Shipping Cars Across Country – choosing a vehicle transportation company

A number of auto-transportation companies exist with different methods of shipping cars. The type of vehicle you want to ship, destination as well as factors such as insurance, car shipping rates and deadlines all play a part in your decision.

Types of Transporters for Cars

The type of automobile you own affects the manner in which you will need to ship the car. Types of transporters for shipping cars include:

Enclosed transportation – more expensive; ideal for cars that require extra safety while shipping such as older or luxurious models

Open trailers – more economical; most transport more than one vehicle at a time

Enclosed, sometimes referred to as “hotshot” auto transport company delivers one to three cars at a time and are able to access residential neighborhoods; open trailers are much larger and almost always require you to meet the driver at an agreed upon location such as an open parking lot.


All transporters need to have active DOT and MC numbers, in addition to an updated and valid registration with the Department of Transportation.  The transportation service will have separate documentation for shipping cars across country and overseas.

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All companies are required to have insurance, however the specific insurance details provided for your transportation service may be limited. Depending on the company, insurance costs per car shipment may be included in the price or you may be provided various options from which to choose.

Be sure to inquire about coverage specifics, including the type of damages and amount covered. If you have to pay extra, make sure that the coverage details can be easily located within any documents you sign before shipping your car.

Shop Around

Research different auto-transportation companies and compare before making a final decision. Consider asking about:

  • Quotes
  • Transportation method
  • Insurance coverage
  • Pick-up and Delivery location and time
  • Experience

A valuable asset, you don’t want to entrust your car to the cheapest company unless they have proven themselves to be a reliable auto transport company. You can easily find out additional information on carshipping services by calling the Better Business Bureau and reading Internet reviews. Also ask friends, work colleagues and family members – word of mouth recommendations are often the best means of obtaining information on a company.

Once you level down the choices, call and/or visit the auto transport company or your long distance movers. Your interactions with a real person from the company should match your expectations of professionalism. The person whom you speak with should be able to provide any additional information you request. If they do not know the answers to specific questions, he/she should direct you to another employee that can help.

Keep in mind: If you feel overly pressured to sign up for extras, lack confidence in their ability to safely deliver your car on the scheduled date, are unclear about the insurance or even if you have a sense that something is off – you are under no obligation to sign with any company.

What to Expect

Once you’ve found the best company to suit your automobile shipping needs, you will want to carefully review the contract. Make sure it clearly states the method of transportation, the pick up and deliver date and related insurance information. Also ask for the driver’s name and contact information. An experienced company and/or driver should be willing to provide you with on-the-road updates for your piece of mind.

A responsible company will most likely ask you about the state of your car and other information as well.


Taking the added time to research an automotive transportation company will ensure the safety of your car. Start by finding companies that have experience shipping cars across country and a proven track-record of customer satisfaction. Once you’ve decided on the best service for you, make sure that all information regarding price, delivery place and time and insurance coverage is outlined in your contract.