How to Choose the Best Car Shipping Company

How to Choose the Best Car Shipping Company?

Planning a road trip to move your car might sound fun, but it can be exhausting if your destination is far away. Not to mention it increases the wear and tear and puts unnecessary mileage on your car.  Besides, if you want to move more than one vehicle, there is no way that you can […]

Planning a road trip to move your car might sound fun, but it can be exhausting if your destination is far away. Not to mention it increases the wear and tear and puts unnecessary mileage on your car.  Besides, if you want to move more than one vehicle, there is no way that you can go back and forth transporting all cars. In such a scenario, hiring a car shipping company that can safely transport your vehicle anywhere in the country is necessary. 

If you are shipping overseas, it becomes necessary to find a company that specializes in international shipping and can provide you with reasonable delivery options.

While searching for a car shipping company, there must be plenty of questions running in your mind. But the number of shipping companies available can make choosing the best one challenging. You may ask yourself:

  • How to choose a car shipping company?
  • How to calculate the cost of shipping cars locally or overseas?
  • Which is the best car shipping company?
  • Can you place items in your car while shipping?

We are here to help you in your quest to avail the best car shipping services. Read our article below to find the best car shipping company. 

What to look for in a car shipping company?

Choosing one of the best car shipping companies to transport is more straightforward than you think. But only if you know what to look for. Here are the crucial factors to consider:

Mode of shipping

As a car shipper, you must first decide what kind of services you require from a shipping company. Further, check the types of shipping your chosen company provides. Usually, car shipping companies offer both open and enclosed transport.  

Open transport

Open transport is the most common method of transporting a car from city to city or another state. Car shipping companies use open-truck carriers to transport vehicles by road. It is also the best method for transporting regular cars and the cheapest for local transport. 

Enclosed transport

Although an expensive method to transport cars locally, enclosed transport is a perfect choice for moving luxury and vintage cars. The enclosed carriers provide additional security and prevent the vehicles from weather and road debris.

Shipping Service

When it comes to shipping service, you have the following options:

Door-to-door transport

Many shipping companies will provide door-to-door services to pick up your car or vehicles from your door and deliver it to your desired location. You can avail of this service if you have a busy schedule and cannot drop your car at the terminal.

Terminal-to-terminal transport

Another option for shipping a car is to drop it at the transport terminal. The shipping company will transport the vehicle to the required destination, where you can pick it up from the terminal closest to the shipping destination. 

This method is cheaper than door-to-door. However, you must ensure a terminal is present near your final shipping destination.

Shipping Timeline

Some shipping companies also offer expedited shipping if you want to ship your car quickly. Your shipping company will prioritize your car shipment for quick delivery, but it will be expensive. Therefore, we recommend booking your shipment at least 72 days in advance to reduce transportation costs.

International shipping

Not all shipping companies will provide international shipping. So if you want to move your car overseas, look for an international car shipping company. You can ship it through air freight, which is very expensive, or ocean freight, the most commonly used and cheapest method of moving cars overseas. 

There are two standard methods of shipping your vehicles overseas. They are RoRo and container shipping. If you want affordable shipping where you can send a whole fleet of cars, we recommend choosing RoRo. But if you want to ship luxury vehicles plus goods with additional security, container shipping is an excellent choice.

How efficient is the car shipping company’s quote process?

The quote process requires calculating shipping costs plus additional costs by considering many factors. For instance, shipping a car overseas will also incur import taxes and duties, adding to transportation costs. 

Other factors such as car type, weight, size, shipment method, and distance traveled will add to the shipping charges. If you hire truckers or book a carrier for local or international transport on your own, you won’t get a guaranteed quote. 

On the other hand, a professional car shipping company will put out bids to popular carriers to get the most affordable price for your shipment. 

For local transport, usually, car shipping companies use their own fleet of drivers. Therefore, they can provide you with guaranteed quotes. However, many extenuating circumstances, such as fluctuations in fuel prices, can cause a difference in shipping charges between booking and final delivery. 

In addition, if you avail of door-to-door service, the extra charges will also add to your estimated quote. So consider this additional cost as well.

Choose a large car shipping company

If you choose to book a carrier yourself for shipping your car, they will only prioritize your shipment. On the other hand, big shipping companies prioritize cargo plus the experience of their shippers. They serve as a single point of contact from the beginning of shipping till the delivery of your car, providing end-to-end service.

A large shipping company has the necessary expertise to solve problems faster if they ever arise because they don’t just care about your shipment. But they also believe in providing a smooth shipping experience. 

If you want to move your car overseas, a large shipping company will have the experience of understanding various customs rules & regulations of each region. Furthermore, they will be familiar with both popular and unpopular routes and will be able to book the best carrier for your car at competitive rates.

A large shipping company works with an extensive network of auto haulers and carriers, so you won’t ever have to face a delay in delivery. Smaller car shipping companies can also transport your vehicle to your desired location. But the delivery time will be slow as they won’t have an extensive network of truckers and carriers.

Ask around for car shipping experiences

Google is the best place to look for people sharing their car shipping experiences. One way to do this is by checking online reviews of various shipping companies. 

While looking for reviews, it’s vital to check details. Be cautious of companies with no reviews or many negative reviews that raise the same issues.

Check websites or social media such as TransportReviews, Facebook, BBB, and TrustPilot. The best car shipping companies will have an online presence on all these platforms. 

Filter to look for reviews by people like you. For instance, if you want to ship a luxury or vintage car, look for reviews that mention shipping experiences for classic, race, or luxury vehicles. 

It’s crucial to check for online reviews of prospective car shipping companies before booking. Also, look for the average rating and the total number of reviews. You will get an idea about the companies’ professionalism, experience, and work ethics. 

Check if the car shipping company provides insurance

Legally, all car shipping companies must carry liability insurance. But some will also offer additional coverage, such as marine insurance for transporting cars overseas. 

Check whether the liability insurance of a shipping company covers all aspects, such as transport, loading, and unloading. However, liability insurance won’t provide coverage if an incident happens due to a car’s dire condition, like worn-out parts or oil leakage.

Some circumstances are also out of our hands, such as snow, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, or rain. Usually, your auto insurance won’t cover these circumstances. 

That’s why some shipping companies will offer additional vehicle coverage while in transit. You can ask the shipping company to get your car’s recommended level of insurance. 

Make sure that the company has an NVOCC license

One of the most important things about a car shipping company is to check whether they own an NVOCC license or not. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issues the NVOCC license to regulate ocean-based transport. 

The benefit of owning this license is that a car shipping company directly contacts shipping lines to book the best carriers at competitive rates. NVOCC companies have vast industry knowledge, making it easy for them to get a faster clearance for shipments at customs. 

They have the necessary experience to file documentation, make proper corrections, and get your cargo approved by customs. Due to their robust network of partners, they are able to solve shipment issues and avoid unnecessary customs delays. 

An NVOCC car shipping company will also provide additional insurance if requested. Moreover, they will aid you in making a claim with an insurance provider if needed. 

What payment methods does the company offer?

Payment to a car shipping company happens like any service you purchase. You can pay through your credit card online or through a bank transfer. 

Some shipping companies will also offer you other payment methods, such as a cashier’s check or cash to pay for pick-up and drop-off services. While others will provide you with a discount if you pay upfront for these services.

It’s uncommon to pay a deposit upfront to ship a car, but this can vary from company to company. Deposits are usually refundable if you cancel your shipment before it is dispatched. But remember to read the terms and conditions of shipment before paying the money. 

Be wary of companies that ask for large deposits upfront. Generally, professional car shipping companies don’t have any hidden or upfront costs. You only pay after receiving the shipment.

What is the shipping company’s cancellation policy?

You may only have to pay a nominal charge if the car shipping company doesn’t ask for a deposit upfront. But that depends on whether you cancel your shipment when it is on its way or hasn’t been dispatched yet.

Some companies that ask for a deposit upfront will keep a part of the deposit if you cancel after the company has scheduled your shipment. They may also keep a portion of the deposit if the carrier is on its way to you. 

However, the cancellation fee should never be exorbitant, so check a shipping company’s cancellation policy before booking a shipment.

How’s their customer support?

Customer service is what makes a car shipping company’s reputation. When you entrust your valuable vehicle to a car shipping company, it’s understandable that you want their customer service to be available when required.

Check with different shipping companies and discuss quotes. Observe whether they are attentive to your shipping needs and understand them well. Also, assess how well the representatives explain things to you and whether they are proactive and helpful or not. 

Also, make sure to check if a car shipping company has more than one way of addressing them. Many car shipping companies will have a presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Most car shipping companies offer 24/7 online customer service so you can reach them for a query anytime and anywhere. 

The Bottom Line

Choosing the best car shipping company from so many can be challenging when you don’t know what you are looking for. But first, assess your needs and consider what a company has to offer regarding shipment and payment methods, insurance, and customer support. 

Look for an experienced and licensed company like AFL that surpasses all standards for shipping locally and overseas. With over ten years of experience in the shipping industry and 150,000 shipments, our company strives to provide a seamless shipping experience.
We are an NVOCC-licensed company that can book the best carriers for you at affordable rates. Our experts will also handle your documentation process and can clear your shipment at customs in no time at all. Contact us to get your free estimate today!


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