There are more than 4.2 million miles of roads crisscrossing this great nation of ours. While a road trip could be a fun adventure, you may not have the time or ability to drive your car across the country using that network of roads.

In this case, you need to know how to ship a car cross country. While the process is relatively simple, there are some intricacies you need to know to make sure the process goes smoothly.

Keep reading for a guide to everything you need to know about shipping your car.

How to Ship a Car Cross Country

The first step in shipping your car across the country is to decide how you want to ship your vehicle. You need to choose between an open or enclosed truck.

Open Trucks

This is the most popular way to ship vehicles because it is the most affordable. The downside is that your car is exposed to potential damage or theft.

Because the entire trailer is open, any inclement weather or road debris can come into contact with your car.

Enclosed Trucks

If your car is especially valuable, like a vintage car or high-end sports car, then you may want to consider the additional investment of an enclosed truck. This shipping method will cost more but offers the most significant amount of security and safety to your car.

Shop Around for a Carrier

There are plenty of areas where you can save money as a car owner; this is not one of them. The adage that you get what you pay for applies to shipping your car.

Pick the option that offers a reliable service at a price that is within your budget. When you choose the cheapest option, you risk trusting your car to an unscrupulous carrier.

Once you narrow down your options, ask the potential carriers for their USDOT number. You can then look up the carrier and find out their safety record, company info, safety rating, and crash information.

Ask the carrier how much insurance they carry. You also have a right to confirm that their insurance policy or bond is in good standing.

If the carrier refuses to give this information, do not ship with them. This is a big red flag.

Plan Your Shipment

When it comes to planning your shipment, you need to make sure that both you and the carrier are on the same. This will help you manage your shipment and know what to expect.

Shipment Time

Keep in mind that freight shipping can take a long time. There are also no guarantees as to when your vehicle will get delivered.

The carrier will give you an estimated delivery date that they will try to hit. Unfortunately, everything from weather to traffic accidents can delay your shipment.

If you need your vehicle by a particular day or quickly, then you need to arrange for expedited shipping. This will cost you extra, but well worth it if the delivery date is important to you.

Type of Service

One way to adjust your shipment is to opt for a terminal to terminal shipment. This means you bring your car to the nearest terminal of the carrier.

Then the carrier will take it to another one of their terminals. You then pick your car up at the destination terminal.

You just need to be able to get your car to and from the terminals.

Your other option is to opt for door to door service. This is where the carrier sends a truck to your door to pick up your car. It is then transported to the door of your chosen destination.

This service takes a bit longer since the car has to travel further. The carrier will need to drive to each vehicle’s destination, and yours could be last on that list.

Prep Your Car

You cannot put your car onto the transport truck as it currently is. To ensure a smooth shipping process have your vehicle ready to go when the truck arrives.

Remove Personal Belongings

The first thing you need to do is empty your car of personal belongings. They are not secure in your vehicle, and many carriers do not allow you to pack your vehicle with personal items.

The carrier’s insurance and your own only cover the car. That means your personal items are not covered if lost or stolen.

Prep Your Keys

You will need to give your car keys to the driver of the truck. Make sure you take your other keys off the ring though.

If you forget this step, you’ll need to click here and get a locksmith to let you back into your house.

Wash Your Car

It is a good idea to give your car a good cleaning. This allows you to give your vehicle a good look over.

Look for any scratches, dents, or other damage. Take a picture of anything you find. This will come in handy if you need to make a claim for new damage upon delivery.

Check with Your Insurance Company

Did you know many insurance companies include coverage for your vehicle during shipping? If you are unsure of what your policy covers, give your insurance company a call and ask.

While you probably won’t need it, it is better to know what is covered ahead of time if something does happen.

Prepare Your BOL

The bill of lading (BOL) is a document that gets provided to you by the carrier. It is their confirmation that your shipment is booked and all of the essential details.

The truck driver will not pick up your car without this document. It is best to have multiple copies too. That way you can give him one and keep one for yourself.

Time to Ship Your Car

Now that you know how to ship a car cross country it is time to take action! Start prepping your car and looking for carriers that deliver the type of service you want.

Once you select a carrier and book your shipment, confirm the carrier’s specific requirements and get your BOL ready.

Is it worth shipping your car and bringing it with you? It might be time to ditch your car and buy a new one at your destination.

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