How to Locate the Right Auto Shipper

Congratulations on your upcoming move. Now that you've established what moving company will transport your belongings, it's time to decide how you will move your car. There are numerous auto transportation companies to choose from, and with this list of tips, will help make sure that your vehicle(s) arrives to your new home safe and sound.

1. Locating a shipper.
You can find numerous auto shippers advertised in the newspaper, phone book or online. But don't expect to find your auto shipper just by giving them a call -- you should conduct extensive research by checking that the company is licensed and bonded.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) licenses and regulates vehicle transport companies, so ask for and check the DOT license number. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows you to check carriers by entering their name, DOT license number or MC #. The site will tell you if they have authority to transport "for hire," if they have auto insurance and who their policy is through.

Also, consider asking your moving company if they can recommend a car mover. Sometimes movers have partnerships with auto shipping vendors and may be able to suggest vendors to work. In some instances, your moving company may do the shipping themselves, though, often at a higher cost.

2. Find them through references.
Ask friends, family members or co-workers who have used a car mover about their experiences. As you obtain a few contacts - do your own research of the companies. Start by checking through the Better Business Bureau if there have been complaints against the auto shipping company you are interested in using as well as how these complaints were resolved.

3. Obtain a quote.
As you obtained quotes from your movers, it is also wise to research three-five possible vendors and get quotes from at least three of them. Quotes are determined on the distance of your move and the specifics related to your car shipment such as pick-up and drop-off locations and other services that you may need. When you are obtaining a quote also be sure to ask about who will be dealing with your car as well as what their contact information is.

4. Open vs. an enclosed carriers.
An open trailer is either partially or fully exposed to the elements on the road. They can be a three-car carrier to a larger version that fits 11 to 13 cars. On the other hand, an enclosed trailer is not exposed and protected from the elements, much like a mobile storage unit. Although this option offers you added protection, it also cost 25-50 percent more than an open carrier.

5. Ask about insurance.
Before you work with an auto shipping company, ask them about their car insurance. An auto shipping vendor legally should have a minimum of $750,000 liability and $5,000 cargo coverage. These minimums are established by the US DOT and without them a carrier is not considered a legal operator.

Insurance is critical when using an auto shipper because you want to make sure that your car is protected against any damage, accident or theft on the road. Ask vendors about the deductible as well as if what they offer is primary or secondary coverage. In some instances, you will need to supplemental insurance for items of extraordinary value in order to protect them for loss and damages.

When discussing insurance plans, don't only rely on what an auto mover tells you. Ask to see their insurance paperwork and their certificates. In some instances, your car may be stored with the auto shipping vendor prior to the move (due to conflicting moving dates, etc). If that is the case, be sure to see where you car will be held.

6. Consider a broker.
You can also locate an auto shipping vendor through a broker. They generally work with a number of different auto shipping companies, but they do not own the trailers themselves. So, essentially they get you in contact with the auto shipper for a fee where you still have to research and obtain quotes from auto shippers. Even though this is an extra step (and more money), brokers only work with professional and licensed agencies so you will likely not have to deal with shady car shippers.

Moving your car may seem challenging, but with through research and planning, you'll locate the right auto shipper.