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Auto Transport – Car Shipping Services: What You Need to Know

auto transport car shipping services need to know

Auto Transport – Car Shipping Services: What You Need to Know

If you’re considering using a vehicle transport service, you’ve probably got a million and one questions you want to ask. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we like to keep all our customers well informed, so let’s see if we can answer most of them for you.

If you’re relocating across the country, hiring a company to ship your car for you is a smart thing to do. It saves days of driving and allows you to sort out the rest of your arrangements. Car shipping companies are also convenient if you’ve bought or sold a vehicle that’s located in another state.

Before you make your booking, let's share some things you should know.

What is a Car Shipping Company?

It’s not always feasible to drive your car from A to B. It could be because the distance is too far. You might be sending it to a friend or family member, so they can use it. When you purchase a car from out of state, shipping it to your home is a smart solution.

Using an interstate vehicle transport service might sound like an expensive option, but it’s more affordable than you think. Providers of this kind of service, facilitate the process of moving your car from one location to another.

What Services do They Offer?

Vehicle transport services come in all shapes and sizes. However, the best offer a combination of all of the following services:


  • Open car transport carriers – these are the transport trailers you’re more likely to see on the highway. This is the most affordable vehicle shipping option and is perfect for your average car. Vehicles are transported on a trailer that’s open on all sides, meaning your vehicle is exposed to the elements. It’s worth mentioning this is nothing worse than if you were driving your car on the highway. The instances of any damage occurring are very low.
  • Enclosed car transport carriers – this is a more expensive option, but it does provide your vehicle with complete protection.
  • Express car shipping – the industry standard for auto shipping is between 5 and 7 days. An express car shipping service significantly reduces the wait, and you can expect your vehicle to be picked up within 1 to 2 business days.
  • Door-to-door service – there are two types of transport service, terminal to terminal and door-to-door. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we're pleased to be able to offer the more convenient door-to-door service. What it means is you don’t have to get your car to a terminal for the pick-up. We can arrange the pick-up from your home.
  • Military PCS vehicle shipping – when military personnel are relocating, there’s often very little notice. For these situations, a military PCS vehicle shipping service is perfect. Military personnel, active or retired, are usually entitled to a discount.
  • Car dealers auto shipping – this usually involves a door-to-door service and is a very convenient option for car dealerships.
  • Guaranteed pick-up service – with a guaranteed pick-up service, it's possible to make your booking with a 24-hour window. You will, however, be required to make your booking at least 2 weeks in advance. This allows enough time for a suitable carrier to be found.
  • Classic and exotic car shipping – when a vehicle is precious, or high value, classic and exotic car shipping is the best service you can get. Vehicles are given the white glove treatment and fully protected throughout the journey.

Choose the Right Company to Transport Your Car


With so many providers out there, don't be tempted to select the first company that appears at the top of your list of search engine hits. Research companies thoroughly before making your final decision. Some of the things to research include:

  • Whether there’s an option for free car shipping quotes
  • Good customer reviews and feedback
  • Compare prices and services
  • Read and understand the contract before signing
  • Whether the company includes car transport insurance in the price ( ask a provider to provide a Certificate of Insurance if you want proof). The certificate contains details of the coverage amounts for liability, cargo limits, workers comp, and deductible.
  • Are there likely to be any additional costs
  • Is there a policy in place to cover shipping delays
  • Is the provider licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

How Long Does a Free Quote Last?

The answer to this question differs depending on the transport provider. So let's look at it from our point of view. Obtain a quote using our online calculator, and it's valid for 7 days. Should you need to make your booking after this time, don't worry. The details are recorded, and it's a simple case of us recalculating the price.


Will Your Vehicle be Insured During Transportation?

It is usual for auto shipping companies to insure your vehicle while it’s being shipped. Your car insurance company may also provide cover, but you’d need to check. Be aware, however, that items inside your vehicle are generally not covered by the carriers insurance. 

Is There Anything You Need to do Before Your Vehicle is Shipped?

Yes, your car needs to be prepared for shipping. This involves a few simple processes and checks.

  • Clean your vehicle inside and outside, make a note and photograph any existing damage
  • Remove all personal items
  • Leave only a quarter tank of gas
  • Ensure the battery is fully charged and the tires correctly inflated
  • Secure any removable parts
  • Deactivate alarm, parking passes, and toll tags
  • Check your contact information is correct

What Should I do When My Vehicle is Delivered?

When your vehicle is delivered, it's in your own best interest to thoroughly inspect it. Look for any dents, scratches, or other damage that wasn’t there before. If you notice anything, advise the carrier and make a note of it on the bill of lading. It also helps if you’re able to document the damage with photos.

Cheap Car Transport is Not Necessarily the Best

Basing your choice on price alone is not always the smartest thing to do. You should expect to pay an amount that reflects the quality of the service you expect to receive. The price is also a reflection of the experience, level of service, and quality of the equipment being used.

Auto transport companies are a dime a dozen nowadays, so you must appreciate what you're looking for and what you should expect. It’s relatively easy for anyone to purchase a car carrier and start up a business. However, providing a top-quality vehicle shipping service is a little more challenging. We like to think we’ve found the magic formula, and if our reviews are anything to go by, our customers agree.

If you want to make a booking or ask more questions, our shipping agents are happy to take your call. Dial (866) 774 6570, use our instant chat option or send us a quick email to