The vehicle shipping industry in the U.S. is worth $11 billion. While the industry is booming, it doesn’t mean that all companies operating there are the same. Some will offer exceptional services when you choose them to ship your vehicle, while others will make you regret trusting them.
Whether you’re moving to a new state or buying a new car, you need a reliable auto shipping company that you can trust with one of your most prized possessions. This means asking the company the right questions before you ship vehicles.
If you’re wondering which questions to ask, keep reading to learn about the questions that can get you the right deal for your vehicle shipping needs.
Does Your Company Have a License or a Registration Number?
The best way of ensuring that you’re dealing with a trustworthy freight company is to check whether it has the necessary licenses. An auto shipping company operating interstate should have a USDOT number. You can also ask for their Motor Carrier Number.
These numbers are unique identifiers issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to interstate moving companies. Once the company gives you the number, you can verify it by looking it up on the FMCSA’s website.
If you’re shipping your car overseas, ask whether the company has a Federal Maritime license. Verifying the licenses will ensure that you don’t hire scammers to ship your vehicle.
Will My Vehicle Be Insured While in Transit?
You should know whether a company has the right insurance policy to protect your vehicle from unexpected events during transit. Ask what the company’s insurance covers.
This question is crucial, especially if you are shipping a vintage or a luxurious car. You don’t want the heartache of learning that your rare sports car cannot be replaced due to insurance issues with the auto shipper. If the car shipping company lacks the coverage you’re looking for, look for an alternative.
What Services Do You Offer?
Different companies will have unique services. Some will ship cars in open trailers, while others will have enclosed trailers. Some shippers have a single-vehicle shipping option, while others transport multiple vehicles.
In addition, some companies will ship non-operational vehicles while others won’t. Asking this question will help you determine whether the freight company offers the option you’re looking for. For example, if you’re transporting a classic car, you’ll want a company with enclosed shipping containers.
Do You Offer a Free Shipping Quote?
Most auto shipping companies will provide a free quote on their website. If you can’t see the quote, take it as a red flag and check with an alternative shipper. You can check out an example on AmeriFreight’s website and get more info on a free shipping quote.
The quote will help you estimate how much it will cost you to ship your vehicle. It will also allow you to compare the costs of different freight companies. You should stay away from companies that ask you for a reservation fee before giving you a quote.
Can I Get Detailed Information About the Shipment Cost?
After the company agrees to give you a free quote, ask them for a more accurate shipment cost. Ask whether you can talk to a representative about it. Be more precise and ask for an itemized list of what the quoted price covers.
The list will let you know what is included in the quote, so you can decide whether to move on to another company. Ask the representative whether there are additional costs, fees, and charges that might not be reflected in the quote. You should mention any special requests you might have for shipping your car to get a more accurate quote.
How Should I Prepare My Car for Shipping?
Most vehicle shipping companies will require you to prepare your car before loading it on a trailer. So, ask what the company requires you to do. In most cases, they’ll ask you to remove your items from the car.
If you own a classic car, you might have to do more to prepare it. For example, you might have to tape the headlights and any fragile glass. During the preparation phase, one of the most crucial car shipping tips is to check the gas tank and ensure it isn’t more than a quarter full. This will reduce the weight and enhance the safety of the vehicle.
An auto shipping company might have a long list of things you need to do to prepare your car. Be sure to ask so you can prepare well in advance to prevent unnecessary delays on the shipping day.
How Long Will It Take to Ship My Car?
You should know the shipping timeframe before you agree to work with the freight company. Get this information in writing to avoid confusion about the agreed delivery date.
Delivery duration will vary depending on the distance or the company’s drop-off policy. For instance, overseas shipping may take weeks, while interstate delivery will take a few days.
You need to know when to expect your vehicle to be prepared to receive it. You’ll make better plans depending on whether it’s terminal-to-terminal delivery or door-to-door shipping. Knowing the delivery duration will also help you plan how to move around before your car arrives.
How Do You Handle Payment?
Most companies will ask for a deposit before they ship vehicles. If a company asks you to pay the full amount, it will probably scam you. Also, be wary of those that will ask you to pay a deposit to reserve a space on the trailer.
Ask about the payment method that the company accepts. Find out whether they accept checks, online payments, or major credit cards. The idea is to ensure you can easily make a payment when the day comes.
Ask the Right Questions to Ship Vehicles Reliably
If you’re going to trust a freight company to ship vehicles for you, you have to ask the company the right questions. It’s the only way to find a shipper that will deliver your car in its best shape and at the agreed time and price.
Our car shipping guide tells you the questions you should arm yourself with before you begin hunting for a vehicle shipping company. Use the questions to weed out non-professional companies that might give you heartaches.
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