All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are designed for exploring life off the beaten path. And the popularity of these vehicles is on the rise, with more than $3.8 billion in sales per year. Thrill-seekers and off-road travel enthusiasts invest thousands of dollars into their all-terrain vehicles. So when they move, they don't want to leave them behind.
You can't take your ATV to the post office, so shipping brings up a lot of questions like who ships ATVs, how much does it cost, and how do you prepare your ATV for shipping? Let's take a look at the ins and outs of shipping an ATV.
Shipping an ATV requires a little bit of legwork to find a transport company and choose the appropriate service. Take the time to ask the right questions so that you understand how the process works. Follow the carrier's preparation instructions to a T and always make sure you are protected in the event of damage.
Find a Shipper
The first step in shipping an ATV is finding a provider that can meet your needs. Before you start looking up reviews, you need to know what services are available and what you are looking for in a shipper. This will help you manage your expectations.
Consider your timeline and decide if there is flexibility in your dates. A largescale shipper may be able to offer you expedited shipping services or more availability on shipping dates, while a smaller operation may need several week's notice.
Start with Reputation
When vetting shipping companies, there are a few credentials you will need to check into—licensing is the first thing you check. Every auto transporting company will have an FMCSA and a US DOT number. These will allow you to look up and keep tabs on the company's safety information and its crew.
Get Quotes for ATV Shipping
Gather a list of transport companies and the details of your shipment. Before dialing the phone, you should know the make and model of your ATV, as well as dimensions and total weight. You will also need precise details on where the vehicle will be picked up and dropped off. Once you have compiled this information, make a few calls and see what the rates are. It is a good idea to get three to five shipping quotes to compare. Here are some questions to ask:
- What fees are included in the quote?
- Will there be fuel surcharges or residential delivery fees?
- How far in advance do you need to book?
- What is the average transit time?
Choosing the Right Company
Price is only the starting point, and it is only to make sure you are getting a fair price. Don't make a mistake by defaulting to the lowest price offer because you often get exactly what you pay for. Look for a company that will give you peace of mind and trust when they are handling your ATV. Your vehicle is important to you, and picking a company you can trust will help make sure your ATV will arrive safely.
The first step in choosing the right company is finding a provider that can meet your needs. The second step is checking independent reviews and online testimonials to see if the company lives up to expectations. Ultimately, choosing a provider is a personal decision based on how important services, reputation, and price are to you.
Basic valuation coverage is fairly standard with large equipment transport companies. In most cases, this should cover the value of your ATV. However, protection for your assets is not something to make an assumption about. Make sure that your shipping contract spells out the details of any promised coverage.
Some transporters will offer additional levels of protection that are designed to meet different needs. The key to choosing the right coverage option is in understanding what you are paying for. For example, are there limitations to coverage in either amount or by product type? In some cases, the higher levels of valuation coverage may simply offer a higher cap on payouts which may not be necessary if it exceeds the value of your ATV.
Before shipping, always be prepared in case you need to file a claim later on. This means documenting the before shipping condition with time and date-stamped photos taken from multiple angles. You may also want to get your property appraised to document the value. And, be clear about documenting any pre-existing damage so that it cannot be used as a loophole to deny coverage.
Preparing Your ATV for Shipping
The purpose of taking precautions when transporting your ATV is to make sure both your vehicle and the person transporting it are doing so safely. If you do not ensure that this is done correctly, then possible damages and injuries can happen that will not be the liability of the shipping company.
Your shipping company will provide a detailed list; here are some things to expect:
- Wash, service, and inspect prior to transfer
- Empty the fuel tank and clear the lines.
- Move the fuel valve and tank vent valve to the closed position.
Your trailer options may be limited by the provider or service that you choose. If one method is important to you over the other, take that into consideration when choosing a shipper. Most carriers use either an open or enclosed trailer. Open trailers leave your equipment susceptible to dirt, debris, and salt from passing traffic on the roadways. Some carriers may allow tarping to protect your ATV on an open trailer so don't for to ask and plan accordingly. Enclosed trailers offer another layer of protection to keep your equipment safe in transport, but they also cost more. The trade-offs between price and risk are individual choices.
What to Expect at Pick Up and Drop Off
The process may be a little different for each company, but you should plan to be available to meet the driver at pick up. Your pick-up time will be confirmed at least one day prior to pick-up. When the driver arrives, a preloading inspection will be performed, and the vehicle's condition will be noted. In most cases, the pick-up address needs to be accessible by a semi, and additional residential area fees may apply.
The driver will take care of loading your ATV on the trailer and properly securing it. Once you sign the paperwork and transfer the property to the shipper, your job is done. The process for drop-off is similar and generally requires a person to meet the driver and accept the delivery. Even if the shipper doesn't require it, make sure to take pictures before loading onto the trailer and immediately following delivery. Appropriate documentation will be necessary for insurance purposes if there is damage.
The Bottom Line
It is possible to ship an ATV. Although you should do some research when choosing a carrier, there are many transport companies that can handle the job. A tractor-trailer transports most ATVs on either an open or enclosed trailer. By choosing a reputable transporter and taking the time to understand their process, you can take the mystery out of shipping an ATV. From booking dates and choosing services to prepare your vehicle for shipment, there are many detailed steps to shipping an ATV.