Five Essential Q and As About Car Shipping

Jim Brown | Auto shipping

Shipping your car across the country (or even to another country) can seem very stressful if you've never done it before, but the key is to take time to select the best shipping service for you and to ask questions so you know exactly what to expect. To get you started, here are five of the most common car shipping questions:

Who uses car shipping services?

These services are often used by people moving homes, but as more cars are sold online (about 18 million per year right now), car shipping companies are providing more services to this industry. Car dealerships, both small and large, also make use of car shipping to transport their merchandise.

How is the cost of car shipping determined?

There are a few things that influence the cost of shipping, such as current gas prices, the size of your car, and the distance over which it's being moved. The type of carrier used also influences the cost of vehicle transport services; although enclosed vehicle hauling carriers are best for antique and luxury cars, they can cost up to 60% more than open carriers. Keep in mind that most car shipping companies also have seasonal prices, and it generally costs about $200 to $300 more to ship a car in the summer than in the winter.

How long does it take to ship a car?

The biggest factor here is how far you're shipping your car, not surprisingly. Keep in mind that shipping times also depend on how many cars are being transported; a carrier with multiple cars, being picked up and dropped off in multiple locations, will take a little longer to deliver your vehicle. If time is of the essence, consider using a single-car carrier or a service that only picks up and drops off vehicles in a specific location.

What should you do to get your car ready to be shipped?

First, it's important to clean your car (inside and outside). Auto shipping services usually recommend -- or even require -- that consumers take out all personal items (loose change, sunglasses, chargers, GPS devices, etc. to ensure that damage or theft doesn't occur, although some services will allow you to put 50 to 100 pounds of extra cargo in your car to be shipped.

Is there anything special to know about insurance?

Car shipping companies are required to have basic insurance, but most companies will also offer extra insurance plans. These insurance policies cover major damage, dents, and scratches, but because the company is only liable if you can prove that the damage occurred in the moving process, it's important to make sure that the service does a pre-shipment and post-shipment inspection. It is also recommended that you perform your own video inspection prior to releasing your car to the carrier.

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