Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Car Shipping Company
Car shipping has become an indispensable service for many, especially in our increasingly mobile society. Whether you're a car enthusiast purchasing a vintage vehicle from another state, a college student relocating for studies, or a family moving cross-country, car shipping companies offer a practical solution. However, the process isn't always straightforward. To help you navigate the complexities of the car shipping industry, we've identified the top five mistakes people often make when choosing a service provider and provided insights on how to sidestep them.
- Not Researching the Company's Reputation
In the age of digital information, it's surprising how many people overlook the importance of researching a company's reputation. Relying solely on a company's website or sales pitch can be misleading.
How to Avoid:
- Start with a simple online search. Type the company's name followed by "reviews" or "testimonials."
- Utilize platforms like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Reviews. These sites offer unbiased feedback from previous customers.
- Read both positive and negative reviews. While every company might have a few unsatisfied customers, consistent negative feedback can be a warning sign. Look for patterns in complaints, such as delays, hidden fees, or damage claims.
- Overlooking Insurance Coverage
Many assume that their personal auto insurance will cover any mishaps during transit. This assumption can lead to costly mistakes. The shipping company's insurance is your primary protection during transit.
How to Avoid:
- Directly ask the car shipping company about their insurance coverage. It's essential to know the extent of the coverage, including any deductibles or exclusions.
- Always request a physical or digital copy of the insurance certificate. This document will provide details about the policy's limits and terms.
- If you feel the coverage is insufficient, consider supplemental insurance. Some companies offer additional coverage options for a fee.
- Falling for Too-Good-To-Be-True Prices
Everyone loves saving money, but in the car shipping industry, extremely low prices can be a red flag. Such rates might indicate hidden fees, substandard service, or inadequate insurance coverage.
How to Avoid:
- Gather quotes from at least three different car shipping companies. This will give you a ballpark figure of the going rate.
- If a quote seems unusually low, ask for a detailed breakdown. This can help you identify any hidden charges or fees.
- Remember, quality service comes at a cost. It might be worth paying a bit more for peace of mind and reliable service.
- Not Asking About the Shipping Process
Not all car shipping services are created equal. Some companies might offer premium services like door-to-door delivery, while others might require you to drop off and pick up your vehicle.
How to Avoid:
- Engage in a detailed conversation with the company representative. Ask about every step of the shipping process, from the moment you hand over your keys to when you retrieve your vehicle.
- Clarify the type of transport they use. While open transport is more common and cost-effective, enclosed transport offers added protection, especially for luxury or vintage cars.
- Inquire about potential delays. While no company can control unforeseen circumstances like weather, understanding their protocol in such situations can be enlightening.
- Ignoring Contract Details
The shipping contract is more than just a formality—it's a binding agreement that outlines the terms of service, responsibilities, and liabilities.
How to Avoid:
- Dedicate time to read the entire contract. If there are clauses or terms you don't understand, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.
- Ensure all verbal agreements or promises made by the company are reflected in the contract. This includes price, delivery dates, and any additional services.
- Be wary of high-pressure sales tactics. A reputable company will give you the time and space to understand the terms before signing.
It is also important to understand how to save money on shipping your vehicle, even after avoiding all the above mistakes. Here are some additional tips for you…
- Compare Multiple Quotes
Just as you would when purchasing a car or booking a flight, it's essential to shop around and get quotes from multiple car shipping companies. This will not only give you a clearer picture of the average cost but also allow you to identify the most competitive rates.
- Be Flexible with Shipping Dates
If you're not in a rush, consider being flexible with your shipping dates. Some car shipping companies offer discounted rates during their off-peak seasons. By avoiding busy times, such as holidays or summer months, you might secure a better deal.
- Choose Open Transport
There are two primary methods of car shipping: open transport and enclosed transport. While enclosed transport offers added protection, it's also more expensive. For most vehicles, open transport is perfectly safe and can save you a significant amount.
- Consider Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping
Door-to-door service is undoubtedly convenient, but it often comes at a premium. If you're looking to save, consider dropping off and picking up your vehicle at designated terminals. This terminal-to-terminal approach can reduce the overall cost of car shipping.
- Bundle Services if Moving
If you're relocating and need to ship household goods along with your vehicle, some companies offer bundled services. By combining these services, you might qualify for a discount, making the overall moving and car shipping process more cost-effective.
- Check for Discounts
Some car shipping companies offer discounts for various reasons, such as military service, student status, or multi-car shipments. It's always worth asking if any discounts apply to your situation.
- Avoid Last-Minute Bookings
Just as with airline tickets, last-minute bookings for car shipping can be pricier. If possible, plan your car shipping well in advance to secure the best rates.
Navigating the world of car shipping can be daunting, but with the right knowledge, you can make informed decisions that ensure your vehicle's safety and your peace of mind. By being aware of common pitfalls and actively seeking to avoid them, you position yourself for a smooth and stress-free car shipping experience. Remember, your vehicle is one of your most valuable assets—invest time in choosing a company that values its safety and integrity as much as you do.