10 Things to Consider When Shipping a Car

FindItMore | You are moving, and you have two options regarding your car – to take your vehicle to a new destination or to use a road service. The choice you make for shipping a car is related to the distance to your destination, your budget, time frame, and timing.

If you move long distances, you do not even have a choice of how to take your car there. Transporting your car abroad does not have to be a tough test. A professional transporter can help you navigate the process and ensure that your vehicle arrives safely at your new destination. Whether you need a luxury car transportation or a golf cart shipping – you might need to go through practical tips and useful information before you organize a trip for your vehicle.

In any case, your primary concern is that you have never used a road carrier before. You just do not know what to expect or how to prepare. However, you can use these ten car delivery tips to save time and money!

1. How Soon Should You Arrange Your Booking?

It is recommended to plan your road transportation anywhere from two days to two weeks in advance. Often, shipping companies can ship your vehicle on the same day, but providing them with a longer period allows for better planning of transport of your vehicle.

You may want to have the most current price, and you will receive it, staying two weeks from the first available shipping date. Believe it or not, the low price of $50-75 can delay your order if many other cars can be shipped at a higher price.

To avoid this, try not to order more than a month in advance and preferably within two weeks, as seasonal changes may affect the current price. You should benefit from the savings if the rates go down, so having the most current price is always better.

2. Should You Ship Your Car Using An Open or Enclosed Carrier?

Approximately 97% of all transport vehicles are sent in an open trailer. It has often been proven to be a safe method with statistically very few problems. You may notice that new vehicles are delivered to dealerships in an open trailer, and this is because it is safe.

There are two types of car delivery services: door-to-door and terminal delivery. The first option is usually more expensive, but it saves on problems. The second option is usually cheaper. However, you must have time on your side to sort out the arrangements.

There are different types of carriers:

  • Closed or open.
  • Cars with tractor-trailers or pickup trucks
  • Unloadable trailers or three-car trailers
  • Multi-layered transport carriers.

The decision about which option is the best for you depends on your vehicle’s specifics, e.g., ground clearance.

If you are transporting a vintage car, it is better to choose a closed and single-level trailer. This option will most likely prevent oil leakage from the top levels, which damages the paint on your car.

Covered trailers provide more protection against external elements. Many car shipping companies specialize in the transportation of classic and vintage cars. It is expected that you will have to pay about 33-50% more for transporting your car in a closed trailer.

If you transport an SUV or any other car more than a regular one, you will be charged “oversized.” You can be charged an additional fee even if your car has any non-standard upgrades like spoilers. If possible, remove these items before transportation.

3. Is It Better To Pay A Deposit?

The payment of a deposit is usually required in most shipping companies. A deposit guarantees that the company will ship your car and will not let them withdraw from the contract.

The company that collects the deposit recognizes the goodwill and their intentions and will work to fulfill it. Otherwise, the deposit is refunded. No reputable company will do this in any other way.

4. When Shipping To Yourself, How Do You Know When To Make Your Car Available?

Creating a support system for friends and family that can help you in this process is very important, and we recommend you to warn them about your schedule and find out who can transport you when your car is unavailable.

Let the transportation company know who will be driving you and when to coordinate the process. If your support system is in shipment, keep the car-free and available until you start traveling by plane or bus. Let the transportation company know who your contact person is, including your address and mobile number.

You should make your car available around the time you leave. It does not mean it will be picked up immediately, because there may not be a ready carrier on the day you leave. It often takes a few more days or even weeks (if you are at a remote location) before the carrier is in the area to make that mileage.

A good rule of thumb is to roughly estimate that once your car is picked up, the carrier will drive 500 miles a day. Thus, depending on the distance, you may be without your car for days or weeks.

If your support system is at the delivery destination, you are, frankly, under a lot of pressure. You do not want the stress of waiting until the last minute to discover that there is no carrier ready for loading and leaving on the road when you take off.

Therefore, give yourself time, especially if you are in a remote location. Try to make sure that your vehicle is available at least one or two weeks before your scheduled departure. After all, you have people at your destination who will receive it at any time. However, you have to get it moving before you do.

5. How Long Should It Take To Pick Up My Vehicle?

Over 90% of orders are shipped within one week. It can range from 1 to 7 days. Many of the U.S. population live in a large metropolitan area and ship to another well-inhabited area, which is essential.

Cars usually leave very regularly, almost half of them within just a few days. If either your origins or destinations are far away, in other words, in a remote area, you might consider meeting the driver in a nearby major city or town to increase your chances of on-time delivery.

Remember that anyone you choose can serve as your point of contact that takes the stress from delivering your car.

6. How Long Does It Usually Take To Deliver My Vehicle?

Delivery is the final step of the process, as well as the most straightforward part. Once your car has been assigned and picked up, not much can go wrong. Once the car has been picked up, you can estimate that it will take about one day of driving time for every 500 miles of distance.

Delivery Time Estimate Guide:

100-500 miles takes 1 or 2 days

500-1000 miles takes 2 or 3 days

1000-1500 miles takes 3 or 4 days

1500-2000 miles takes 4 or 5 days

2000-2500 miles takes 5 or 6 days

2500-3000 miles takes 6 or 7 days

Depending on the distance, weather conditions, and settlements, it may take several days or weeks before the car arrives at its destination. Usually, carriers estimate about ten days from place to place, but often they arrive earlier.

7. Can I Put Additional Items in My Car When I Ship It?

No, you cannot carry objects in your vehicle. The reality is that almost every transport company looks the other way at items weighing less than 100 pounds, which is approximately equivalent to 2 suitcases. We recommend that you put any additional items in the trunk and out of sight.

The U.S. transportation law states that a carrier may be fined $10,000 for transporting household items in the vehicle, but this is rarely enforced. However, drivers assess the weight of each vehicle they carry, and you do not want problems to occur at the weigher.

Some drivers accept a tip ($50-$250) for carrying extra things, but some do not. However, don’t take advantage of it. The driver is there to ship the car, not to carry the owner’s belongings.

8. Will My Vehicle Be Insured And What Paperwork Can I Expect?

It often depends on the company you work with. However, mostly your car should be insured. Once your car is insured, it will usually be picked up within one or two days (sometimes the same day) of the job. This information is often automatically sent to you by email.

When the truck driver picks up your vehicle for shipment, he will usually conduct a detailed inspection of the Bill of Lading and the vehicle inspection report. You should both sign this form and receive a copy of it.

The driver will call again from the road, this time your contact number as you approach your destination to schedule an approximate delivery time. The vehicle inspection report should appear at the time of delivery so that your contact can inspect it again. Your vehicle is not likely to be dirty off the road, and it should be in the same condition as you left it.

The driver of the vehicle should take every precaution to deliver the car without accidents. However, if the car is damaged, you must report it immediately on delivery. Regardless of this, you must pay the carrier the rest of the amount for the service provided, as no one can determine the cause of the damage during delivery.

It is essential that you and the driver of the vehicle sign the inspection documents, or at least you. The driver’s insurance company could not process claims if no damage was noted at the delivery time. We recommend that you take digital photographs of your vehicle before and after delivery to confirm any damage claims. Statistically, damages are very rare, that is why new car manufacturers also make such shipments.

You should pay attention to the Bill of Lading. Ensure that you read each paragraph carefully; make sure you understand all the terms it contains. Do not accept promises that are made verbally. If you want to be 100% sure that you choose a reputable road carrier, you should investigate the shipping company’s safety profile in the U.S. Department of Transportation database.

Also, Check the shipping company’s security profile. You should find information about Cargo Insurance shipping companies that confirms their shipping rights in your security profiles. Gsa.gov website provides a list of GSA-approved TSPs, brokers, freight forwarders, shippers, and intermodal marketing companies.

9. How Do I Prepare My Vehicle When I Ship It?

If possible, clear the car from all loose objects. It’s not advisable to leave any valuable items in the car. Items are rarely stolen during transport, but we recommend that special care be taken to prevent their loss.

Keep extra items as described above to a minimum and place them in the boot or outside. Keep only about a quarter of petrol in the tank. Give the carrier a set of keys and inform them of any special instructions for your car, such as difficulty starting, steering, braking, etc.

Being a truck driver is often a challenging job. They work many hours and are away from their families for weeks. Be friendly and considerate to drivers, and they will treat you equally.

You should know the exact dimensions and weight of your vehicle beforehand. If you check this information in advance, it may reduce your cost of transportation by road. When you are looking for a shipping company, you may fall into the hands of a shipping agent. Brokers are not your car carriers.

You should understand that you work with freight forwarders – freight forwarding brokers do not have a DOT number and only have an MC number. Transport companies should be registered with the Department of Transport and must have active USDOT and MC numbers.

Not that working with a broker is bad; however, keep in mind that they are not responsible for your shipment. Your shipment should be insured by the shipping company, not the broker.

10. How Much Does It Cost?

Generally, using the service of a car carrier can cost from 1500 to 4500 dollars. Most car delivery companies will ask for a deposit, ranging from 10% to 25% of the final amount.

If you are using a transportation company, find one that has a car delivery service. Some transportation companies offer off-season car delivery services.

They are equipped to ship your car to their shared trailers and vans. The final amount of moving expenses is based on several components:

  • Destination (and distance).
  • Departure date.
  • Type of vehicle transported.
  • Type of car transport service used.

Finding road carriers that fit your time and budget can be a challenge. Read reviews on road transport for information on the reliability of shipping companies.

Shipping Overseas

The cost of transporting your car abroad depends on several factors: how you transport it and the distance the vehicle travels. The average range for international delivery is between $1,000 and $5,000 per transport by sea. However, your final price can vary from $750 for a small car by boat to $40,000 for an SUV by plane.

Several additional factors will affect the cost of international road transport:

  • Vehicle type: The larger and heavier the vehicle, the more it will cost to ship it.
  • Distance to Port: If you live near San Francisco, New York, Miami, or another major port city, the cost of shipping to the port will not be significant. It may be between $100 and $300. If you live in the central part of the country, expect an additional cost of up to $1,000. Either way, a foreign shipper or a local road carrier will have to deliver the vehicle to the port for you if you can’t do so.
  • Import taxes: When shipping to another country, you should study the taxes levied on you. These can range from a small fee to more than the cost of delivering the vehicle.
  • Pickup location: If you pick up the car at the port, it will be your cheapest option. The most expensive option is for it to fall right at your door. Somewhere in the middle will be picking up your car at the terminal.
  • The route of the journey: Popular routes with frequent traffic are cheaper than remote, less expensive routes. However, the longer you travel, the higher the price will be.
  • Accelerated delivery: Usually, it takes 3-12 weeks for a car to be delivered abroad. Accelerated delivery will reduce this time to a few weeks. If you choose expedited shipping, you can expect to pay a lot more. If possible, plan so that you can do without the car for a few weeks.
  • Open or Closed Container: Your price will vary depending on whether you are using a shared or individual container, also known as open or closed delivery. A shared container is cheaper but includes other vehicles. An individual container is more expensive (twice the price of a shared container), but it can be a good option if you are transporting a classic car and want to make sure it is fully protected from other vehicles.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Will It Cost To Ship A Car?

Answer: No simple answer. The cost of delivering a car depends on several factors: distance, size of the car, proximity to settlements, seasonal variations, whether it is an open or closed carrier, or working against the idle condition. These factors may have an impact on the final cost of delivering the vehicle.

What Is Usually The Cheapest Way To Ship A Car?

Answer: Open transport is about 40% cheaper than closed transport. About 97% of all transportation of vehicles is by open transport, which is very safe.

How Much Should It Cost To Ship My Car Over 1000 miles?

Answer: The average estimated price of a sedan is 65 cents per mile or $650 per car. However, several factors can lower or raise the price. It is recommended that you check with a licensed and reputable car delivery broker.

How Much Will It Cost Me To Ship A Car Across The Country?

Answer: The average estimated price of a sedan is estimated at 40 cents per mile or $1,200 per car. However, several factors can lower or raise the price. It is recommended that you check with a licensed and reputable car carrier broker.

To Sum Up

Car delivery to another state or country is not necessarily a fun thing to coordinate. Therefore, many people are reluctant to buy cars from different areas or take their vehicles when moving around.

Sometimes, however, the deal with a car is just so good. There are other scenarios like moving around the country with a classic car, where it almost always makes sense for you to ship your car instead of driving it.

There are reliable and cheap ways of transporting a car if you know how to choose a respectable company, calculate your approximate price, and organize your business correctly.

Instead of adding hundreds or thousands of extra miles and wear and tear on the vehicle in question, we have shown you things to consider when you ship your vehicle.


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