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How to Transport Your Automobile Cross-Country
09-09-2020 | Armbruster

How to Transport Your Automobile Cross-Country

Congratulations! You are on top of this cross-country move. You have your movers scheduled, half of your house packed, your new home all lined up, and a ticket to your destination. Have you thought about how your automobile is going to land where you need it? Considering your car is probably your most expensive possession (aside from your home), you’ll want to know the ins and outs of having your car safely shipped. No worries—here’s what you need to know. The Basics If you’re moving long distance, it’s often easier to fly and have your car shipped than to drive yourself.  Fortunately, the process of shipping your vehicle is a pretty smooth one. Your moving company, and your move coordinator, can help you arrange these services. Get ready to check one more item off your to-do list! Door-to-door Delivery One decision you’ll need to make is where exactly you want your vehicle to be picked up and delivered. It may seem like the easiest route is to have it dropped off directly at your door. That’s a convenient option, for sure, but there are some things that may make that difficult. First, you need to be physically present when your car ships and when it arrives. This may be hard to arrange due to work or other demands on your time. You could have a trusted friend or family member---your “representative” ---there to receive the car. Think about this, though: would that person be able to assess whether the car sustained any damage in transit? Unless your rep was familiar with the condition of your automobile before you moved, that could be risky. Once someone signs off that your car had no damage, the transport company is released from their obligation. You won’t receive compensation if you later find damage that was missed. Another thing that makes door-to-door delivery difficult is accessibility. The car carrier that transports your vehicle is HUGE. Not every neighborhood can accommodate a truck that big---narrow streets, sharp turns, low-hanging wires---nor do they want to. Many neighborhoods and streets won’t allow delivery vehicles of that size. Terminal-to-terminal Delivery Terminal-to-terminal delivery means that your auto is picked up from and delivered to a storage facility. These facilities have enough space for car carriers to safely maneuver in and out. Terminal-to-terminal delivery also offers flexibility for pick up and drop off. Ask your move coordinator about location and hours of terminals to see if this is the right option for you. Open Carrier or Closed Carrier? Another choice you have to make is whether to use an open or closed car carrier to transport your vehicle. It may seem that a closed carrier would be best, as it offers the most protection. Remember, though, that car dealerships use open car carriers to deliver brand new cars every day. Most non-luxury vehicles get shipped using open car carriers. Open car carriers are more affordable and delivered faster that closed carriers. Closed car carriers are most often used for luxury or antique vehicles. It costs significantly more to ship in a closed carrier, which is why most people opt for open carriers. How Long Does It Take to Move a Vehicle? How long it takes to move your vehicle depends on a few factors. Availability of carriers and drivers and distance factor in most heavily. In most cases, you can plan on roughly a week to ten days for your vehicle to picked up and delivered to your destination. How is the Price Calculated? The price for shipping a vehicle depends on a number of factors.
  • Distance Distance impacts fuel costs, labor, and wear and tear on the carrier. The farther the distance, the higher the cost.
  • Size of Vehicle The bigger your vehicle, the more it will cost. Bigger vehicles take more room on the carrier and they account for more fuel costs.
  • Delivery schedule When you transport your vehicle could affect the costs in a few ways. The more flexible you can be in terms of pick up and delivery dates, the more cost savings you’re likely to see. Tight schedules and faster delivery times drive up the cost.
  • Type of delivery If you choose door-to-door delivery, you’ll pay more for the convenience. Typically, dropping off and picking up your vehicle at a terminal facility will cost you less.
How Safe is Shipping My Vehicle? What if Something Gets Damaged? Shipping your vehicle via car carrier is, by and large, safe for your vehicle. Tens of thousands of vehicles are transported daily, and most arrive without incident. Damages can occur, though, so look into what kinds of protectionyou have available. Check with your auto insurance provider to see if your vehicle is insured by them while on a car carrier. Some auto transporters offer protection should there be any damage to your vehicle. Be aware that some car carriers will have you sign a waiver releasing them from any obligation for damages. You probably don’t want that unless you are fully covered by your insurance company. Ask to see the car carrier’s proof of insurance. Make sure you understand fully what they cover, what they don’t, and whether there is a deductible. How to Prepare Your Car for Transport Before your car is ready for transport, you have to get it ready. It’s not complicated, but there are a few things that you need to do.
  • Remove belongings. No clothes, sippy cups, pens, files, sports equipment, removable electronics. Stray items inside the car can get jostled and cause damage to your vehicle.
  • Make sure it runs. Vehicles that aren’t operational can’t typically be loaded onto a car carrier. You have to make special arrangements to move a car that doesn’t run.
  • Be sure your tank is less than half full. Shipping autos with full gas tanks would increase the weight and cost of transport.
Have a long-distance move in your future? Contact us to see how we can help!
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