it often requires special fitting and extra care to ensure full protection during long-distance transport.
If your vehicle can not move on its own power, the carrier will need to engage some extra help (a winch or a forklift); therefore, you’ll have to pay extra. Shipping your car in an enclosed trailer will be more expensive as well, due to the extra-protection from road and weather elements.
The longer the shipping distance, the more it’ll cost to transport a vehicle. However, it’s also important to consider the exact pick-up and delivery locations. If it’s somewhere off the main routes – in a rural or hard to get to area,- where not that many people are looking to ship their vehicles, you will need to make it worth the trucker’s time, effort, and extra gas expense. It means a higher price.
And finally, supply and demand fluctuations dictate prices on most routes. When the demand peaks, prices usually go up and this can often happen in a matter of hours.
To better understand the economics of a car shipping quote, refer to our guides in our ‘How to ship a car’ web section, where we have outlined all important details you need to know about the cost to ship a car ad everything else!
Finally, prepare your car for transport
An important final step is preparing your vehicle for shipping. You have to make sure your car is clean inside and out to facilitate easy inspection. Preparation also includes removing any detachable parts such as ski and bike racks. The carrier will inspect your vehicle before loading, and you will sign the condition report (Bill of Lading). We urge you to read the terms and conditions because this is your binding contract.
Now that you are prepared, you probably agree that shipping a vehicle is relatively easy. A legitimate company like Corsia Logistics will explain the auto transport process, answer all your questions and arrange the service to accommodate your specific situation. Our agents don’t use price calculating software, but manually track daily auto transport rate changes to supply you with the most accurate vehicle shipping quote that reflects the most current market conditions. To request your free, no-obligation vehicle shipping quote, fill out a simple online quote request form or give us a call at (818) 850-5258.
Happy car shipping!