Moving across the country is tough enough. But when you have to drive your moving truck, you must also figure out how to get your car across the country, too.
Unfortunately, many companies make shipping a car across the country tougher or more opaque than it needs to be. Today, let’s break down five essential questions to ask any car shipping company before hiring their services.
Why Should You Ship a Car Across the Country?
Simply put, it can be more convenient than wrangling your vehicle and a moving van simultaneously.
Especially if you are moving a family across the country, it’s often easier to just have everyone pile into one vehicle, like a moving van, than to coordinate multiple vehicles, particularly when traveling across crowded freeways or through dense cities.
When you ship your car across the country, you can hand over the keys, focus on moving your family and furniture, and expect your vehicle to be at its final destination without worrying about anything. Talk about peace of mind.
In addition, shipping your car across the country could be safer than driving it yourself. If you take advantage of enclosed shipping services, for example, you can rest assured that your vehicle will show up without a scratch. Many car shipping company drivers are highly experienced and know how to safely handle cross-country vehicle transport without breaking a sweat.
How Do You Ship a Car Across the Country?
The best way to ship a car across the country is to contact a reputable, insured car shipping ,service. You should look for a shipping company that:
- Has excellent online reviews
- Has experience shipping cars of many different makes and models
- Has a team of experienced drivers
- Has good prices
Once you find such a company, you can contact them and schedule a pickup date and time for your vehicle.
Depending on what the company offers, they may be able to pick up your car for shipping across the country at your home. Alternatively, you may need to drop your vehicle off at an auto transport terminal, a short-term storage facility where the car will wait until it is picked up by a shipping truck.
Then, you can either have your vehicle delivered to your house (or another address) or pick it up at the closest auto transport terminal to your new home. Based on factors like distance, the type of vehicle you ship, and whether your chosen transport company can pick up your vehicle at your home, your car might show up the day after you arrive or sometime later.
Is It Safe To Ship a Car Across the Country?
Absolutely. It’s often safer to ship your car across the country than drive it yourself.
When you drive your vehicle across the country to move, you’re in charge of making sure your car gets to the final destination safely. Unfortunately, moving is tiring and time-consuming. If you drive for many hours, you could fall asleep at the wheel or not pay enough attention to drive safely.
In contrast, when you ship your car across the country, licensed and insured transportation specialists handle all the driving for you. If you pick a more expensive service, like enclosed shipping, your vehicle will be further protected from regular wear and tear and dust or inclement weather damage.
Regardless, shipping a car across the country is safe, provided you contract the right shipping company.
What Questions Should You Ask a Shipping Company?
Of course, that can be easier said than done. You can determine whether a shipping company is worth your time and money if you ask them a few key questions.
How Much Will It Cost?
For starters, you should ask the car transport company how much it will cost to ship your vehicle to its final destination. Your car shipping quote will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- The size and weight of your car. Some auto shipping companies only offer shipping options for some types of vehicles. Others offer long-distance or cross-country car shipping for only some vehicles.
- When you want the vehicle shipping company to schedule your vehicle transport. Generally, if you try to ship your car across the country during the moving season (spring and summer), you may pay higher rates since the shipping company will be more in-demand.
- Whether you want your vehicle picked up/delivered to your home address or an auto transport terminal (aka drop off and pickup location). Delivery location certainly impacts the cost of shipping from a car transport service. That said, terminal-to-terminal is cheaper for cross-country car transport, though you may opt for a door-to-door service for convenience.
- Whether you opt for regular shipping or a more expensive service, like enclosed carrier versus open carrier. Enclosed transport is pricier, but it’s often well worth it since it protects your vehicle more than standard shipping.
Car shipping costs are further impacted by whether the car is a classic car (which costs more to protect), drop-off requirements, weather conditions, insurance coverage, and the time of year. The shipping process will incur costs that vary across the auto transport industry, with many different transport carriers providing different free quotes.
Finding cost-effective auto transport options that provide high-quality service can be complex. Fortunately, Carvaygo can help you save money without sacrificing quality on cross-country vehicle transport. Check out our site for an instant quote.
Are They Insured?
Next, you’ll want to ask the shipping company whether they have appropriate insurance. Many auto transport companies are legally required to carry insurance. This auto transport insurance covers any damage to your vehicle if it is in transit.
That said, insurance policies can vary heavily. You should ask for details regarding your chosen company’s transport insurance, such as:
- When does insurance cover your vehicle? Some insurance policies, for example, only cover your car once loaded onto the shipping truck, not during the loading process.
- What is covered by the insurance policy? Most auto transport coverage only applies to damage to your vehicle, not any property contained within.
Once you know the details about an auto transport company’s insurance policy, you’ll better see whether they fit your needs.
How Long Will It Take?
Naturally, you should investigate shipping times. No auto transport company can guarantee, with 100% certainty, exactly when your vehicle will arrive. Traffic, weather, transport type, and shipping dates can impact delivery time, even if you sign up for expedited car hauling.
Still, you’ll want to go with shippers that can get your car to its final destination sooner rather than later. Remember, the farther your vehicle has to be shipped, the longer the trip will take. Shipping a car across the country usually takes anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks.
How Are Their Reviews?
Do some online investigating and check out the reviews for a cross-country vehicle shipping company. If the reviews are stellar on sites like Google and Yelp, odds are the company does a great job. Good reviews show current or former customers have been pleased with the auto transporter’s services.
Never sign up for a cross-country auto transport company with bad reviews, even if they seem the cheapest way to move your car. Regarding car carriers, lower average costs often equate to much hassle in the long run.
How Will They Respond If Your Car Is Damaged?
Be upfront and ask any auto transport service how they might respond if your vehicle is damaged. You want them to say that they’ll notify you immediately and work with you to get you an insurance payout ASAP.
If a company tries to avoid the question or a representative doesn’t have a clear answer, it’s a good sign that they either don’t have a solid policy around this possibility, or they have a sketchy policy around this possibility, and it’s probably best you should take your business elsewhere.
What Documentation Will You Need?
When you sign up for car hauling across the country, you'll need to provide specific documentation for legal and insurance reasons. This usually includes your driver's license and vehicle paperwork (which consists of the vehicle identification number).
Ask what kind of documentation you’ll need before the transport company shows up at your door, so you have everything ready on the day of shipment.
Are There Shipping Restrictions?
Lastly, ask whether the company has any specific shipping restrictions regarding the services they offer or the locations they ship to. For instance, some auto transport companies may not provide door-to-door shipping services due to difficulty reaching some homes (particularly in dense cities).
Other shipping services may only offer one type of car hauling, not multiple types. Always investigate any shipping restrictions before signing on the dotted line to know what you’re getting for your fee.
What Else Should You Know About Shipping a Car Across the Country?
Aside from those main questions, remember these critical factors before signing up for an auto transport company:
- Never make your choice only based on cost. Quality of service, flexibility, and other factors can make a more expensive company better than a cheaper one, especially if the expensive company has better reviews. Attractive transport quotes are not worth more than high-quality movers and excellent service and may cost you more in the long run.
- Prioritize good customer service. Companies that answer your questions quickly are often better than cheaper companies with poor customer service.
- Don’t forget to wash and take pictures of your vehicle before it’s picked up. That way, you’ll have physical evidence on hand if your car is damaged in transit, but the transport company tries to deny being responsible.
The Bottom Line
In the end, shipping a car across the country means doing your research, asking critical questions, and only hiring a company that’s worth your while. Hiring the right company will ensure your vehicle reaches its new home safely and sound and provide you with peace of mind.
Carvaygo can ship your car across the country and from coast to coast, offering various services ranging from standard car hauling to expedited car hauling and more.
Contact us today to learn more.
Is Your Car Safe During Auto Transport? | Move.org
Do You Need Insurance to Ship a Car? | Progressive
How to Find the VIN | TxDMV.gov