Maybe you bought a car in one state and needed to be shipped just on the other side of the country? Or maybe, have your car sent to your ex-wife, who happens to live in Canada? Or, why not, bought your car on-line, from San Francisco, and need it in New York? I’m sure that, if this hasn’t happened yet, it will probably happen sooner or later. So here are a few tips for transporting your car within the USA, or between the USA and Canada, no matter the distance. Sometimes an Auto Transportation service provider is a good choice instead of doing it on your own, it is efficient and time-saving.

Scheduling /Timing

Bearing in mind that the whole process can take quite a while, especially on long distances, schedule your auto shipping at least 4 weeks before you move, giving enough time to arrange for a car mover carrier to pick up your vehicle. The more advanced time the better. If you are not available, you should arrange an alternative authorized party such as a neighbor, friend, or relative you can trust to transfer the car to the car mover. Most automobile shippers offer door-to-door service.

The Cost Of Auto Transportation 

When working with a Car Mover, confirm what the total cost of the shipping will be. As you obtain quotes from several car transport and auto shipping companies (some links included lower), be prepared to provide:

·Approximate departure date;
·Type of vehicle(s);
·Type of car transport service desired (e.g. door-to-door car transport vs. terminal-to-terminal);
·Special car mover or auto shipping requests (e.g. deliver at a location other than your home vs. at your home).

Payment method

While some car transport and auto driveaway companies may not require payment in advance, others require a deposit (10-25% of the total cost), or full payment in advance. If a deposit is given, the amount due is always required at the time of delivery – oftentimes with a cashier’s check or cash. Sometimes a surcharge of 2-3% is required when using a credit card with a car transport or auto driveaway company.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must license auto shippers, transporters with a valid MC# or US DOT#. Ask your auto transportation company. 


The car Transport Company or auto drive-away should insure your vehicle against damage and theft. ASK FOR A COPY OF INSURANCE COVERAGE. Ask if the carrier’s insurance is PRIMARY or SECONDARY to your insurance in the event of damage during car transport. Also, ask if there is damage deductible – VERIFY ALL IN WRITING. Also, your car insurance may cover your vehicle in transit – check with your car insurance company to verify.

Inspect your car before shipping

It is advisable that in addition to receiving a condition report document from your car mover detailing any pre-existing damage to your car, that you take photographs of the car, date the photos, and attach them to the condition report provided by the car mover for your records. You must have a detailed description of the condition of your car before shipping. The condition report or other document used by the car mover should include current mileage, pre-existing damage of any type including glass, scratches, paint, dents, and so on. This report is important in case any disputes arise.

Accepting your vehicle for delivery

At the time of delivery, inspect your vehicle SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY and compare the condition and mileage against the “Original Inspection Report” provided by your car transport company at origination (ALSO INSPECT THE ROOF AND UNDER FRONT AND REAR BUMPERS). If there are inconsistencies, note them as exceptions and be sure the driver signs them. NEVER ACCEPT YOUR VEHICLE AT NIGHT IF YOU CANNOT VERIFY ITS CONDITION – without being viewed and signed by the driver, you have little recourse if the damage had occurred during transit.

Unresolved Disputes

Always try to work out your dispute with the car mover or auto shipping company first. They often work on a referral basis and are motivated to working out problems. However, if you feel you have reached a dead-end or that you have not been treated reasonably, you have the option of filing complaints with multiple agencies (BBB, State and or Federal Department Of Transportation, Interstate Commerce Commission) as well as seeking legal counsel.