The average person moves 11.4 times in their lifetime. That’s 11 times you have to pack boxes, drive your car to a new home, and get settled back into daily life.

For short distance moves, this isn’t much of a problem. But when you’re moving across the country or across an ocean, driving your car isn’t practical.

Shipping a car is a great way to get your vehicle to a new home without forcing you to drive it across the country.

There’s no need to worry about filling up with gas, finding places to stay overnight on the trip, or worrying about selling it before you move only to buy a new car in a week or two.

When your car is properly prepared, it will arrive at its destination in perfect condition.

Not sure where to start? In this guide, we’ll go over a few of the most important things to know when shipping your car.

1. Contact Your Insurance Company

No matter what car shipping company you work with, it’s always important to speak with your insurance company before dropping your car off.

Accidents happen even when the shipping company is as careful as possible. Discuss the upcoming shipment with your agent and let them evaluate your policy.

If they think upgrading your coverage would be beneficial, do it.

You can always downgrade your coverage once you move.

2. Focus on Quality, Not Price

Great car shipping companies take great pains to make sure your car gets to your new destination safely.

They maintain their trucks, provide quality cargo trailers, and make sure your car is safe every step of the way. All these things do come at a cost.

This means their services may cost more than their competitors, but they’ll care of your car.

When getting quotes from companies, try to base your decision on the quality of service you’ll receive rather than on the price.

3. Discuss Your Ideal Timeline

Ideally, you’ll ship your vehicle and have it at your destination when you’re ready to pick it up.

When finding a company you can trust, make sure you discuss your timeline.

The only way to know if you can work with a shipping company is to discuss whether they can meet your timeline. If they can, great! If not, you may want to look elsewhere.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Research the Company

Your car is worth a lot and not only financially. You rely on it to get you to the store, work, and social activities.

Before you trust your vehicle to a shipping company, make sure you do a bit of research into their reputation. Look for reviews, check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to research their credentials, and check with the Better Business Bureau.

If you get a bad feeling or don’t see a large majority of positive reviews online, consider working with a different car shipping company.  

5. Decide Between Uncovered or Covered Transit

When you’re choosing between shipping companies, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to ship your car in a covered or uncovered trailer.

Covered trailers put your vehicle in a shipping container and protect it from the elements during transit. Uncovered trailers mount your vehicle on a tow trailer and take your car to its destination, but expose it to the elements.

Uncovered shipping is typically more affordable, but it’s not ideal for some vehicles. If you have a classic car or are particularly worried about keeping the paint in pristine shape, a covered container may be the best option.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with it before turning your car over to the company.

6. Be Prepared to Inspect Your Car Before and After Shipping

Cars can get damaged in transit. That’s why it’s always best to inspect your car before you send it out with the shipping company.

Take pictures of the exterior and do a thorough walkthrough with a representative from the shipping company. This way, you both have a baseline for the condition of the car.

Once the car arrives at the final destination, compare the baseline inspection against the current condition of the car.

7. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Discounts

Shipping a car can be expensive. But if you’re shipping more than one vehicle, it never hurts to ask for a discount.

Speak with the shipping coordinator before signing the agreement to see if there are any discounts you may be eligible for.

Some providers offer discounts through your employer that you may not be aware of unless you ask.

8. You Need to Get Your Car Ready

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just toss your car onto a transport trailer. You need to prepare your vehicle for shipping first.

Make sure your battery can hold a charge during transit. This will spare you the frustration of having to jump the car when you’re ready to pick it up.

You’ll also need to make sure you have enough gas in the tank to make it from the drop-off location to a gas station. Most companies require that you have no more than a quarter of a tank of gas in the car at the time of drop-off.

This is for safety reasons.

9. See What You Can Leave in the Car

It may be tempting to load up the trunk with small belongings to reduce what the moving company has to haul. This may be a problem for the shipping company.

Before you load up the car, make sure you understand what can and can’t be left in the car during shipping.

Make sure you remove prohibited items before you drop the car off at the shipping company.

10. Don’t Rush the Shipment

When getting ready to ship your vehicle, make sure you start looking for a company ahead of time. Waiting until the last minute cuts down on the number of companies you can choose from.

The last thing you want to do is get stuck with a company that’s not reliable or trustworthy.

Start looking a few months before your move whenever possible.

Shipping a Car? Trust the Experts!

Spare yourself the frustration of driving to your new home by shipping a car with our experienced drivers.

Contact us today for a free shipping quote for your vehicle. Our team will get your car where it needs to go safely and on-time.