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Car Shipping: Know Your Options

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Car Shipping: Know Your Options

Joan Stevens
April 4, 2013


Relocating across the country? Finally buying that classic collectible car from a dealer 1,500 miles away? Whatever the reason there comes a time when you need to have a vehicle shipped from point A to point B. Thousands of cars are shipped all over the country each day, but knowing your options will ensure the best experience for you and the auto transport company.

Open Versus Enclosed Carrier
The first consideration when shipping your vehicle long distance is to decide between an open car carrier, such as you commonly see delivering new cars to dealerships, and an enclosed carrier in which the vehicle is "stored" in a container. An open car carrier exposes your car to sun, heat, and inclement weather. The advantage to this method of shipping is that it is less expensive than using an enclosed carrier. An enclosed carrier will shield your car from the elements, and is an excellent option if your car is collectible or particularly valuable. The extra cost of using an enclosed carrier is worth it on certain vehicles.

Door-To-Door Versus Terminal-To-Terminal Shipping
Another key consideration when transporting your vehicle is to determine whether you want the transport company to come directly to the car's location for pick-up or whether you feel comfortable in dropping your vehicle off at a central location where it will later be loaded by the auto transport company. Door-to-door provides more comfort, but is more costly. Again, you risk tolerance, budget, and the type of car being transported will drive your decision.

Insurance Coverage & Inspection
Research the insurance coverage provided by the shipper as well as what your own policy may cover. Understand at what point the shipper's insurance activates. Be sure to have enough insurance to cover the value of your vehicle. Your car will be inspected by the transport company before they take custody and it is essential that any pre-existing issues are documented. When your car is delivered another inspection is conducted and be certain that you get the driver to sign off on any newly noted issues. If there is transport damage, contact the shipper immediately to initiate the process of reimbursement.

Auto transport is a growing business. It is an economical and safe way to move a vehicle over a long distance. As people relocate more frequently, vehicles are shipped all over the country. You should be comfortable with using an auto transport company, but know your options. Be diligent in your research of the best approach for your situation and your experience will be problem free.


Joan Stevens has worked at various car dealerships for over twenty years. She has recently moved into a role in upper management at a leading auto transportation company and knows the business inside and out. She enjoys blogging from time to time and is active in many online communities. http://yousetthecost.com vehicle shipping

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