Questions you should ask a car shipping company

Updated at: 06.16.2021
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Author: MarySharp

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So you are moving to another state, or you have just bought a car online. Moving it from point A to point B by yourself can be infinitely stressful. Therefore, hiring a shipping company to do your job will prove to be a good idea. No, it is no secret that there are a plethora of car shipping companies out there. All of these companies claim to be the best, however, it is not true.

There are many companies out there that have minimum experience and are simply there to rob you of your well-earned money. So how do you figure out which company is the best? Well, there are some questions that you can ask that will give you an indication of how good the company is.

It does not matter whether you are getting your car shipped across the world, the country, or city, it is quintessential that you ask these questions for your money’s and your car’s sake. Mentioned down below is a list of extremely important questions that everyone should ask from car shipping companies.

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    1. Is Your Car Shipping Company Registered?

    This is the first and one of the most important questions that you should ask as it will give you an initial glimpse of the company’s credibility. Do not just take a simple yes for an answer; request them to show you their DOT numbers and motor carrier numbers. You can counter check these numbers on the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The car shipping company should also be registered with the Federal Maritime Commission if you want to get your car shipped abroad.

    2. What Kind Of Services Do You Offer?

    Make sure that you ask this question from car shipping companies to find out the different services they have to offer. You will be able to make a well-informed decision regarding what company and service you should be choosing to get your car shipped. There are some companies that only operate regionally, and there are some that might have some restriction on the weight, type, and the type of car. Clearing these things beforehand can save you a lot of time and money.

    You should also ask the company if they have open or enclosed car transport service, as some expensive cars are more suited to enclosed shipping. However, keep in mind that enclosed shipping is relatively expensive.

    3. Do You Offer Insurance?

    Usually, personal insurance does not cover the damages that your car endures during shipping. Therefore, it would be wise to ask the company whether it has adequate insurance or not. We all know how costly cars and car shipping can be; this is why it is important that your car is insured against any kind of damage. You should also ask the company to show you their insurance documents to find out the level of insurance your car will be receiving. You can always ask the companies to increase the level of insurance for some extra money to make sure that you do not bear any significant loss.

    4. Can You Provide Me Your References To Contact?

    Getting a reference from others is extremely important. This does not mean that you start roaming the internet for them, as a large number of reviews are tainted. The ratings and reviews are often manipulated and it can be difficult to tell which of them are genuine. However, you can completely rely on previous customers by contacting them and asking for their honest opinion about the car shipping service. You should also ask the companies to provide you a physical address of their establishment.

    5. Are You A Carrier Or A Broker?

    Customers rely on freight forwarders and brokers in the car shipping industry. Keep in mind that neither the brokers nor the freight forwarders move your vehicle. Only carriers are equipped with the right tools to ship your car from one point to another. The only thing that brokers do is write down your request and start looking for a carrier or shipping company that might be able to fulfill your requests. Brokers charge extra money for their troubles. However, this not necessarily bad, a good and reliable broker will save you a lot of time and look up a competent and trustworthy company for shipping your car. Make sure that you are extremely prudent in choosing your broker as some of them know nothing about the car shipping business and are simply there to rip you off.

    6. Are There Any Added Costs or Do Price Quotes Include Everything?

    Almost everyone is familiar with the fact that there are many companies that have hidden prices that they only reveal when the customer finally decides to buy their goods or services. Unexpected costs are among the main reasons why a lot of people have complained against car shipping companies. It would be wise to ask the companies upfront if there are any hidden costs. This will help you get a clear idea of what your budget should be. It would also be wise to ask about penalties on late payment or nonpayment of additional costs.

    7. Why Should I Choose You?

    This might seem to be an extremely simple question, but if a car shipping company is worth its salt, it will give you a clear and convincing answer highlighting the facts that prove them to be the best and worth your money. You should always be wary of vague answers as the salesmen in most companies are skilled in convincing customers with vague answers. Always ask the companies to be specific.

    8. What Are The Necessary Documents?

    If you do not have the right documentation while shipping your car, you will be easy prey for the car thieves. While generally, the insurance and registration documents regarding your vehicle suffice, it is better to ask your auto transport company about what exact papers are needed to give you the legal right for shipping your car.

    Note: Broker vs Carrier

    Brokers generally arrange for external carriers, while carriers themselves do the shipping. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but when choosing your auto transport broker vs carrier becomes an important consideration. Make sure that you know the nature of the company that you hire. Make sure that the brokers are bonded, and the carriers provide insurance benefits.

    9. How to Ready My Car for Shipping?

    Auto transport companies prohibited from moving cars containing household items, so remove all your belongings from it. The Department of Transport mandates the turning over of all keys to the mover during transportation. It is suggested that there is not more than a quarter tank of fuel in your car so that both the company and you avoid extra costs due to surcharges.

    10. The Duration of Shipping

    This typically varies between companies and is highly dependent on the manner and location of shipping. Ask your auto transport company for as accurate an account as possible, as things can more than often go wrong. As a general marker, it is a couple of weeks for coast to coast, a few days for shorter distances, and much longer for overseas.

    11. Required Arrangements for Payment

    While some shipping companies require full upfront payment, some take an initial deposit to require you to pay the leftover amount upon delivery. Ask your auto transport company about their preferred mode of payment, and it is, of course, better if you can pay on delivery, as that minimizes your risks.

    12. How to Ensure the Safety of My Car?

    Make sure that your car is inspected before it undergoes shipping, and that a “bill of lading” is generated with the details of every existing ding, dent or damage. Perform a similar check-up to ensure that there have been no more damages during transit. In case there is, you may file a claim towards that end.

    13. How to Ensure the Safety of My Car?

    Be thorough with your side of the inspection upon the delivery of the car, because this is your only chance to claim damage in case of any additional damage incurred during transit. Make sure to document the damages on the delivery report and get it signed with the driver. This enables you to raise a claim against the insurance of the shipping company.

    Best Buy Tip

    Since the rate and services offered by the different car transport companies often differ heavily, do feel free to shop around and look for multiple quotes. As an owner, you must be proud of your car, and it definitely deserves the best care and best pricing for transit.


    These are the main questions that everyone should ask car-shipping companies to make sure that their service is worth the investment. Do not hesitate about asking even the smallest question and as you are about to pay a lot of money for their service and placing the responsibility to the company for an expensive commodity.

    Mary Sharp

    Mary is a 30 years old freelance writer for more than 10 years now, and she's been writing in many fields, but mostly she wrote for a local journal on a daily basis for more than 5 years. Now she's a great expert in the transportation and logistics field in the most progressive shipping company in the USA "Shipaa". Follow her to find out a lot of great details about the transportation field, tips and tricks that will help everyone who wants to have a great experience using shipping services.

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