Car Transport Tips for First Timers

Shipping a vehicle can seem like a daunting task. There are many things that first timers do not understand about the process. We have put together some basic tips and information that will be helpful and that people using a car shipping service for the first time wouldn’t know.

You might want to book your car transport well in advance.

You should always book any car transport at least a few weeks ahead of time. We recommend booking your transport with at least four weeks of notice. This will help keep the cost of your car transport lower and it will help ensure that you get your preferred transport dates as well.

You can transport some personal belongings with your vehicle.

Yes, you can transport personal belongings inside of the vehicle that is being shipped. However, the total weight of these belongings cannot be more than a hundred pounds, and they must be left in the trunk, or in the backseats below the window line. Please keep in mind that you do so at your own risk, as personal belongings are not covered under insurance if they are reported as damaged or missing.

You need to know how insurance works when you transport a car.

When you transport your car, regular auto insurance may not cover your vehicle for anything that happens to it whether it is damage or theft (Don’t worry less than 1% of vehicle transports get damaged industry wide!) This is because typical car insurance only covers your car for collision and liability if the specific individual that is insured is driving it when such things occur. They also cover you in a comprehensive manner for events beyond the insured driver’s control such as weather damage, vandalism, and theft.

The problem is that insurance companies view your choosing to transport your car as within your control. Thus, if your car gets a scratch while transporting, your auto insurance may not cover it. You can choose to purchase additional coverage that will cover auto transport through your vehicle insurance, but it will be quite costly.

Thankfully, some car transport companies provide additional coverage. This can easily be included with your transport at a minimum additional fee. If you have specific questions about what is covered through an auto transport company’s additional coverage, just give them a call.

Your pickup and delivery dates may not be exact times and dates.

When you transport a vehicle, you will receive a range or “window” of dates for both the pickup and delivery of your car when your auto transport driver could arrive. This is because the nature of car transport does not allow transport companies to guarantee exact dates and times. Unpredictable factors including traffic delays, weather delays and delays with other customers are what impact a company’s inability to give exact dates/times.


When you transport your car for the first time, there are probably several other things that you should be aware of. One such thing is that you or someone that you know and trust who is eighteen or older, must always be available during both the pickup and delivery windows at the agreed upon addresses. This is because someone must be there in order to give/receive the keys and sign off on the bill of lading regarding the condition of the vehicle. These pickup/delivery windows will be a period of about two or three days each.

You also might not know that you have several options in terms of transport method for a vehicle. When you transport your car for the first time, you will be able to choose from the following options for your transport:

  • Open-air car transport – Open-air car transport is just another way of saying “regular car transport.” Your vehicle will get placed on an auto carrier truck that has two decks without a roof or any walls. This is the most frequently used kind of car transport as it is also the cheapest kind of auto transport.
  • Top-loading – If you decide to have your car “top-loaded” during your car transport, you are choosing to have your car transported on the top deck of the carrier. Most of the people who choose this option do so because of the additional clearance it offers their vehicle off of the street level. This will cost about a hundred additional dollars.