3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Professional Auto Shipping Service

CarsArrive | Auto shipping , Cars

Dave just landed his dream job in Seattle and he's ecstatic. If all goes well, his new gig should carry him through all the way to retirement (he's hoping, anyway) and they've already offered to help cover the cost of his moving expenses.

Now it's just up to Dave to find a corporate relocation service to handle the specifics of his move. Luckily, he's lived pretty frugally his entire life, never amassing more stuff than he actually needs, with a few notable exceptions, of course (namely, his beloved vinyl collection and vintage Bose speakers).

His car, on the other hand, is a different story. Dave can't simply load it up in the shipping van with the rest of his stuff, unfortunately. However, he could drive across the country to get to Seattle from his cozy home in Boston, but the vehicle's a bit older, and he's not sure it can make the more than 3,000 mile journey.

Dave needs to find a car transport company, and the sooner, the better. But Dave has never shipped a car before, and he's unsure where to even begin looking.

That's why we've put together this list of the basic three questions everyone should ask before they start looking at auto transport services -- whether it's domestic or international car shipping (or even boat shipping, for that matter). For starters...

What are my options for transport, exactly?

There are two options for auto transport vehicles, enclosed or open, with enclosed carriers typically being more expensive. That's because you know your ride is fully protected against the dangers of the road, as well as against the wrath of Mother Nature.

Open carriers, though, are still quite reliable and safe. These options are only available for domestic or continental shipping. International car shipping clearly can't rely on wheeled carriers to get across oceans, which is why most services offer large cruisers and ferry vessels.

Do most vehicle hauling companies provide insurance?

Not most -- all of them. In fact, all shippers are required by law to provide liability coverage, but it's always a good idea to see if the company also provides cargo coverage. That way, you can rest easier knowing your car is safe when it's in transit.

This coverage stipulates that the shipping agency covers the cost of any damages incurred while your car is on the road, though each company has its own terms. Get the full scope of the insurance coverage before you enlist a company for your shipping needs.

What should I do to prepare my car for transport?

First and foremost, empty it completely of anything considered your personal property -- chargers, CDs, speakers, bicycle racks, those spare sunglasses in the glove box, etc. Cargo and liability coverage do not cover any items left inside the car, but only the car itself.

In addition to clearing out your personal belongings, take plenty of photos of your car in order to capture its condition before it's loaded into the carrier. That way, you'll know if it's suffered any damage en route to its destination.

If Dave follows these helpful tips -- and if you do -- the process of transporting a car, whether via domestic or international car shipping, should be a breeze. Good luck, and happy hunting.

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