6 Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping Your Car

    There are plenty of mistakes people can make when it comes to shipping their car. Some mistakes are merely an inconvenience, while others can be costly. With some planning and common sense, you can avoid the most common errors people make when shipping their car.

    1. Skipping the Research

    Before purchasing a car shipping service, you’ll want to do some research. Spending a few hours online reading about car carriers can save you hundreds of dollars. First of all, find out how long it takes to ship a car to your destination. A simple search on Google can give you an idea of how long it takes to ship a car and the average cost.

    Next, check out several car shipping companies and compare prices for the best deal. If you are looking to save money, ask about discounts and any additional fees. Before settling on a car shipping company, read through a few online reviews to find out if they have a good reputation.

    2. Not Asking about Terms and Conditions

    Another common mistake consumers make is signing the dotted line without reading the fine print. When reading the terms and conditions, look for these seven things:

    • The cancellation policy
    • Storage limits
    • Any extra fees
    • The delivery window
    • What kind of insurance is offered
    • What to do if your car is damaged during transport
    • How and when your vehicle will be transported.

    Once you understand all the information above, go ahead and ask the car shipping company any questions you may have. By reading the order contract thoroughly before signing, you can avoid any surprises down the road.

    3. Overpaying

    Doing a little research and understanding the terms and conditions is an easy way to avoid overpaying. Get quotes from at least three shipping companies. Some companies might appear to be cheaper based on the quote, but there could be extra fees not included in the price. 

    When comparing quotes look at the services and extra benefits, not just the price. For instance, one company might include cargo insurance in the offer while others will require you to buy it separately.

    If you’re looking to ship a car on a budget, here’s how you can save some money:

    • Opt for open carrier transport, not enclosed carrier transport.
    • Ask about discounts and special offers.
    • Ship your vehicle during the off-peak season, if possible.
    • Always compare quotes, don’t just choose the cheapest option.

    4. Forgetting about Insurance

    Even if your car is in perfect condition, there is still a risk associated with having it shipped. If you choose open carrier transport, for example, the car is exposed to the elements during transportation. There are also risks involved with enclosed transport, such as low-hanging obstacles, sudden braking, and strong winds.

    Cargo insurance covers potential loss or damage of the goods during transportation and is usually not included in shipping quotes. Keep in mind that damage caused during loading or unloading are usually not covered by the shipping company’s insurance policy.

    5. Not Having Proper Paperwork

    When shipping your vehicle, make sure to have all of your documentation in order. Here’s a list of paperwork you’ll usually need when shipping your car:

    • A bill of lading
    • The car title
    • Your driver’s license
    • A bill of sale
    • Proof of insurance

    The bill of lading, or BOL, is a proof of delivery document and details the vehicle’s condition at pick-up and delivery. Insurance companies typically use the BOL during disputes. Ask your shipping company if they require an original or a notarized copy of the bill of lading.

    6. Forgetting to Prepare Your Vehicle

    Before you can send your car, you’ll need to prepare it for the shipping process. If you are shipping your car domestically, have an authorized dealer or mechanic perform a pre-shipment inspection. You must perform any necessary maintenance and repairs before the car leaves your possession. It’s also a good idea to wash your car and remove any personal belongings from the cabin and the trunk.

    Finally, remember to take photos of the car before sending it off. These will come in handy if anything goes wrong as they can serve as proof the vehicle was in good condition before shipping.

    Shipping a Car, The Proper Way

    Now you know what not to do when shipping your car and how to make sure you get the best rates on the service. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure the safety of your vehicle during transport.

    Photo by Michal Matlon


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