Car shipping tips and hints

A truck driver driving his vehicle, looking outside the window - car shipping 101..

Moving to and from Florida involves transporting a lot of your belongings from one place to another. One of the largest and most valuable belongings is your car. If you’re planning to ship your car, you should be aware of the risks. Sometimes, car shipping does not go as planned but there are a few things you can do to prevent complications. Hopefully, these tips will help you minimize the risks of car shipment.

A yellow truck carrying an orange car.

Door-to-door transport does not mean the company will deliver the car to your door, especially if it is hard to access. In that case, agree on a location that works for both sides.

Tips for car shipping every owner should know

Beware of scams

There are many frauds in the moving industry. Whether you are moving locally or making a long distance move in Florida you could fall right into a trap unless you take some precautions.

  • First of all, check if the car shipping company has current cargo insurance and if it is registered with the DOT. On their website, you can get information regarding carrier companies operating in the USA.
  • Read the shipping company’s online reviews. There are several websites you can visit to check the quality of a shipping company. No one is going to be more honest with you than previous customers. If you know personally someone who has used their services, even better.
  • Talk to the customer service representatives. The car shipper may have some requests you should know about. Call them or check their demands and recommendations on the company’s website. You should be able to find their telephone number on their website, too. If no one is answering or you feel they are withholding information on shipping and arrival dates, specific requirements, prices, or any other important matters, that company is not to be trusted.
  • Compare rates with several different shippers. Eliminate the highest ones if you cannot afford them but also eliminate the ones that are too low – that’s just suspicious and usually comes with hidden fees.
  • Check the liability. You must understand the shippers’ limit of liability which also includes deductibles. They usually provide $50,000-$100,000 in coverage but sometimes it reaches $250,000.
  • Get a written shipping quote. It is very important to make sure there are no hidden costs. The quote should include the origin, the destination, as well as all the services provided.
  • Try to get a Shipping Contract between you and the chosen company. The Contract should contain the information from the shipping quote. Moreover, it should be signed by an authorized person.

Enclosed or open car shipping?

Open car shipping is more affordable than enclosed which does not mean it isn’t safe. Fully enclosed shipping is recommendable for vintage, luxury, and classic vehicles although it’s more expensive. Another option for such vehicles is top loading. This means your car will travel on the upper deck of the carrier. Top loading is also charged more but your car will be better protected from road debris and car fluids.

Pay the deposit

Paying a deposit seals the deal. All reputable car shipping companies collect deposits. Those that don’t could use this as an excuse to avoid responsibilities. Reliable companies value the trust you have placed in them and do their best not to betray that trust.

The shipper will give you a time frame in which you can expect delivery. However, unexpected delays may occur, so be patient.

Prepare the car for the trip

Even a local Florida move requires utmost care and a lot of preparation. Prepare the car as if it was going to be driven the whole time. Check the tires and prepare for different weather conditions. In addition, your car battery should be fully charged. The shippers need to have access to your car. So, turn off the car alarm because it could delay the shipment. Prepare around a quarter tank of gas unless your carrier suggests otherwise. Give a set of keys to the shippers and point out if anything about your car is out of the ordinary – they need to be informed.

Take photos of the car

Wash your car and take pictures of it from different angles. Make sure they are clear. Save those pictures on your phone or computer. Document every rust spot, scratch and denture outside and inside the car. This way you have proof of the condition of your automobile before shipment. In case damage occurs during transportation, you can compare those photos with the ones taken after the car is delivered. Fortunately, the damage rate in the entire industry is under 3%.

Avoid leaving personal items in the car

A truck driver driving his vehicle, looking outside the window.

The drivers work long hours often in very difficult conditions. So, be nice to your drivers – they deserve it.

Take all personal items out of the vehicle. For example, CDs and other media, GPS, radar detector… This includes the items attached to the outside of the car, such as ski and bicycle racks. Things rarely get stolen but one can never be too careful.

Hauling household belongings is not allowed by law. Nevertheless, many people like to use this opportunity to move some of their belongings in the car. In theory, the carrier must pay a 10,000-dollar fine for hauling extra items – that’s according to the U.S. Transportation Law. In practice, most carriers turn a blind eye to around 100 pounds, which is approximately two suitcases.

The drivers control the weight of each car in order not to have any problems at the weight scale. Some of them may accept tips for hauling additional items. All things considered, our advice is not to try your luck. If you decide to leave some items in the vehicle, keep them out of sight, for example, in the trunk. Valuables should never be in the car unless you are there, especially now.

Report any damage

Although auto transport drivers take good care of cars, accidents happen. In case the car gets damaged during transport, you need to report it at the time of delivery. The driver’s insurance company can’t process claims unless the damage is reported immediately.