Car Shipping

How Do I Get My Car Shipped? 5 Steps of Auto Transport

Are you moving from one state to the next or outside the country but can’t drive your car the distance? You can ship your vehicle with an auto transport service, but before you do that, below are a few things to consider.

1. Find the Right Auto Transport Company

Before you start readying your car for transportation, find a reliable auto transport company. You will need a little research to pick the best service among the many options that you might have. When searching, understand the difference between auto transport brokers and auto transport carriers. Brokers only connect you with a carrier service and earn a commission for doing so. If anything doesn’t go according to plan, the carrier (and not the broker) is responsible.

Whether you work with a broker or a carrier, ensure that:

  • They have a license
  • They have insurance
  • They have set the necessary car safety measures
  • They are reputable
  • They ship the car to your door or a terminal near you

If you plan to ship your car overseas, you need a company that ships to the country you are moving to. Ensure the company has a license to transport cars overseas from the Federal Maritime Authority.

Ensure the company has a license to transport cars overseas from the Federal Maritime Authority. Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Compass.

2. Get The Documents Ready

Shipping a car from one state to the next is easy. The paperwork comes when you need to ship a car overseas. When shipping your car from one state to the next, you only need a certificate of insurance and your vehicle registration to prove that the car is yours. The company will inspect the car before the shipping and have an inspection report ready.

If you are shipping the car overseas, you will need the vehicle registration and insurance certificate and other documents as follows:

  • Certificate of Title of your car (original and a copy)
  • Bill of Sale or notarized Bill of Sale
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Shipper Export Declaration
  • Declaration of Dangerous Goods
  • Your passport

You might require more documentation at the maritime port and the country of destination. The auto transport service should help you with the documentation.

3. Consider the Shipping Costs

Many factors influence the shipping costs – the main factor is the destination (the farther you ship your car, the more you will pay). The size and weight of your car also matter a lot with bigger and heavier cars costing more.

The auto transport service is liable for any damages. As such, the expensive vehicle makes, and models will cost more to ship. If you are moving during summer, you will pay more as there is a higher demand for shipping services. In winter, you will pay less. The cost also differs based on the type of transport you choose.

4. Choose Between Open and Enclosed Carriers

Open-air carriers are readily available. They carry cars on two levels, and the cars are visible throughout the entire shipping period. This form of shipping is affordable as the carrier can carry ten or more cars on one truck. The disadvantage with open-air carriers is that your car is exposed to elements. The carrier also makes numerous stops, which takes more time.

Enclosed carriers cost you more, but your car ships protected from elements. The carrier service will only carry two or three cars on one truck, which is why they charge more.

Enclosed carriers cost you more, but your car ships protected from elements.

5. Ready Your Car for Shipping

If you have valuable personal items, remove them from the car to avoid damage or loss. Cleaning your car allows you to inspect for any damages. Start cleaning the interior of the car using a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum the seats and the mats. Clean the windows, the door, the dashboard, and all the other interior. You can schedule an inspection with a recognized mechanic before the car ships. Secure any loose parts and hand the car to the transport service or broker.

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