Tips for Finding the Best Car Shipping Company in 2023

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Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Your car is possibly one of your biggest investments and if you ever need to transport it across the country or internationally, choosing the best car shipping company is critical. You’ll be entrusting your valuable asset to the auto transport company so you want a reliable and professional service provider. 

Pick the right one and it’s more likely you’ll enjoy a secure and smooth experience. In this post, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when you’re looking for the best company to ship a car. We’ll also share some tips on finding the one for your needs. 

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Why choosing the best companies to ship your car is so important

Selecting the best companies for shipping cars is critical for a few reasons. Firstly, it guarantees the safety of your vehicle throughout the car shipping process. Pick a reliable company and it will have access to all the necessary experience, equipment, and protocols to ensure your car is protected from theft or damage. 

In addition, a reputable auto transport provider offers peace of mind. You know your vehicle is in capable hands and delivery will be on time and your car will be delivered in the same condition it was collected.   

Factors to consider when you’re looking for the best car shipping companies

There are many reasons why you might want to ship your car. You could be moving out of state or to another country. Perhaps you’re buying a car online from another state. Even dealerships need to move cars from time to time.

Key to your peace of mind will be picking the best car shipping company for your needs. It will also ensure the best car for your vehicle during transit. High standards regarding insurance, customer service, and licensing are also essential elements.

Let’s look at these factors in a little more detail.

Licensing and insurance

You should always verify that a car shipping company possesses all the necessary licenses and insurance coverages. This will ensure compliance with all the US legal requirements. In addition, it offers protection in case of any unforeseen occurrences during transit. 

Experience and reputation

Make sure you look for car shipping companies that have a solid reputation and extensive experience in the auto transport industry. A company with a long-standing presence indicates expertise and reliability.  

Customer reviews and testimonials

A good way to gauge the reliability of an auto transport company is to check out customer reviews and testimonials online. Feedback from past customers gives a good insight into their experiences. 

Look for feedback relating to a company’s professionalism, reliability, and adherence to delivery schedules. Positive reviews are a good indicator of trustworthiness of a company. 

Services offered 

You should always evaluate the variety of services provided by an auto transport company. For example, do they offer both enclosed and open transport options? Are they able to accommodate specific vehicle types, such as motorcycles or classic cars. A company with a diverse range of services allows you to choose the one that’s most suitable for your vehicle needs. 

In addition to these factors, there are also certain qualities the best car shipping companies should possess. The following attributes should be considered as they can set a company apart from the competition.

Competitive pricing

Price should never be a sole determining factor, however, a top car shipping company should offer transparent and competitive pricing. They should also provide detailed quotes that clearly outline all the costs.

You should be looking for a company that provides a good balance between affordability and quality of service. 

Reliability and professionalism

The best auto transport company is one that prioritizes professionalism and reliability. They should have a solid track record of on-time deliveries and for delivering vehicles in the same condition as when they were picked up. 

The best auto transport company is one that follows industry best practices, handles and concerns and issues promptly and efficiently, and communicates effectively with customers. 

Efficient delivery and tracking

Timely delivery is crucial when transporting a vehicle. A good auto transport company will have efficient logistic processes in place to ensure hassle-free and prompt delivery. Tracking options are a good quality because they allow you to monitor the progress of your vehicle during its journey and keep updated on its estimated delivery time.

Safety and security measures

A paramount concern for all the best car shipping companies is to keep your vehicle safe and secure. There should be stringent safety measures in place to protect your vehicle during transit. Such measures should include proper loading and securing techniques, employing experienced and trained drivers, and using state-of-the-art equipment. 

Excellent customer service

A quality that always sets the best transportation companies apart is superior customer service. Open and clear communication will be a priority. They will reply promptly to any inquiries and address any issues or concerns that may arise.

When a company values its customers and provides a positive experience, it’s always worth considering.

How much does it cost to ship a car?

The average cost to ship a car from one side of the country to the other is around $1,650. However, only a small number of people ever want to ship a car such distances. In general, you can expect to pay anything from $0.47 to $2 per mile, depending on the distance between pick-up and delivery. The amount you pay depends on several other factors, some of which you have no control over. 

Distance is the primary factor, but it’s not the only one. Other variables that dictate the final price include:

  • Location: The distance between two locations is not the only thing that determines the cost. How easy it is for a car shipping company to access a location also makes a difference, as does the popularity of a location. Rural areas that might be challenging to access or slow to reach can cost more. Whereas cities that are popular for car shipping will be more competitive when it comes to cost. 
  • Vehicle size and specifics: You’re probably not surprised to learn that moving a small car will cost less than moving a truck. What might surprise you is that a vehicle’s value and added features are also key in calculating shipping costs.  
  • Shipping duration: If you’re not in a hurry and can be flexible with your shipping time frame, you can save money by letting the shipping company work at a standard pace. 
  • Shipping options: Generally, you have the option of using open car transport or enclosed auto transport. When you ship your vehicle in an open trailer it is the least expensive option. Enclosed car shipping is the other option, however, it costs between 30% and 40% more. The benefit of this option is that your vehicle is completely protected. 
  • Time of the year: The forces of supply and demand can also have an impact on the cost of car shipping. When demand is high, such as the time of year when people are relocating to southern states for the winter or returning home again in spring, shipping prices are higher than during the off-season. 

Tips for choosing the best car shipping company

A good place to start when it comes to choosing the best auto transport provider is to decide what factors are most important to you. For example, your vehicle might need extra care and attention, be oversized, or inoperable. 

Most car shipping companies can be relied on to transport your car to any location in the US and ensure it gets there in tip-top condition. However, there are some points you need to keep in mind when you’re looking. 

Budget

There are hundreds of car shipping companies to choose from and this makes it essential to shop around. You want to be looking for a provider that can do the job at a reasonable price. 

Hidden costs

Before you finalize your booking and sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand what you’re paying for. Not all shipping companies are transparent about the cost of their services so look for a company that guarantees their quoted price and fully-inclusive prices. 

The lowest quotes are not necessarily the best deals, because you might have to pay hidden costs such as extra fuel charges and delivery fees. 

Customer care

If you want to avoid potential hidden fees and have more confidence in the service you’re paying for, finding out about other customers’ experience can be very enlightening. As well as helping you make your decision, customer feedback might also save time and money and give you an easier and more positive experience. 

Customer service ratings

The transportation industry is all about customer service and ratings and reviews are good indicators as to its quality. You’ll find a wealth of customer feedback available online and there’s a lot you can learn from other customers’ experiences. 

Industry experience

Running a successful auto transport business is not something that happens overnight. It takes time to learn the skill which means experience is important. Look for a car shipping company that’s got a few years under its belt. 

Cost clarity

Quotes can change and tend to be merely rough estimates. Ideally, you want to look for a company that guarantees their quoted price or one that’s transparent about possible extra charges. 

Insurance coverage

Do your homework and find a reputable auto transport company and the odds of something going wrong are minimal. However, they’re never going to be zero and accidents can happen. If your auto transport company has adequate insurance and an easy claim policy, it will put your mind at ease. 

The company might also offer additional insurance, which is something you might want to consider. 

Different ways to ship your car

There are a variety of ways you can ship your car across country. The two main options are open and enclosed car shipping.   

Open car transport

Open car shipping is the most widely used car transport service. Carriers that offer this type of auto transport service, use an open trailer for hauling cars and other types of vehicles. It’s popular with the general public and also with car dealerships that need to move cars.

These open trailers typically have two levels which allow the carrier to haul up to ten vehicles simultaneously. Vehicles that are transported in this way are exposed to the elements and the surrounding environment, but it’s nevertheless a safe and secure way to ship a car. 

The benefits of using open car transport include:

  • Fast and efficient service
  • Affordable car shipping service
  • Suits all kinds of vehicles
  • More eco-friendly option
  • Cargo insurance coverage is generally included 

Enclosed auto transport

Carriers that offer enclosed auto transport use trailers that are completely enclosed. This means that the vehicle inside is completely protected from the elements and any traffic grime. It’s also a haulage service that protects vehicles from prying eyes. 

Enclosed car shipping is popular with owners of vehicles that are a little more expensive, such as luxury, classic, exotic, custom, antique, and unique vehicles.  The cost of this service is between 30% and 40% more than open car transport.

The benefits of using enclosed car shipping include:

  • Increased insurance coverage
  • Low ground clearance vehicles are catered for
  • Peace of mind protection
  • Multiple vehicle shipping is an option
  • Carriers are experienced in handling high-end or classic vehicles

Things you need to know about using auto transport companies

Shipping a vehicle is not something most people do every day. Even if you’re familiar with the process, there are variables that can quickly make the process confusing. For the experienced car shipper and those who have never done it before, here are out top tips.

Timing is approximate

The timing of your shipment is not something that’s typically specified in your contract. The time it takes to ship your car is always an approximation. When dates are given, these are usually the earliest your vehicle will be picked up and the latest it might be delivered. 

The bill of lading usually specifies any details including the shipment and timing details. This important shipping document also acts are a contract and receipt. 

Check what the insurance covers

Whether you choose to stick with the auto transport company’s standard insurance or opt for additional protection, you can protect yourself by understanding what the insurance policy covers. 

Understand what a bill of lading is

A bill of lading plays an important role in the auto transport process. It is used to document any current damage and then as a comparison when a vehicle is delivered. It is also a receipt, contract, and document of title. The bill of lading is issued by the carrier and you’re given a copy of this important document once your vehicle is loaded.  

Know when to choose open vs. enclosed shipping

You might be a little sceptical about using open trailer vehicle shipping, but rest assured, it’s a safe way to move your car and it costs less than enclosed shipping. However, if the value of your vehicle is high, it might be worth paying the extra for added protection and peace of mind. 

Avoid these mistakes when you ship a car across the country

If you want to ensure a positive shipping experience, make sure to avoid the following mistakes.

Not doing enough research

If you want the best possible car shipping experience for you and your car, it’s vital that you do some research. Skip this all important step and you run the risk of it being a disaster. 

Always use highly rated resources such as the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs. With the help of these, you can avoid the less than savory car shipping companies.

We would also recommend that you look for company reviews, both nationally and locally. Good features to look for include accessible and helpful customer service, a track record of treating vehicles with care, prompt pick-ups and delivery, upfront pricing transparency and not unexpected fees on the final bill.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, verify the credentials of the auto transport companies. Check they are qualified to transport automobiles with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration registration. They should also have a valid US DOT and an MC number. 

Not comparing quotes

There are a lot of variables that can affect the cost of shipping your car. It’s a good idea to request several quotes, but there’s little point in doing it if you’re not going to compare them. 

To get the most accurate quote you must provide specific details about your vehicle and shipment. These details include the make, model, and year of your vehicle, pick-up and drop-off locations, projected dates, and whether you want an open or enclosed trailer. 

Falling for a deal that’s too good to be true

Trust your gut when it comes to an unbelievable deal and never base your choice on price alone. If you seriously can’t believe the price you’ve been given, it might actually be too good to be true. Unfortunately, you might not find out how bad the deal is until it’s too late to back out. 

Waiting until the last minute

If you want to ship your vehicle in a rush, be prepared to pay over the odds for the privilege. You’ll save money by being more flexible with your options. Plan in advance and you’re also able to compare and create competition. 

Booking during peak season

The start of the new year and summertime are notorious for being popular with movers. They are also busy times for car transport companies. If you can, avoid the busy season.  Not only will you save money, you’ll also have more carriers to choose from.  

Leaving personal items in your car

It’s not unusual for auto transport companies to charge extra for additional weight in your vehicle. Although, this isn’t the case if you choose SGT Auto Transport for your car shipping provider. 

Something else to keep in mind is that carriers are not responsible if anything happens to items inside your car during transportation. It’s always best to remove any valuable items.     

Choosing not to have insurance

Typically, your car insurance will not cover many of the things that could happen during the car shipping process. A reputable carrier will have their own coverage and might also offer add-on insurance you can purchase. 

Should anything go wrong during the shipping process, such as accidental damage to your vehicle, weather delays, theft, a rock hitting your windshield, and more, it pays to be fully protected from liability. 

Not being prepared

When you make a booking with a car shipping company, make sure you get confirmation that includes all the details and keep it close at hand during the shipping process. Make sure your vehicle is clean and ready according to the company’s terms and conditions. 

Failing to record damage

Before you hand over your vehicle to the auto transport company, be sure to document its condition in as much detail as possible. 

Take pictures, record any known damages on the bill of lading, and then assess your car again when it’s delivered. 

Tips on saving money when you ship a car 

Time to finish up this post with some tips on how you can save money. It is possible to find discounts without making any sacrifices on service quality.

Be flexible about your shipping dates

If you’re not in a rush and can wait to ship your car, you might be able to secure a better deal because you’ll have more options and companies to choose from. 

Be flexible about pick-up and delivery locations

Door-to-door shipping is more common than ever before but it does come at a price. It is possible to significantly reduce your costs by dropping your vehicle at a more convenient location and possibly picking it up at a delivery hub. 

Get several estimates

This approach is not going to get you a discount, but shopping around for the best deal can yield lots of savings. You might find a carrier that provides specific services in some locations at a more competitive price. 

Try to get at least three quotes from reputable companies and don’t be afraid to let them know you’re checking other prices before committing. 

Take advantage of the off-season deals

Autumn and spring are the best times for shipping your car, but if these aren’t an option for you, try to avoid high-demand months and you’ll make a saving. 

When searching for the best car shipping companies in 2023, make sure to include SGT Auto Transport. Make sure you speak with our shipping advisors at (864) 546-5038 before making a booking with anyone else. We also have a Live Chat option for any questions you might have.

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