There are many reasons why families or career professionals decide to move to a new state. It may be a new job or promotion, or a migration to live closer to aging family members. There are tech hubs popping up all over the country, with a lower cost of living that are attracting young IT professionals too.
Whatever the reason, two things are clear; first, that Americans like being ‘on the move’ and seeking new lifestyle and career opportunities, and second, when they move, they really want to take their favorite car or truck with them, rather than deal with the hassle of selling and purchasing a new vehicle after an interstate move.
What are some of the options and considerations you need to review, as you prepare to move to a new location within the United States? Driving your vehicle to the new destination may not be a practical option, but there are ways to find a reliable and affordable private auto transport carrier to help.
How Are Cars or Trucks Shipped to a Different State in America?
Families that move to another state, or individuals who have more than one vehicle will rely on a professional private auto transport carrier to assist them. While there are also private consumers who make a living driving a vehicle from one destination to another for an economical rate, they do not have the commercial insurance coverage to repair or replace your vehicle, if damages occur during transit.
Unlike finding someone on Craigslist to drive your car a few states over, or across the country, you can trust a private auto transport carrier. There are a variety of options that you can choose from, with the peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is in good hands.
Your vehicle can be transferred to another state in one of the following ways:
- Open-air shipping. This is a professional vehicle trailer that is pulled by a heavy truck. The same type as you see new cars transported on, from manufacturers to dealerships.
- Enclosed transport is an option for luxury or high-value vehicles, and offers additional protection from theft, vandalism or damage from road debris and weather conditions such as hail. Your vehicle will be driven into an enclosed container, secured and then shipped to the destination.
- Terminal to terminal shipping involves placing your vehicle in container freight for delivery on an ocean barge. Depending on where you are moving to, this might be a shorter distance than highway routes. You will be required to pick up your car at the Port destination.
- Door to door service is a popular option because it is convenient. When you are moving and you have other tasks you need to focus on, a certified company driver will come to pick up your vehicle for shipping. When you arrive at the destination, your vehicle will also be driven to your new home.
Luxury vehicles including high-performance exotic cars, manufacturer prototypes shipped by a commercial carrier for automotive trade shows, and rare classic cars get the extra attention they deserve and need, to make sure they arrive without incidents of theft or damage.
Given the high value of luxury or classic collectible cars, open-air shipping is not recommended. Be skeptical if a service-providers indicate that this is a reliable and economical way to ship your vehicle. Ask a private auto transport carrier how they will prepare your vehicle for transport. Standard industry practice is to ship the vehicle in a secured container, with padding to prevent damage. The vehicle should also be covered, to prevent any damage or the accumulation of dust or debris.
Interstate shipping of vehicles also requires some documentation and paperwork, depending on the requirements of the destination state, and other criteria such as emissions testing may be required before you can legally drive your vehicle at the new location.
One of the benefits of using a professional auto transport carrier is that they have familiarity with these legal requirements and will help you get that documentation in order before they move your vehicle. And when you are coordinating a household move, that is help and peace of mind worth paying for.
What Happens If My Car Is Damaged During Domestic Shipping?
You may have the most comprehensive insurance coverage for your vehicle, in terms of liability and repair or replacement, but did you know that the coverage only applies when you are driving your vehicle? The moment you decide to hand the keys over to a private auto transport carrier, your vehicle owner insurance no longer applies (unless you have paid for extended coverage).
The reason is that the insurance company knows the owner will take precautions to protect their property. Anything can happen during shipping, even with the most qualified carriers. If your car or truck arrives at your new destination and it is damaged, what should you do next?
One of the most important details to check before you sign a shipping contract for your vehicle is to request proof of liability insurance. Not only do you want to see that the auto transport carrier in California has valid insurance, but you want to carefully review the terms and limitations of that coverage.
If your vehicle arrives and it has been damaged, document the condition of your vehicle immediately by taking pictures from your smartphone. Those images will be date and time-stamped, and valid legal proof of the damage.
The next step is to contact your carrier. The driver may be able to assist you and direct you to file a damage claim with the carrier. Or they may simply provide you with a telephone number to contact the administrative offices, to discuss the situation.
Any damage to your vehicle when you’ve paid for professional delivery is understandably upsetting, and statistically, when using a professional shipping provider, these situations are rare. But the liability insurance that the carrier offers exists for this reason. They will direct you to an affiliated repair center for a professional inspection and legal assessment of the damage and assist you to file your claim so that you can get back on the road.
How Can I Find a Reliable Auto Transport Carrier in California?
When you start looking online at all the different companies that offer domestic auto shipping services in California, it is a little overwhelming. Residents in California are highly mobile for professional reasons, and those with corporate careers can find themselves relocating without much notice.
If you have a luxury car, limited edition sports car or a prized classic car, the last thing you want to do is trust your prized possession to a moving company who won’t take all the essential steps to protect your investment. If you didn’t value your vehicle, you would be selling it, rather than making the difficult arrangements to take it with you. You love your car or truck, and the people who will ship it and deliver it, to love it just as much.
The best place to start is to look at reviews. The most reliable consumer reviews are on Google because they cannot be fraudulently created (a common practice for some businesses). Here are some of the criteria that you can use to evaluate the auto transport carrier’s reputation and reliability:
- Do they have positive reviews from satisfied customers?
- How recent are the reviews? Be skeptical of any company that had great reviews in 2010, but no positive feedback from its customers since then. Follow your instinct.
- Do they have any negative reviews? Despite best practice and care, sometimes accidents do occur. If a car or truck was damaged and the customer complained, did the company respond in the review to indicate that the matter was resolved to their client’s expectations? That will tell you all you need to know about the integrity of their services.
There are other review websites such as Yelp, or the Better Business Bureau that you can also cross-check with the Google Reviews you have read about the company. The BBB website allows business owners to explain why there was a dispute and provide a comment to indicate how they resolved it with their customer. Don’t discount a good carrier who had a couple of complaints. Focus instead on the average number of positive feedback and service experiences, to make your choice.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.