What to Ask When Shipping a Car – The Crucial Questions

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There’s no better way to transport a car than hiring an auto transport company. You don’t have to drive it to the final destination yourself and are free to travel in the manner you deem convenient. However, it’s not safe to hand over your vehicle immediately because some companies may be dishonest

Below are some questions to ask when shipping a car to another state or internationally. Once the company satisfactorily answers them, you can proceed with them. It makes sense to go with a professional firm if your vehicle is precious to you.

Questions to Ask a Transportation Company

Transport related questions range from price range to services offered. You can create a transportation for hire questionnaire based on the ones we’ll cover below.

Is Your Company Registered and Licensed?

One of the first questions to ask shippers is whether they are legitimate. These companies must have all the required licenses and, notably, have registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). If this isn’t your first question on transport, it should be the second.

A company representative reluctant to provide a DOT number for you to research is a red flag. Some of the worst auto transport companies operate this way. You should never hire this type of company as it may be unlicensed.

Companies licensed to ship internationally must register with the Federal Maritime Commission. Similarly, you should perform research before proceeding with the car shipping process.

What Are the Timeframe Options?

Checking for timeframe options is part of the list of good questions to ask freight carriers. You’ll want to look at the options to select the best one for you. In most cases, priority and guaranteed shipping will be the fastest, but you may need to pay extra.

Economy shipping is the most affordable option but slower than the others. If you’re in a hurry and money isn’t an issue, don’t be afraid of choosing a costlier plan.

How Long Have You Been in the Industry?

Many people forget this and other crucial questions to ask shippers. The longer a company has been active in the industry, the more reliable it tends to be. You should search for additional information on the internet to see if these claims are valid since there’s no proof a representative won’t lie.

The best companies will have been in business for several years. Experience is essential for keeping your vehicle safe because it means the crew has gone through expected and unexpected issues that can pop up on the way and knows how to handle them.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with giving a newer company a chance. You should ensure your vehicle is insured and protected along the way before signing on. Don’t hesitate to file a complaint if there are some damages or problems.

Car Transport With GoodsIs Car Transport With Goods Available?

Not every company lets car owners leave items inside the vehicle during shipping or allows professional drivers to transport the vehicle. It’s still a crucial one of the car shipping questions to ask. The latter service is usually more lenient than the former, as a professional driver will help guard your belongings.

Some companies even let owners ride along with pets or care for furry friends as a part of premium treatment. Since no auto transport company is identical, meaning there’s no harm in finding out.

One company may let you stuff as much as possible inside the car for free, while another will place a limit on objects the vehicle is allowed to carry. Remember that the professional driver is limited by the car’s make and total cargo area, and bringing too much will slow them down.

While your car is insured, many insurance firms won’t cover the personal items left inside. It’s best to only store non-valuables in the vehicle as it makes its way to the new location. Should that be unavoidable, do your best to secure everything and take pictures.

Companies that don’t let vehicle owners leave personal belongings inside will still allow for the spare tire and jack to stay along with other essential equipment.

What Documentation Should I Prepare?

Auto shippers should ask you for some official documents. Having the information on them as they transport your car helps prevent delays and eliminate problems should they arise. The documents needed will depend on the type of delivery.

Typically, a company will first ask for the vehicle’s registration and title, along with insurance information. You may be asked to provide photo identification and let the company record your appearance.

How Will My Car Be Transported?

Don’t forget one of the essential questions to ask shipping companies. Some companies only offer one mode of transportation, such as letting a professional drive your car to a selected location. In the case of most other carriers, there are two primary choices.

The most common way cars are shipped by auto transport companies is using an open carrier. A truck will carry up to 10 vehicles at once, and these are all exposed to the elements. While it’s cheaper and any damage can be spotted immediately, there’s an increased risk of debris striking the vehicle.

Enclosed carriers are safer because the truck only carries several cars in a secure container. Therefore, these carriers reach their destinations faster than open carriers thanks to fewer drop-off points. However, you should expect to pay more for using one because of the extra speed and benefits.

Boats and trains tend to secure a car to a safe spot. Ships are large enough so that many cars are parked inside. Trains are smaller, so the vehicle is stored in a container or carrier similar to open carriers on a truck.

Always check with the company how the process goes. The company should be happy to guide you through the process.

What Happens if My Car Is Damaged?

Car transport companies do their best to ensure accidents don’t happen, but sometimes things go wrong regardless of any precautions. It’s unavoidable, but you need to know how a company responds. A highly-rated company will work with owners to ensure they get the proper repairs for their vehicles.

However, a bad company will attempt to refuse responsibility and blame the customer instead. Try to avoid companies who might respond this way, as it takes a lot to make a company like this budge on meeting their obligations.

One way to increase your chances of successfully filing a damage claim is to take pictures and videos of your car’s interior and exterior before shipping. Take care to capture every angle and spot, as these files are crucial evidence for insurance or damage claims. The shipping company will usually request proof.

Good companies will accept clear footage and work towards a resolution. Don’t forget to ask this question before handing them the vehicle.

What Insurance Do You Offer?

Standard motor insurance plans don’t cover shipping a car across the country or overseas. The good news is auto transport companies tend to offer special insurance for your vehicles. You shouldn’t pass up on it because there’s no telling what might happen when they ship the car.

Good companies will list several plans and let you choose. Sometimes you’ll have to pay more for adequate protection, but having confidence in the coverage is worth the money.

What Are the Accepted Payment Arrangements?

This is one of the good questions to ask a trucking company and any other auto transport service providers. A typical arrangement is to ask customers to pay the total amount when they reach a deal. This is normal, as some companies want everything out of the way.

Different companies have their own practices, and some prefer asking for a deposit first. Once the delivery is made, they’ll ask for the balance. Always ask for the preferred payment method because what you’re used to may not be accepted.

For example, checks are convenient, but you may discover too late that the company doesn’t accept them. Others won’t take cash because their drivers may be targeted for holding it.

Nevertheless, the common practice is for the company to ask for a deposit and request the balance later. Companies who ask for the full payment upfront may be problematic.

Regardless, finding out about the payment arrangements early is usually advantageous. You don’t lose anything by asking.

Are Non-Running Cars Allowed?

The majority of customers in the auto transport industry are paying for companies to ship functional vehicles. However, others own older cars that barely function or not at all. These may be antique cars that have immense value and are in the process of being restored.

Two main reasons for shipping non-running cars are if they’re part of your personal collection or if you’re submitting them to an auto show. Some people also ship cars that have sentimental value or are being worked on.

Not every company has the means to load or unload these unique cars safely. Therefore, you should ask about such a situation first. Not informing the company that your vehicle doesn’t run may risk extra charges.

If a company doesn’t have a way to move the car, the movers are within their rights to refuse service. You may still lose some deposit money if this happens.

Transportation Company

Do You Have Any References for Me?

Auto transport companies that have been operating for years should have a list of references to show customers who want them. Car owners want everything to go well, and it’s natural to ask for references before determining a company is worth doing business with. A reputable firm will happily provide you with a list.

Should the company somehow refuse or claim none are available, search online for any reviews. There should be some on a company’s Google Business profile. Some users also make public social media posts about their experiences with a company.

Must I Be Present for Pickup and Delivery?

This is another excellent question to ask. Some companies require the presence of a person above the age of 18 to be present during pickup and delivery to pass on the car keys and sign the paperwork.

The owner (or person above the age of 18) should also be present for an inspection report if required. Therefore, if this is the case, arrive on time and be respectful of the company’s transporter.

Companies will also accept a transfer from adults who are your friend or family member. The process should go smoothly if there’s a suitable representative. Your representative should also arrive on time for pickup and delivery so the company can perform at its best.

What Are the Rates?

The company will have set rates determined by many factors. You should ask for them and see how the final quote is calculated. For example, the vehicle type, the distance required to ship, and your plan will determine the price.

Many companies charge by the mile for their services. The more distance to travel, the costlier it is to ship your car.

Good auto companies will have everything ready for customers to peruse. Don’t go with a company that isn’t willing to provide pricing information.

Can I Get a Quote?

Reputable companies are willing to give you a free quote if you ask for it. If not, it tends to be a red flag, and you should look for another company. Look for a transparent and helpful company, not one that refuses to tell you anything extra about the process.

A website should have a form you can fill in for quotes, and most don’t require personal information. That way, you’re not obliged to work with the company if you’re unhappy with the quote.

No Foolish Questions

If you don’t ask, you might not find out. There’s no need to worry about having questions when you want to ship your car somewhere. In fact, the more evasive a company is to your questions, the less likely you should trust it.

These are some of the best questions to ask when you want to move a car from one state to another or internationally. Once you know how the process goes, you can consider moving forward and handing the vehicle over to the professionals. You can be confident your car will be transported safely and quickly.

Only hire a reputable company to help you ship your car. We’re more than ready to help you with the move so you can rest easy.