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4 Questions You Should Ask Your Car Shipping Company

Many people call upon the expertise of professional car shipping companies to aid them in transporting their vehicles. The reason for obtaining these services varies based on the owner of the car. Some cars are classics and shouldn’t be driven long distances to help maintain their quality, and others may be going overseas. No matter what reason you have to use auto movers, the crucial thing is making sure they are the right shipping company for you.

You will find that many different guides exist on the internet that gives you advice on different car shipping scenarios. These can be helpful, but they don’t always tell you what you should be asking before you choose the car shipping company, according to a1autotransport.com.

Not all car shipping companies are created equally. Some companies are created as a front to take your money, leaving you and your car high and dry, and trying to figure out your options. By asking loaded questions, you can explore the legitimacy of a car shipping company.

So, what exactly should you ask car shipping companies?

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What types of services does your company offer?

Knowledge is power when you are looking for a car shipping company to handle the transport of your vehicle. Having a basic understanding of the industry before you begin making phone calls can help you weed out the companies that will be of no use to you.

To get the full potential out of this question, you shouldn’t begin your conversation with the company by telling them what you need. Instead, start by asking them what they offer. If you need additional services like moving household belongings, you might want to make sure they are a full-service company. Any company can tell you that they provide the service you need, even if they don’t. Some shipping companies will tell you whatever you want to hear so that they can get their hands on your money. That is the purpose of these four questions, to save you from those companies that are not legitimate.

Within the vague service area question, you will have the chance to counter-question their answers. Here are some of the additional questions that you might want to ask that tie into the original question about their services.

What cities do your services ship to?

You don’t want the company to tell you they service your point of origin or destination for your car if they don’t handle those areas. Besides the outrageous pricing you might be looking at, the potential for an accident increases because they are not familiar with the area. If you require international shipping, this question will answer if they provide international shipping or not.

What methods are available for shipping my car?

Many different methods are available when shipping a car. A lot will depend on the destination of the vehicle on how the proposed company plans to get it there. For domestic shipments within the United States, using an open-air trailer or enclosed trailer is the most popular method of shipment. Internationally roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) and container shipping are the most common methods. If you have your heart set on enclosed transport for a classic car and the company doesn’t offer that type of transport, you may need to keep looking.

What types of licensing and insurance do you have for your transport fleet?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has requirements for commercial carriers who transport items on the roadways. Among these requirements is the minimum insurance coverage that the company can carry. These carriers are also required to register with the FMCSA and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). Once they register and are compliant, they will receive a DOT number and a Motor Carrier number.

You will want to ask about the following insurance coverages:

Auto Liability

o   Bodily Injury Liability

o   Property Damage Liability

Physical Damage Insurance

o   Collision

o   Comprehensive

Cargo Insurance

Most companies that transport vehicles are required to carry a policy with a minimum of $1 million coverage.

Make sure you have written down the DOT number and the MC number. You can use these to research the compliance of the car shipping company and learn more about them, including their safety records and inspections.

How do you provide quotes to your potential customers?

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If a company makes it to the quoting part of the questions, the chances are high that you believe they are a potential candidate to ship your car. At this point in the interrogation, you will want to find out as much as you can about how they price their shipments. Most professional car transport companies offer free quotes, and you should be wary of the ones who do not.

The company should ask you questions to help determine the approximate price of the shipping for your car. These questions will include:

– the make, model, and year of your car
– if the vehicle runs
– point of origin and the destination for the vehicle
– the method in which you prefer to have it transported
– when you need it to be transported

All of these questions help determine the weight and mileage, as well as any special circumstances regarding the transport. The weight and mileage play a significant role in the pricing for your vehicle’s shipment.

Once you are quoted a price, ask that it be sent to you in writing. Most are being done via email, so you should have the quote in your inbox relatively quickly. Opt for the company that provides you with transparent pricing. This company will be the one who breaks down the specialized fees right on the quote, think of it as full disclosure. Take notice if they require a deposit. Some shipping companies do but watch out for the extremely high deposit requests.

Are there any special requirements involved in shipping my vehicle?

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Here is the million-dollar question, because the answer should be “yes” when you are talking to a car shipping company. There are special requirements to take into consideration regarding domestic and international shipping.

You have to be able to prove that you are the legal owner of the car, and you can ship it. Domestically you simply need to prove that you are the sole owner. However, Internationally, you would have to have any co-owner or lien holder’s permission to take the vehicle out of the country. You must be able to present documentation to the car shipping company because they will need to be able to provide this information should authorities request it.

You will have to prepare your car for shipment. For both types of shipment, it is similar, with the exception of some countries requiring steam cleaning before entry through their borders. Your car shipping company should provide you with the list of items you need to accomplish before the reserved pickup date.

Use Questions To Get The Best Shipping Rates

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It was said before, but why not repeat it, knowledge is power when you are working with a car shipping company. For those companies that are not big-franchise-owned, you can usually talk down the pricing, if you are feeling confident. Regardless, you will have an easier time handling the situation if you have a general understanding of what you need to accomplish. You can also rest assured that if you come across knowledgeable, the person on the phone probably won’t try to upsell you for something you don’t need. Whatever you decide, know that with these tools, you can navigate the car shipping industry and team up with the perfect company for you.


Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the foreignpolicyi.org started.

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