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The Ultimate Guide to Classic Car Transportation Services

What's in this article?
  1. Want Is Classic Vehicle Transport?
  2. What Is Open Transport?
  3. What Is Enclosed Transport?
  4. How Do Classic Car Transport Services Differ From Traditional Ones?
  5. The Role Of Insurance In Moving Classic Cars
  6. Classic Car Transport Cost
  7. How Do You Find The Best Classic Car Transport Companies?
  8. Tip No 1 – Check For Transparency In Costs
  9. Tip No 2 – Check Reviews
  10. Tip No 3 – Always Get A Copy Of The Contract
  11. Preparing Your Car For Shipping – The Key Steps
  12. Step No 1 – Clear The Interior And Exterior
  13. Step No 2 – Remove Valuables And Loose Items
  14. Step No 3 – Check Tire Pressure
  15. Step No 4 – Check Fluid Levels
  16. Ship Your Classic Car Safely
The Ultimate Guide to Classic Car Transportation Services

You have an antique car that is your pride and joy. You take every opportunity you can to take it out for a spin. And of course, you care for that car almost like it was your own child. You wash it, wax it, and make sure nothing can happen that could damage your classic car’s components.

But now, you face a challenge.

You need to move that car from where you are now to another destination. Perhaps you’ve sold the car and want to make sure it arrives safely. Or, you’re moving to another state and need to transport the vehicle there. Whatever the case may be, your classic car needs to get somewhere and you’re not in a position to drive it to your location.

That means you need the help of classic car transporters.

Antique car transportation companies ship your pride and joy from Point A to Point B. But that’s not enough to know when you want to ensure that shipping happens as safely as possible. You also need to know what the best classic car transport companies do to protect your vehicle when it’s in transit.

That’s where this guide comes in.

We’re going to examine the key aspects of classic car shipping so you know what you’re getting and what to look for in a great company.

Want Is Classic Vehicle Transport?

Classic vehicle transport is a specialized car transportation service that focuses on getting classic and high-value cars from Point A to Point B. Typically, carriers provide a range of services, including door-to-door transportation and services that require you to pick up and drop off your car at a terminal.

There are two main ways to ship a classic car:

  1. Open Transport
  2. Enclosed

What Is Open Transport?

Open transport involves loading your vehicle onto an open carrier, often alongside other vehicles. Once the vehicle is loaded onto the open trailer, it’s secured in place by straps. Some companies also cover the car with a tarp, though this isn’t guaranteed.

The key benefit of open transport is that it’s cost-effective. Collector car transport companies charge less for open transport because it doesn’t require as much specialized equipment. The costs are driven down further if the car is shipped as part of a multi-car transport.

Unfortunately, these low costs come with some drawbacks. With open transport, your vehicle is left exposed. Even with a tarp in place, there’s little to stop debris or collisions from causing dents, dings, or even more damage. Still, this method may be useful if you’re shipping a classic car that already has external damage that you’re intending to repair when it arrives at its location.


What Is Enclosed Transport?

As the name implies, enclosed transport involves loading the vehicle into a closed trailer. The car is secured in place and the trailer is locked down, meaning nothing can get in or out.

The obvious benefit here is that enclosed transport guards your classic car against potential hazards. You don’t have to worry about damage caused by wind, water, or hail. Plus, the trailer will absorb most minor impacts and deflect debris before it gets to your car. Another benefit is that your car is kept in a locked trailer for the entire journey, which reduces the possibility of theft. This is particularly important for multi-day journeys where the carrier’s vehicle has to be parked or stored overnight.

However, classic car transporters charge a premium for their enclosed transport services. Not only are you paying more for the enclosed trailer, but you’re also likely paying to have your car shipped on its own. As such, your classic car movers have to dedicate more resources to the task, leading to higher prices.


How Do Classic Car Transport Services Differ From Traditional Ones?

Expertise is the main difference between companies that ship classic cars and those that focus on normal vehicles. Though the methods of transportation are the same, experienced shippers understand the extra care that needs to be taken when shipping an antique vehicle. They also know that they need to take the safest route possible, which can result in them spending more time driving so they avoid dangerous or busy routes.

The carrier may offer specific insurance when shipping a classic car. Often, these cars cost more than standard cars. Plus, their components may not be readily available, which creates increased costs for repair. Many classic car transportation companies offer more comprehensive insurance policies to account for the higher value of the vehicles they work with.

The Role of Insurance in Moving Classic Cars

All legitimate vehicle transportation companies should have insurance in place to cover any damages that occur during transit. So, your first task is to check for the presence of that insurance. From there, ask the carrier to provide copies of their insurance information to you.

Once you receive these copies, contact the transportation company’s insurance provider. Check that the policy is current, active, and that the details you’ve received are all accurate. Doing so ensures you don’t get tricked by a carrier offering forged or out-of-date insurance documentation.

When you know the insurance is legitimate, take a closer look at the policy. Make a list of any terms you’re unfamiliar with. Then, contact your classic car delivery company to ask about those terms. A good company will clear up any confusion by explaining exactly what the terms mean. Any company that is not transparent in this area may also try to hide issues if something goes wrong with the delivery.

Finally, check what your own insurance covers. Most vehicle carriers only cover damage that is the result of their negligence. That means their insurance may not cover damage that occurs due to an accident or because of exposure to the elements. Ideally, your personal car insurance should cover these problems, especially if you opt for an open transport service.

Classic Car Transport Cost

Classic car shipping rates vary depending on several factors:

  • The type of transportation you select
  • Whether you choose door-to-door delivery or terminal-based delivery
  • Your location
  • The distance you’re shipping the vehicle
  • How quickly you want to ship the vehicle

For example, you’ll pay more for a door-to-door enclosed transport that requires the carrier to drive 1,000 miles than you would for an open transport shipping to a terminal 500 miles away.

But it’s not quite that simple.

Many carriers offer discounted per-mile rates on longer journeys. A 1,000-mile journey may cost more in total than a 500-mile journey. But you may pay less per mile for the long journey. Again, this is dependent on the carrier and its policies.

To provide you with an idea of what you can expect to pay, here are the costs of some recent door-to-door classic car shipments made by A1 Auto Transport:

  • Baltimore, Maryland to Dallas, Texas – $864
  • Denver, Colorado to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $945
  • Miami, Florida to Denver, Colorado – $1,297

These costs would have been lower for a terminal-based shipment because that allows the carrier to transport multiple cars at once.


How Do You Find the Best Classic Car Transport Companies?

Finding a good carrier requires you to do more than type “Classic car transport near me” into Google. While local carriers may be your first choice, they may charge more than national carriers. Furthermore, search engine results only show you who has optimized their website to achieve rankings, rather than telling you who is the best carrier for your job. If you want to find a good carrier, these tips help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Tip No. 1 – Check for Transparency in Costs

Collecting quotes is your first step when searching for a classic car shipping company. Once you have some quotes, dig down into them. Be wary of any company that offers significantly lower prices than the others. Carriers face similar costs when shipping classic cars, meaning their prices should be similar. Any company that is significantly cheaper than the rest may have hidden costs. Or, they may not have the experience, equipment, or expertise required to safely transport your vehicle.

It's also a good idea to check what the quoted cost covers. Some carriers roll all of their costs into a single quote. Others provide a base quote that increases based on the distance traveled, the cost of fuel, and whether the car runs or not. Make sure your quote tells you exactly how much you’re going to pay.

Tip No. 2 – Check Reviews

Online reviews give you a window into the experience you can expect from the company you’re considering. Check the carrier’s Google business page and their social media. Ideally, you’re looking for glowing reviews from the vast majority of customers. This gives you direct confirmation from third parties that the carrier delivers on its promises.

Of course, bad reviews are a sign that the carrier may not be for you. However, you can also use bad reviews to gauge the carrier’s customer service. How does the carrier respond? Do they offer resolutions? Checking how the carrier reacts to negativity gives you insight into the quality of its customer service.

Tip No. 3 – Always Get a Copy of the Contract

This ties into the previous point about getting insurance information from your carrier. Ask them for a copy of their contract before you sign it. Go over the contract to ensure there are no conditions or issues related to the delivery.

You can also use this tip to determine the trustworthiness of a carrier. If they’re hesitant to provide a contract or try to get you to sign before you’ve had a chance to read it, there may be something in the contract that they don’t want you to see. The best classic car transport companies give you the time you need to decide because they’re confident in their abilities to do the job.


Preparing Your Car For Shipping – The Key Steps

You have a part to play in the classic car shipping process because you need to prepare the vehicle before it can be shipped. Part of this preparation involves ensuring the vehicle is ready for the carrier. But the process also allows you to collect evidence in case you need to file a dispute due to poor service. Follow these steps to get your classic car ready.

Step No. 1 – Clear the Interior and Exterior

Having a clean car makes it easier for you to spot scratches or dents. Document any marks you find before shipping with timestamped photographs and a written record. With that documentation, you can check the car easily when it arrives at its destination. This helps you to see if any new marks have appeared during the transportation process.

Step No. 2 – Remove Valuables and Loose Items

Your classic car movers are usually only responsible for the condition of the car. This responsibility does not extend to any personal items you leave in the vehicle. It also doesn’t extend to damage caused by loose items inside the car during transit. Remove anything personal or loose from your classic car before handing it over.

Step No. 3 – Check Tire Pressure

Underinflated tires make your vehicle less stable when it’s in transit. They can also lead to more wear and tear occurring because the vehicle is not supported the way it’s supposed to be. Check the pressure in each tire and inflate any that need a little extra air.

Step No. 4 – Check Fluid Levels

This is a particularly important tip if you’re transporting a classic car that you haven’t used in a while. Note down the vehicle’s oil, fuel, and water levels a week before shipping. Check them again the day before your carrier arrives. Assuming you haven’t used the vehicle in that time, the levels should be the same. If they’re not, the car may have a leak that you need to inform your carrier about. You may be liable for paying for any damage that an unexpected leak causes to the transportation company’s equipment.

Ship Your Classic Car Safely

Though the general process for shipping a classic car is similar to that for a regular car, extra precautions need to be in place. You have to confirm that your transportation company has the knowledge and equipment needed to do the job correctly. Plus, you need to understand the insurance offered to cover the journey to ensure your vehicle is fully protected.

With this guide, you understand the basics of classic car transportation services.

Now, it’s time to find some quotes from reliable transportation companies.

A-1 Auto Transport specializes in classic vehicle transport services. We’ve served customers in 190 countries, have completed over two million deliveries, and have a 97% customer satisfaction rate. If you want to find out why so many of our clients recommend us, get a quote for classic car shipping from our website today.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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