How to Compare Auto Shipping Companies

Auto Shipping Companies

Cars ready for shipment by one of many auto shipping companies.

People often need to have someone transport their cars from one place to another because of a job transfer, because they are relocating to a new city or because they might have purchased a vehicle online. While there are many auto shipping companies to choose from, finding a reliable provider can be somewhat tricky. So before deciding to go with any one provider, a consumer needs to have an idea of what to look for and compare between different auto shipping companies.

Verify if the Company is Licensed and Insured

It is important to only consider fully insured and licensed auto shipping companies. A car is an expensive asset and entrusting it to a shipping company that does not have full insurance coverage could be disastrous. In the event the vehicle gets damaged during shipping, the bill for damages could end up being paid by the consumer if the carrier is uninsured or unlicensed. So, before choosing a car transportation service, the consumer needs to ask for their license to operate and their proof of insurance. Reputable companies offer such proof upfront so any company that is unwilling or unable to show it needs to be avoided.

All licensed auto shipping companies are also required by law to register their information with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Consumers who are reluctant to ask a carrier for their business license or proof of insurance can quickly check the FMCSA’s frequently updated web site for details.

Don’t Compare Apples and Oranges

Consumers need to understand how the different auto transport options work when comparing quotes from multiple auto shipping companies. In many cases, the cheapest shipping option may not be the best option. For instance, a price quote from a company that offers only terminal-to-terminal shipping on open carriers is likely to be substantially lower than the vehicle shipping rate quoted by a company that offers door to door service with enclosed carriers. Similarly, an unlicensed or uninsured carrier will often offer lower rates than a fully insured operator. So, when comparing car shipping quotes, it is important to ensure that only auto shipping companies that fall into the same category are compared.

Look for Hidden Costs

When comparing the rates of companies offering the same kind of auto shipping service, verify if there are any hidden costs. Sometimes, for instance, two terminal to terminal auto shipping companies might have comparable rates. However, one provider’s terminals could be located considerably further away than the other company’s terminal. So, the costs of getting to and from the terminal will need to be factored in to the final decision.

Ask for Customer Testimonials

Another way to reliably compare car shipping companies is to ask for customer testimonials. Reputable companies with high customer satisfaction scores are often eager to share customer testimonials with prospective clients. It is always a good idea to ask one or two of those customers about their experience with a particular shipping company. Word-of-mouth testimonials from actual customers are perhaps the most reliable indication of a company’s trustworthiness.