What you need to do to ship a car across the country isn’t a difficult task if you do some research. Knowing all the steps as well as picking the right shipper makes all the difference. Choosing somebody that’s reputable and with proven track record assure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Preparation for your Cross-Country Transport
If you are vehicle is available now to be shipped across the country, then it could take an average of 24-72 hours to provide you with a carrier. This is typical with a good company. If the vehicle is available for a future date, you should be able to\ aim for your specific day. Because the transport process, especially cross-country auto transport has a lot of moving parts, always be prepared with at least a 24 hour window so that way should the carrier get delayed (i.e. tire damage, car on the carrier won’t start and we can’t unload) you are not affected.
Picking Up your Car
Once the carrier has been assigned and verified, now it’s time for pick-up. Since this is a long transport, it’s important you be ready for the carrier. There is precise scheduling involved to ship a car across the country, so please available on the date and time agreed upon. The carrier will arrive at your home or business to come get the vehicle. If you live in an planned unit development, or restrictive area that cannot fit a large truck, the carrier will inform you ahead of time so you can meet them in a safe place (See FAQ).
Transit and Delivery of your Cross-Country Auto Shipment
From here it’s the easy part. When it’s in transit you will already have an estimated date for delivery. Usually the carriers are accurate within 24 hours, so make sure that you have set a time to accept your vehicle. Be ready with payment. Although no deposit should be charged until right before pickup,(after assigning the carrier), that is the only portion that will go on a credit card. The balance is paid at the delivery location when your vehicle is being unloaded from it’s trip across the country. That balance is then due in the form of cash, cashier’s check, money order, bank check, or some other form of certified funds.
Shipping a car across the country is not exactly rocket science, but it’s definitely a little more challenging than shipping a car over a shorter distance. You will need to tweak your approach slightly if you want to haul your car over 2000 plus miles without crumbling in stress and frustration.
Here are some of the things you might want to keep in mind if you want to carry out a shipment of this caliber:
Choose the Correct Method of Shipping
With cross-country shipping, you not only have to worry about your car being hauled over a very long distance, but you also may want to consider if you want your vehicle exposed to different weather conditions over the different states. If you’re shipping it in a south to north direction, you could have your car in a heat wave on one end and in a snow storm on the other end.
That’s why you can also go with enclosed transport to improve the chances that your car reaches the other end as safely as possible. Unlike open transport, with enclosed transport, your car will be protected in an enclosed trailer while being shipped. Your car could even be shipped in a climate controlled cargo trailer, so you don’t have to worry about any damage by suddenly changing weather conditions. This is especially useful for high value vehicles.
You also have the option of choosing between door-to-door shipping or terminal-to-terminal shipping. Which one you go with will depend on how familiar you are with the state you’re shipping your car to or which method you find most compatible with your travel plans.
You might want to go with terminal-to-terminal shipping where the trucking company will store your car in a secure storage facility until you’re ready to pick it up. This is great if you don’t know when you will be ready to get your vehicle. On the other hand, if you’re uncomfortable with leaving your car at a storage facility where you can’t exactly be sure about the safety precautions put in place, door-to-door shipping will work better for you. You’ll just need to make sure that you’re available to collect your car at your chosen destination once it’s delivered..
Schedule Enough Time
If you’re just shipping your car to the next state, you may expect to have it delivered with 2- days. But shipping your car all the way to the other end of the country takes much longer than that. Shipping companies need much more time to coordinate such long-haul shipments. According to some, you may have to wait up to a month to see your car on the other side.
It’s not only the travel time that you have to worry about. The logistics of transporting a car over such a long distance also affect how long the shipping process takes. Once you book your shipment at your chosen auto transport company, you will have to wait for your car to be assigned to a departing carrier. That can take anywhere from 1-5 days. Your car could easily be assigned to a shipping truck that’s leaving two weeks from your booking date. After that, the actual travel time for your car might be anywhere from one to two weeks, or even longer if the weather conditions are poor.
So you want to make sure you schedule your shipping with enough time to spare so you can avoid any inconvenience.
Understand How Your Auto Insurance Works
The longer distance involved means that there is a higher risk that your car could be damaged during the shipping process. That’s why you want to make sure you understand the insurance policies of the shipping company you’re going to use and the auto insurance company you’re already signed with.
Your carrier will have cargo insurance because it’s a legal requirement, but they might go with bargain carriers with bad coverage tha might not be as comprehensive as you expect. Their insurance might only cover parts of the car, it might not cover damage to the interior of the car, or it might not even cover damages during transport. Before you choose a particular company, make sure you understand their policies. If possible, ask for their Certificate of Insurance.
Another aspect that you might want to keep in mind if you’re moving so far from your home state is that the insurance requirements at your destination state might be different from the ones on the other end. If you’re signed to an out-of-state insurance company, your destination state might require you to get in-state insurance before your car is cleared for driving. Your insurer at home might also wish to cancel your insurance once you move because most insurers don’t cover vehicles that are permanently relocated to a different state. In addition, your new state might require you to have your car registered and insured in the same state.
So, in addition to the time spent processing the shipping, you might have to spend a great deal of time re-registering your car and signing up with a new insurance company before you can start driving.
Inspect Your Car At The Pickup and Destination
This is not a step you want to ignore for such a long-haul shipment. The risk of damage is just so much higher for cross-country shipping that you can’t afford to not examine your car once it’s delivered at the destination.
You will be required to sign off on a bill of lading when your car is delivered. This is basically a confirmation receipt that specifies the terms and conditions of the delivery. Before you sign it, take time to inspect your car thoroughly. It’s a good idea to start the engine to check for any mechanical damage. If your car was delivered at night, move it to a well-lit area so you can check the body of the car without missing anything. Don’t forget to also check the undercarriage and the interior. If you notice anything amiss, note it on the bill of lading so you process a claim later. You can use the copy you get at pickup and the one at delivery to compare and claim anything new marks or damage if they occur.
Choosing the Correct Cross Country Auto Transport Company
The shipping industry is constantly growing so when you’re on the hunt for the best shipping company to get your car to the other side of the country, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices you have. There are, indeed, many different shipping companies to choose from. You will find that some companies specialize in cross country shipping and long-distance hauls while others do both long and short distance shipping. Shipping companies also differ in the type of shipping services that they offer and you will need to choose the company that offers the shipping service that is most convenient and most affordable for you.
Some companies will have terminal-to-terminal shipping as one of the options on the table while others will offer door-to-door shipping exclusively. What you choose between these two will determine how stress-free the shipping process ends up being for you. With terminal-to-terminal shipping, you will have to go through the inconvenience of having to drop off your car at a storage location for it to be loaded onto a trailer. And once it’s at the destination, you will again have to go through the trouble of going all the way to another storage location to pick it up. Remember that if you’re unfamiliar with the state you’re shipping your car to, you might have to go through unnecessary frustration as you struggle to locate the storage location.
On the other hand, if you choose a company that offers door-to-door shipping, your carrier will pick up your car at your doorstep and drop it off right at the destination of your choice. Most people consider this to be the safest and most convenient option. You won’t have to worry about how safe your car will be at the storage locations, and you get to avoid the trouble of having to arrange your own transport to and from these storage points.
If the car you’re transporting happens to be classic or exotic, you might also want to choose a shipping company that offers enclosed transportation. Unlike open transport, enclosed shipping means that your car will be protected in an enclosed trailer during the shipping. That way, you don’t have to worry about incidental damage by the weather or debris on the road. However, open transportation may still be suitable for you if the type of car you’re trying to ship doesn’t warrant much concern about incidental damage during the shipping process.
Keeping Cross Country Shipping Affordable
The long shipping distance involved with cross country shipping will mean that you have to pay quite a bit more to see your car on the other side than you would when hauling your car over a shorter distance. The amount you get quoted for the shipping will vary from company to company. Some companies will ship your car at a discounted rate after a certain number of miles, while others will keep their per-mile price the same regardless of mileage. Either way, with cross country auto transport, you might want to be a little savvier and look out for methods to keep the costs as low as reasonably possible.
The total cost of your shipping will depend on a number of factors. To begin with, the type of shipping you choose will affect how much you end up pulling out of your wallet to cover the process. Enclosed transport is pricier than open transport because you will be paying extra for the additional comfort of knowing your car will be shipped with minimal risk of damage. But this extra cost might be unnecessary for you if you’re not shipping a car that is exotic, classic, or highly valued in any other financial or sentimental way. You may be able to save money by going with open transport.
If you have a flexible schedule and you don’t mind having to wait to see your car on the other coast, you may be able to save some money by choosing the time of the year during which you ship your car strategically. Cross country auto transport will be cheaper during the winter and spring because, at this time of the year, the shipping industry is in the low season. There will be fewer people looking to ship their cars and most companies will reduce their prices to make up for the lower demand. Summer shipping rates are usually higher because more people choose to ship their cars at this time to leverage freer schedules and fairer weather. You may still be able to ship your car at a lower rate in the summer, though, if you go with a startup company. Startup auto transport companies usually keep their summer rates affordable so they can draw in more customers and grow their business.
Also, if it’s possible for you to pick up and drop off your car at a more metropolitan area on both ends, you might want to do that to save money on the shipping. Shipping to metropolitan areas like New York City or Los Angeles is often cheaper than rural shipping because auto transport companies usually base their shipping routes on metro areas to leverage the higher demands there.
There are other less flexible factors that will affect the cost of your cross country shipping. The total on your invoice may vary depending on the type, size, weight of your car, for instance. It costs more to ship exotic and classic cars, and of course, you should be prepared to pay more for larger and heavier vehicles.
How Long Cross Country Shipping Takes
Naturally, getting your car shipped to the other end of the country will take longer than shipping it over a shorter distance. Most carriers will be able to get your car to the destination within 5-8 days after it’s picked up. But with some companies, you might have to wait a little longer than that depending on the number of loads that they’re dealing with at a particular time and the number of trailers they have available for the freights. After you book your shipping, you might have to wait for your car to be assigned to a departing freight, and once it’s delivered, you might also have to wait before your car is cleared for pickup.
Some companies offer express shipping services for those on a tighter schedule. If you really can’t go through the inconvenience of not having your car with you, or you need your car at the destination by a specific date, you may be able to ask your carrier to put your car on the express shipping list. Although you will have to pay more for express shipping, you will have the comfort of a knowing your car will reach its destination at a time most suitable for you.
You must remember, though, that some unforeseen circumstances can still affect how long it takes for your car to get to the other end of the country. Things like bad weather, unexpected maintenance issues, and even delays by other customers can force carriers to spend a little more time on the road than they’d like.
Keeping Track of Your Car During the Transport
If you choose a reputable shipping company, the likely possibility is that they will provide you with a method of tracking your car.
Call your carrier for updates on the shipping. You will most likely be given an emergency contact number when you hand over your vehicle to the carrier. If at any time you need an update on the shipping, you may call this number to find out.
In addition, with some companies, you’ll have the option of giving your carrier your phone number so you can receive text updates about the progress of your car. They will send you messages about the location and state of your car at different points during the journey, and once it’s close to being delivered, they will inform you that you should be ready to go pick it up.
Shipping your car all the way across the country certainly requires a little more thought that closer range shipping. Keep the above tips in mind to ensure your shipping experience is as stress-free as possible.