Shipping your car to a new location can be stressful and expensive if you’re not careful Ship Your Car. There are many auto transport companies out there looking to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can avoid getting ripped off. This article will provide you with tips and tricks to finding an affordable and reliable car shipping company.

Know What to Expect to Pay

One of the easiest ways to get ripped off is by not knowing what a fair price for car shipping generally is. Auto transport costs can vary quite a bit depending on the distance, type of vehicle, and time of year. However, there are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Local/short distance (under 250 miles): $100-300
  • Medium distance (250-500 miles): $300-600
  • Long distance (500-1,500 miles): $600-1,000
  • Cross country (over 1,500 miles): $1,000-1,500

Keep in mind enclosed transport tends to cost more than open transport. Luxury/exotic cars also cost more to ship. Get quotes from multiple companies and be wary of any quotes that are significantly below or above these average ranges without a reasonable explanation.

Verify the Company is Legitimate

There are unfortunately many fly-by-night auto transport scams out there looking to take people’s money and run. Do your homework to verify any company you’re considering is legitimate before booking:

  • Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints filed against them
  • See if they are members of legitimate auto transport associations like the American Trucking Associations
  • Make sure their website and contact info all check out properly without typos/mistakes
  • Search online for reviews from other customers to catch any red flags

Never wire money or pay in cash upfront either – that’s a big red flag. Reputable companies will take a deposit but require the balance on delivery.

Ship Your Car Get Multiple Written Quotes

The best way to ensure you’re getting a fair price is to get written quotes from at least 3 reputable auto transport companies. Make sure to provide all relevant details like your vehicle info, pickup/drop off addresses and dates. Comparing apples to apples quotes will help expose any companies trying to inflate their pricing.

Things to look out for in the quotes include:

  • Clearly stated pricing with no hidden fees
  • Included services like enclosed transport, insurance coverage, etc.
  • Estimated transit times with delivery windows
  • Cancellation/rescheduling policies

Avoid any companies that won’t provide a written quote upfront or insist on talking over the phone first before giving pricing details.

Inspect Your Vehicle Thoroughly Before and After Transport

Proper vehicle inspections before and after transport are crucial to avoid disputes over any potential transportation damages. Do a walkaround with the driver at pickup to document any pre-existing scratches, dents or issues. Take photos as well for your records.

At delivery time, thoroughly examine your vehicle again before signing any paperwork accepting it. Note and photo document any new damages to dispute responsibility later on if needed.

Refuse delivery if you notice obvious damage not reported or if your vehicle’s condition doesn’t match what was agreed upon in writing by the transport company beforehand.

Ship Your Car Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

The auto transport industry is governed by federal laws regarding liability and rights. Understanding certain legal provisions can help resolve issues down the road:

  • Carriers are liable for any damages incurred during transport per the Carmack Amendment.
  • You have 9 months to file a claim from delivery date for transportation damages.
  • Always opt for the carriers’ limited liability coverage to ensure full compensation if needed.
  • Keep accurate records including photos, police reports if applicable, invoices, etc.

Know what’s covered under state lemon laws too in case a carrier delivers your vehicle in undriveable condition post-transport.

Look for Special Offers and Discounts

Just like any other service industry, auto transport companies sometimes offer discounts, coupons or special bundles to attract new customers. Look for these potential ways to save:

  • Bundle transport with related services like truck rentals or detailing for package discounts.
  • Use promo codes from transport review sites or carrier referrals.
  • Book during slower weeks like mid-month when carriers have excess capacity.
  • Inquire about student, teacher or military discounts if applicable.
  • Consider self-loading/unloading to shave off additional fees.

Carefully weigh any discounted offers against top rated carriers to ensure you don’t compromise on quality for a marginal potential savings.

Ship Your Car Other Cost-Saving Tips

Here are a few other lesser known ways to trim costs when shipping your car:

  • Request a fuel surcharge waiver when fuel prices are stable or declining.
  • Negotiate toll fees if taking alternate routes without tolls is acceptable.
  • Drive the car yourself for short-medium hauls if the experience is important.
  • Consider transporting as cargo on trains/ships for cross-country trips.
  • Time your move for off-peak seasons when truck capacity is higher.

Final Checklist Before Booking

To recap and ensure you don’t overpay or run into hidden issues, make sure to:

  • Get quotes from 3 reputable carriers minimum
  • Carefully review all quote details line by line
  • Verify carriers are accredited through associations
  • Check carrier reviews online from other customers
  • Inspect vehicle thoroughly at pickup/delivery
  • Ensure proper insurance and liability coverage
  • Ask about promotional offerings if available
  • Get all terms and policies in writing

With some research and planning, you can reliably ship your vehicle for a competitive rate without getting taken advantage of. Safe travels on your move!