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What insurance options are available for door to door auto transport?

Published by Joe Webster.

What insurance options are available for door to door auto transport?

For door-to-door auto transport, several insurance options are available to safeguard your vehicle during transit. The most common is Carrier Liability Insurance, which is mandated by law for all transport carriers, covering damages due to transport-related accidents. Additionally, Cargo Insurance offers protection against damages from non-collision incidents like theft, fire, and vandalism. Some carriers also provide On-Hook Towing Insurance, which covers damages that might occur while the vehicle is being towed. For extra security, particularly for high-value vehicles, Gap Coverage can be beneficial; it covers the difference between the vehicle's actual value and what is covered by other policies. Always verify the specifics of these insurance policies with your transport provider to ensure comprehensive coverage tailored to your vehicle's needs.

Types of Auto Transport Insurance


Auto transport insurance comes in various forms to protect your vehicle.

  • Carrier liability insurance covers damages from transport-related accidents.
  • Cargo insurance protects against theft, fire, and non-collision damage.
  • On-hook towing insurance ensures coverage during towing.

Understanding these options ensures comprehensive protection during shipping.

Carrier Liability Insurance:

  • Fundamental for vehicle transport.
  • Covers damages due to carrier's negligence.

Coverage Provided:

  • Accidents during loading, transit, and unloading phases.
  • Excludes wear and tear and personal belongings inside the vehicle.

Costs and Considerations:

  • Varies based on vehicle value, distance, and carrier insurance type.
  • Crucial for protecting investment during transport.

Limitations and Exclusions:

  • Excludes wear and tear, personal items, and acts of God.

Choosing the Right Company:

  • Look for reliability, positive reviews, and transparent insurance policies.

Additional Insurance Options:

  • Cargo and commercial auto insurance offer broader coverage.

Insurance Requirements:

  • Federal regulations mandate liability insurance for all auto transport brokers and companies.

Filing a Claim:

  • File immediately with your auto insurance company.
  • Document vehicle condition before and after transport.
  • Report damage to the transport and insurance companies promptly.

Understanding Cargo Insurance in Auto Transport


Cargo insurance is a vital component of comprehensive auto transport insurance. It provides coverage specifically for the damages that may occur to a vehicle while it is being transported by auto transport companies. This type of insurance is particularly important given the variety of risks associated with the transportation of vehicles over long distances.

What is Cargo Insurance?

Cargo insurance protects against damage to vehicles while in the custody of a car shipping company during transport. This includes protection from damage due to accidents, natural disasters, vandalism, and theft that may occur while the vehicle is being shipped from one location to another.

Why is Cargo Insurance Necessary?

For any auto transport service, the risk of unexpected incidents can significantly affect the vehicle being transported. Cargo insurance ensures that the vehicle owner is not financially burdened by these risks. Reliable auto transport companies always recommend or even include cargo insurance in their service to provide peace of mind to their clients.

Costs Involved in Cargo Insurance

The costs of cargo insurance can vary based on several factors including the value of the vehicle, the distance it needs to be transported, and the specific terms of the insurance policy offered by the car transport company. Generally, auto transport insurance costs are calculated as a percentage of the total value of the vehicle, making it a crucial investment for high-value vehicles.

Coverage Details of Cargo Insurance

Cargo insurance typically covers all risks of loss or damage to vehicles during transport. This broad coverage is what sets it apart from standard carrier liability insurance, which may only cover specific types of damage under certain conditions.

  • Theft and Vandalism: Ensures coverage in case the vehicle is stolen or vandalized during transit.
  • Accidental Damage: Covers damages from accidents that occur while the vehicle is being loaded, transported, or unloaded by the car carrier.
  • Natural Disasters: Protects against damage caused by natural disasters, which may not be covered under standard liability policies.

Choosing the Right Insurance Company

Selecting the right auto insurance company for purchasing cargo insurance involves ensuring that the company has a good reputation, offers comprehensive coverage options, and is known for its customer service and reliability. Always check the credentials and reviews of the insurance provider and the auto transport broker.

Additional Considerations for Cargo Insurance

When considering cargo insurance, it’s important to review the policy details thoroughly:

  • Deductibles: Understand the amount you will need to pay out of pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in.
  • Policy Limits: Be aware of the maximum coverage limit and assess whether it adequately covers the value of your car.
  • Exclusions: Familiarize yourself with any scenarios or types of damage that are not covered under the cargo insurance policy.

Filing a Claim for Cargo Insurance

In the event that you need to file a claim under your cargo insurance:

  • Document the Damage: As soon as you receive your vehicle, inspect it thoroughly for any damage. Take photos and notes of any discrepancies from its pre-transport condition.
  • Notify the Insurer Promptly: Contact the insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage.
  • Submit Required Documentation: Provide all necessary documentation including transport documents, photos of the damage, and any other required forms or evidence.
  • Follow Up: Stay in regular contact with the insurance company to ensure your claim is processed in a timely manner.

On-Hook Towing Insurance: Essential Coverage for Auto Transport

On-Hook Towing Insurance is a critical component of the insurance suite for auto transport services, providing specific coverage while vehicles are being towed. Whether you’re dealing with a car shipping company, an auto transport broker, or a direct car carrier, understanding the protection offered by on-hook towing insurance is vital.

What is On-Hook Towing Insurance?

On-Hook Towing Insurance is a type of liability insurance that covers any damages to a vehicle while it is literally "on the hook" or being towed. This insurance is crucial for companies that offer towing services, including those involved in car transport and vehicle recovery operations.

Why is On-Hook Towing Insurance Necessary?

When a vehicle is being towed, it is susceptible to a range of potential damages, from minor scratches and dents to major accidents. On-Hook Towing Insurance ensures that the towing company and the vehicle owner are protected against the financial implications of such damages.

Coverage Details of On-Hook Towing Insurance

This insurance typically covers damages to the vehicle being towed in the event of:

  • Collisions: If the tow truck is involved in an accident while a vehicle is in tow, on-hook towing insurance will cover damages to the towed vehicle.
  • Theft and Vandalism: Provides coverage if the vehicle is stolen or vandalized while connected to the tow truck.
  • Fire and Explosion: In rare cases, if a fire or explosion damages the vehicle while towing, this insurance will cover the losses.

Costs Associated with On-Hook Towing Insurance

The cost of on-hook towing insurance can vary based on several factors including the insurance company, the type of vehicle being towed, and the potential risks associated with the towing operation. Auto transport insurance costs are typically factored into the overall service fee charged by the transport company.

Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Company

Selecting the right auto insurance company for on-hook towing insurance involves:

  • Reputation and Reliability: Choose a company known for its reliability and strong customer service.
  • Coverage Options: Look for insurers that offer comprehensive coverage options that can be tailored to specific towing needs.
  • Cost Effectiveness: Compare different policies for their features versus their costs to find the most cost-effective option.

Additional Considerations for On-Hook Towing Insurance

When considering this type of insurance, pay attention to:

  • Policy Limits: Ensure the policy covers up to the full value of the vehicle being towed.
  • Exclusions: Understand what scenarios and damages are not covered under the policy.
  • Deductibles: Be aware of your deductible amount, which is what you'll need to pay out of pocket before insurance coverage starts.

Filing a Claim for On-Hook Towing Insurance

Should damage occur, the process for filing a claim typically includes:

  • Immediate Notification: Inform the insurance company as soon as possible after the incident.
  • Documentation: Provide detailed documentation of the damage, including photos and a police report if applicable.
  • Follow-Up: Maintain communication with the insurance company to ensure that your claim is processed efficiently.

Gap Coverage in Auto Transport Insurance

Gap coverage is a crucial type of insurance that provides financial protection for car owners in the event that their vehicle is totaled or stolen while in the custody of an auto transport company. Understanding gap coverage can help ensure you are fully protected during the transportation process.

Understanding Gap Coverage

Gap coverage, also known as "Guaranteed Auto Protection," covers the difference between the actual cash value of a vehicle and the balance still owed on its financing or lease agreement if the car is declared a total loss. This type of insurance is particularly important when transporting new or expensive vehicles that might depreciate faster than the loan is paid down.

Why Gap Coverage is Necessary

When using car shipping services, your vehicle is at risk of accidents, theft, or total loss scenarios. Regular auto insurance policies may only cover the current market value of the vehicle, which often does not fully satisfy the loan or lease payoff amounts. Gap coverage ensures that you are not left paying out of pocket for the remaining balance.

Who Needs Gap Coverage?

  • Gap coverage is recommended for:
  • Owners of leased vehicles.
  • Individuals who have financed their vehicles for 60 months or longer.
  • Owners of vehicles with a high rate of depreciation.
  • Anyone who has put down less than 20% on a vehicle purchase.

Costs Associated with Gap Coverage

The cost of gap insurance is relatively low compared to the potential financial risk of not having it. Prices may vary depending on the insurance provider and the specifics of the vehicle being covered but generally involve a small addition to the monthly premium.

Gap Coverage Benefits in Auto Transport

  • Financial Protection: It protects against financial losses if your vehicle is damaged beyond repair or stolen during transit.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that you won’t face significant out-of-pocket expenses if the worst occurs during auto transport provides immense peace of mind.
  • Ease of Claims: Claims under gap coverage are typically straightforward, as the coverage bridges the gap between actual value and amount owed.

Choosing the Right Insurance Company for Gap Coverage

Selecting the right auto insurance company for gap coverage involves:

  • Reputation: Choose a company known for fair claims handling and good customer service.
  • Coverage Terms: Ensure the terms of the gap coverage meet your specific needs, such as covering the vehicle for its full loan or lease payoff value.
  • Price Comparison: Compare different insurers for the best price while ensuring comprehensive coverage.

How to Add Gap Coverage

  • Through Lenders or Dealers: Often, the easiest way to obtain gap coverage is at the point of vehicle purchase through your lender or dealer.
  • Through Auto Insurance Companies: Many commercial auto insurance companies also offer gap coverage. It can be added to your existing auto insurance policy as an endorsement.

Filing a Claim with Gap Coverage

If you need to file a claim under gap coverage:

  • Report Immediately: Inform your insurance company immediately after the incident.
  • Documentation: Provide necessary documentation such as your loan details, current vehicle value assessment, and details of the incident.
  • Follow-up: Stay proactive in following up with the insurance company to ensure your claim is processed quickly.

Additional Insights into Auto Transport Insurance

When it comes to transporting your vehicle, having robust insurance coverage is crucial. This section provides additional insights into auto transport insurance, helping you understand the nuances and ensuring you choose the best options for your needs.

Understanding Auto Transport Insurance Requirements

Auto transport insurance is not just advisable; it's often required by law. Federal regulations mandate that all auto transport companies carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover any damages or losses that occur during transport. Understanding these requirements is key to ensuring that the auto transport company you choose is compliant and reliable.

The Role of a Reliable Auto Transport Company

Choosing a reliable auto transport company is crucial for ensuring the safety of your vehicle during transit. A dependable company will not only meet the minimum insurance requirements but will also offer additional coverage options like cargo insurance and gap coverage. They should be transparent about their insurance policies, providing clear details on what is covered, the limits of coverage, and any potential deductible costs.

Commercial Auto Insurance vs. Carrier Insurance

It's important to differentiate between commercial auto insurance and carrier insurance:

  • Commercial Auto Insurance: This type of insurance is generally held by the auto transport company and covers their business operations, including liability for employee accidents and damages to their equipment.
  • Carrier Insurance: Specifically covers the vehicles being transported. This is the direct insurance that will typically cover your car during transport.

Understanding the distinctions can help you ask the right questions when reviewing an auto transport company's insurance coverage.

Comparing Auto Transport Insurance Costs


The cost of auto transport insurance can vary widely depending on several factors:

  • Type of Coverage: Full coverage that includes liability, cargo, and comprehensive policies will cost more than basic liability alone.
  • Value of Vehicle: More expensive vehicles typically cost more to insure because they pose a higher risk in terms of potential payout.
  • Distance of Transport: Longer transport routes can increase the insurance cost due to the increased risk of incidents during longer journeys.

Evaluating Insurance Coverage Options

When evaluating insurance coverage, consider the following:

  • Minimum Coverage: Ensure the auto transport service meets at least the minimum legal requirements for insurance coverage.
  • Optional Add-ons: Consider whether additional coverage like cargo insurance and gap coverage are appropriate based on the value of your vehicle and the specifics of your transport needs.
  • Exclusions and Limits: Understand what the insurance does not cover and whether there are any caps on coverage that might expose you to unexpected costs.

The Importance of Working with Insured Car Carriers

Working with insured car carriers is not only a legal requirement but also a practical necessity. Ensure that the car shipping company you choose provides documentation proving that their insurance is comprehensive and up-to-date. This verification helps protect you from potential fraud and financial loss.

Navigating Claims with Auto Insurance Companies

Should you need to file a claim, the process typically involves:

  • Immediate Notification: Notify the auto transport company and their insurance provider immediately after noticing any damage.
  • Documentation: Gather all necessary documentation, including photos of the damage, a copy of the transport contract, and any pre-transport vehicle inspection reports.
  • Claim Filing: Submit the claim according to the guidelines provided by the insurance company. Ensure all forms are completed fully and submitted within any time limits.
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Understanding insurance options is vital for door-to-door auto transport. Carrier liability, cargo, and on-hook towing insurances offer protection against various risks during transit. Evaluating these options ensures comprehensive coverage for your vehicle. Take proactive steps to research and select a reputable auto transport company with transparent insurance policies. Don't hesitate to inquire about additional coverage options to safeguard your vehicle effectively. By prioritizing thorough insurance considerations, you can start your door-to-door auto transport journey with confidence and peace of mind. Take action now to secure the protection your vehicle deserves.

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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!

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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.

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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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