Regardless of the reason, if you need to ship your car, it can be a rather confusing experience — especially if you've never shipped a vehicle or have no clue where to start. Auto transport companies usually charge by the mile and there is no standard distance in which they will charge. The total cost of shipping can add up very quickly. There are ways to get a better price and save money with an auto transport company. Here are six tips to get a reasonable price and save money.
1. Get Multiple Quotes
The first thing you should do is gather quotes from different companies. Comparing prices can help ensure that you are getting the best deal possible. It can also help you determine which company offers the most value for its services.
There are many different types of auto haulers out there, and they all have their own specialties and areas of expertise. Some companies specialize in long-distance moves across the country, while others focus on short-distance moves within a single state or region. One good way to find a good company is by checking online reviews of different companies.
You can also ask friends and family members who have moved cars with professional services in the past for recommendations.
2. Get a Binding Estimate
A binding estimate is an agreement between you and a carrier that specifies exactly what will happen during the move (such as pickup time, delivery time, etc.) and how much it will cost. If anything changes during the process — such as if your vehicle has more damage than expected — then both parties must agree on adjustments before they go into effect.
A binding estimate can help prevent disputes down the line, so it's worth asking for one when booking with any company. However, be aware that some companies require payment upfront before issuing binding estimates; others don't charge until after delivery; still, others have no set policy at all.
3. Check Their Insurance
Make sure that the company has insurance coverage for their vehicles and employees. If they don't have insurance, they may not be licensed or legal in your state or country. When looking at quotes, make sure this information is included so that it does not come as a surprise later on down the road when issues arise with the transport of your vehicle.
Even though most companies offer basic liability coverage for free as part of their service, many don't include comprehensive or collision coverage for cars being shipped across state lines. This means that if anything happens during shipping and damages your vehicle, there may not be any coverage for that.
4. Hire an Auto Transport Broker
One way to save money on shipping your vehicle is by hiring an auto transport broker instead of going directly to a carrier. An auto transport broker is an intermediary that connects you with car transporters that are willing to offer competitive prices.
Transporters often charge more than they need to because they know many people won't bother shopping around. An auto transport broker can help you find the best deal and make sure that your car arrives in one piece, so it's worth paying a little extra for this service. They charge a fee for their services but can save you considerable time and money in the process.
5. Choose an Open Transport Carrier
Open carriers are more cost-effective than enclosed carriers because they're cheaper and more flexible. Enclosed carriers come with many restrictions, including size maximums, weight limits, and the total number of vehicles per shipment. An enclosed carrier will have higher rates because it provides more protection for your vehicle during transit.
However, it's not always necessary or even desirable. On the other hand, open carriers have fewer restrictions but still allow for plenty of protection for your vehicle during transit.
Nevertheless, note that if you want to ship a classic car or a high-value vehicle, such as a luxury car or an antique model, using an enclosed carrier may be non-negotiable. For most people, though, an open carrier works just fine as long as there are adequate safety policies and insurance coverage.
6. The Terminal-to-Terminal Option
Terminal-to-terminal car shipping is the most popular choice for people who want to ship their vehicles to a new location without spending too much money. It involves loading your vehicle at one terminal and unloading it at another terminal.
If you're shipping a car from one state to another, most carriers charge much less for terminal-to-terminal service than for door-to-door service. Sometimes the difference can be as much as $500 or more.
The only caveat is that in many cases, you'll need to drop off and pick up your vehicle at off-hours. This is because the terminals have limited space for parking cars during regular business hours. If you don't mind doing this, then it's worth paying the lower rate. Otherwise, you may be better off using door-to-door service instead.
Ultimately, the key to getting a reasonable price from a car transporter is to always ask questions and seek clarifications before agreeing to any deal. In addition, car hauling companies are all competing to get the job, which means that they're going to be much more willing to offer you a reasonable price than if you called an auto transport broker and tried to negotiate a great deal. A reasonable price with professional auto transport is definitely something you can achieve, and the tips above will help.