Common Car Shipping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

November 21, 2018Car Shipping Essentials
Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

While car transportation seems like a straightforward thing, people tend to make common car shipping mistakes because they underestimate the process. It’s not just loading and unloading your vehicle onto a truck; there’s a lot more that goes into it. We’ll present some common errors and how to avoid them.

Car Shipping Mistakes Are Common But Not as Bad as Choosing to Drive

Avoiding common car shipping mistakes doesn’t require a whole lot of effort. As long as you engage common sense and do a bit of research, you’ll be fine. If you have one of the best cars for city drivers, it’s reasonable that you want to protect it and show it off everywhere you go. If you ship it with a transportation company, common errors can be easily handled or prevented with preparation. However, before that, you have to avoid the mistake of choosing to drive it.

If you think driving across the states is an amazing relocation hack, think again. You’d spend so much money on gas and tolls that it wouldn’t be worth it, not to mention that you’ll have to take breaks by booking motel rooms or some other kinds of lodgings for the night; it’s too risky to drive tired. Additionally, the vehicle could get dirty and damaged from the long trip, which removes the meaning of caring for your car by yourself. This is the biggest mistake in transporting your car from state to state.

Young driver
Before you commit car shipment errors, try not to make the biggest of them all - driving it yourself

#1 Not Doing Enough Research On Your Auto Transport Company

One of the typical mistakes when shipping a car is not doing enough research and vetting on the business that does your transport. If you want to move efficiently, choosing well is going to be a vital part of that. So, what does it mean to choose wisely? Some really common ways to separate a good business from a bad one are comparisons. While it would be nice to lean on the first choice, put that on hold for a while and look further.

There’s Always a Chance of Getting Scammed By an Auto Transport Provider

Understandably, you want to find the cheapest way to ship a car, so you’ll begin researching general car shipment costs and choose the business with the lowest prices. However, this is a recipe for disaster since extremely cheap companies operate in a few ways. For example, they don’t provide insurance, they plan to charge you more later for undisclosed reasons, or they’re plainly looking to steal from you. Extreme cases are rare but exist as an option nevertheless.

So, how could you easily spot a relocation scam? Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • The business doesn’t insure your car in case of damage,
  • They don’t have a USDOT number and a license,
  • They don’t provide a quote for shipment costs,
  • They dodge discussing the ways to ship and deliver your vehicle,
  • They don’t perform a “bill of lading” inspection (a mandatory inspection where they note any pre-existing damage on the outside of the car, after which you sign the bill of lading to release the business from responsibility,)
  • You can’t reach them, or they don’t have a business address,
  • They ask for payments in advance or cash only.

Every Car Shipping Company Should Give You a Quote and Insure You

A car transport business has specific responsibilities when moving your car to another state. They’re required to do an inspection and have you sign a bill of lading, but also to inform you about the costs with a shipment quote and tell you about the insurance options. In addition, each business should have two options for shipment and delivery ways.

A shipment quote includes the type of vehicle being shipped, the shipment’s origin and destination, shipment ways (open or enclosed trailer transportation,) delivery ways (door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal,) and other details regarding the contract agreement and the shipment. This step is among the most important of the process, right behind the actual auto transportation.

Your car movers should inspect the car and offer you a detailed quote for the shipment

#2 Not Securing the Right Insurance for Your Vehicle

We already mentioned insurance as a mandatory part of car transporting services, but we’ll delve into more details about it because it’s crucial. Generally, companies offer a mandatory liability sum. So, for example, if you ship your car in an open trailer, you can have it insured for up to $100,000 in external damage. Otherwise, if you choose enclosed trailer services, your car will be insured for up to $500,000 in external damages.

These two options cost different amounts, but they’re both excellent solutions. You can opt for this version of being insured during the move, and you won’t regret it. However, you can also get insured by a third-party company just for peace of mind. Ask the movers to show you their insurance policies and rules so you can decide whether to look for additional coverage.

You Can Get Insured by a Third-Party Company, Too

To get your car insured by a third-party business, you should research the options with different companies. Most insurers offer two types of policies:

  • Full Coverage – this means yours and another vehicle will be insured in case of collision; it provides complete coverage up to the amount you determined and works for repairs for all parties; if you have a lease, it’ll probably require full coverage in the contract; it’s also the best car insurance for young drivers,
  • Liability Coverage – covers damage that the other party sustains when you get into an accident with them; it’s typically offered to individuals who own and drive older cars and can afford out-of-pocket expenses.

If you’re unsure which company to choose, watch the video below and see which ones were voted the best during last year.

YouTube video

#3 Forgetting to Prepare the Car for Transporting

There are many mistakes to avoid when shipping your car, but there are also things people don’t even know are errors in the first place. Did you know that you have to prepare your car for shipment? Specific steps have to be taken so your car could get transported safely, and most of them depend on you – cleaning the car, removing gas, and emptying it are the main things people need to do but often forget.

The Most Common Car Shipping Errors Are Leaving It Full and Dirty

There’s a difference between learning how to pack a car for moving and how to leave it when a transportation company picks it up. There may be optional things to keep in your car when it’s being transported, but whatever you do, don’t load the cargo you want to move with into your car. This isn’t safe for various reasons, the main one being that everything could fall out of the car during the ride, and the movers will not be liable for this error. Don’t make it difficult for yourself or the moving business.

Additionally, cleaning the car is a vital preparation step before the moving service gets its hands on it. It’s not because they like clean cars (who doesn’t, though?), but because they won’t be able to mark down any scratches or dents, or even worse, you might try to accuse them of damaging it when, in fact, you had no idea they were there. This situation wouldn’t bring any positives for you; if there are dents or scratches after transporting the car, you will be insured and covered for them.

We Mean the Gas Tank, Too

We mention this step when we talk about the things you forget to do when you move, especially with moving services. You’ll need to get gas out of the car, and it’s not that hard to figure out. This step matters because you’ll lighten the load for the carrier, and in addition, make the service go smoothly. The news isn’t all too bad, though, since you can still leave anywhere between one eighth and one half of the tank still filled with gas. That wouldn’t burden the carrier too much, and there wouldn’t be any accidental spillage or leaks.

woman washing a black vehicle
It's best to wash the car before giving it up for relocation services

#4 Getting Angry or Having High Expectations About Delivery

Some vehicle shipping mistakes don’t have anything to do with the technicalities. Many people moving to another state alone often get nervous about the move, and that’s reasonable. It means that they’d rather not make any errors or not experience errors from their relocation service providers. However, this makes many individuals exhausted from overthinking and feeling stressed out, impatient, and cranky.

Expecting an Exact Date of Delivery Is Unrealistic

If you shipped your car with relocation services to avoid driving stress, but in turn, feel anxiety about the delivery, you didn’t do much to reduce the pressure and take a load off your back. While it’s OK for transporters and drivers to give you an estimated arrival time, you shouldn’t trust it to be the exact date.

Our advice is not to get angry or agitated if the dates move by a week or so. Understandably, you want the car with you there and then, but if the carriers moved faster than possible, that would be reckless and irresponsible to the vehicles on the trailer. Would you rather have your car shipped safely or quickly? These don’t always go together, so get your patience boots on.

Expecting to Get Notified About the Delivery Status At All Times

Moving to a new state is a long and arduous process, so we get that you’d like continuous reports on where your car is and its ETA. This is normal, but it can be burdensome for the companies that provide the transporting service since their carriers don’t haul only your car. You can get notified or track your shipment via a code or the business’s website, which could make life easier for you; otherwise, if you need to know where your car is at all times, you might get disappointed.

Shipping cars
Staying patient is the way to go when it comes to relocating and waiting for a car shipment

Reasons Why You Should Ship Your Car With a USA Auto Transport Business

There are several excellent reasons why people ship cars with professional companies. When you can choose between open and enclosed car transport, and door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal delivery, while also combining your relocation budget and getting the best car hauling advice, what more could you ask for? With some consideration and good choices, you’ll get every service you need for a great price.

You Can Pick How You Want Your Car Shipped

As we mentioned, there’s the enclosed carrier transport, which means that your car will get transported in a closed trailer that keeps it safe from external damaging factors. You can insure the car for a larger sum of money and have it shipped safely across the country. This seems like a way better option than choosing the perils of driving anxiety and traveling alone.

There’s also the open carrier transport, which is more commonly booked and used by customers because it’s more affordable. Cars are transported on an open trailer, which poses the risk of sustaining some external damage, but this rarely happens, and it’s just as great as the closed trailer hauling. You can insure the car for a smaller sum, but still, one that could cover all possible costs.

You Can Also Choose How Your Vehicle Gets Delivered

Not only can you choose the way to get your car shipped, but you can also choose how it’s going to be delivered. Door-to-door auto transport means the car will be picked up and delivered straight to your door (or driveway,) while terminal-to-terminal car shipping entails pickup and delivery at one of the business’s parking lots. The latter option is cheaper, but if the lot is close to you, it’s still a great choice.

These options are great because, when you have a choice, the relocation feels more like it’s in your control, and that’s necessary for times like those. As long as you don’t start making errors before the move, you’ll be satisfied with the outcome and feel like you’ve done your greatest.

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