What You Should Be Asking Your International Car Shipping Broker

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If it's your first time shipping your vehicle or transporting a motorcycle internationally, you may not know where to begin in trying to find an auto transport company that is reliable, affordable, and secure. It's not as difficult as a process as you might think though. Considering some of the dubious companies that are out there, it does help to have a list of questions ready to ask them. The following is a list of questions that you should ask, as well as the answers that you should be looking for:

What is Your Website Address?

If you ask an auto transport company if they have a website and they answer no, then move on to another company. Every legitimate auto transport company will have a website today, which will also provide more information about their services, licenses, and contact information. Regardless if they have a website or not, look them up on the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org to check out customer reviews and their reputation.

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What Are Your Shipping Rates?

You should specifically ask them what their standard shipping rates are for a vehicle, namely in terms of its size and weight. Also, be sure to ask what their policy is on having to pay taxes and import duties, such as if it's included in the price or is your responsibility.

What Types of Insurance Are Available?

Every auto transport company, especially one that ships internationally, will offer some form of insurance. However, every auto transport company has a different policy, so be sure to ask them for the exact details of their insurance coverage, as well as any alternative options available. It helps to explain to them your own particular needs and to see if they have an insurance policy that can handle them.

Are There Any Hidden Fees?

There are some auto transport companies that may have various hidden fees present in addition to their regular shipping fees. Make sure to ask them directly if this is the case with the particular company.

Have You Been Licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission?

Any international transport company based out of the United States will be licensed with the Federal Maritime Commission, also known as the FMC. You can visit their website at www.fmc.gov to search for the name of the company and to find their FMC number just to be on the safe side.

What Are the Documents That I Will Need?

You will need certain documents in order to ship your vehicle internationally. Some of these documents may not be readily available. Ask them to provide you with a list of what you will need, which will save you a considerable amount of stress and help you to avoid any unnecessary delays.

What Vehicle Preparations Should I Make?

Ask them how you should prepare your vehicle for shipping. Do you have to remove all of your personal items? Should the gas tank be completely empty? These are all things that you should know of ahead of time.

Can You Please Provide Me With an Estimate?

Ask them for a cost estimate based on the information that you've provided them. Many auto transport companies will have a free instant quote calculator on their website, but it's best to speak with a representative directly and ask them to provide you with one.

What is the Estimated Shipping Time?

Make sure to have them tell you the estimated shipping time. They won't be able to give you the exact date, but they should give you a ballpark estimate, such as "within 2 weeks."

Do You Offer Any Discounts or Special Promotions?

You should ask them if they can offer you a special deal or discount, such as if you're planning on using them again or are shipping more than one vehicle at a time. Don't be unrealistic or demanding, but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask!

So there you have it. Ask an international shipping company the above questions and you should be good to go!

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Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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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.

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