Moving Your Car? 5 Points You Need to Know
Buying a vehicle is usually the second biggest purchase decision for Americans, behind buying a home. People love their vehicles and will pay well to transport them remotely. But what about the pitfalls to moving your car?
But there’s more to it than simply paying someone to move your car. Unless you plan on towing your car yourself... auto transport is a complex industry and process, and so you want to be prepared for all the various factors.
Thankfully, you won’t have to go very far to find out all you need to know. Read on to discover five crucial points for moving your car.
1 - Learn more about the auto transport industry.
Most people have seen those long, semi-truck-like vehicles hauling multiple cars down the highway. This image is a good representation of auto transport, an industry that makes 12 billion annually, according to IBIS World.
Those vehicles are called carriers, and to get your vehicle on one, you must work alongside a broker. When you find the right broker, they post your vehicle for carriers to bid over.
There’s no final, guaranteed price until you, the broker, and the carrier all agree on transport terms. Once a carrier bids, your broker will report to you and facilitate negotiations.
Once you accept an offer through your broker, the price becomes final, and you draft an agreement with your agent. Note this is the first time you pay a fee or a charge, the deposit.
2 - Learn more about brokers and carriers
A broker represents you in the auto transport process. Conversely, a carrier refers to the vehicle used for transport, the driver, and the driver’s company.
A broker may charge a fee, but they save money and stress in the long run. And a carrier does more than drive the vehicle.
In addition to negotiating price and shipping time, brokers confirm your carrier is properly licensed and insured before transport occurs. Carriers haul multiple vehicles simultaneously for economic reasons and don’t have time for negotiations.
Your broker-agent provides a quote that assumes (no guarantees) the final price, including the deposit and insurance fee. Your carrier will communicate with you before pick up and delivery to confirm scheduled loading/unloading times.
If damage occurs during transport, the insurance covers everyone involved. Your carrier ensures your vehicle is prepared for loading and delivery and accepts the remaining balance.
Ask your personal auto insurance company about accidental damages; additionally, double-check your carrier’s policy before transport. Time, distance, shipping, and delivery affect final cost; despite this, brokers provide simple cost breakdowns and payment options.
3 – Learn more about shipping and delivery options
There are three industry-standard shipping methods: open, enclosed, and flatbed carriers.
Meanwhile, there are two main delivery options: door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal; however, some brokers will offer hybrid options.
Open transport is the most used shipping method, with most quotes assuming this method of transport. Open carriers don’t have roofs or siding, ship in 3-5 days, and haul 7-10 cars.
Enclosed transport is the second shipping option, primarily used for expensive cars, and isn’t as available as open transport. They are enclosed to protect against the elements.
Flatbed is the least used and often the most expensive shipping option, hauling heavy vehicles that don’t fit on an open carrier. The weight, size, and condition of the vehicle largely determine the cost of this transport.
Door-to-door is the most used and cheapest delivery option; like open transport, it’s the default option for quotes. The pickup/delivery occurs at your chosen destination – unless the destination’s roads are inaccessible, in which case more coordination is necessary.
Terminal-to-terminal is another common delivery option, costing more since terminals are less available unless you live in a big city. This involves leaving vehicles at terminals for transport and is a longer process altogether.
Some companies will allow combining terminal and door delivery (door-to-terminal or terminal-to-door). This hybrid option is commonly used when people can only be available for part of the process.
Before deciding on how you will be moving your car, look over all the information about it in order to make the best decision.
4 - Learn more about pickup and delivery
Before pickup, remove all personal belongings, from digital accessories to equipment racks. Note mileage and condition of the vehicle, including any external damage, and list everything on the BoL.
Disconnect the alarm system and provide both the remote and a copy of your key to the driver. If your car is disabled or inoperable, disclose this immediately to your agent.
Ensure you have fully operational brakes and steering, inflated tires, and unblocked windows; and keep your tank only ¼ full. If you pack your vehicle, don’t exceed a fifty-pound limit, and limit cargo to the trunk.
These procedures are essential to pick up. Failure to meet standards will lead to additional fees and may result in a rejected transport.
Realize neither brokers nor carriers can guarantee fixed dates or times for delivery. Generally, it takes a few days for every 500 miles traveled.
Upon delivery, you must inspect the vehicle and fill out the Bill of Lading, reporting any damages, and comparing mileage. Do the inspection alongside your driver in broad daylight for the best possible vision.
Any damage covered by the driver’s insurance should be marked; you must then ask them where to file the claim. After notating all issues, both of you must sign (and keep a copy of) the BoL.
If you have any problems, you must still pay the remainder of the transport fare. Make sure they sign the BoL and give your broker a call for further instructions.
5 - Learn more about scams
Auto transport is a legitimate industry; however, there are still scams out there. Before moving your car, you should always do research when selecting your broker, visiting their website, and checking with the BBB from the start.
Moreover, reject companies that don’t display their Mc Docket and DoT numbers or that guarantee delivery date parameters. Additionally, don’t work with any brokers who refuse to accept major credit cards and always check the fine print of your contract.
Enjoy your first auto transport experience!
Moving your car remotely is a big decision. While it may be overwhelming, having a better idea of what to expect will lead to smoother results.
Remember to take your time, check your list, ask questions and most importantly, enjoy some peace of mind knowing you've done your research and know the details about your car move!
About the Author
Automotive enthusiast, passionate about Jeeps, hot-rods, turbos, performance, efficiency, diesels, fuels, high performance oils, additives and anything with an engine.