How to Find a Reputable Car Transporter

How to Find a Reputable Car Transporter

For our last cross-country move, we had both of our cars shipped, and we flew to our new city. We were moving over 1500 miles in December with a baby. So it didn’t make sense, nor did it feel safe, to drive our two cars across the country. Finding a reliable car transporter was the most difficult part of our move to work out.

I made the mistake of entering my email and phone number to get a quote from some generic website. I ended up getting dozens of phone calls and emails every single day for weeks, with companies trying to reach out about transporting our cars. I was so overwhelmed because I didn’t know who to trust. While there were probably reliable companies contacting me, how was I supposed to weed them out?

So, if you need to transport your car for a long-distance move, learn from my mistakes and check out these tips for finding a car transporter:

The word "Research" under a microscope

Do your research

Start by researching car transport companies online. Look for companies with good reputations and positive reviews. My first go-to is asking around in local Facebook groups. This is an easy way to find companies that others have used and what their experience was like. I also check Yelp and Google Reviews for recommendations. When reading reviews, I do remain skeptical, knowing that reviews can be altered, bought, or removed. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.

If you have hired a moving company to move the belongings in your house, they may have a branch that transports cars. Or they may recommend a company they work with often.

Screenshot of U.S Department of Transportation website

Check credentials

Verify that the car transport company has all the necessary licenses and insurance. The company should have a valid Motor Carrier number and USDOT number. You can also check if they are members of any professional organizations, such as the National Auto Transport Association (NATA) or the American Automobile Association (AAA).

If you don’t see any online visibility of the company, that can be a red flag. There should be a website, reviews, or other detailed information about the company when doing a simple google search.

Price quote form

Get multiple quotes

Get quotes from at least three car transport companies, and compare their rates and services. Make sure you understand what is included in the quote, and ask for a breakdown of any additional fees or charges. Sometimes, companies will tack on additional hidden fees like fuel surcharges or terminal handling fees. Make sure to document in writing what the company says about these fees so that expectations are clearly spelled out.

Most importantly, when requesting quotes, inquire directly with the company via email or phone. Do not fill out a generic quote request online. You will be inundated with phone calls and emails like I was.

Cars being transported by a truck

Check their equipment

Make sure the car transport company has the right equipment to handle your car. For example, if you have a luxury car, you may want to ensure that the company has experience with transporting such vehicles. If you request an enclosed carrier, be sure that the company is able to provide one for the driver.

Person holding on to steering-wheel, while driving down a road

Inquire about their experience

Ask the car transport company about their experience with transporting cars like yours. For example, if you have a classic car or an oversized vehicle, you’ll want to make sure they have experience handling such transports. 

Ask how they assign a driver. How are drivers vetted? How long has your assigned driver been transporting cars? I ask a lot of questions when I inquire, but I always end up having more questions later on. Don’t be afraid to reach out again if other questions come to mind.

A pair of glasses and pen on top of a contract

Check the contract

Before signing a contract, make sure you read it thoroughly and understand all the terms and conditions. You’d be surprised how many people blow through a contract without reading the details. Then find out later that there is something in the contract they disagree with. Or there’s something in the contract they didn’t understand: a word or phrase. Remember, if you have any questions, ask the car transport company for clarification.

As I said before, finding a good car transporter is not easy. It takes a bit of leg work to see what is available in your area. Ask as many questions as you need, do your research, and trust your gut. By following these tips, you can find a reputable car transport company that will help transport your car safely and efficiently. Make sure that your car insurance covers you too, incase something were to happen. If you are in the market for new car insurance, comparing car insurance options online can be an easy solution.

If you’re looking for help staying organized during your move, check out the Move Mama Move Relocation Planners with all the checklists, tips, trackers, and logs to keep you on top of it all during this major transition.

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