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Shipping a Car: 5 Top Tips August 01, 2020

Whether you need to ship your car to a foreign country or are sending it to another US state, you need to ensure that you use a professional company that is licensed to do the job. You are likely to need to complete a lot of paperwork and ensure you are communicating with all the relevant organizations involved in the process. Understandably, it can be complex, but it is worse to skip the preparation and do a half-baked job. There are several important decisions to be made to ensure that your vehicle gets from A to B without incident. Here are 5 top tips to keep in mind when shipping a car.

1. Use a registered transportation company

Shipping companies must be registered with the US Department of Transport and will have a DOT number. If they are shipping between states, they will have a Motor Carrier Number. If the company ships overseas, they need to be registered with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). The company should also have a bond and shipping license.

2. Prepare the car for the trip

The majority of vehicle shipping companies will not take responsibility for damage to the car’s interior, so it is important that you remove any loose belongings like money, CDs, electronics, and other accessories. It is also worth cleaning the vehicle before it travels and taking photos before you hand it over. You should also empty it of fuel and keep hold of your spare keys.

If you are taking the car to somewhere with a different climate, you should ensure that your car is prepared to cope with all types of weather. This includes fitting tires for any season as well as anti-freeze protection for the engine or servicing the air conditioning.

3. Confirm all arrangements in writing

While we all hope to able to trust companies we deal with, it is always best to get all arrangements confirmed in writing. This includes looking over the quote you have received to ensure that there are no hidden costs and that you are not signing up to unreasonable terms and conditions in the small print. Even if your arrangement has been made verbally, get them to confirm it in writing on official paper so both parties can sign it.

4. Make sure you get a bill of lading

The bill of lading is important as it is confirmation from the transporter that they have taken possession of your vehicle. It will include information about the vehicle, including a detailed description of its condition, as well as terms and conditions. Should the vehicle suffer damage during transit, you will need this document to be able to sue for damages.

5. Check your car insurance

These steps should reduce the likelihood that you will encounter issues when shipping your car, but no one can guarantee that nothing will happen during transit. Be sure to speak to your auto insurance company to see if your policy covers the vehicle while it is in transit. If it does not, you may want to take out marine insurance for your own peace of mind.


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