Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Vehicles


We realize that this may be your first and only time you transport or ship a car, truck, van, or SUV. To help you get started, we have put together these frequently asked questions from customer feedback over time. We also have this guide to start you out. You can also check out our videos for further information. Please feel free to read through them. Remember, we are just an email or phone call away.


Q. What kind of truck takes my vehicle?

 A. We use only commercial grade auto transport carriers. Most of these are the two level trucks you see all the time on the road. Chances your vehicle came in on the same type of trailer when it was brand new as it arrived from the port or factory. So it gets the same treatment now that you are moving it for yourself. These trucks not only carry dealership cars, but vehicles of all kinds for sorts of types of transport. Just like your situation.


Q. How long does it take for you to schedule my pickup?

A. Our company goal is 1-3 days. More remote locations can take more time. However metro to metro area is in that timeframe. If you live far from major cities and highways, we make recommend making adjustments to the pickup and drop-off to assure a speedy pickup. When you ship with us,  you can authorize anyone over 18 to hand over the keys and the vehicle if you aren’t going to be around.

Q. When you pick it up, how long will it take to get to the destination?

A. Typically, a carrier can travel anywhere from 300-500 miles in a day. So if you are 1,500 miles away then it will take 3-4 days. Here are some examples.


Q. Can I ship a car that is not mine / not in my name?

A. Yes, if you are moving a vehicle on behalf of someone who has entrusted you to set up the shipping for them, it’s just fine. When you sign our terms and conditions, you certify that you are allowed to do so.


Q. Can I ship a car that is financed / not paid off?

A. Yes you can.  A vehicle does not need to be paid off. The only time you should make sure it’s ok is if going to Hawaii or Alaska. You may need to get a letter from the bank telling you it’s ok. Every financed vehicle going to Puerto Rico will need a notarized letter from the bank. Find more details regarding financed vehicles here.


Q. Can I ship a car that is not registered?

A. Yes you can. It does not need to have registration that is active or even a license plate.  Since the car is on a carrier and not on the road, you don’t need to have it registered. 


Q. Can I ship a car that is not insured?

A. Yes you can.  Since the carrier is insured, your vehicle is protected. However, once it is on the ground at delivery you need to make sure to have proper insurance.


Q. Is insurance included?

A. Yes it is. It’s also important to note that nearly 98% of all vehicles don’t have special insurance requirements. However, if you are shipping a rare, high-end luxury, or sensitive vehicle, we recommend enclosed shipping. Because the motor cargo insurance will be enough to cover those in case of a loss. A good rule to go by is that if the vehicle is worth more than $65,000 you should consider going enclosed.  Insurance is a federal requirement for carriers to operate but the cargo insurance on an open carrier may not be enough to cover a loss with a very expensive vehicle. 


Q. What other paperwork do I need? 

A. The terms and conditions electronically signed automatically state you are authorized to move the vehicle even if you are not the owner. So that means you can not only provide any contact information for both pickup and drop as you see fit, but do not have to fumble with title or registration information.   We just need keys, someone over the age of 18, and of course the vehicle. 


Q. Can I pack things in my vehicle? 

A. We get this question a lot! The answer as far as the DOT is concerned is “no”. But the truth is that competition has made it so carriers allow for a small amount of personal items in the vehicle. The average is about 100 pounds. This is limited that way so it won’t put the carrier over their allowed weight limits. This would be the equivalent of a couple of bags of clothes or 2 full-size suite cases. These items should be tucked in to the trunk area where they cannot be seen by prying eyes. Remember, the insurance only covers “motor-cargo”, so personal items should be placed at your own risk. This is because the Federal and State Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations prohibit the transport of household items in vehicles being transported by auto carriers. If you are sending your vehicle to Canada, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico you may not pack anything. These vehicles must go empty. Items left in them will be discarded or destroyed at the port. Under NO circumstances can any vehicle being transported contain firearms, illegal substances, hazardous materials, or contraband.


Q. Do I have to pay upfront? 

A. There are no upfront fees to book. We work for free until we’ve done the job of getting you locked in for pickup. Some competitors argue that “you need to secure the transport” but with us that’s not true. We begin working on your order right away before you pay a penny. But once you are assigned and confirmed a spot on the truck, we then charge the deposit on the card you already put on file. You also don’t have to pay the final amount due until delivery. Unlike other auto transport companies, we have our Price Guarantee.

Q. Do I have to meet you at a yard or your office? How do I get my vehicle to you?

 A. We are Door-to-Door auto transport all the way. No storage yards or garages. The only exception to that is if you live in narrow street, dead end, or a street where a 50 foot truck can’t fit or isn’t allowed. In those cases we will meet you at the nearest possible safe location. Also, the same carrier that picks you up, will be the one that delivers. We don’t move your vehicle on and off, risking damage. Some home owner’s associations also don’t allow transporters to come in. 


Q. Do I need enclosed auto transport?

A. Enclosed auto transport is inside the belly of an 18 wheeler, basically. Some are even climate controlled! For almost every transport, open is fine. Enclosed auto transport is usually reserved for very high end, museum, or rare vehicles. Like a vehicle that has original vintage paint and can’t even get dust on it. This option is also more expensive. Customers choosing between the two have asked if they can get chipped by rocks or other airborne debris on an open carrier. Although nothing is impossible, wind deflects of the front of the truck and is pushed away form the carrier since it’s such a flat surface. Vehicles up top are even further away from the road. You can always request top rack although not guaranteed. SUV’s because of their size and convertibles because of the vinyl usually ride up top. Convertibles with soft tops will also always go on top so no oil or debris from the vehicles above stain the top. 


Q. How do I know that when the carrier delivers to my door I won’t have to pay more? 

A. Believe it or not, when this happens it’s because of the company you hired, and NOT the carrier that took the transport. In many cases, the carrier did not accept the bid from the company you hired and asks for sometimes $50-100 or even more that they expect for the vehicle. The eager salesperson neglects to tell the customer so they can still get a commission and move on to the next job, thinking the customer will just deal with it, and then they will ignore the calls! With us, there are NO hidden costs. ZERO. In fact, you will not find a single complaint anywhere stating that we ever overcharged anyone. No gimmicks or bait-and-switch here. Just look at our reviews.


Q. My car is modified. I have really big wheels and suspension modifications, a nifty 3 foot wing too. Is that ok?

A. Yes, as long as we know these things in advance we can send the right truck to get you. If you vehicle is over 7 feet tall, tell us that too.


Q. Anything else should I know?

A. Be sure to prepare your vehicle. One complete set of keys are needed. All alarms need to be disabled or off. Clean the vehicle to help us see scratches or dings for the inspections. This helps us see if any damage occurred during transport. Antennas should be removed or retracted. Bike racks, ski racks that aren’t bolted on to the vehicle need to come out or be placed in the trunk and tied down. Baby seats must be secure. Finally, keep the tank at half or below as a courtesy if you can. Especially if you are packing items in the trunk.


Q. Ok, I’m ready. I saw the quote and I read all your great reviews. How do I get started?

A. Great! Call 1-800-284-7177 and hit #1 for Sales, or click the link on the quote to do it online. The form is secure and whether you call in or do it online, we do not distribute or sell your information to anyone.

Ready to Get Started with National Express?

Our professional team of trained advisors is ready. Call 800-284-7177 to speak to yours now.