When you are preparing for a cross-country move, you are going to need to know how to ship your car.

Unless you have moved many times or are an auto transport services expert, you probably don’t know anything about shipping your car.

If that’s the case, this is the guide for you. Read on to learn how much you should pay, how to prepare your vehicle, and what to expect from your auto transport service.

How Much Should You Pay for Auto Transport Services?

People ship their cars for two reasons: convenience and cost.

Driving across the USA takes about a week, and once you factor in gas and accommodation, it can become quite expensive. So how do auto transport services cost in comparison?

Not all car shipping services cost the same, and there are a number of factors you will need to consider.

Enclosed or Open-Air Transport

There are two types of transport you can choose from, enclosed or open-air. These terms mean exactly what they sound like. Open-air transport simply means the cars are shipped on trailers that are open or exposed. Most cars are shipped via open-air transport; you will have seen these trailers on the highways many times.

Open-air transport is very safe, far cheaper, much more accessible, and is suitable for the vast majority of vehicles. But if you own a rare or expensive car, you may want to consider an enclosed transport service.

Door-to-Door Shipping

Exact door-to-door shipping is very rare; it simply isn’t practical to pick-up and drop-off cars in suburban neighborhoods or residential city streets.

What you can expect is your Auto transport service offering a pick-up and drop-off point as close as possible to both your addresses. This will be an area your carrier can safely park and load or unload your car. Typically places such as grocery store parking lots, malls, or rest areas.

This service costs more than driving your car to and collecting it from a depot.

Where Is the Car Coming From and Going To?

The distance you need the car shipped will impact the price significantly. The further the distance, the higher the cost.

Additionally, where you are shipping from and to will affect the price. Shipping from New York to Los Angeles might be cheaper than Nashville to Portland because there will be more competition and greater shipping volume.

If you are shipping to or from a smaller town, you may find it very difficult to find competitive local rates. You may be better served looking for shipping from a nearby city.

Expedited or Standard Shipping

Hopefully, you are reading this article months in advance of your moving date.

Shipping a car means booking well in advance of your shipping date. If this isn’t possible, you still have expedited shipping options. However, this will cost significantly more.

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping

Just because you won’t be in it does not mean you do not need to prep your car for a cross country trip. However, the preparation will be slightly different.

Here is how to prep your car for auto transportation.

Clean Your Car and Take Photographs

It may seem odd to clean your car before it takes a journey across the country, but cleaning your car and taking extensive photos before the trip will ensure any damage caused during the trip is documented. Document any existing damage as well, so you know exactly what condition your car is in when you hand it over.

Cleaning the interior of your car is a good idea.

First of all, you need to remove any valuables from your car. It is unlikely that you will be a victim of theft whilst shipping your car, but this precaution saves a lot of time and hassle. It is also really nice to get into a clean car once it is returned to you.

Leave the Gas Tank One Quarter Full

When you hand your car to the shippers, leave the gas tank at about one-quarter full. This is enough gas for the shippers to maneuver the car around during the shipping process and for you to get home. Leaving a full tank of gas will add extra weight to the car and can increase the cost of your shipping.

Hand Over the Keys

The transporter will need a set of keys to your car, ideally a spare set.

Your auto transport services will be moving the cars about during the trip as he drops off and loads new vehicles. When you drop off your car, you will not need any proof of ownership, so you need not worry about registration papers. All you need is the car and the keys.

Check Your Insurance Coverage

You will want to ensure your car is safe on its journey. Auto transport services are very safe. Statistically, there is less than one claim in 200 shipments, and those are usually very minor. However, your car should be insured.

Before you select an auto transport service, check your insurance policy to see what coverage you have when shipping your car. Whilst the better auto transporters will insure your car whilst in their possession, it is best to be over-insured than under-insured. Finding an auto transport company with at least $100,000 insurance is a good benchmark.

Expect Your Cars’ Shipping Schedule to Change

The process of shipping a car is complex, with many factors that are out of the control of car shipping companies. Weather, accidents, and other unforeseen factors will influence the shipping time. Other customers being late to collect their cars can also impact shipping time.

Once delays happen, they can compound quickly.

Generally speaking, the longer the shipping distance, the greater the chance of a delay, and the longer that delay may be. Make sure to factor flexibility into your shipping process and have a backup plan in case your car is delayed.

You Are Ready to Ship Your Car?

Shipping your car with auto transport services for the first time can be daunting. If you follow our guide, you will have a smooth and easy shipping process, and your beloved car will be with you in your new home not long after you arrive.

Find out more about our door-to-door shipping service here.