How to Choose the Best Car Shipping Company?

By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach

You are moving, or you bought that dream car, or you need to ship a car for whatever reason. Driving may not be an option.

Choosing the best auto transporter can be tricky. Car shipping has changed over the last few years. You can ship your vehicle by enclosed or on an open trailer and avoid a possible nightmare.

Credit: Richard Says

If you go online and search for car shippers in your area, you will find 100s that pop up on your browser. You can call them or book it online, but this is where the scams, delays, and overcharges happen if you choose a random shipper with a slick website or not doing your homework.

The best way to avoid car shipping scams is to make sure you don’t pay upfront. Many companies will ask for payment or a deposit before they have even located a carrier. You should NOT pay the carrier in advance. That company would then have your car and your money. Always pay on delivery.

Credit: Hloom via Flickr

Transport costs vary based on mileage of transport, vehicle weight, type, and location. Season and current demand in the market can impact pricing. Oversized and inoperable vehicles cost extra. No personal belongings are allowed in the vehicle.

Carriers pick their jobs based on how much they get paid for the delivery. If the rate is low, it will be hard to find a carrier.

Remember to check with your insurance company on coverage to make sure you are covered for the transport. The carrier vehicle must have $50,000-$100,000 of liability transport insurance.

The way to ensure you don’t fall victim to a scam is by making sure the company provides you with the carrier’s information including a copy of the company’s insurance, DOT Number, and contact information. This allows you to track the vehicle better.

It’s not always about the cost. Some of the lower-cost carriers will move your vehicle to multiple carriers to get to your destination. Things can happen to your car and even a delay before the next carrier can pick up your car.

Here are some of the bigger nightmares if you choose the wrong company:

  • The vehicle shows up weeks beyond the promise date.
  • Actual damage to your vehicle from drivers who don’t respect your property.
  • Carriers without insurance and will tell you no way they will pay if there is damage.

Credit: Tennen-Gas

Shipping a car is not like shipping a package. Once the vehicle leaves, it will not arrive overnight. Vehicle deliveries in the US have roughly a two- to four-week window from when the car is picked before it arrives at its destination.

Imperative to inspect the vehicle for damage before it’s loaded and when the vehicle arrives. Taking photos with timestamps at both inspections is a good idea too.

Here’s the bottom line?

Do your homework before you hire a shipping company to transport your vehicle. Always check out reviews before you decide at you can find out if carriers damage cars, won’t fix them or fail to pick up or drop off on time.

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host.  A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news, and safety issues.   

Lauren is the CEO of Automotive Aspects and the Editor-in-Chief of Car Coach Reports, a global automotive news outlet. She is an automotive contributor to national and local television news shows, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN International, The Weather Channel, Inside Edition, Local Now News, Community Digital News, and more. Lauren also co-hosts a regular show on with Paul Brian called “His Turn – Her Turn” and hosts regular radio segments on USA Radio – DayBreak. 

Lauren is honored to be inducted into the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame and a Board Member of the Buffalo Motorcar Museum, and Juror / President for the North American Car, Utility & Truck of the Year Awards.  

Check her out on Twitter and Instagram @LaurenFix.

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