Your Essential Guide To Car Transport & Vehicle Moving

By Hazel Knox

Have you ever bought a automobile in one state and needed shipped just on the other side of the country? Or perhaps, have your car sent to your ex-wife, who happens to live in Canada? Or, why not, bought your automobile on-line, from San Francisco and need it in New York? I'm sure that, if this hasn't happened yet, it will most likely happen at some point. So here are several suggestions in transporting your car within USA, or between USA and Canada, regardless of distance.


Keeping in mind that the entire course of action can take some time, especially on long distances, schedule your car shipping at least four weeks before you move, giving enough time to arrange for a car mover carrier to pick up your vehicle. Essentially, the more advance time the better. If you are not available, you need to arrange an alternative authorized party such as neighbor, friend or relative you can rely on to transfer the car to the car mover. Most automobile shippers offer door-to-door service.

The price

When working with a Car Mover, confirm what the total price of the shipping will be. As you obtain quotes from several car transport and auto shipping companies (some links included lower), be prepared to provide:


Approximate departure date;

Type of vehicle(s);

Type of car transport service desired (e.g. door-to-door car transport vs. terminal-to-terminal);

Special auto mover or car shipping requests (e.g. deliver at a location other than your home vs. at your home).

Payment method

While many car transport and auto drive-away companies might not require payment in advance, others require a deposit (10-25% of the total cost), or full payment in advance. If a deposit is offered, amount due is usually required at time of delivery - oftentimes with a cashiers check or cash. Occasionally a surcharge of 2-3% is required when using a credit card with a car transport or auto drive-away company.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must license car shippers, transporters with a valid MC# or US DOT#.


The car Transport Company or auto drive-away should insure your car against damage and theft. ASK FOR A COPY OF INSURANCE COVERAGE. Ask if the carrier's insurance is PRIMARY or SECONDARY to your own insurance in the event of damage throughout car transport. Also, ask if there is damage deductible - VERIFY ALL IN WRITING. Furthermore, your own auto insurance may cover your vehicle in transit - check with your car insurance company to confirm.

Inspect your car before shipping

It is recommended that in addition to receiving a condition report document from your car mover detailing any pre-existing damage to your automobile, that you take photographs of the car, date the photos, and attach them to the condition report supplied by the automobile mover for your records. You must have a detailed description of the condition of your car prior to shipping. The condition report or other document used by the car mover should include present mileage, pre-existing damage of any type including as glass, scratches, paint, dents, and so forth. This report is important in case any disputes arise.

Accepting your vehicle for delivery

At the time of delivery, check your vehicle SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY and compare the condition and mileage against the "Original Inspection Report" provided by your automobile transport company at origination (ALSO INSPECT THE ROOF AND UNDER FRONT AND REAR BUMPERS). If there are incongruencies, note them as exceptions and make certain the driver signs it. NEVER ACCEPT YOUR VEHICLE AT NIGHT IF YOU CANNOT VERIFY ITS CONDITION - without being viewed and signed by the driver, you have little recourse if damage had occurred during transit.

Unresolved Disputes

Always try to work out your dispute with the car mover or car shipping company first. They often times work on a referral basis and are determined to working out problems. However, if you feel you have reached a dead end or that you have not been treated reasonably, you have the option of filing complaints with several agencies (BBB, State and or Federal Department Of Transportation, Interstate Commerce Commission) as well as seeking legal counsel.

As I hope everything will turn out all right with your delivery, I'm giving several links to some major auto-transportation companies. There you should find responses that are more comprehensive to your questions and to the money and work involved in shipping your automobile from one place to another. -A AAAdvantage Auto Transporters (800) 233-4875 -Dependable Auto Shippers (800) 763-4165 -A Florida Direct Auto Transport (888) 432-4708 -B&T Auto Transport (866) 849-3700

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