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What Happens if Your Car Gets Lost in Shipping?

Published by Joe Webster.

What Happens if Your Car Gets Lost in Shipping?

Having your vehicle shipped instead of driving it yourself can be a more convenient option for many people. Whether you’re relocating across the country or sending your car for repairs to a special repair shop, auto transport allows you to avoid a long drive.

However, there is always a risk involved in handing over responsibility for your vehicle to a third party.

One of the most stressful scenarios is if your car gets lost or misplaced during the shipping process. This can be an extremely frustrating situation that requires prompt action on your part to have the best chance of a successful resolution.

This post will outline the key steps you should take if your vehicle goes missing during transport, with the goal of understanding the process and ensuring your rights are protected.


Notify the Shipping Company

The very first thing to do if your car does not arrive at its destination as scheduled is to immediately contact the auto shipping company. Don’t wait! As the saying goes, time is of the essence in locating a missing vehicle. When you call the company, be prepared to provide detailed information about your car such as the make, model, year, VIN number, shipping date and pickup/drop-off locations.

Having these details available ahead of time will allow the company to properly identify and search for your vehicle in their system.

You should also file a written report by email or registered mail, describing the situation and including any documentation you have, like the shipping contract and proof of payment.

Getting everything in writing creates an official record of the incident and establishes a paper trail in case follow up is needed later on.

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File a Police Report

In addition to notifying the shipping company, you also should file an official report with your local police.

Even if the loss may have occurred elsewhere during transit, creating a police report in your local jurisdiction is still important. This establishes an official record of the incident with law enforcement authorities.

Be sure to provide as many details as possible about your vehicle and the circumstances of its disappearance. You may also want to include photos of your car to aid in its identification.

Keep copies of all documentation for your records. Having a police report creates an unbiased third party account of the situation which can support any potential future insurance claims or legal issues that may arise.

Contact Insurance and Credit Card Providers

Besides contacting the shipping company directly, you should also report the missing vehicle to any relevant insurance providers or credit card issuers as soon as possible.

Your regular automobile insurance policy may cover losses during transport depending on your specific coverage details - so be sure to file a claim.

Even if auto insurance doesn’t apply in this scenario, any purchase protection programs through your credit card company used to pay for the shipping could potentially provide reimbursement.

For example, Visa and Mastercard both offer purchase protection benefits on items lost or stolen within a certain time period of purchase. Notifying all involved parties promptly keeps your options open as the search continues.


Work with the Shipping Company

Now that you have made the initial notifications, your focus should be working directly with the auto transport company to locate your missing vehicle. Be persistent in following up regularly until they’re able to provide an update on their search progress and investigation.

Request to be notified right away of any developments. The company should be thoroughly inspecting their records, trucks, warehouses and facilities looking for your car.

As the responsible party, they need to make every effort to find it. Keep notes of all your communications including date, time and summary of discussions.

If they seem uncooperative or their response is too nonchalant, you may need to file an official complaint with their company through email, registered mail, or consumer protection agencies to prompt a more thorough response.

Always remain polite yet firm. After all, your goal is resolution, not confrontation.

Seek Legal Assistance if Needed

While cooperating fully with the shipping company's search is important initially, do not let them string you along indefinitely without answers or action on their part.

After a reasonable period with no positive results (two to four weeks is typical), consulting an attorney may become the next step you need to take.

A lawyer can send formal demand letters requesting specific actions within deadlines. They may also advise on next steps like small claims court filings if the financial loss is within jurisdiction limits.

As a last resort, litigation through regular civil court could be pursued for negligence if it appears the company did not fulfill their contractual responsibilities with due care.

Documentation of all your diligent efforts and their lack of timely cooperation will be critical. Legal counsel can ensure your rights are protected and help apply proper pressure to address the matter appropriately.


Avoid a Nightmare Situation with Your Car

Having your vehicle go missing during transport is every car owner's nightmare scenario. However, by taking prompt action following the steps outlined above, you significantly increase the chances of a successful resolution.

Immediately contact the responsible auto shipping company, file the proper police and insurance reports, keep detailed records of all communications, and persistently work with the company and through other available channels.

Seeking legal advice should only be a last resort if all cooperative options have been exhausted without acceptable results. While the process will undoubtedly be time consuming and frustrating, taking a thorough, organized approach is key to resolving the situation in your favor. With diligence and persistence on your part, hopefully your missing car can be safely located and returned to you.

Don't let your car vanish without a trace. When moving your vehicle long distances, trust the transportation experts at A1 Auto Transport.

For over 25 years, we've helped thousands of customers safely transport their cars across the country or overseas without incident. Our team handles every shipment with extreme care and diligence from start to finish. You'll receive real-time updates and have total visibility of your vehicle's journey.

But what if the worst happens and your car goes missing? We've got you covered. As the industry leader, we have the resources to aggressively search until we locate your vehicle. And if we can't find it, our protective shipping insurance will reimburse you for the declared value.

Whether cross-country or international Vehicle shipping, let A1 Auto Transport handle your auto shipping needs with our trademark reliability. You won't find better service, coverage or peace of mind anywhere else. Book your vehicle transport today by calling or visiting us online. Your car is in safe hands with us.

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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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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

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

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
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
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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