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Auto Transport FAQ


Finding a reliable auto shipping company takes a dedicated search, time to do it, and the knowledge that you’ll need to speak to someone about it. Finding the right mover is more than just finding a good price; you need to find one you know you can work with. And part of that is asking questions about their services.

However, some questions are frequently asked, and as such you should know their answers. That’s why we’ve provided a great FAQ page here for you to peruse – make sure to read these questions and answers so you can go into your shipment armed with some basic knowledge. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Where do you ship?

We can ship your vehicle to or from anywhere in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and overseas U.S. territories.

Can I ship a car I bought online?

You most certainly can! Many vehicles that are shipped are ones that people bought online. Services such as eBay, Auto Trader, and even forums are places where people can buy cars online, and most everyone that buys a car out of state would prefer to ship it as opposed to finding someone to drive it – or having to fly out there themselves.

Is shipping a car expensive?

It certainly can be, depending on your route. Shorter routes tend to cost less since the carrier doesn’t have to travel as far. Coast-to-coast routes tend to be the most expensive, especially from the northwest to the southeast. Some areas are also more expensive to ship to, especially rural ones and those that aren’t on major interstates. You can and should talk to an agent to learn more about pricing on your specific route.

What is the best way to ship a car?

The best way to ship a car depends on what you’re shipping. Most vehicles that are driven by their owners regularly only need open shipping, the cheapest and fastest method of shipping a car. More expensive vehicles require enclosed shippers if you want to keep them in pristine condition. Large vehicles, especially non-standard ones like construction equipment, will often require flatbed shipping. Visit our Services page to learn more about the different methods available to you.

Can I put personal belongs in a vehicle I am shipping?

Auto shippers are not licensed to carry any personal items, so the answer to this question is no. Some may allow small, lightweight items in the trunk of the vehicle, using an “out of sight out of mind” mentality. We say that you should keep your vehicle completely clean if you are going to ship it. Some exceptions can be made, so if there are personal items you want to put in your vehicle, make sure to talk to an agent about it. Some carriers may be able to make an exception, though they will likely tell you to make sure to stay under the 50-100 pound weight limit many shippers impose.

How long does it take to ship a car?

Shipping times vary from route to route and customer to customer. Some routes only take a few days; others can take two weeks, and overseas shipping can take a month or more. Other factors such as carrier availability can make it take longer to find a carrier on your route. If this worries you, talk to your agent. They can give you approximate times and windows for dispatch, pickup, transit and delivery.

How does the carrier keep my vehicle safe during transport?

The configuration of an open hauler, combined with the expertise of the driver, help to keep your vehicle safe. If you are worried about the value of your vehicle diminishing during transport, enclosed transportation services offer additional protection.

How do I get my car back?

All you have to do is wait and make sure you pay the carrier their due at delivery. Auto transportation is much safer than in years past – carriers that steal cars quickly go out of business, and all brokers strive to use only the best carriers on the road. We have an entire list of preffered shippers that we like to work with. We will say that an auto transporter can hold your vehicle if you refuse to pay, but other than that you don’t have to worry about getting your vehicle back.

Do I need insurance on my vehicle?

No, you don’t. Any vehicle that is shipped will be fully covered by the carrier’s insurance policy. You can and should review their policies and conditions, as they will explain deductibles and other limitations. A carrier is required to present proof of insurance upon demand.

What are terms and conditions?

Terms and conditions are required to be read and signed by you before your vehicle is shipped. They dictate the terms under which your vehicle will be shipped and outline liabilities and other restrictions. You are required to read them by law, and if you are unable to a representative can read them to you over the phone. We will make sure you are read our terms and conditions when you book your order with us.

Can I ship a car that doesn’t run?

You definitely can. Shipping a car that doesn’t run, though, requires loading it onto the truck via a winch. It’s important to let us know if your vehicle cannot move under its own power, as it will cost a bit more for you. Usually the non-op fee is $50-$100 depending on the carrier.

How do I prepare for auto transport?

There’s really not a whole lot you have to do to prepare for your shipment. You don’t have to clean the outside, as a layer of grime can actually add additional protection for the vehicle, but you should make sure the interior is clean. It doesn’t have to be dealership-level clean, but there should be no garbage or personal effects in the cab. Also, only have 1/4 of a tank of fuel in your vehicle when it is ready for pickup. Fuel is heavy, and a full tank can add a lot of extra weight to a carrier.

Do I need to do an inspection of the car?

A private inspection, done by an independent inspector, isn’t required. However, a pickup and delivery inspection, done with you and the driver of the auto transport truck, will be required. This is to note the existing condition of the vehicle at pickup, and as a comparison of its condition upon delivery. If there is damage upon delivery that wasn’t present at pickup, an insurance claim may need to be made.

Testimonials

  • "Being a rather large SUV that needed shipped from California to Nebraska, there were a few challenges. The first truck that arrived refused to pickup the vehicle due to it's size. However, Mike worked diligently and within one week he had a hotshot lined up. The operators of the hotshot were incredibly communicative and accommodating. The vehicle arrived withing 3 days with no damage at all. Although there was the one hiccup, in the end the service received was top notch. I would be happy to ship with Mike in the future." - Miles/California
  • "Never needing to use an auto transport service, I was a bit nervous and overwhelmed with all of the different company/broker options. After reading tons of reviews and visiting the Better Business Bureau website, I contacted Affordable Auto Transportation. The stars aligned and Jared Z. was my main point of contact. He made this experience super easy and relaxed my anxieties. I would highly recommend this company for my family and friends. " - Jared Z/Washington