Have you ever heard the saying “Ignorance is bliss”? Well, it is bliss alright, but not for you! When it comes to getting a good deal on any service, you are better off knowing a little bit more. Otherwise, you may get into something that will likely cost you more money or waste you a lot of time.
Car shipping is no different in that regard. You have to know a thing or two about it so that you are not stuck with bad service.
Today, we are going to explore some common questions you need to ask the respective company. While the list is not at all exhaustive, it should cover most of what you need to know. On that note…
The importance of asking the right questions
Sadly, we live in an age where some people abuse the lack of knowledge others have. Or worse – they thrive on giving you tons of information, which has no relevance whatsoever.
We are surrounded by buzzwords and catchphrases, which trigger a response in us. To put it simply – we are often being played. This is how we end up purchasing goods and services, which we did not even want.
To counter such practices you should have a few tactics of your own. Firstly, you need awareness. Hopefully, this article is already helping you with that. Secondly, you have to know how to get quality information. Here is where specifically targeted questions come into place.
I will be arming you with some key inquiries you need to have in your arsenal. Having such questions in the ready and knowing which answers are reasonable will help you tremendously. You will be able to sift through the avalanche of words, pinpointing the exact pieces of information you need. Now, let’s go!
Question #1: What auto transport services are available to me?
We are starting off with something fairly simple and obvious. However, the answers here can make a huge difference. As it turns out, not all auto transport services are created equal!
For example, certain companies may advertise door-to-door transportation. You may think that it means your car will be transported from and to any point you say. Instead, it can simply mean that the carrier will travel between two very specific points, where you drop off and pick up your vehicle.
If you cannot learn enough from a company’s website, you definitely need to ask for more details. Though I would say the lack of clear service description is already a red flag. Since we understand that such knowledge is vital, here, on our website we have provided plenty of information about our car shipping services.
Question #2: How much does a service cost? What is included in the quote?
Even though these are two questions, they go hand in hand. After all, the price may be irrelevant, if you have to pay additional fees on top of some base rate. Such practices still exist, so you have to pay close attention.
You should know that reputable car shipping companies will always give you a personalized quote. Low flat rates are not uncommon, but they are usually too good to be true.
For instance, you want a quote for shipping a car from Los Angeles to Chicago. Yet you may not know that travel distance is not the only thing that determines the fee. The type of auto transport (e.g. open or closed), the size and weight of your vehicle, and even the supply/demand situation are all important factors. If a company does not care for any of these details, I would be very careful with it. Which leads us to…
Question #3: Is the company registered with the DOT?
If you do not want to get scammed, you should definitely look for a company that is registered with the DOT. However, this is one of the questions that most people fail to ask.
All car carriers and auto transport brokers need to go through an FMCSA registration process. Registered companies are issued a 6-digit MC Docket number and carriers have an 8-digit USDOT number. You can inquire about it and the company should not have a problem providing it. You can then check it online.
If a company refuses to give you their DOT number, you should be wary. Yet there are some more telltale signs that may hint a company is not registered. The most important of them is in our next question!
Question #4: Is the vehicle insured during transport?
If the company does not include vehicle insurance in the cost, they are trying to scam you. Do not fall for such tactics. Vehicle insurance should not be additional or optional in any way. The DOT requires all carriers to have cargo insurance.
Such insurance would usually cover damages during loading and unloading, as well as transit. Damages include theft, dents, scratches or even loss of the car. That being said there are liability limits with each carrier, and you may ask about them individually.
Because of the present insurance, your car will be inspected by the carrier prior to loading it. Together you will sign a bill of lading, which will later be reviewed when the car is unloaded. This is done to cover any pre-existing damages to the vehicle. All of that should guarantee both the carrier’s and your peace of mind.
Other questions you need to ask
We have already covered the major questions and why they need proper answers. However, there are some other details you may want to know as well. Although they are not an absolute necessity, they can be useful for you personally. So let’s check them out rapid-fire style.
- Q5: How to prepare a car for transport?
If you have no idea about that, you should ask the car shipping company. Some have specific requirements that need to be met, so you may ask about those as well. Here at Corsia, we have a guide on how to prepare your car for shipping.
- Q6: When will my car arrive?
This is one of the most common questions people have. You can definitely ask your carrier, but keep in mind that the majority of auto transport deals with estimated delivery dates. If you want your vehicle to be picked up or dropped off on a specific date, you have to request a premium service.
- Q7: When should I book the service? For how long will my quote be valid?
Different companies have their own requirements when it comes to how many days in advance you need to book their services. That is why you have to ask them individually. However, due to the nature of our industry, Corsia Logistics always advises booking at least two weeks in advance before the actual transport.
On a similar note, you should not wait too long after you receive your quote. Prices fluctuate, so if you get back to the company a week later, you may have to request a new quote. In any case, make sure to ask the company if they have a specific timeframe to get back to them.
- Q8: Do they search your car when shipping?
If you are worried about that, you can ask the car shipping company. Usually, the carrier that will pick your car up will neither weigh, nor search through your vehicle. If your car is not obviously full with stuff, the carrier will not say a thing. Yet it is still advised against having any personal belongings and dangling items within the vehicle. The carrier is not responsible for those should they go missing or cause damages to the interior of the car.
That being said, if the police stops the carrier (e.g. for a routine check), they may want to check the vehicles. In order to avoid trouble, we suggest that you check out our article on transporting personal belongings and prohibited items.
- Q9: Does the car need to be operable?
This question only applies if the vehicle you want to ship cannot be driven for some reason. In such a case you have to ask the company outright whether they can take care of such a request. However, keep in mind that even if they do, it may cost extra if additional services/equipment are required (e.g. forklift if the car cannot be rolled and steered at all).
- Q10: Can you walk me through your car shipping process?
This question is rather interesting because it works in two ways. If this is your first time shipping a car, it can be useful to know what all steps are. However, even if you know the process, there is still value in the question.
For instance, companies can sometimes have a slightly different approach. Not to mention that the support staff should be happy to answer that for you. Any beating around the bush would likely point to an issue. It may not be an instant red flag, but you should still have it in mind.
Do you have additional questions?
These 10 questions can serve as a great way to learn more about any car shipping company and its process. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility that you have a very specific question, which is not on our list. If that is the case, we will be happy to hear it!
In any case, by having the mentioned questions answered you will already be at an advantage as a client. Or as another popular saying goes – “Knowledge is power”.