How Do I Ship My Car?

A good deal on a car is not always going to be locally convenient. Many times auto collectors will find the right car but it may be hundreds of miles away (or even across an ocean). The car is either the right price or is exactly what you are looking for. The question is, how do you get the car from where it is now to you? Well, you could always drive it if the car is in good driving condition (and not across an ocean). But that just may end up putting unnecessary miles on the car you just bought. Then what do you do if the car is not drivable? What if it is a project car that needs some work? One of the things you can do to get the car home is to ship it.

Find Some Auto Shipping Companies

When shipping a car, what you are looking for is an auto shipping and carrier company. These companies are the ones responsible for getting vehicles from Point A to Point B. There are many carriers nationwide so one thing you can do to find one is do a search online. If they have a website, read up on their guidelines and what kind of vehicles they transport. Get as Much information as you can from them. If they do not have a website, find their number in the phone book and call them up. You will need to tell them what kind of vehicle it is that you want moved along with where it is being shipped from and its destination.

You need to get a quote from the carrier. Be aware that the larger the vehicle, the more expensive it will be to ship because the vehicle weighs more and takes up more room on the truck. You need to get a quote in writing if at all possible. If the carrier has an email address, get them to email you a quote.

Research And Compare Quotes


When choosing the right carrier to ship you vehicle, you need to check them out. An auto transportation company needs top be licensed, bonded, and insured. Ask the carrier if they have a list of references that you can check out. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau for your state and see if any complaints have ever been lodged with the carrier. You need to look at a contract before you sign it to make sure there are no hidden fees.

Get quotes from several different companies and compare them. The cheapest may not always be the best option. You want someone that you can afford that can deliver the vehicle in a timely manner. A week or two is usually adequate time to ship a car so make sure they can get it to you in that amount of time.

Make Sure They Have Insurance

You need to know that all auto transportation companies are required to have insurance in case something happens to your vehicle during transport. However, watch out for carriers that give you a quote with and without insurance. These companies are usually self-insured which means they pay for claims against them out of their own pocket. This is risky because these kinds of carriers have a bad track record for paying claims against them. If something happens to your vehicle while they are transporting it, you could have just spent a lot of money and have no car to show for it.

When to Pay

After a driver has been assigned, you will need to pay a deposit over the phone or in person to the company. Do not pay a deposit before a driver has been assigned. The remainder of the payment is usually cash payment upon delivery. However, if you can find a carrier that does not require a deposit, so much the better. They likely won’t dither around getting your vehicle to you. A lot of companies think that once you’ve given a deposit, they know you aren’t going to find another carrier.

Book It And Get Confirmation

Once you find the right company that meets your needs, book a slot and get a confirmation on the pick-up date and delivery date. Make sure you get it in writing along with the terms and conditions. Check and see what would happen if the carrier does not deliver on time. You might be able to score a discount if that happens.

What To Do Before The Car Is Shipped

The carrier will not just drive up, load up the car, and drive away. There are some things that you have to do (if you are the shipper) to make sure the car is safe to transport. These are your responsibility, not the shippers, so check the car out thoroughly before it gets loaded on the carrier.

  • The vehicle must have no leaks.
  • The battery needs to be secure in the engine so that it does not slip around.
  • The vehicle must pass an inspection and needs to be clean.
  • The vehicle needs to have no more than a tank of gas that is ¼ full and no less than 1/8 full.
  • All alarm systems need to be turned off.
  • All antennas need to be retracted.
  • Exterior spare tire and covers need to be removed.
  • All non-permanent racks must be removed.
  • All personal items must be removed from the interior. They are not covered by the insurance.
  • The driver must be provided with a complete set of keys for the car.

You May Have To Meet Them

Depending on where you live, the carrier may not be able to get to your home. If you live too far off the main highway or there are too many power lines and trees in the way, you may have to meet the carrier truck somewhere like a parking lot. Be sure to set this up beforehand. Also, some carriers only go to major cities. It may be necessary to meet the carrier at the nearest city to pick up your vehicle.

Inspect The Vehicle After Delivery

Before you sign that you received the vehicle, inspect the vehicle. You should have a copy of the carrier’s inspection form that was filled out at the time of pick-up. Look over the paperwork and inspect the vehicle to make sure that there is no damage or problems that wasn’t listed. Once you sign off on the vehicle when you pick it up, it will make it very difficult to file a claim if you notice something wrong later. Be sure the vehicle is in the exact condition that you expected it to be.