Besides a home or commercial real estate, your motor vehicles may represent the most valuable property you own. When you need to arrange shipment of a fleet or personal vehicle, whether for a move, a recent purchase, special event, or to have with you on a vacation or business trip, arranging safe, reliable auto transport with a trusted shipper is a wise investment.
Following are a few essential things you should know before you ship your vehicle.
1. Closed Versus Open Shipment – Open shipments are the most popular auto transport option. Vehicles are secured and transported with other cars and trucks on an open trailer. Most cars, including new automobiles en route to auto dealerships, are transported safely via open shipment. If you are sending a classic car, race car or any vehicle that requires a premium level of care, closed shipment is the best option. An enclosed trailer offers additional protection from adverse weather conditions, vandalism, theft, dust and other debris from the environment.
Other options include having a service provider drive your vehicle to its destination and traditional towing services.
2. Door to Door Versus Terminal to Terminal – With terminal to terminal service you must drop your vehicle off at a terminal for shipment to your destination. Once you arrive at your new location, you must go to a terminal to pick up your car or truck. Although terminal to terminal service may sometimes cost less, door to door service is the more popular option.
If you will need your car right away and do not want to arrange transportation to the terminal to pick up your vehicle, door to door service may be your best choice. The auto transporter will pick up your car at your home or office and then drop it off at your new location. If the streets in your area cannot accommodate a transport carrier, pick-up can be arranged close by, for example at a parking lot that is convenient to your home or office.
Fewer people handle your vehicle with door to door transport. Additionally, when you factor in the costs of traveling to the terminals, door to door transport is often the most cost-effective option.
3. How Shipping Costs are Determined – Costs can begin as low as a few hundred dollars. Several factors determine actual shipping costs. Be sure to discuss each one with your service provider before signing an agreement. One consideration is trailer type, with open trailers being less costly than enclosed trailers. Pick-up and delivery details are also pertinent, including the time of day and any special access requirements. Finally, the make and model of the vehicle, modifications, weight and the shipping distance will also impact the total cost. Pricing may vary by region and seasonally.
4. Insurance Coverage – Be sure you understand what the carrier’s policy covers, whether your personal or business policies cover your vehicle during transport by an auto shipper and what any available supplemental policies may cover. Often specific types of property are excluded from coverage such as pets and food. Additionally, certain types of damage are frequently not included, and coverage may be limited to a specified dollar amount for some items.
5. Before you ship your vehicle, take note of the following do’s and don’ts.
• Don’t leave personal items in the vehicle. Remove any GPS devices, toll passes, and transponders. Remember to remove all loose items including garage door openers, candy, change or other things that could become airborne during transport.
• Don’t leave more than ¼ tank of gas in the vehicle. Extra gasoline makes the car heavier.
• Don’t leave hood ornaments or other items that could potentially break during transport. Remove them along with antennas, luggage, trunk or hood racks, exterior spare tires, car covers, and spoilers. Fold back exterior mirrors.
• Don’t leave your convertible top open. Be sure it is securely locked to protect your vehicle from rain, dirt and other debris.
• Don’t leave without exchanging contact information with the driver.
• Do take photographs to document the condition of your vehicle at the time of pickup and again upon delivery.
• Do make sure that if you are purchasing a vehicle, it will be ready for the shipper to pick up at the scheduled time.
• Do make sure the interior and exterior of your vehicle are clean.
• Do a maintenance check to make sure your vehicle is operating safely before shipment. Be sure to make sure your battery is charged and look out for any leaking fluids. Address any issues before shipping your vehicle.
• Do make sure tires are properly inflated to avoid tire damage during loading and unloading.
• Do disable vehicle alarms and anti-theft devices.
• Do have an extra key ready for the driver. Remember to keep at least one key for yourself in case the one you give to the driver is misplaced during shipping.
• Do lock your car.
6. Communication is Key – Let your auto shipper know of any potential delays due to scheduling, weather, traffic or other unforeseen factors as soon as possible. These same delays could also be occurring with your shipper, so be sure to communicate periodically and request updates on estimated pickup and delivery times.
Whether you are purchasing a new truck for your fleet from an online dealer, participating in a classic car show, or wanting your RV to be available once your flight has landed at your vacation spot, an auto transport service provider can protect your vehicle and have it ready for you when you arrive.
From traditional towing to enclosed trailers, affordable choices are available. Full-service vehicle shipping companies can provide you with peace of mind at a reasonable cost. Ask questions to determine available insurance coverage and which service options will best fit your needs considering both the security of your vehicle and personal convenience.
Be sure to consider the tips above to help you prepare for your vehicle to be transported. Once your car securely reaches its destination, you’ll be glad you made the investment.