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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Transport for First Timers

If you have decided to transport a car for the first time, then one thing is for sure – you probably have lots of questions about the process. You might need to transport your car because you are relocating to a faraway place, you could be transporting your car to college or maybe you are transporting a vehicle that you bought or sold online. No matter what the reason that you are transporting a car, you likely want some answers to the questions that you have. We have compiled a list of the following questions and answers that you may have as someone transporting a vehicle for the first time.

How much does it cost to transport a car?

The cost of transporting a car will vary every time. This is because the final cost of transporting a car is determined by the combination of several important variables. The most important factors in the calculation of the price for car transport are:

The supply and demand for vehicle transport when you choose to transport The price of fuel at the time of your transport The exact distance of your car transport Whether or not you chose premium transport options The overall size of your vehicle

With all of these factors in mind the cost of your car transport will likely be between $0.60 and $2.00 per mile. So, if all things were equal and you were transporting a car 800 miles exactly, it would cost around $1,050. However, with all the above variables in mind, it is best to use a car transport quote calculator to get the best idea of what your transport might cost.

What do I need to do after I book my car transport?

After you have successfully booked and scheduled your car transport, you will not need to do anything until a day or two before your pickup window starts. It is at that point which you will just need to get the exterior of your vehicle cleaned, make sure it is running properly and you will also need to remove any and all personal items. Personal items could include sunglasses, hats, gloves, phone chargers or anything that is not a physical part of the car. If you leave anything like those items in your vehicle, it will still be transported but if any items you left in the car get damaged or are lost, they will not be covered by insurance.

How long will my car transport take?

The duration of any given car transport will depend on several different variables. These variables include the physical distance of your transport, the traffic and weather along your transport route as well as the time of year during which you are transporting your car. If you would like a more precise idea of how long a particular car transport could take, use our instant and free car transport calculator.

Do I have to take my car anywhere for it to be transported?

No, thankfully with car transport companies such as Roadworthy Auto Transport, door-to-door vehicle transport is the norm. This means that your car transporter will pick your car up at your home and deliver it to the exact address of the delivery location. The only exception to this is when a pickup or delivery address is on a street that is too small for an auto carrier to maneuver, or local law/ordinances prevent the auto carrier truck from entering that street. If this is the case, your auto transport company will arrange a nearby place to meet you such as a shopping plaza parking lot.

Transporting Your Car with a Car Shipping Company

The most common way of moving a car is to transport it with one of the many car transport companies on the road. This is usually one of the most affordable auto transport options available depending on the timing and the methods of your car transport.

Transporting your car with a car transport company also gives you the most flexibility in scheduling. With other vehicle transport methods, you may need to book very far in advance. Typically, when you transport your car with one of the car transport companies you find online, a week or two of notice is enough. Most vehicle transport companies offer pickup/delivery all year round, while transporting your car by plane or train will have certain days when the service is not available.

Finally, when you choose to move your car with a car transport company, door-to-door transport is offered in most cases. This means that your car will be picked up at the exact address you choose and delivered to the exact address you select. When you use other methods to move your car, you will have to drive it to the train station or airport/airfield.

The Different Ways of Moving a Vehicle with a Car Transport Company

The following are the different transport options that you will have when you choose to move a car with a car transport company:

  • Open-air car transport – Open-air car transport is when you choose to have your car transported on a typical car carrier truck that has no walls or roof. This is, by far, the most popular method of auto transport. It is also the cheapest way to transport a car with car transport companies.
  • Top-loading – Top-loading is when you choose to have your car placed on the top deck of an open-air or enclosed car carrier. On open-air car carriers, this ensures that small stones and rocks from the road cannot fly up and scratch or chip the exterior of your car, and it also ensures that fluid leaks from vehicles above yours cannot damage your car. In an enclosed carrier, this only ensures that your car is not damaged by a fluid leak from above, as your car will already be protected from all outside elements due to the walls and roof.
  • Enclosed car transport – When you choose to transport a car in an enclosed car carrier, your car will be placed on a car carrier that protects all vehicles with walls and a roof. This protects the cars from any potential damage from strong UV rays, rain/snow, tree branches, and rocks. This will add a few hundred dollars to the cost of your car transport.
  • Specialty vehicle transport – Specialty vehicle transport includes a variety of services that many auto transport companies offer. This includes:
    • Motorcycle transport – As you would expect, motorcycle transport is the special type of vehicle transport used to move motorcycles, mopeds and even other similar vehicles such as small ATVs. This type of transport usually occurs in an enclosed carrier with one deck but can sometimes occur on an open-air flatbed trailer.
    • Oversized vehicle transport – Oversized vehicle transport includes the movement of any type of vehicle too large to fit on a typical car carrier truck. This can include much larger cars/trucks, construction or agricultural equipment, RVs, limos, and more. This type of vehicle transport will always occur on one type of flatbed trailer or another.
    • Car transport for military members – Car transport for military members is the service of moving cars for military personnel to or from their bases and PCS assignments. Most of the time, this is just normal car transport with the complication that car carrier trucks are usually not allowed on the base. Therefore, the driver must meet the military member nearby for their pickup and/or delivery. Sometimes, the military will cover some or all of the cost of a military member moving their car.
  • Car transport for non-running cars – Car transport for non-running cars is the way of auto transport in which cars that do not work at all or well enough to be driven onto a regular car carrier truck are moved. The process involves a special car carrier with a winch attaching that winch to the car in question and pulling it on board while the car is in neutral. This will cost more than standard car transport.

Myths About Shipping Vehicles Explained

Most people do not have experience with shipping vehicles. This results in a lot of misinformation going around – people think shipping vehicles is a much bigger undertaking and risk that it is anywhere in reality. Here are some of the most common myths that we encounter and an explanation for why they aren’t true.

Your Vehicle Needs to Be Drivable

If you want to ship a car that is not in working condition, you don’t have to worry about making it roadworthy. You can still use auto transport services like Road Worthy Transport to move your car across the country. They have special car carriers that can use a winch to load and unload your car safely. This service costs a bit more than shipping a running car, but it is much cheaper than towing it over a long distance.

This myth exists because most car shipping businesses – including us – will request that you leave a bit of gas in the tank of your vehicle. However, this isn’t being done because your vehicle will be driven. This gas is only used to drive the vehicle into the shipping truck and out of it. If your vehicle is not drivable, that is simply the part of shipping that changes, loading and offloading, everything else remains the same.

Car Shipping Quotes are Confusing.

People expect shipping the vehicle to be a chore where they will be confused and uncertain about the cost. This is not true at all. Getting a free instant quote from a car shipping company is very easy and does not require much personal information. All you need to provide is your name, phone number, car make and model, and pickup and delivery location. You don’t even need the exact addresses to get an estimate for your car transport. This is also true for Road Worthy Transport’s online quotes.

Shipping a Car is Prohibitively Expensive

A lot of people think shipping a vehicle is only something rich enthusiasts can afford. The reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. Shipping your car can be a smart and economical decision compared to driving it yourself. Some people may think that shipping a car is too expensive, but if you consider the costs of driving your own car, you will see that it is actually very reasonable, and you can even save money in the long run.

Car Shipping is Only Viable for Small Cars

Car shipping companies can handle more than just regular passenger cars. Many of them, including Roadworthy transport, can ship almost any kind of vehicle you can think of, such as buses, RVs, trailers, construction equipment, motorcycles and even boats. The only difference is that many of these unusual vehicles need special transport because they cannot fit on a standard car carrier.

For example, a bus or a construction machine like a bulldozer is too big. They need to be shipped on an oversized vehicle carrier. A large flatbed truck will be used for this service to transport these huge vehicles. Shipping a specialty vehicle usually costs more because there are fewer carriers that can do these shipments than normal ones.