If you own a truck and plan to move interstate, one task that may concern you is transporting your truck to a new location. You may realize that shipping is, in fact, the best way. Shipping can save you money, energy, several days and hours driving, and hundreds of miles on the road (if not thousands). In line with that, here is a step-by-step guide on how to ship a truck without too much hassle.
Choose A Reputable Shipping Company
Considering how valuable your truck is, you wouldn’t want it handled by just any shipping service. That is why it’s imperative to do some research. Search on Google for companies that show a good number of reviews, and the higher the average star rating, the more reputable that company is, the more trustworthy they will be. Any rating of 4/5 or higher is a safe bet, but do take time to carefully read the most recent reviews and gauge whether the majority of them are positive.
Get An Estimated Cost For Shipping
To determine how much you can expect to pay for shipping your truck, visit your chosen company’s site. Fill in all the necessary details in the quote calculator or alternatively, contact them over the phone. Note that the actual cost is going to vary based on certain factors:
Naturally, any shipment requiring a longer distance means more expenses that need to be covered. Longer journeys across the country, such as one from Los Angeles to New York, can go a high as $2,000, while shorter shipments covering a few hundred miles may cost just under a thousand dollars.
The weight of your truck plays a crucial role in shipping, given how it influences the efficiency of the freight truck and the attached trailer (during the land transport phase). When a freight truck hauls more weight, it has to consume more gas and is subject to more wear and tear. Hence, the entire process becomes more costly, and part of the cost is passed on to you. Most shipping companies are used to handling trucks that weigh under 5,000 pounds from start to finish. So if your vehicle is heavier than that, you can expect significant additional costs.
Remember that freight truck trailers only have so much capacity. The more horizontal space that gets taken up for a truck, the less space that remains to fit cars and other smaller vehicles for that trip. So for the company, that leads to less service and lower earnings for that day. As a reference, most shipping companies will find it complicated to ship vehicles about 200 inches in length or greater. And to compensate for that, they will charge extra for vehicles taking up sizable amounts of space.
Protection: uncovered vs. covered
Typically, you have two standard options: uncovered shipping and covered shipping. Not all companies offer both options, although when you learn about a credible company with consistently good reviews, you’ll be reassured of its reputation if it offers both. Uncovered shipping means your truck will be transported in a trailer without a roof or walls, and it will be exposed to the open road on all sides. It is by far the more popular of the two, given it’s more space-efficient for the freight truck driver and cheaper for the customer. Covered shipping, in contrast, has your truck enclosed in a properly covered trailer and provides a higher degree of protection all the way. If you’re particular about your truck shipped in as perfect of a condition as possible, choose this option.
Book With The Company Ahead Of Time
Planning ahead is essential to many things, and vehicle shipment is no exception. There is high demand for car and truck shipping services throughout the year, the same way there is demand for tickets at movie theaters. Therefore, make it a point to book your truck shipping service about one month in advance. By doing so, you’re granted more flexibility with the shipping dates ideal for you. Bear in mind, however, that there is likely going to be a “shipping window” in the schedule for turning over your truck. So expect to receive a two to three-day notice before the exact date (and time period) that the driver arrives to pick it up.
Remove All Items From Your Truck
To make everything easier for all parties involved, take all your personal valuables out of the truck. For pickup truck drivers, that includes all things stored in the truck bed. Be especially mindful that no fragile items like sunglasses, watches, or jewelry pieces that are left hanging anywhere. If any of those are left inside and get lost or damaged after shipment, insurance will not be covering those.
Clean Out Your Truck
This is also an important step, as this will help you better check if damages to your truck did occur while it was shipped. Give the entire vehicle a thorough wash, both for the exterior and the inside, and then take photos right after. These pictures will be of great assistance when you do some spot-checking on the day of collection, as you’ll be able to prove that something like a distinct scratch on a window wasn’t previously there.
Keep The Battery And Gas Tank In Check
Take the time to charge your truck’s battery and leave its tank about a quarter full. Bear in mind that if the truck stops running at some point while being shipped, the company may charge you extra fees for the added work involved. After all, it can take a long time to rearrange vehicles on a trailer when one cannot move on its own, let alone a heavier vehicle like a truck.
Check That There Is Adequate Antifreeze
traveling through freezing temperatures for extended periods during shipment, which is why they require a good level of antifreeze to prevent any deterioration to the engine. It’s good practice to add some antifreeze to your truck or any other vehicle prior to shipping it.
Have All Documentation Ready
Ensure that all these documents and forms are filled out and ready just before you turn over your truck in order for the actual shipping stage to start smoothly.
- One form of government or state-issued identification (present this both when turning over and picking up your truck)
- A legible copy of either your vehicle registration (original copy, not a photocopy)
- A consignee form (provided by the shipping company) which includes your name, address, contact number, information about the truck, its estimated value, and details on the person assigned to pick up your truck if you’re unable to do so
- A Shipper Export Declaration, which the U.S. Census Bureau requires for shipping items are valued higher than $2,500 in total
Turn Over Your Truck On The Day Of Collection
When the day comes, the transport driver will be ready to check your forms and documents. Once that’s settled, allow the driver to do a visual inspection of your truck so they can officially document any pre-existing damage or signs of wear and tear. Provided you have cleaned your truck thoroughly, this inspection should take about fifteen minutes.
Give The Driver Any Important Information
While you’re likely to have indicated this in the corresponding form, it’s still important that you mention to the driver any “special” information about your truck. Are the pedals particularly sensitive? Does the truck tend to make loud noises that you know are normal? It is best to confirm these little things with the company because the last thing you want is them mishandling your truck because of not understanding such idiosyncrasies.
Collect Your Truck After Shipping
Note it is difficult for any shipping company to specify an exact time that the carrier of your truck will arrive at its destination. Traffic conditions and inclement weather will always influence this. Therefore, arrange for being available during the window of two or three days from the time you are contacted for collection. You or someone you can trust should be home or close to home during this period.
When you collect your truck on the day, ensure you have your government or state-issued identification on hand. If you’re not the one receiving the truck in person, be sure that your friend, relative, or whoever does it on your behalf has a signed letter of authorization. Moreover, other papers that confirm details about your truck and shipment should also be ready in case.
Make An Insurance Claim If Necessary
Given the complicated nature of vehicle shipment, there is no guarantee that you’ll receive your truck in a totally perfect condition, though statistics show serious damage rarely occurs. But rest assured, you can work with the company to make a claim if something significant happens to your truck (which is where photos taken prior to shipment come in handy), as the shipper itself has adequate insurance. Speak with the driver or contact a company representative to make the process here as efficient as possible.