Shipping vehicles presents several risks. Some you can control while others are unavoidable. This is why preparing auto transport insurance is important.
While the chances of cars getting damaged during transport are even lower than when they are driven by their owners, it’s still important to inform yourself on the potential risks. Let us begin with the risks you car will face when being moved with a truck regardless of what type of carrier it is.
Traffic, road/weather conditions, and delays
Whether you’re driving the car or it’s resting on a platform, bad traffic can escalate into an accident. Even experienced drivers may get into these situations regardless of who is to blame.
If road conditions are poor as well, then the chance of an accident is much higher. Roads with numerous potholes will shake the cargo increasing the chances of a car hitting its surroundings.
If the weather changes for the worse, visibility and tire adhesion are likely to drop considerably. In these situations, drivers have to slow the truck’s speed even if it causes delays. Safety is the most important aspect of any shipment. Professional drivers will recognize risky situations and take appropriate measures.
Open carrier safety risks and countermeasures
To ensure your car is moved by capable drivers, you can ask about their experience or simply pick a good company that you trust. However, depending on the type of carrier used for the transport, you car may be subjected to additional risks.
As the name implies, open trucks offer no cover against bad weather. Your car will have to face storms and snowfalls on its own. Because it’s on the move, strong winds and any object they may carry can hit your vehicle. It’s not unheard of for cars to have small dents caused by flying pebbles upon arrival.
The wildlife in the area can pose problems too. Although a bug smashing into the windscreen won’t cause much damage, larger creatures like birds can do so.
Fortunately, even on an open auto trailer, there is still a certain level of protection offered to the vehicle. There are beams and other cars that diminish the exposed area. Because your car will ride in the back of the carrier, most flying objects or animals will hit the front part of the carrier and not your vehicle.
Additionally, you have the option of choosing the level on which your car will be placed. The 2 levels on which open carriers can load vehicles are the secret to their huge carrying capacity. However, they’re slightly different in terms of safety.
The lower level is closer to the ground, so it’s more likely that objects sent flying from ground level can hit it. On the road, objects are often turned into projectiles by the wheels of automobiles.
If you’d like to keep your car in a less exposed place, you can pay a little more to transport it on the upper level of the carrier. This way, it will also be safe from leaking fluids, dirt from other cars, etc.
Another good option is to skip open carriers and use enclosed ones instead. They’re significantly more expensive, hence why most people avoid them. However, you’ll receive more attention, a higher insurance limit, and excellent protection from objects and animals that may otherwise hit your vehicle.
How the owner can reduce safety risks for the car’s transport
The safety of your vehicle depends in a large amount on the capability and experience of the auto transport company you’ve entrusted it to. This being said, taking some precautions on your end is recommended. Not only will it diminish the chance of an accident, but it will help you recover your money in case one happens.
- Clean your car. In some cases, this is mandatory. However, the most important aspect of this action is you’ll get a clear view of any damage your car has. If it arrives with additional scratches, you will know.
- Photograph the interior and exterior. Even if you already know the condition of your car, you’ll need to prove it in case you receive it with damage. Time stamped photographs are an excellent tool in such cases.
- Maintenance work. Unless you declare your car to be non-running, the company will drive it on and off the trailer. Doing some simple maintenance on your vehicle, such as checking the pressure in its tires and making sure it has sufficient fuel, will help the transport run smoother. If your car doesn’t run when you receive it, after you’ve ensured everything was good when it left, it can be a warning sign.
- Remove some fuel if needed. A fuel tank adds unnecessary weight to the automobile. It’s also a fire hazard. Out of safety concerns, we advise you keep only a quarter of the tank full.
- Secure moving parts. Your car’s interior should be immobile to avoid damage caused by various parts hitting each other. If you can fold your side mirrors, do it. Retract the antennas, and remove any modifications if possible. If your car is a convertible, make sure its top isn’t open.
- Remove any additional items from your car. DVD players, water bottles, car chargers, and any other things you usually keep in your car need to be removed before the carrier arrives. Your vehicle won’t need a parking pass or a toll tag during transport, so you can remove those too.
- Deactivate the alarm. It would be very problematic and distracting for the carrier’s driver if on a freeway one of the cars starts making noise. You can help avoid an accident by double checking that your alarm is deactivated.
- Get the contact information. You’ll likely want to check on your car while it’s moved. Delays may happen, and you should be informed. Ask the driver if he can give you his contact information. If not, you can use the company’s number instead.
- Keep the bill of lading. You’ll receive it from the carrier’s driver. It functions both as a contract and as your receipt. If your car is damaged while on the road, you must note it on this paper. You’ll also need it to take back your vehicle.
After getting your car back, we recommend you clean it thoroughly. It may have gathered mud or rain while on the road if you’ve shipped it during summer. If you’re requesting auto transport in winter, the car can gather road salt, dirty slush, or sand. If you’d like to avoid these things from getting on your car, you can request an enclosed carrier.
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.