Car Transport For Dummies
Car Transport For Dummies

What is car transport? Simply put, it’s the act of moving a car from one state to another through some type of car shipping method. Most of the time this is taken care of via an open carrier – not unlike the ones you see hauling new cars to dealerships on the interstate.

They’re the most common type of carrier, and therefore the least expensive. Now, there are two types of auto shipping companies:  brokerages and carriers. Brokerages don’t actually ship the vehicle; they coordinate transport between you and the carrier, handling money and paperwork so you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting.

Brokerages are always better to do business with as they help keep prices lower and also help with all the tedious paperwork that you otherwise would need to fill out.

Once you find a car transport company and book your order with them, you simply wait until the  carrier shows up. Your brokerage will inform you when the carrier will be arriving at your house, and give you the carrier’s number in case you have any further questions.

Once the driver shows up, you and him (or her) will go through an initial vehicle inspection prior to loading the vehicle. This is to note any prior damage to the vehicle, mainly for insurance purposes.

Once you go through the inspection, you’ll sign a form and release the vehicle to the carrier. After that, they’ll load it on and then drive away, leaving you to deal with the rest of your problems. Pretty simple, no?

During transport, your broker will inform you of where it’s at upon request. Some carriers provide GPS tracking, while others simply take a phone call.

You can get information from your brokerage about your carrier as well, as all must be licensed and bonded. Typically, if you’re shipping your daily driver, open car shipping is perfectly fine.

However, if you’re shipping a rare or expensive vehicle, enclosed car shipping might be for you. It’s typically anywhere from 75-100% more expensive than open shipping, but if your vehicle can’t get dirty or damaged, it’s well worth the extra cost. For most vehicles open shipping is just fine – damage during transport is rare.

When the carrier arrives at the destination, he’ll coordinate with you the exact time and location of the delivery. Once you and the driver meet up, it’s time for a second inspection – this is to make sure any damage done during transport is properly recorded and the proper steps taken to make sure that any insurance claims are handled quickly and promptly.

If there is damage to your vehicle during transport, you can file a claim with the car shipper’s insurance company.

You can’t really get much more simple than that, right? It’s important to know what you’re getting into – car shipping isn’t cheap, that’s for sure. Make sure to do your research and find out the history of your company and read current reviews to avoid scams and the like.

A good site to utilize is Transport Reviews. It’s always best to shop around for a good car transport company, but don’t go with the lowest price. Low prices in car shipping can be a bad thing, as essentially brokerages are enticing carriers to pick your vehicle up. But if you think you’re paying too much, you might be – some routes are easier than others to obtain, so be sure to talk to your broker if you think there might be an issue.

And if you’re serious about car shipping, fill out our free online quote request form to the left and get started with a free quote from American Auto Shipping! We work with only top-rated carriers who are fully licensed and insured. You can also contact us any time at 800-930-7417 to get in touch with a representative. They can answer questions, give you a quote, help you book your shipment, and more.

Dave Armstrong
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