6 Things to Know Before You Ship a Car

If you are not familiar with the process of having your vehicle shipped, then you are probably going to be interested in learning several of the concepts that will be included within this guide. There are many different reasons that you might need to ship a vehicle and we will cover many of these reasons as well.

You generally would need to ship a vehicle in three different scenarios. The first scenario is if you are moving to a new location and you need your vehicle shipped to your destination by an auto transport company like

You might also need to ship a vehicle if you are selling it to somebody that lives far away. It’s possible that the sales agreement that you have established with the buyer of your vehicle includes a provision that requires you to ship it to them through an auto transport provider.

One of the other reasons that you might want to ship your vehicle is if you plan on having an extended location somewhere. Instead of renting a vehicle for a lengthy period of time, it might just be easier to have your vehicle shipped there ahead of time. This is probably one of the less common scenarios but it does come up from time to time.

Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the reasons that you might want to ship your vehicle, it’s probably a good time to shift the overall focus towards some of the things that you are going to need to know before you actually purchase vehicle shipping services from an auto transport company.

1. Scheduling Your Vehicle Shipment

It’s generally a good idea to book your vehicle shipments as early as possible so that you can avoid the busiest times of the year. Many auto transport companies will face busy schedules during spring break and the holidays. If you need your vehicle shipped at one of these busier times, you should expect delays or higher costs if you do not plan ahead of time.

If you don’t book ahead of time, you might be forced to pay for priority handling in order to have your vehicle shipped on-time. There’s also the possibility that some auto transport companies will not offer priority handling or they simply won’t be able to transport your vehicle before the requested delivery deadline.

You should probably try to schedule your vehicle shipment at a point in time where auto transport companies are not facing heavy loads. Planning for your vehicle shipment early on might also get you lower shipping costs and higher priority when the time comes to actually transport your vehicle.

If you are still concerned about scheduling, you could reach out to your desired auto transport company and try to work with them to ensure that your vehicle will be shipped on time. Sometimes company representatives will have a better understanding of their internal workloads and they will be able to provide you with specific updates about the prospects of shipping your vehicle around the holiday season.

2. Pricing Information

You’re going to want to also know about the pricing structures that many of the highest-rated auto transport companies use. The costs of a vehicle shipment will generally vary by distance, destination, and the type of hauler that you intend to use for the shipment. Exposed open haulers are generally much cheaper than an enclosed hauler.

Auto transport companies typically implement a ‘per mile’ cost. Longer distances will traditionally cost more, even though they have a lower ‘per mile’ cost. Shorter distances will have a higher ‘per mile’ cost but they will still be fairly cheap when all of the costs are added up.

Sometimes the transport distance is so short that it may not even be worth it to have your vehicle shipped. This could be the case if your vehicle is being transported less than one hundred miles. Longer distances make more sense because the ‘per mile’ rate will decrease significantly.

You should reach out to all of the auto transport companies that you are considering to request a pricing estimate before you finalize your decision. It can be extremely important to also weigh their reputation and customer feedback in addition to their prices.

It’s generally a good idea to go with the most reputable auto transport provider, even if they cost a little bit more money. The last thing that you need for your upcoming vehicle shipment is to have delays, accidents, or some other similar issue that ruins your experience.

3. Different Types of Vehicle Shipping

There are a couple of different types of auto transport that you can acquire from your local auto transport provider. The first method is the most common method of vehicle transport, and it’s generally called exposed vehicle transport with terminal delivery. So, what exactly does this mean?

Exposed vehicle transport will usually use an open car carrier to transport your vehicle. Terminal delivery is when your vehicle is shipped to a car-pickup terminal instead of your house. This means that you would travel to the delivery terminal to pick up your vehicle when it arrives.

Then there is also enclosed vehicle transport. This form of auto transport is designed to protect your vehicle from environmental effects during the journey. Luxury cars and sports cars are usually ideal for enclosed haulers because they are generally more valuable and people take extra precautions to protect them from potential accidents or issues.

If you plan on having a luxury car or sports car transported, you might be interested in acquiring an enclosed hauler for your vehicle shipment. This is a great way to protect your vehicle for just a little bit higher shipping costs.

It’s probably a good idea to reach out to your auto transport provider to discuss the possibility of acquiring different types of vehicle transport services. Some of the auto transport companies may also offer home delivery services instead of terminal delivery.

4. Terminal Delivery vs. Home Delivery

You might know about the differences between home delivery and terminal delivery if you’ve reached out to an auto transport provider to discuss the possibility of shipping your vehicle. Terminal delivery is becoming less common as more and more auto transport companies start to standardize home delivery services.

Terminal delivery is a service where your vehicle is specifically transported to a vehicle terminal somewhere near your desired destination. In most cases, the vehicle owner would have to transport themselves to the vehicle terminal in order to pick up their car after it has been shipped.

This is a popular service for individuals that are shipping their vehicles after they move to a new city, but it’s also popular for extended vacations as well. It can be more challenging to coordinate a terminal delivery shipment if you are shipping your vehicle to somebody else who is buying the vehicle from you. Additional paperwork may need to be completed before this process can effectively be completed.

Home delivery can be more expensive because it includes direct vehicle delivery to your home. It’s definitely more convenient for the vehicle owner because they won’t have to transport themselves to any vehicle terminal in order to pick up their car after it is shipped. The vehicle will be delivered to the desired address when the transport process is finished.

Both services have pros and cons that need to be weighed before a final decision can be made. It’s certainly possible that terminal delivery might be the better option for you, especially if it’s cheaper than home delivery services. Auto transport companies can be very different with the types of services that they have to offer. The prices can also vary significantly between home delivery and terminal delivery.

5. How Long Does Vehicle Transport Take?

Distance is one of the primary factors that comes into play when determining how long it will take to have your vehicle transported from its pickup location to its destination. Shorter distances that stay below a range of 500 miles can take a few days while transport distances above 1,500 miles could take between seven days and two weeks.

If you don’t opt to go with priority vehicle shipping, then these are the timeframes that you can expect for your average vehicle shipment. Unique destinations could take longer depending on the circumstances.

If you need your vehicle shipped as quickly as possible, then you might be able to take advantage of priority vehicle shipping services that are offered by some auto transport companies. This is basically a service that costs a little bit extra to expedite the shipment of your vehicle.

You can cut the transport times in half in some cases if you decide to pay the extra money for priority handling of your vehicle shipment.

Making the right choice can be challenging, but in most cases, you should be perfectly fine with the traditional vehicle shipment services as long as you plan your shipment in advance. Waiting to the last minute could lead to unexpected delays and you may not have any other choice but to pay extra for priority vehicle shipping services.

6. Is It Safe to Ship Your Vehicle?

This is one of the most common questions that new customers will ask themselves when trying to decide if it’s a good idea to ship their vehicle. It’s generally very safe to have your vehicle shipped over longer distances because the transport vehicles are designed to be really safe.

Every auto transport company will also have an insurance coverage plan that protects the customers from any damage that may occur during the transport process. You will need to speak with your auto transport representatives to determine if the coverage plan is sufficient for your vehicle.

There are also enclosed transport haulers that can be used instead of the traditional exposed vehicle carriers that are used with standard vehicle shipping services. These usually cost a little bit more money but they fully protect your vehicle from environmental hazards that may exist during the journey.

If you are planning on shipping a luxury car or sports car that has a higher value, it’s generally a good idea to invest in an enclosed hauler from your auto transport provider.

Final Thoughts

You’ve now had an opportunity to learn about six of the most important topics that you are going to want to know about before you ship your vehicle. It might seem like an overwhelming amount of information, but the truth is that all of these factors are extremely important.

All of these topics should be deeply considered because they will have a major impact on the vehicle shipping services that you receive. If you are confused by any of these topics, don’t be afraid to conduct additional research or reach out to a representative from your auto transport company. You should always try to clear up any misunderstandings before signing the vehicle shipping agreement.

Once you have decided which auto transport services are right for you, then you can spend a little time preparing for the big day where you actually drop off your vehicle and have it transported.

Shipping your vehicle for the very first time can be intimidating. Once you do it once, it only gets easier the next time that you do it. It can be a great opportunity to take a little bit of stress off in certain situations because having your vehicle transported can save you a lot of time and effort.

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