You've decided to ship your car when you move to a new home or attend school. But that's just the start – now you need to shop for car shipping quotes to ensure you get a reasonable price for the transportation service.
If you aren't careful, you could get tricked into accepting an exorbitant price for shipping your vehicle. Or you may sign up for transportation services from the wrong company. Today, let's break down four mistakes to avoid when getting car shipping quotes from transportation companies.
Four Shipping Mistakes You Should Avoid
- Not Researching Shipping Companies
- Being Too Forward with Contact Information
- Assuming Rates Are Accurate
- Believing a Low Quote Equals a Low Price
Not Researching Shipping Companies
The biggest mistake you can make when looking for a shipping company is not doing enough research. Research is crucial when hiring any professional service for any reason, but it’s essential when choosing a company to move your vehicle across state lines or the country overall.
A car shipping company will be in charge of your vehicle for several days or weeks. They'll be responsible for ensuring it stays safe and doesn't sustain significant damage in that time.
In addition, the shipping company you choose may charge significant fees to move your vehicle from place to place. If you don't do enough research, you could be hit with several "hidden" or surprise costs when it's too late to back out, forcing you to pay more than you anticipated when you received your initial quote.
Bottom line: not thoroughly researching shipping companies sets you up for disappointment and potential damage to your vehicle later down the road.
What Should You Look for in a Shipping Company?
You should look for several vital factors before booking a car shipping company. The most critical factors include:
- The company is registered. The Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates every aspect of the auto transport industry. Make sure an auto shipping company is legit by checking to see if they have a DOT number plus an MC number – these numbers prove they are legally registered and can be trusted to do legitimate business.
- The company is bonded and insured. A good car shipping provider should be well certified, so you don't have any liabilities if something happens to your vehicle in the shipping process. An insured company will have the means to reimburse you for damage to your car in transit, providing both financial stability and peace of mind for you. You always want your car shipment to result in no change to vehicle condition, but the next best thing is insurance.
- A reasonable price, but with options for luxury vehicle care. If you need to ship a high-quality or luxury vehicle from place to place, expect to pay more; don’t trust companies with prices that are “too good to be true.”
- Experience in the industry. Car shipping companies with experienced drivers and support personnel are always better bets than companies without excellent online reviews or a lot of time in the industry. Professional companies are better able to handle unique shipping requests or unexpected hurdles that may come up in the future, as well.
Be sure to check what a given company offers in terms of services. For example, Carvaygo offers:
- Open transport is an economical option for movers. The best car shipping companies offer affordable transport rates for open carrier shipments.
- Enclosed trailer transport for more valuable cars and added protection against inclement weather conditions. Enclosed car shipping is ideal for vehicles you want to minimize risk against
- Expedited shipping. Instant car shipping quotes can vary depending on your chosen service (and the type of vehicle you need to be moved).
Being Too Forward with Contact Information
Many will request that you fill out quote application forms as you shop for quotes from car shipping companies. Most forms will include fields for you to place contact information, like your email address, phone number, and physical address.
Contrary to what you may think, you should avoid being too forward with your contact information. Sometimes, it may be wise to provide a car shipping company with “dummy” information. Why?
Less than stellar car shipping companies are known to spam people who apply for quotes with unending advertisements and newsletters. For instance, you could give your email address to one car shipping company, decide not to hire them, but still get spam emails from them for years after the decision if you aren’t careful.
Fortunately, you can employ several intelligent strategies to reduce or eliminate this likelihood.
- Email – Since you can make an unlimited number of Gmail or other email accounts, it's a good idea to create a dummy email account for applying for quotes from car shipping companies and insurance companies. Once you do this, you can check the dummy email address you provide to see your car transport quote, then change your contact information later if you decide to hire the car shipping company in question. If you choose not to, you don't have to worry about spam emails clogging up your primary inbox.
- Phone number – The same is often true with your phone number. Many car shipping companies require phone numbers from quote applicants, but they don’t use the phone number to call you to provide you with a quote (such quotes are more often delivered via email). Most car shipping websites aren’t sophisticated enough to know whether a phone number is fake. Just typing in “1234567890” is often sufficient to fill out the quote application field and prevent your real phone number from being sold to advertisers or used for spam calls.
- Address – Be careful when giving out your home address, as you could become the target of spam letters and advertisements. Again, you can often provide a fake home address when filling out a quote form. Then, should you decide to hire a car shipping coming, you can change your home address when placing the order to pick up your vehicle.
Assuming Dates Are Accurate
When you get car shipping quotes from different auto shippers, those quotes should include estimated pickup and delivery dates for your vehicle. But those quotes are not necessarily accurate.
Many factors go into the pickup and delivery dates for vehicles, including:
- The vehicle size
- The pickup and drop-off locations and dates
- The kind of car shipping service you choose (i.e., a cost-effective and budget-friendly service or a more protective service for a luxury vehicle/classic car)
- The weather
- The staffing availability of the auto transport carrier in question
If you get a quote from a car shipping company that says your vehicle should be delivered between two dates a month from the current day, that estimate could be accurate. But your delivery date might change when you book the shipping company for your vehicle.
Large vehicles, or jobs with challenging pickup and delivery locations, often have different delivery dates from their initial quotes.
You can't rely on automated quotes for dates or prices (see more below) because they often rely on algorithms or customer service specialists who don't know enough to provide accurate estimates in all circumstances.
Believing a Low Quote Equals a Low Price
All car shipping quotes are estimates. That is, they are never meant to represent the end price you should expect to pay upon delivery of services.
For instance, if a vehicle shipping company quotes you with a range between $400 and $700 for moving your car across state lines, don’t assume that the quote will be accurate. Your final price could be between the $400 and $700 range if the job ends up being what the algorithm/customer service agent predicts.
But car shipping journeys can become more complicated, your vehicle might require extra prep work that the quote officer did not anticipate, or something else can make the quoted price inaccurate. Overall, an auto transport quote is a price guess, not an ironclad guarantee.
Furthermore, don’t believe car carrier companies provide you with an abnormally low quote if it seems too cheap compared to other quotes. If, for example, you shop around and get five quotes for a shipping price, and one of the quotes is noticeably cheaper than the others, the more affordable quote is more likely inaccurate than not.
What’s more likely – that one company out of all the others has found a way to significantly drive down the cost of shipping your vehicle a great distance, or that they’re artificially lowering their quotes to make them seem cheaper than their competitors?
If you still aren’t sure about the cheapest way to get your car cross-country, use a car shipping calculator and try to find a car transport company that quotes you a price closest to that estimate.
What To Do Next
As you can see, getting an accurate quote for a car shipping service can be trickier than you think. Navigating through inaccurate offers and finding the right company can take longer than you have. You can shorten your search by contacting Carvaygo today.
As a professional auto transport company, we offer expedited, open, or enclosed auto transport services no matter where you need to move. Our car shipping costs are affordable, and our car transport service is well-reviewed by other Americans.
Why wait? Contact us today for a free quote and no obligation to sign up for vehicle transport.