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There are a number of companies that offer transportation services to collect your car from the seller and deliver it to the docks. Like shipping companies, Auto Transportation companies also offer you two ways to get the vehicle moved. Driving it on an ‘open’ car carrier or transporting it inside an enclosed trailer. In our opinion both forms have their usage, we generally make the call based on the value and condition of the car. Naturally, ‘enclosed’ is the more expensive, but it’s also safer. On occasions, truck drivers will stop over night and leave the carrier unattended. There is a third way to transport a car that is sometimes used, and that is to pay someone to physically drive the car to the docks, you can ask the particular transportation company if they offer this service, so do, some don’t. This method is fine if the port isn’t too far away, typically these drivers carry their own insurance which, should damage or theft occur, would cover the cost of the car. A fourth possibility is transport by Railroad. Within the United States though, we can not recommend it.

On the subject of cost. Prices for moving vehicles across the United States can vary quite a bit. One factor to consider is where the vehicle is to be picked up. If it’s on a main route, then it’s likely to be cheaper than if a driver has to make a big diversion to collect it. Also, transport companies, like airlines and shipping companies, hate empty spaces, so if it turns out that your car will fill a space that would otherwise go empty, chances are you’ll get a deal!

As a guide, we suggest you budget $750-$1000 for coast to coast ‘Open’ transport, $1200-$1500 coast to coast ‘Enclosed’. From the Mid-West to the nearest coast budget around $750 ‘open’ and around $1000-$1200 ‘enclosed’. There are of course variables, but these numbers should put you in the ‘Ball Park’.

It is almost always better if at all possible to get the car running and driving. It will make your life easier finding a transport company to pick it up, and some shippers won’t touch cars that they can’t drive onto the ship. If a car has been in storage a long time, ask the seller if he could recommend a local mechanic who could come out, put some fresh petrol in the car, charge the battery and get it going before the trucker picks it up.

IMPORTANT NOTE

There is one very important difference in trucking services that we feel you should be aware of. Some companies own and operate their own fleet of trucks. Although these companies are typically more expensive, they offer many advantages over those that don’t. Most important is that they accept full liability for your vehicle whilst it is in their possession. It’s usually insured and a ‘damage report’ (similar to the one used when you rent a truck or car) is completed and signed off on by you at the time of pick up and delivery of your car.

Some companies simply act like ‘travel agents’. They arrange ‘passage’ for your car on a transporter that is going in the direction of where you want your car to end up. This sometimes can mean that your car is loaded and off-loaded several times onto different transporters to get it where you want it to go. Naturally, the more people that handle the car, the greater the chance of it getting damaged. When it does arrive at it’s destination with a dent that wasn’t there when you last saw it, whom do blame? With so many people involved, one points the finger at the other and so on, leaving you with a major headache and no one to accept liability.

The bottom line is use your discretion, and ask questions. It’s very easy to be ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ with trucking companies. If the car has a few dings and dents in it anyway, go for the cheapest method. However, if your car is ‘dent-free’, spend the extra bucks and either take out an insurance policy that covers damage to the car whilst in transit, or use one of the companies that have their own trucks and are willing to cough up for any damage to the car that happens whilst it’s in their care.

United States of America


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