Cross-Country Car Shipping: 5 Questions to Ask Before Handing Over the Keys

cross country car shipping

If you’ve got a big move coming, the last thing you want to worry about is damage to your car.

And if you’ve done your homework, figured out the best ways to ship a car across the country, and found a few contenders, you want to know that your car will be safe in their hands.

Here, we’ve collected five questions you need to ask about cross-country car shipping, so that the only thing you need to worry about is packing your boxes.

1. What Services Do They Offer?

It seems like a pretty basic question, but it’s also a pretty important one.

Here’s the thing: you could look at three different companies that offer shipping and each of them could offer three completely different services.

For example, one might only ship regionally. Another might have weight restrictions or specialize in a certain type of vehicle.

Ask the cheapest way to ship a car¬†your potential shipper offers. Ask where they ship and how they do it–do they offer an enclosed or open transport service? What about interstate shipping? All of these can affect what state your car is in by the time it finally arrives.

2. What Insurance Do They Offer?

If you’re going to ship your car across the country, you need to get insurance. If your would-be shipper doesn’t offer it (or tries to tell you that you don’t need it), take your business elsewhere.

Before you can ask: no, your standard auto insurance doesn’t cover cross-country shipping. That’s why it’s so important that the transporter offers it.

Ask to see their insurance documents and get specific details about what kind of coverage your car will have while on the road. If you don’t think it’s sufficient, ask about boosting coverage. Better to pay more now than pay an arm and a leg in repair costs later.

3. How Much Do They Cost?

This leads nicely into our next question: how much does the service cost?

Car transport rates vary depending on a wide range of factors from the shipper themselves to the type of vehicle to how far the vehicle has to travel.

Check out the prices at a few companies for a comparison, and keep your eye open for potential hidden fees. Ask if the price is negotiable, and if you’re shipping more than one car, ask if there’s a discount for shipping multiple vehicles.

4. Are They Licensed and Authorized?

Even if a service gives a green light on all three of the previous questions, you shouldn’t bring them your business if they aren’t licensed and authorized.

All legitimate brokers and carriers are legally required to get licensed by the Department of Transportation with an MC# and to get authorized by the FMCSA.

You can use the MC# to check a company’s licensing here. Make sure to select the MC# from the options when you do a search, and if the result says NOT AUTHORIZED, do not let the company transport your car.

Cross Country Car Shipping

Think your car is ready for cross country car shipping?

There might be a few things you want to check before you hand over the keys. Check out our blog for more tips and advice, like these 10 tips on how to sell a car or this car maintenance checklist.