Each year tens thousands of car owners ship their vehicles cross country. While it may seem simple to ship a car – you just call the transport company, right – there are some important factors to consider before you pull the trigger.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you ship your car, as well as some good vehicle shipping advice:
- Is it worth the effort?It usually makes sense to ship a vehicle that’s in good working order, but not always. Consider that shipping your car will cost a few hundred dollars at the bare minimum, and can sometimes cost a couple thousand dollars if you’re shipping the vehicle over a great distance. If you were considering replacing your car anyways, it might make sense to sell it rather than ship it.There’s also the fact that some cars are more valuable or desireable in one area of the country than another. For example, a cute little convertible is coveted in Southern California but not very popular in cold weather climates. A powerful 4wd SUV is popular in the mountains of Colorado, but regarded as an extravagance in South Texas. Therefore, put some thought into where you car belongs before you ship it.
- What documents are required? One of the biggest mistakes owners make is lacking the required documentation. The original title is mandatory to prove ownership unless there is a lien on the vehicle. In this case, a letter certifying the authorization to ship the car will be needed. Other documents like a bill of lading as well as a sales invoice may also be required.
- Remove your personal belongings. Your car is supposed to be locked down tight during shipping, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. The drivers sometimes forget to lock your vehicle, and even worse, sometimes vehicles on transports are broken into. By removing your personal belongings, you reduce your risk. Speaking of break-ins…
- Are you insured? Most insurance companies will cover your car wherever you take it, but as soon as it’s strapped onto the back of a transporter, some insurance companies may determine that the transporter’s insurance covers your car. The trouble is, most transporters make you sign a limited liability agreement before you ship…so call your agent and make sure you’re not going to be taking a financial risk.
- Review all your shipping options. There are a surprising number of options available for shipping a car in North America. Ebay Motors has a long list of transport companies, but there are also companies that specialize in moving goods in and out of your area, as well as person-to-person transport you can arrange on websites like uShip. You can even hire someone to drive your car, paying them a fee that covers their time and their one-way plane ticket home.
The last tip – talk to the used car manager at your local dealership and see if they can recommend a couple of transport companies. Most dealerships use vehicle transporters on a regular basis, and they can usually recommend an affordable shipper that’s also reliable.
Author Jason Lancaster is an experienced auto industry expert who is also the founder of ImportingCarstoCanada.org, a website that helps Canadians import used cars from the United States as well as offering vehicle shipping tips.