If you fit into one—or even both—of those groups, you might be wondering how you’ll take your car along with you.
The answer is a vehicle transportation company.
But the process isn’t as straightforward as it might sound.
Make sure you keep reading to learn eight things you need to know before shipping a car across the country.
1. You Should Book in Advance
You should always look into vehicle transport services long before you’re ready to use them.
This will give you time to find a good company and book in advance. Booking early is especially important if you’re planning to move or travel during the summer, which is a busy time for vehicle transportation services.
And remember, transporting your vehicle will take anywhere from five to 10 days, depending on where you live and where you’re going. Factor that into your moving plans.
If your car has to arrive in time for an event, like a birthday or a wedding, make sure you explain this to your vehicle transport company. It’s impossible to control the conditions on the road, but your transport service will do their best to get your car to its destination on time.
2. Don’t Base Your Decision Entirely off Price
When you’re looking for a vehicle transportation company, don’t just choose the cheapest one you can find. A low price might reflect the type of service you’ll get.
Instead, spend some time researching several potential companies until you find the one that best fits your needs. Read the information they provide on their website, take a look at their online reviews, call them up and talk to them about their services.
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. You’re trusting this company with your car, so take your time and make sure whoever you chose is trustworthy and reputable.
3. You Can Choose Different Shipping Methods
There are a few different types of vehicle shipping methods.
Some companies will only deliver your car to specific lots. Others will bring your vehicle to a more convenient address you can pick before the shipping process. If possible, some companies will deliver your car right at your front door.
You can also choose open or enclosed auto shipping. Enclosed shipping keeps your car covered, giving it protection from the elements, debris, and potential damages. However, it will also make the cost go up.
And think about the location of the final destination. Depending on where you’re going, the price of the service might fluctuate.
4. Insurance Is a Must
Never hand your car over to a company that doesn’t have insurance. Always ask your vehicle transport company to provide a Certificate of Insurance. This will help protect you and your car if something goes wrong during the trip.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your transport company about what exactly that insurance covers. If you don’t think it provides enough coverage, you can also ask the company to increase it.
5. Keep an Eye out for Red Flags
There are several red flags you should look out for when working with a vehicle transport company.
For example, your transport company should be willing to answer all of your questions, even if you ask them multiple times. Companies that aren’t willing to answer questions might not be able to provide the information you want. At the very least, it might be a sign they have poor communication—something you don’t want when you’re shipping your car.
You should also take your business somewhere else if your vehicle transport company asks for a deposit.
Reputable transport companies don’t need deposits. Instead, they’ll accept payment once they’ve dropped off the car.
6. There Will Be Two Inspections
When the vehicle transport company picks up your car, the truck driver will give it a thorough inspection. During this inspection, they’ll record any current damage on your car.
When the company drops off your car, make sure you—or someone you trust—can then give it a second inspection. This is when you’ll look for any new scratches, dents, or other damages.
If you find anything new, you’ll know it came from the delivery process. Make sure you take pictures of the before-delivery and after-delivery condition of your car.
7. You’ll Have to Do Some Prep Work Beforehand
Before the transport company picks up your car, you’ll have to do a bit of prep work to get it ready.
Check the tires to make sure they’re fully inflated. You should also ensure the car battery is fully charged and that the emergency brake works. Empty out the gas tank so it only has a quarter of a tank left.
You’ll also want to clean out personal items. Anything unsecured in the car can move during transport and damage your car’s interior.
And remember to turn off the alarm.
8. Washing Your Car Before Departure Is Important
Washing your car before transport is more important than just making it look nice.
It can be hard to see scratches and other damages under a layer of dust and dirt. A clean car will help the inspection process go faster and be more accurate.
What You Need to Know Before Shipping a Car Across the Country
Shipping a car across the country is a bit more involved than dropping it off and picking it up again on the other side. You have to do some prep work before the journey.
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