Whether you are buying a vehicle you found through Zoom Autos' online magazine or you just happen to be one of the thousands that needs to have a personal car moved from one area to another, who would you contact to have the car delivered safely to a new destination? Believe it or not, choosing a reliable auto transport company for shipping your car can be a difficult task to undertake.
The shipping industry, specifically auto shippers, brings in more than five billion dollars annually. That is of course, the amount profited by several thousand companies combined. How can you, as a vehicle owner, determine which company you should hire? To do this effectively, you can follow a few key steps to locating, and hiring, the vehicle shipper that will be best suited for your vehicle as well as your spending budget. Prior to even picking up a telephone and contacting a company, you should determine the following:
1. Is your shipping date set in stone?
2. What is your overall budget?
3. Does your car run?
4. Is it necessary to ship with enclosed transport rather than open?
When setting a budget, you will want to acknowledge that while professional vehicle shipping is the most reliable way to relocate a car, you need to have realistic goals in mind when it comes to the rate you can expect for shipment. For shipping from the east coast to the west coast, one should expect to pay right around $1000 or even more depending on the type of carrier used. A car shipment from the north or south to the Midwest can run anywhere from $200 to more than $700. The fees are based not only on the distance the vehicle will ship from and to but also on the weight of the vehicle, the current cost of fuel and even the route that the driver must take to deliver the vehicle.
Types of Vehicle Shipping Carriers
As mentioned previously, part of the fee is determined by the type of carrier that is used to ship the vehicle. When you ship a motor vehicle you can choose from open or enclosed carriers and also single or multi-carriers.
Open Carrier: The most common type of carrier used to ship motor vehicles is with open transport. This is a quick way to move a car but will leave it fully exposed to the elements during shipment. For land or sea auto shipping, open transport works with all types of vehicles.
Enclosed Carrier: On land vehicles are shipped in sealed trucks or sealed trailers and by sea, they are shipped in large, sealed shipping containers. Enclosed carriers are the most secure way to ship a car and are perfect for expensive luxury cars, sports cars, exotic cars, classic and collectibles and other vehicles that need added protection during shipment. These carriers will cost up to 50% or more higher than open carriers.
Single Carriers: These carriers will haul only one vehicle at a time and usually have a higher fee than other carriers as they prevent other vehicles from coming into contact during shipment.
Multi-Carriers: Most vehicles are shipped on multi-carriers as the expense is less than shipping with a single carrier. Anywhere from two to twelve vehicles may be hauled at one time on a multi-carrier. The cost is typically lower than a single carrier but the vehicle owner needs to have a flexible time frame for pickup and delivery as other vehicles will need to be picked up and delivered from the same carrier.
Requirements for All Motor Vehicle Shipping Companies
* All companies that transport vehicles on their own carriers must have a USDOT number as well as a Motor Carrier (MC) number. This information can be obtained by checking with the FMCSA.
* All companies that transport vehicles must carry valid insurance coverage that includes cargo and liability insurance that is no less than $50,000.
* Safety regulations are very important for all carrier operators and the USDOT requires all drivers to abide by regulations for the legal and safe operation of the carrier they are responsible for.
As a motor vehicle owner it is your responsibility to verify the insurance coverage and make sure it is sufficient for your vehicle. If it is not, you may want to inquire about increasing the coverage amount as well as having a private policy that will be in effect during shipment. You also need to make arrangements with the company to have the car picked up and delivered at a location that is convenient for you and before you hire anyone, be sure to check references online to see how the company has fared with other clients.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready
Taking the time to prepare your vehicle for professional shipping is a key element to preventing damage once it is loaded onto the carrier. The first step to preventing damage is of course going to be, hiring a safe and reliable auto shipping company. Once you have hired a reliable company, be sure to inquire with them on what they require for vehicle prep for shipping but also follow a few standard guidelines as well:
1. Remove all personal property from the vehicle.
2. Wash the exterior and ensure that nothing is loose inside the vehicle.
3. Remove exterior accessories that could fall off during shipment.
4. Disarm the car alarm system.
5. Lower the fuel level to no more than a quarter tank only.
6. Check for fluid leaks and make repairs if necessary to stop leaks that may be present.
7. Take detailed pictures of the vehicle for comparison at the time of delivery.
Once your vehicle has been delivered you need to complete the walk through inspection with the driver and make sure there is no damage to the vehicle upon arrival. To ease your mind a bit, you may be interested in knowing that damage occurs in less than 3% of all vehicle shipments worldwide. Whether the vehicle is in excellent condition or has signs of damage, make sure the driver notes everything correctly and only sign when the paperwork shows the right condition of the vehicle. You will also want to make sure that delivery is only provided during daylight hours. When a car is delivered at night, it is easy to miss minor scratches and other cosmetic flaws.
Guest post provided by Jason Mueller