About 40 million Americans relocate annually to other houses, cities and even states. Moving is consistently rated one of the most stressful life events that a person can endure, and if you’re moving far away, you can bet the stress level is bound to increase as the miles do. Hiring professional moving companies to handle your furniture, clothing and other personal affects is one thing, but when it comes to your cars, that can be an entirely different affair.
You know those large car carriers you see on the highways loaded up with upwards of 10 different automobiles? Those are part of the larger industry of auto shipping, which relies on those multicarriers and other vessels like it to haul cars across the country for folks who are settling into new homes just like you. But while car shipping can be a bit of a hassle, it doesn’t have to be. And the more you know about the process itself, the less painful it will actually be.
For example, every vehicle hauling service will stipulate that you sign a contract prior to the move. It’ll benefit you to understand exactly what the specific terms are that you’re agreeing to. Keep a look out for these three facets especially.
1. Liability and cargo insurance.
A 3,000-pound automobile can be a huge liability for a transport company, which is why the U.S. Department of Transportation mandates that every car hauling service offers the right insurance for its clients. Typically, the level of coverage is $50,000, but you should ensure what your company is offering is enough to completely cover the cost of your vehicle. If you need more coverage than what your auto shipping service is offering, arrange an agreement and get it in writing so you’re not hit with unexpected bills later on.
2. USDOT and MC numbers.
In addition to insurance coverage, the USDOT also provides it own number for each shipper. Most states will require carriers to have their own USDOT numbers based on a very specific set of criteria, and you can should ask for it up front you so can tell the service is certified. Additionally, all carriers must have an Operating Authority (or MC) number if they don’t haul their own cargo. These designations let you, the client, know that the service is fully approved by federal regulations to operate on the roads.
3. Added fees in the contract.
Like we mentioned before, insurance fees can sometimes be greater than what the initial level of coverage is. That’s where it pays to have those numbers in writing in addition to the contract — that way, you won’t be slammed with hidden extra costs at the end of the transaction. Sometimes shippers will add on fuel surcharges as well, so ask for a list of these added costs so you know exactly what you’re getting into.
All car transport companies are different, but they’re all a means to an end — getting your vehicle delivered safely to your driveway. Before you get involved with a contract with an auto shipping service, find out what you’re likely to expect. Otherwise, you might end up paying much more than you thought you would. Find out more about this topic here.