This article was written by A-1 Auto Transport.  A-1 Auto Transport is not an affiliate or paid sponsor of Sharp Classics.

Transporting a classic car can be daunting as most classic car owners don’t like to leave their prized possession in the hands of

strangers when it is being relocated. Let’s face it, a classic car is often a lifelong dream come true for many people and trusting its care to just anyone is not something that most want to do. Thankfully, when you need classic car auto transport from a professional auto transport company, the car will not only be ensured but it will be handled with care to avoid any cosmetic damage along the way. 

One of the biggest challenges to finding the right auto transport company is the fact that there are so many companies listed online, and it can be overwhelming to determine the perfect one to relocate your vehicle. To help find the right company to relocate your classic car, here are a few quick tips to follow.

Research

It’s important to take time to research companies prior to even making a call or submitting for a quote online. A good idea is to reach out to business and individuals that frequently ship cars to see who they can recommend. These include car dealerships, auto auctions, classic car clubs and individuals who own classic cars.

You can check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to find records showing whether a company is a carrier or a broker, their safety records and whether they carry valid insurance. Once you narrow the options down to at least three to five companies, start contacting them to compare rates, services and transport options.

Broker or Carrier?

A broker can schedule classic car transport for you with a carrier, but they do not have licensing to transport themselves. A carrier is the company that owns the fleet of trucks and will physically transport the vehicle for you. There are some benefits of using a broker as they have access to thousands of carrier companies and can sift through the database to find one that is local to you or who may have the capabilities to transport your car faster than others.

The downside is that all too often a broker may quote a rate that may be lower than a carrier will accept and if that happens, it can take weeks to find out the carrier is not going to do the job for the quote provided. This would mean that you would need to start anew with a search for transport. To save the hassle, it’s often best to speak directly to the carrier company to get a quote and schedule services directly. If the auto transport carrier company has a local office, you can even stop by to speak to them and book service in person.

Cost

Classic car transportation varies in price depending on several factors. For instance, the type of vehicle can determine which carrier needs to be used and shipping costs rise and fall in different seasons. The cost of fuel fluctuates throughout the year and can affect the overall cost to ship a car. Open air trailers are generally going to be priced lower than enclosed trailers. Typically, classic car shipping can range anywhere from $500 to more than $2000 depending on whether you only have a couple hundred miles to travel or you have thousands of miles between locations. Getting a fast quote online can offer quick insights into estimated transport costs.

Open or Enclosed?

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One of the biggest decisions a classic car owner will make is whether to ship the car with low cost open transport or with secure enclosed transport. Both options are ideal for relocating practically any motor vehicle. The downside to this is that when you ship a car on an open trailer it is going to be fully exposed to the elements during shipment. This means that not only will wind and rain or snow encounter the car, but you also risk road debris including trash as well as bugs, dirt and dust that can cause cosmetic damage to the car.

Classis cars are not like regular, modern vehicles. They can be viewed as an investment in both money as well as time and when you spend time restoring a car to its full glory, chances are you will want to make sure it is secure during shipment.

Open Auto Shipping: Cars are driven onto a flatbed trailer alone or with other cars or a double decker trailer with other cars, secured in place with straps and hauled to the destination. During transport, the car is exposed to the elements as well as to curious onlookers when the driver needs to stop to refuel.

Enclosed Auto Shipping: These carriers are often the choice for classic cars, luxury cars and sports cars that need to be sheltered from dangerous elements. They are enclosed on all sides and some are even climate controlled inside. The cost to purchase an enclosed trailer is higher than the cost of an open trailer and this cost is passed along to customers. Drivers can also carry fewer cars inside an enclosed trailer which means they will make less money per load than when they haul with an open carrier. While the rates will most likely be higher for enclosed services, the care and security of the enclosed carrier is the ideal choice for a classic car and other cars that need to be properly maintained to ensure there are no dents or dings or other cosmetic flawing at the time of delivery.

Insurance

Auto transport insurance is a requirement for all cargo companies and those who transport motor vehicles fall under this requirement. The insurance coverage allows peace of mind because if anything happens to the car to cause damage during shipment, the company will be held liable. Damages include dents and dings, paint scratching and other damage that may be caused from a vehicle accident or vandalism. Natural disaster damage as caused from weather related instances such as hail damage or damage from storms is not generally covered.

To ensure that the car is in the same condition at delivery as when it was loaded, the driver will complete a pre-transport inspection as well as a delivery inspection. It is advised that the vehicle owner complete the inspection with the driver and note any cosmetic flaws or damage before the driver leaves. The driver will also verify that the vehicle is the precise car that transport was booked to move. This means they will verify the year, make, model and other identifying information to prove ownership is with the person that booked the transport service.

Check with the auto transport company to find out the coverage amount available and if you feel it is not ample for your car, check with your private auto insurance company to see if shipping will be covered by your policy. Be sure to take photographs of your car to make sure you have visual proof of the condition of the car when it was loaded onto the carrier as well as when it is delivered.

Damage

You should know upfront that damage seldom ever happens when shipping a car on a professional auto transport carrier. On the off chance that something should happen however, it is imperative that you file a claim immediately with the carrier company. This needs to happen before the driver leaves your property. This is when your photographs will come in handy so you can verify the condition easily to the company. Once a claim is made, the company will typically take care of the damage quickly.

Long Distance Transactions

Thanks to the internet, buying and selling classic cars is much easier today than it was twenty years ago. If you find a car online and arrange to have it shipped to your home or other personal location, it is a good idea to sign a contract with the seller to ensure that the car is in the condition you expect it to be in. This is also important if you are the seller and will be shipping the car to a buyer. Without a signed contract, the buyer may find that the classic car is not in the condition advertised and will then lose money from a bad sale. To avoid this, insist on detailed photos of all areas of the car and a statement from a local auto shop that can detail any work that may need to be taken care to restore or otherwise drive the car. Without a contract to guarantee the condition of the car, it is not going to be an easy task to recoup the money lost on a sale that went south. It is also suggested that the buyer travel to inspect the car in person before making the purchase.

Before shipping a classic car to a new location, whether local or long distance, be sure to prepare the car by having it washed, clearing out all personal property from inside, lowering the fuel level and checking to make sure there are no fluid leaks. Be sure to have a spare set of keys for the driver and your contact info written down so the driver can reach you to schedule the time to meet you to drop the car off at the new location.

Working with the right auto transport company is the best way to ensure the car stays safe and sound until it is delivered, but you need to put forth a little effort to make sure the car is ready to go when the driver arrives and make sure you choose the best transport option to keep your care safe and secure from pickup to delivery.