Are you looking for a company to handle shipping your car? Whether you’ve recently won a car at auction or you’re in the midst of a cross-country move, you must understand your options. After all, different vehicles require unique carrier options.
What’s more, countless companies offer car moving services. Because the industry remains mostly unregulated, however, these enterprises aren’t created equal. You’ll find differences in service quality that could impact your overall experience as well as the condition of your car on arrival.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five pitfalls you must avoid when hiring a car shipping company.
1. Inadequately Researching Auto Transport Companies
When researching auto transport companies, many consumers neglect to do enough legwork. Why? In some cases, they don’t know where to start.
Fortunately, you’re ahead of the game because you’re reading this article. Here’s how to research and verify a car transportation company to ensure they can provide the quality of service you expect.
All car transportation companies must be registered with the United States Department of Transportation. This registration process involves receiving a US DOT number that will permit you to access a company’s safety record and verify its current registration.
Companies involved in interstate commerce must also register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to receive a Motor Carrier number (MC).
Ask shipping companies for their US DOT and MC numbers. If a business can’t easily furnish these numbers, it’s time to cross them off your list.
2. Getting Charged Too Much
Many consumers fail to realize that auto shipping is like shopping for any other product or service. You must comparison shop. This process proves easy to do with the most customer-friendly companies.
Their websites should provide you ready access to complimentary, anonymous shipping quotes. Never work with a company that asks for a deposit or other obligation before providing you with a quote.
As you gather shipping quotes, you’ll quickly find variations from company to company. That said, most will fall within the same competitive range. Nevertheless, you could save dollars here or there, depending on who you work with and the specials they may be offering.
Make sure that each quote includes everything. You don’t want hidden charges to impact the savings you thought you received when going into contract.
3. Failing to Inquire About Insurance
Any carrier worth their salt offers coverage for the vehicles they transport. That said, what each company’s insurance policy covers may vary significantly. That’s why you can’t afford to neglect a conversation about insurance.
The most reputable companies will rapidly furnish you with a copy of their insurance policy, whether it’s via email or a page on their website. Go over these policies with a fine-toothed comb looking for loopholes and gaps.
If the policy looks comprehensive, you should be fine. But if you find areas where coverage proves wanting, hop on the phone with the company. Ask them about additional insurance options and how much they cost.
Don’t forget to run the policy by your private car insurer, too. They may be able to provide you with even more economical gap insurance solutions.
While car transportation provided by an experienced, reputable company likely won’t result in damage, it’s still essential to have a backup plan. Considering your car’s the most valuable thing you likely own after your house, you’ll thank yourself later for this added consumer protection.
4. Being Unprepared When the Driver Arrives
Auto transport drivers keep a busy schedule. If you don’t believe us, take a look at all of the vehicles loaded on their transports. Then, consider each of these cars must get delivered to different households and addresses nationwide.
Promises about delivery dates must get kept. Yet, factors outside of the driver’s control can get in the way. Like traffic congestion, changing weather conditions, roadside accidents, and more.
So, they’re counting on you to be prepared when they arrive to pick up your vehicle. What does this preparation involve? Gathering the correct documents and having the required method of payment ready.
Sorting out payment options is as simple as calling the company to find out what they accept. Many companies prefer a debit or credit card payment of the deposit at the time of booking. Yet, they may ask for cash or a check for the balance upon arrival.
While you’ve got the company on the phone checking in about acceptable payment types, inquire about necessary documents. These will include vehicle registration, your insurance certificate, and proof of ownership. You’ll need to show these papers during pick up.
5. Failing to Prep Your Vehicle Properly
Besides clearing payment types and documentation requirements with your auto transporter, you’ll need to prepare your car. That means removing all personal belongings. After all, these pose a safety risk that most shipping companies don’t want to take liability for.
What’s more, insurance will not cover damage caused by extraneous materials left in your car. And if the company gets inspected by the US DOT during the trip, all your items could get seized.
Before you ship a car, you should also check your tire pressure and fluid levels. Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at the quarter level for ideal shipping, and get your car washed. If your car has any leaks, get those addressed ASAP.
Why? Because if your vehicle gets placed on the top rack of the carrier, and it drips into a car below causing damage, you’re liable.
Pitfalls When Shipping Your Car
By avoiding the five pitfalls listed above, you’ll be well ahead of the game when it comes to a streamlined car transport service. That means one less worry on your plate, whether you’re involved in an interstate move or retrieving a car from auction.
Are you interested in more hacks that take the stress out of shipping your car? Browse our blog now for handy advice that’ll keep your costs down and your automobile in great shape.