1. Selecting an auto transport company: When selecting an auto shipping method you will need to decide between an open trailer auto mover or an enclosed auto hauler. Open trailers can vary from a small 2 or 3 car auto carrier to a large 11 car carrier. The open trailer leaves your car partially exposed to the elements that may be encountered in transit. An enclosed trailer is protected from the outside environment and in basically a garage in transit. Ofcourse you can expect to pay higher transport rates for this service, so you should get several car shipping quotes from various companies before selecting one.
A. Your car should be insured against damage and theft by your car shipping company. Make sure you request a copy of the car shipping company's insurance coverage before you finalize auto shipping and check to see if there is any deductible you will be required to pay if damage should occur. Everything pertaining to the car shipment should be in writing. Be sure to get a copy of the Bill of Lading and read the auto transport contract.
2. Preparing your vehicle for transport: Your vehicle(s) should be clean. You should also take the time to asses and note the condition (dents, scratches, dings, etc.) at the time of inspection. It is also a good idea to take digital pictures of your car before loading (and during loading if possible).
A. Disconnect all alarms prior to pick-up.
B. Make sure your car contains only the factory items (** NO PERSONAL GOODS**)
C. Make sure your car is located in area that is accessible to auto carrier. Describe your geographical layout to the company moving your car so that there are no surprises when they arrive.
D. Make sure your vehicle is securely closed (convertible tops secured).
E. Make sure that your gas is approx. 1/8 to 1/4 full..
F. Make sure your tires are at the factory recommended pressure.
G. Make sure to carefully read and review the transport companies Bill of Laiding
3. Scheduling your pick-up: When planning to ship your car, you should keep in mind that the process is not an exact science. The dates given from the auto transporters are estimates and many times there are slight adjustments or changes. This can be a real problem for someone that scheduled a flight out of town the same day as their scheduled pick-up. Remember, just as you encounter unforeseen delays such as traffic, bad weather, or even a break down, so can the company shipping your car.
4. Door-to-door Car Shipping: Door-to-door does not always mean a truck will be able to pull up in front of your door. It means that the auto hauler wiill get as close to your specified pick-up or delivery spot as he can legally and safely get. There are often restrictions for large trucks that prohibit them from entering into some residential areas. Auto transport trucks need lots of room to maneuver and turn around. You need to be at the designated pick-up location (ex. Empty parking lot) on time with a full set of keys if the truck is restricted from picking up from your door. How long will it take to ship your car?
5. Payment Methods: Be sure to confirm the payment method of the selected carrier. Some companies will require payment upon delivery while others might require payment in advance. Usually the payment will be in the form of a cashiers check or cash. How much is it going to cost to ship car?
6. Should Damage Occur: The vehicle shipping process is usually incident free. However, if damage does occur that you believe happened while your vehicle was in the possession of the transport company you will need to file a claim with them. You should note all damages on your inspection report (take pictures if possible at time of receipt). A respectable car shipping company should in turn work with you to resolve your claim directly. Always try to politely resolve with the shipping company directly. However, if you do happen to come across a company that is unwilling to work with you for damages caused by their company, you may want to contact Better Business Bureau. You may also wish to contact The U.S. Dept. of Car Transportation as well at this point. There are also forums and auto transport reviews that you can share your experience so that others will be aware of how you were treated by that company.