11 Car Shipping Mistakes to Avoid According to Industry Experts

Auto Transport Resources
10 Car Shipping Mistakes to Avoid According to Industry Experts

Moving across the country? Buying your dream car from another state? If you need to transport a vehicle, arranging car shipping can seem complicated for first-timers. However, making common mistakes can lead to a poor experience. We spoke to industry experts to uncover the top 10 car shipping mistakes to avoid.

1. Not Researching Car Transport Companies Thoroughly

With over 800 car transport companies operating in the US, finding the right one matters. “When selecting a car transport company, thorough research is crucial” – emphasizes Sarah Wilson, a veteran auto transport broker with over 10 years of experience. Compare multiple auto transport companies on service areas, prices, insurance coverage, equipment, reviews and ratings. This helps avoid choosing disreputable carriers.


      • Question: Where can I find reliable reviews of car shipping companies?

      • Answer: Check trusted sources like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), consumer review sites, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

    2. Not Getting Quotes from Multiple Companies

    Much like shopping for a product online, car shipping rates can vary between transport companies. “Not comparing transport quotes leads to overpaying. We recommend getting at least 3-5 free no-obligation quotes to find the best rate” – advises Jane Doe, founder of a nationwide trusted auto transport company. Saving a couple hundred dollars is possible just by comparing quotes.

    3. Choosing a Company Solely Based on Price

    The cheapest quote might seem tempting, but cutting corners on car shipping can be costly in the long run.

    “Low prices often indicate that a company may cut corners in insurance or use less experienced carriers, potentially putting your vehicle at risk” – warns Tom Tanner, founder of a nationwide car shipping network.

    4. Failing to Declare Modifications

    Be upfront about any modifications made to your vehicle like lift kits, ground effects, spoilers, aftermarket wheels, etc. “Not indicating custom parts of your vehicle absolves the car shipping company of responsibility for potential damages” – said Smith. Declare all modifications accurately when getting instant online quotes to avoid later disputes.

    5. Not Preparing Your Car Properly

    “Most car damage claims result from owners not preparing their vehicle correctly for transport,” says Sam Lee, co-founder of Easy Car Shipping. Be sure to disable alarms, retract antennas, clean out your car, check fluid levels, inflate tires properly and disconnect the battery. Following our car shipping checklist helps avoid 95% of car damage issues.


        • Wash and inspect your vehicle for pre-existing damage.

        • Remove personal belongings.

        • Disable your car’s alarm.

        • Ensure the gas tank is ¼ to ½ full.

      6. Forgetting About Insurance

      While all US-registered car shipping companies carry basic cargo insurance, it generally doesn’t cover the full value of vehicles. “Only having baseline insurance leads to nearly 60% of claims being denied” – says Doe. 

      “Never assume that a car transport company’s insurance will automatically cover full damages” – stresses insurance agent Mark Simmons.

      Opting for added insurance helps safeguard your vehicle investment. Door-to-door insurance plus enclosure transport lowers incident probability too.

      7. Not Understanding the Contract

      “The biggest disputes happen when car owners misunderstand their bill of lading terms” – emphasizes Smith. The car shipping contract indicates pickup/delivery timeframes, liability limits and other specifics. Read your car transport contract carefully before signing and ask questions upfront about anything unclear. This prevents unrealistic expectations.

      8. Not Inspecting at Pickup/Delivery

      It’s crucial you or your agent thoroughly inspects your car at pickup and delivery and documents all existing damages with dated photos. “Failing inspection leads to customers getting blamed unfairly for transport damages that already existed” – Lee explains. Perform a vehicle once-over with the driver at both ends per these guidelines.

      9. Paying a Deposit too Early

      We caution paying more than a 10-20% deposit upfront when booking car transport. “Paying in full weeks before pickup allows disreputable carriers to take your money then disappear” – Smith warns. Wait until a few days before pickup to pay the remaining balance, after confirming driver details and truck assignment. This best safeguards your payment.

      10. Not Being Available at Delivery

      Ensure someone reliable is present at the drop-off address to receive your car. “Customers not showing up at delivery results in added storage/redelivery fees plus transport delays” – shares Doe. Confirm your delivery date 24 hrs prior and be flexible on timing. Supply multiple contacts too in case plans change. This prevents car redelivery headaches.

      11. Not Choosing Enclosed Transport for Exotics

      For high-end vehicles, exotic cars or classics, open carrier transport poses risks from road debris and weather. “We only recommend open carriers for cars worth $100k+” – says Lee. The extra cost of Enclosed Auto Transport ensures added protection for your valuable investment.

      Booking car transport correctly helps ensure a smooth, cost-effective auto shipping process. Avoid these top 10 mistakes shared by industry experts. Now you can transport your vehicle worry-free! Have you shipped a car before? What other common car transport issues would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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