How to Move Your Car using Professional Movers

Yellow car with moving boxes on top
[MECKY]/[Stone]/Getty Images.

When moving across the country, to another state or to another country, you may need to also move a car.  Shipping your car with a professional company can cost more than if you did it yourself; however, you will be saving time and energy needed to get your car to your new home, and in some cases, such as moving overseas, you don't have a choice in how your car is moved.

Car shippers usually offer to either drive your car to the new destination or move it via truck to save your car the extra mileage.

Type of service will determine cost, so as you read through the following tips keep the options in mind. If you're moving overseas, your car will have to be shipped and follow necessary custom importing regulations. If you're moving a car overseas, you'll need to properly prepare it. 

Research the Company

Research is key whenever you're using a service to move your belongings or store them. Contact the Better Business Bureau. Find out if any of the companies on your list have generated any reports. Information you receive will usually contain any grievances filed and if the grievances were resolved successfully. It's rare that a company does not have any unhappy customers; the key is to ensure that if there were complaints, in the end the customer was satisfied with the result. Read the report carefully, and if you're thinking of using a company who had a grievance filed, ask them specifically about this case and how it was resolved.

Depending on the severity of the complaint, you may choose not to use this company.

Get an Estimate

Most companies will give you just an estimate of when they can pick up your vehicle and when it will be delivered – usually a three to five day window and most will store your vehicle for you if the pick-up dates or delivery dates don’t work for you.

Get an Inspection

Now, before the company drives off with your vehicle they need to perform a full inspection and provide you with a report that you’ll sign, too. Make sure you carefully inspect your car and that the report accurately describes its present condition, including windows, internal dash, seat condition, etc… – this is how your car should arrive; however, if some damage should occur, the inspection is the record that the insurance company will refer to. This report will also record the mileage, gas gauge and dates for pick up and delivery.

Also, clean out your car thoroughly. Most companies won’t take responsibility for any loose items left in the vehicle. Remove tools, personal items and anything of value.

When the vehicle is delivered to you after the move, inspect it carefully before signing. This is the time to note any damage or missing items. Take your time so you can cover every inch, both inside and out. Refer to the initial inspection sheet. Again, this is how the insurance company will decide what is covered.

Know the Complete Cost

To determine how much it will cost to ship your vehicle, the transport company will need to know where it's being shipped to and from, when it needs to be picked up and delivered.

You’ll also have to notify them of what kind of vehicle is being transported, and any additional services you might need.

Make sure you research at least 5 companies and receive quotes from 3. If you're unsure if you'd like your car transported or driven, ask for quotes for both types of services.

Note that most companies require at least a down payment to secure the booking; some may ask for the full amount upfront. Regardless, any amounts owing at the time of delivery, have to pay immediately. Be prepared to pay in full. Most companies accept major credit cards, but make sure you ask before you book.

Get Enough Insurance

Before you sign the contract, ask about the insurance the company offers. Your vehicle should be covered against any damage or theft that may occur during transport. Find out what kind of deductible is in place and if the coverage the transport company offers is primary coverage or secondary.

If it's secondary, your insurance company picks up the tab first, so find out from your company what kind of coverage is offered for this kind of auto service.