Auto Shipping Questions & Answers

1.How much will it cost to ship my car?

Obtain quotes from several car transport companies. Auto mover estimates are free, so take advantage of them. To get accurate information, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Origin city/destination city
  • Approximate departure date (when your car is available for pick up)
  • Type of vehicle(s)
  • Special transport requests (e.g., drop off at terminal vs. at your home)

Perform some “due diligence” regarding the car moving company you are considering. The cheapest move quote you receive may not always be your best bet. If you pay too little, the likelihood that your vehicle will be transported in a timely manner is diminished. Pick a car transporter that responds well to your request for information, has a solid track record and can provide you with good value.

2.How do I know if my car is insured?

The company with whom you contract to transport your vehicle should provide adequate insurance to protect against driver negligence. Ask for a copy of the “certificate of insurance” and familiarize yourself with the types of coverage provided. Most car moving companies specifically exclude road damage, damage or theft of personal items left in the car, small nicks & dents, and glass breakage. If you want to verify or supplement the coverage, call your current automobile insurance agent.

Beware of shipping your car with a company that is exclusively a “broker.” Many of these companies do not own auto carriers and depend upon the carrier that actually carries your car to provide insurance. If the truck driver’s insurance coverage has lapsed for any reason, you will be unprotected.

3.How do I find out when my car will arrive?

All reputable auto moving companies have customer service representatives who can provide information about where your vehicle is in the transport process. Be aware that most companies use “estimated” dates since it is impossible to schedule vehicle freight precisely. Some companies do offer an optional “guaranteed” or premium service that assures a specific date of delivery.

4.When and how do I pay?

While some auto transport companies may not require payment in advance, others require a deposit (10-25% of the total cost), or full payment in advance. If a deposit is given, the amount due (C.O.D.) is always required at time of delivery — oftentimes with a cashiers check or cash. If full payment is required prior to car transport, consider using a credit card so that charges may be reversed if circumstances warrant such actions.

5.What about pick-up and drive away car rates?

Ask for estimated pick-up and delivery times from your car transport company. You should be able to get a 3-day window for pick-up. Once pick-up is made, your auto transport or auto driveaway company should provide you with a fairly precise estimated delivery date. If you need an exact date for pick-up, most car transport and auto driveaway services can pick-up your car and hold it at a terminal for an additional charge.

6.Where can I get references on auto movers?

While individuals are generally reluctant to act as references because of the “nuisance factor,” corporate clients are usually willing to do so. Also, van line companies refer many car transport and auto driveaway companies. Ask for several references of car movers, if possible.

7.Releasing your car to the auto carrier

Prior to leaving your car with a driver or car transport company, be sure you receive an “Original Inspection Report.” This report provides pick-up and delivery information, current mileage, and most importantly, shows the condition of your car at time of pick-up — pre-existing scratches and dents, cracked glass/mirrors, general paint condition, etc. Keep this report and use it when you receive your vehicle.

8.Accepting your vehicle for delivery

At the time of delivery, inspect your vehicle and compare the condition and mileage against the “Original Inspection Report” provided by your car transport company at origination (see item above). Many car transport companies also provide a copy of this report at time of delivery. If there are inconsistencies, note them as exceptions and be sure 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.

9.What if damage should occur to my car?

The majority of car transport experiences are worry-free, with your damage-free vehicle arriving at the estimated time. On occasion, a vehicle may become damaged in transit. If this should happen, note all damage on your inspection report (see item above), obtain the driver’s signature, and contact your car transport company. The car transport company should then work with you to reimburse you for verifiable damage done to your car.

10.What are the different car trailer or auto carrier types?

In order to ship your car to your new home most efficiently and cost-effectively, it’s important to know about different shipping and car carrier techniques, such as open and closed auto trailers. The model of the car you have, and the destination where you will transport it, will help determine whether you need an open or closed car trailer.

11.What is an Open Auto Trailer or Carrier?

An open auto trailer is the more popular and the more frequently used trailer. They carry anywhere from 10-12 vehicles at a time.

Open car trailers are cheaper than closed trailers. Price is determined by the weight of the vehicle being shipped.
Open car carriers and trailers will be subject to the elements of nature. (i.e. rain, snow, wind, dirt and dust).

12.What is a Closed Car Trailer or Carrier?

A closed car trailer or auto carrier is a vehicle that has a covered freight area. It is most commonly used when shipping an expensive or classic car that you wish to protect. If your car will be traveling cross-country and going through some dry and desert territory, you may consider using a closed trailer to protect it from wind blown sand and heat. If the vehicle is not being shipped through extreme climates, consider using an open trailer.

The car is well protected from the elements of nature.
Closed auto trailers and car carriers cost more. Remember, price is determined by the weight of the vehicle being shipped.

Tips: Remove all valuables from the car, leave as little gas as possible in the gas tank for weight and safety purposes, and always insure your car, just in case it gets damaged.

13.Should you choose a moving company or an auto transportation company?


Car carriers generally charge lower rates than movers do. Shop around and compare pricing. If your quote seems extraordinarily low or high, ask the vendor why. Always remember that the lowest price isn’t always the best option. A company’s good reputation often goes a long way.

Always get a written contract with approximate delivery dates and carefully read the terms and conditions, especially clauses dealing with insurance. Check to see if there are cancellation fees before committing to service. There could be a charge of up to $200. Car or auto carriers generally have shorter delivery times than movers do.


Research the auto companies’ history before soliciting bids for car moving services. Some auto moving companies frequently change their names due to complaints. Others may even go by as many as five different names. It will be in your best interest to investigate this.


As of 1990 the Department of Transportation ruled that you may NOT load any items in a vehicle other than clothing. Auto carriers are NOT licensed to carry household goods or personal items. Any damage to your vehicle due to household goods shifting or breaking will not be covered by insurance.


Ask to see the facility where your car will be stored before being loaded on the truck. Many companies claim they have secure storage for your car, but in actuality, they don’t.

About the author
Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit