Questions to Ask an Auto Transport Company

Brantley Kendall

04 May 2023 1 year ago

Do you know about a car shipping company enough to trust them with your car? Are you a beginner who is on a hunt to find the most trustworthy car shipping company? We understand that finding a car shipping company that is reliable and transports your car with utmost care can seem like an impossible task. There are so many terms and conditions to go through in order to make a wise decision.

But let us assist you in this journey by addressing the challenges that you face while approaching an auto shipping company. In this article, we will detail everything that you need to know about car shipping companies and the right questions that you must ask before deciding on a car shipping company for shipping your car.

To begin with, let’s look at what factors to consider when you are looking for an auto shipping service provider.

What to consider when choosing an auto transport company?

  • Researching Auto Transport Companies

Always go through multiple shipping companies in your area. Ask your friends and relatives for recommendations or look up for most well-known auto shipping service provider in your city. Check their website for details to know their level of operations and the variety of shipping options they offer.

  • Years of experience

When you check a company’s profile, go through their experience in the industry. How many years have they completed in the auto-shipping domain? This information will give you a fair idea of the company’s success in these years and if the company has been thriving for more than a decade then it will have great connections and a network that can instill the trust quotient of the company.

  • Registration/ license details

When you research a company, you must also check its authenticity by looking through the registration details. Every car shipping company gets a unique license number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency under the US Department of Transport (DOT) to regulate the trucking industry in the country.

If you are having trouble finding the registration details of the company, it is wise to skip that auto shipping company.

  • Online reviews/ past customer testimonials

Nothing can give you a real picture more than past customers who have used the services offered by the auto shipping company. When you look up other details, always look for customer reviews and if possible, then even try to get in touch with some of them to understand their entire experience with the auto shipping company.

  • Available types of shipping

To understand the scale of operations carried out by the company, do check on all the transport options offered by the company. Are there enough options to choose from? Does the auto shipping company have a wide network of carriers and how many cities or countries does it claim to cover?

Asking these questions and finding answers to them will help you in taking a final decision about the auto shipping company you wish to choose for shipping your car.

  • Insurance coverage

Despite all 5-star ratings and the good reputation of a shipping company, when on road, accidents are just inevitable. So you must get a detailed understanding of the insurance coverage offered by the shipping company.

Usually, the shipping company offers insurance that covers the damage/ losses incurred if any, during the transit from the source to the destination.

  • Hidden Fees and Charges for Auto Transport

Shipping your car from one place to another definitely accounts for sizeable spending. To stick to your budget, it is necessary to get a complete breakdown of the costs involved in the process of shipping. It is a common notion that a shipping service provider at times charges surprise charges during the process, which may overshoot your budget.

So, always look for the entire money involved in shipping your car from one place to another.

  • Comparing Quotes for Auto Transport

Once you are assured about all the above factors, then pick out at least 3-4 companies and get detailed quotes from all the companies. Compare the quotes and go for the one which suits you the most in terms of offered services and your desired budget.

Questions to ask before hiring an auto transport company

It is only natural that you can forget some important questions to ask the shipping company. So, here we are sharing a list of a few questions to ask before you plan on shipping your car.

  • Which types of auto-shipping options do you offer?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • What kind of insurance coverage do you offer?
  • What are your auto transport quotes?
  • By when can I expect the delivery of my vehicle?
  • Do you offer door-to-door shipping?
  • How wide is your network with carriers?
  • Can I ship my personal belongings in the car?
  • How can I track my car during transit?
  • How to prepare my car for shipping?

Types of auto transport services

There is a wide variety of auto transport services available for you to choose from. Your choice depends on your budget and your requirement for your car.

Open car shipping

This type of car shipping offers open trailer shipping for your car. The trailer is able to haul up to 10 cars at once making it the most cost-effective option for auto shipping.


  • It is the cheapest and most preferred shipping option in the country.
  • This transport is readily available due to its popularity.


  • It exposes the car to external elements such as dust, dirt, debris, etc.
  • Since it’s high in demand, availability can be an issue at times.

Enclosed car shipping

In enclosed shipping, the trailer is completely covered for better protection of your car. This trailer can haul a limited number of cars in one go depending on the weight and size of the cars.


  • It ensures much reliable protection for your car during transit.
  • Enclosed auto transport safeguards your car against any external elements like sunlight, rainfall, dust, etc.


  • It is 30-40% more expensive than open auto transport.
  • Due to the high price and required expertise, this mode is not readily available.

Door-to-door car shipping

This type of shipping is the most hassle choice. Under this method, the carrier will pick up and drop off at the given addresses, without you having to do anything for the shipping. All you need to do is keep your vehicle ready for shipping and be ready to receive it at the delivery location.


  • It is a convenient option for people who have busy schedules or are choosing the auto-shipping service for the first time.
  • It is a very viable option for inoperable cars.


  • It is definitely an expensive choice as more fuel will be required by the company to reach the locations stated by you.
  • Door-to-door shipping may not be a wise choice if you stay in a gated society or high-security area, as it will be difficult to sort the permissions for a large trailer truck to enter the premises.

Terminal-to-terminal car shipping

Every auto shipping service provider has multiple terminals in all their active areas. It’s a checkpoint from where all the shipping trucks leave after analyzing the condition of the truck. Under terminal-to-terminal auto shipping, you are required to drop off the car at your nearest terminal for loading and then, pick it up from the terminal closer to your destination.


  • It is a cost-effective pickup and delivery option for your car.
  • A good option for people who live in a high-security area.


  • If the terminal is far from your location, then driving or transporting the car to it can be a costly affair.
  • If you don’t pick up your car from the destination terminal, a fee will be charged by the shipping company to secure and store your car at the terminal.

How to compare auto transport quotes?

While shortlisting the auto shipping company, you are expected to give basic information in order to receive an accurate quote. The auto shipping company will ask you for the type of shipping you are looking for, the car model and year of making, source and destination details, your expected delivery window, and the budget.

Once you share these details, the auto shipping company can generate an estimated cost that can help you to arrive at the final decision. Comparing different quotes is easier when you have costs for the same services from multiple auto shipping companies.

All you need to know about auto transport insurance

Auto transport insurance is a legal document that you sign when your car is loaded onto the trailer for delivery. This document agrees to offer insurance coverage for various degrees of damage that may happen during the shipping journey. However, there are multiple conditions that are to be checked before the insurance claim is approved by the concerned auto shipping company.

The importance of auto transport insurance

Even if you pick a reliable and reputable company, every trailer on road is prone to accidents. It is always better to be safe than sorry. A shipping company offers auto shipping insurance as a prevention for your car during transit. It safeguards your car on the go to deal with any risk while on the road.

Types of auto transport insurance

There are different kinds of auto transport insurance that you must know about before shipping your car. Let’s understand each of these in detail.

  1. Carrier insurance

This insurance is mandatory for any carrier. This insurance covers the losses that may occur by the carrier during the transit of the car from one place to another.

However, it is important to know that incidents like Acts of God such as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc. are not covered under insurance. Even acts of terrorism and anything causing civil unrest also lie outside the carrier insurance claim.

  1. Broker insurance

It is just supplemental insurance that the car shipping companies may use to lure in customers. You must opt for this insurance after mindful consideration and reading all the conditions carefully for avoiding any discrepancies.  

You must understand that the damages and losses can only be covered through carrier insurance, so ensure that you clearly check the carrier insurance and all the details mentioned in the insurance policy offered by the car shipping company.

How to prepare your car for transport?

Once you decide to ship your car through a car shipping service provider. You must follow the following tips to ensure that your car is ready to be shipped.

  • Wash your car to have a clear view of any existing marks or dents on the car.
  • Get the mechanic check-up done to understand the car’s overall health, battery level, tires, and levels of car fluids.
  • Remove all your personal belongings from the car so that the weight is minimum.
  • Fit all the loose accessories or remove the ones that cannot be repaired. Alternatively, you can also secure some external parts with cello tape and bubble wrap to protect them from any jerk or damage during transit.
  • Disable all the alarms and toll tags before loading your car onto the trailer so that there is no alarming moment during the transport.
  • Keep the fuel ¼ full for easy loading and unloading of your vehicle. If your car is not in an operable state, then you must keep the gas tank empty to reduce the weight of the car.
  • Have all the necessary documents handy to share with the carrier as he might need them during the transit.
  • Have a spare set of keys to share with the carrier, in case of any emergency during transit.
  • Click images of your car from all angles before loading it onto the trailer, also take pics of the interior such as the odometer reading, so that you can compare the condition of your car at the time of delivery.
  • If there are any leaks or other specifications unique to your car, make it a point to inform the carrier about it so that he is prepared for it in advance without causing any delay in your car’s delivery at your given location.

If you are still confused about preparing your car for shipping, then get in touch with the shipping company to assist you through the process.


There can be so many questions that you might have while shipping your car, we get it. Through this article, we aimed at putting it all down for your convenience. Always know that you must be upfront in asking questions and doubts with your chosen car shipping company. Do not leave anything unaddressed throughout the process.

Right from the expected charges to preparing your car for shipping, a shipping company is obliged to respond to all of your queries through this auto-shipping experience. So use the above pointers to make a fruitful choice for shipping your car through a reputable car shipping agency.

Sakaem Logistics is also in the business of shipping vehicles for over 100 years of combined experience. We know all that you expect while transporting your car, reach out to us for more details and we promise to help you have a seamless car shipping experience with us.

Most Common Questions People Also Ask (PAA):

How much does it cost to ship a car?

The average cost can be between $500 to $1500 or more, subject to many factors in consideration.

What is the best car shipping company?

The best car shipping company is the one that fulfills all your requirements and fits your desired budget.

What is enclosed car shipping?

Enclosed car shipping is a type in which the car is loaded onto an enclosed trailer for shipping the car from source to destination.

What is open car shipping?

Open car shipping is when the car is loaded onto an open trailer during transit.

What is the difference between door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal car shipping?

Under door-to-door shipping, the carrier picks up and drops off the vehicle from the source and destination whereas, with terminal-to-terminal car shipping, the customer is required to drop off and pick up the vehicle from the nearest terminal of the company.

How long does it take to transport a car?

It can 3-5 days for shipping within a state and may take up to 7-15 for shipping to another state. For international transport, it can take 30 days or more. However, the window depends on the distance and other factors.

Is it safe to transport a car across the country?

Yes, if you follow all the guidelines then, you can transport a car through a car shipping company.

What kind of insurance do I need for car transport?

You must have basic car insurance and also, carrier insurance when choosing to transport the car through a car transport service.

What should I do if my car is damaged during transport?

You can claim insurance coverage against the damage.

How do I prepare my car for transport?

Get your car washed, remove all personal belongings, deactivate all the alarms, and get a mechanical checkup done before shipping your car.

Can I transport a non-running car?

Yes, you can but the charges will be more than shipping an operable car.

How do I choose the right auto transport company?

You can find a reliable auto transport company by checking the registration details, online testimonials, available shipping options, and insurance coverage offerings, and comparing quotes from multiple companies.

Brantley Kendall