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Need to get your car shipped to a new location?
If you can’t (or don’t want to) drive your car across the country, a car transportation company is a great solution. But the type of service you need depends on the make and model of your car and your budget. Learn about the different options available for car shipping and check out a list of questions to ask so you select the right company for your needs.
Finding the right options for your vehicle
Some car transport companies specialize in specific types of cars, like antiques or luxury vehicles. Others have broader offerings with multiple shipping options. How do you know what you need? There are three different ways a company can transport your car, and each one is best for certain situations.
There are three main types of trailers used by car transportation companies:
- Open multi-car haulers: You’ve probably seen these on the road carrying cars double stacked. They’re the most budget-friendly option since a company can move several vehicles at once. The open trailer is exposed to the elements, so ask about covers or protection measures if you’re concerned.
- Flat-bed transport trailers: These are the least common, but they’re a good option for cars that can’t be loaded into a multi-car hauler, like oversized or inoperable vehicles. Since they can only load a couple of automobiles at once, it’s a more expensive option.
- Enclosed car carrier: For this type of transport, the vehicle is loaded into an enclosed trailer, protecting it from debris and weather. While it’s the most expensive option, many owners of classic, luxury or exotic cars prefer it.
Questions to ask when researching car shippers
Once you’ve found a few companies that perform the services you want, ask these questions to help you choose the right one.
Are they a carrier or a broker?
Most car shippers fall into these two categories: a carrier is the company that does the transporting, while a broker is a company that’s connected to a network of car shippers. It’s like booking a hotel — you can book directly (a carrier) or use a travel agent (a broker). If you prefer to deal directly with the transport company, then a carrier would be best. However, brokers can take the stress of coordination off your plate, and they may also have access to discounts because of relationships with shippers.
How much does their auto transport service cost?
Costs are based on distance, locations, the type of transport, vehicle size and weight, transit time, and additional services (like added insurance, top-deck loading, etc.). Each company should be able to provide a detailed quote so you can determine if they’re in your budget.
How long will the transportation take?
Transit time is the amount of time it will take to get the car from origin to destination. Most companies will provide a cut-off date, which is the latest date of delivery.
What type of delivery do they offer?
Most companies will perform a door-to-door delivery; however, some will deliver your vehicle to a terminal or service center where you must pick it up.
What’s the shipping process like?
You’ll need to do some things to prep the vehicle before transport, along with specific instructions for receiving the car at destination. We have details about vehicle transport here, but be sure and ask companies about their particular processes.
Are they registered, bonded and insured?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulate car shippers. Ask for their DOT and Motor Carrier (MC) numbers to verify their registration. If you find that their MC number is “Not Authorized,” that means they are inactive and unable to operate. Ask about their insurance or liability coverage as well.
What do their customers say about them?
Because it’s such an important job, we recommend checking for online reviews and feedback from the Better Business Bureau.
Does U-Pack provide car shipping?
U-Pack allows customers to load motorcycles, lawnmowers and small ATVs (with fluids drained), but we’re not equipped to ship vehicles like cars and trucks. Since we have many customers moving long distances that need vehicle transport, we refer them to Mr. Car Shipper®. They’ve been in business for over 17 years and offer nationwide shipping. Contact them at 877-528-9627 to get a quote.
Looking for other recommendations for your move? Check out our referrals.
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