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How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping – a Quick Guide

Whenever you are planning a long-distance move, driving your own vehicle doesn’t always make sense. You may have multiple cars or may prefer not to put the extra miles on your own vehicle. Whatever the case, car shipping is a great way to ensure the safe delivery of your vehicle to a new destination.

If you’ve never used a car mover or shipping service before, it can be helpful to do a bit of research in advance on the company and the shipping process in general. Knowing what to expect and being prepared will help everything go smoothly.

To help get you started, we’ve assembled this quick guide to car transportation.

How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping – a Quick Guide

Questions to Ask the Auto Shipping Company

Before choosing an auto shipping company, it’s a good idea to ask a few questions about their process and expectations. For example:-

  • Will the vehicle be transported in covered or uncovered carriers or containers?
  • Will the vehicle be shipped door-to-door, or will you need to pick it up at a terminal?
  • How long will the car take to ship?
  • Will you pay in full upon delivery or do you need to pay a deposit upfront?
  • How much does it cost to ship a car to your address?
  • Will you be charged by the mile or a flat rate?
  • How long will it take until you receive your car?
  • Are there any fees you have to pay other than the shipping fees?

Door-to-door shipping is a suitable option that allows for your car to be picked up at your house and dropped off at the final stop. However, this convenience does come at a higher price; you may wish to save some money by arranging to drop the car off at a terminal and pick it up from the shipping terminal in your new city.
Also bear in mind that it takes longer to ship a car than it does to drive it in most cases. Expect shipping to take up to two weeks when crossing long distances.

How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping – a Quick Guide

What Kind of Insurance Do I Need to Ship My Car?

Insurance is a crucial part of keeping a vehicle safe and protected from damage. The shipping company should do its part to protect the vehicle during transit, but accidental damage can happen. Common scenarios include damage from road debris, loading/unloading incidents and severe weather during the transport period. Having insurance in place prior to shipping will help to offset these costs if they become a problem.

Before preparing for car transport, call your car insurance company to ask about how the policy will apply to the vehicle while in transit. Ensure that you will be covered for damage that occurs during transportation. Also contact the shipping company to see whether they have additional protection that can be purchased or that is included in the price of delivery. You should be able to obtain an insurance certificate to back up whatever answer they provide.

Once you know what insurance policy is available, you’ll want to decide whether that coverage is enough to offer peace of mind or if you’ll want additional protection. You can buy a specialized shipping insurance policy from your insurance company or even the transport company itself that can help fill in any gaps of missing coverage. This is especially important for collector cars and other vehicles that especially valuable.
Before agreeing to coverage, ensure that your vehicle has been appraised and that the value of the insurance policy matches the value of your car.

How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping – a Quick Guide

Preparing Your Car for Transport

When shipping a car, you’ll want to be sure that your car is clean and free of any extra items. To reduce the risk of theft or potential damage, be sure to remove any personal items as well as any exterior or interior upgrades, for example:

  • Custom alarm systems,
  • Aftermarket sound systems,
  • Mounted GPS devices,
  • DVD player and an entertainment system.
  • Maintain a specific amount of fuel in the tank.

Also, be sure to remove any toll passes and anything else that might attract attention from potential thieves while the car is being transported. If you have an alarm system that can’t be removed, disable it to prevent it from being triggered by the shipping company employees during handling or shipping.

Once your car has been cleaned out of these items, go ahead and wash the car of any dirt, grime and debris. This gives you a good opportunity to see the car’s current condition so that it will be easier to spot damage later if something happens.

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Take note of any existing damage such as nicks, scratches or dents. Take photos as necessary to record this damage. This will protect you later if the insurance company or transport company refuses to pay for damages incurred during travel. Keep your notes and damage photos stored somewhere safe that you’ll be able to find easily once you’ve reached your destination.

You may also want to have your vehicle inspected by a mechanic to look for any non-aesthetic damages or issues. It’s important to note that most vehicle transport services require the car to be operable. If your car cannot be effectively and safely driven, you’ll need to make special arrangements and may not be able to use a standard delivery service. Have your car mechanic pay special attention to the emergency brake, which will be used to secure the car during shipping. Any fluid leaks should also be dealt with before shipping as these could be potentially dangerous. If you can avoid it, don’t ship a car with a full gas tank; the extra weight could cost you in shipping charges.

Finally, finish your preparations by securing any loose parts and pieces such as antennas, convertible tops, sunroofs, roof racks and anything else that is detachable or could spring open. Securing these items reduces the number of things that could possibly go wrong during transport.

Dropping Off the Vehicle

Once you’ve completed your inspection, the shipping company will inspect the car themselves. Take this moment to bring up any current damage so that there is a record of it being discussed; this can save you a lot of hassles later if any damage does occur while the car is in transit. You’ll also want to have a spare key made so that you can hold onto the original keys and give a spare to the transport driver.
Take this final opportunity to ask any questions and be sure you know the answer to the question of, “How much to ship a car to my destination”. You don’t want to be met with any surprises fees on the other side.

After everything is squared away with the transport company, you can rest easy knowing that your vehicle is prepared for the road. Damage during transport by a trustworthy service is unexpected, but you’ll be well protected if the unexpected happens after following the tips in this guide.

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