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Have Your Car Delivered Safely With the Right Auto Transportation Insurance

Car Shipping

Have Your Car Delivered Safely With the Right Auto Transportation Insurance

Planning a relocation or a long trip involves figuring out what to do with your vehicle. It’s not always convenient to drive to your destination, and if you have more than one car, then it’s even more complicated to find the optimal solution.

Fortunately, you can hire a car shipping company and have your vehicle transported. However, you also have to think about auto transportation insurance. While it’s not common, vehicles can get damaged during shipping, and insurance for transport can give you the peace of mind you need.

If you’ve never shipped your car before, navigating vehicle transport insurance coverage might be somewhat daunting. To make it much easier for you, here’s everything you need to know about vehicle shipping insurance basics, including what to expect, cost, and a few tips that can help you get the best service.

Auto Transport Insurance: An Overview

For many people, their vehicle is one of the most valuable material possessions, and they make meaningful efforts to keep it protected. Safety is a priority when you’re planning to transport your car to another state or even within your state.

Car shipping companies take particular interest in safety, since allowing vehicle damages to occur frequently would be a poor business model. But even they can’t predict every situation, and that’s precisely why you need car transportation insurance.

So, what are the kinds of problems you might notice after your vehicle is shipped?

While this is not an exhaustive list, here are a few possible scenarios:

  • Damage to undercarriage
  • Oil, coolant, steering, or brake fluid leakages
  • Unrecorded dents and scratches
  • Alignment problems
  • Ignition issues

It can be immensely frustrating to transport your car hundreds or thousands of miles only to learn there’s something wrong with it. Naturally, your first instinct is to check the car shipping insurance policy. But how can you be sure that you have it in the first place?

Car Shipping Companies Are Required by Law to Insure Your Vehicle

Less than 5% of vehicles arrive with any damage caused during shipping, which is a relatively low number. Still, you can’t predict whether your car will be in this percentile, and the vehicle transportation insurance covers the expenses of potential damage.

The good news is that you don’t have to make this decision at all, as car shipping companies are required by law to include motor vehicle transport insurance, regardless of the type of vehicle, to all their customers.

It’s vital to point out that the insurance is included in the price of the service and not charged separately, making it an unavoidable part of the car shipping process.

But you might wonder what exactly this mandatory auto shipping insurance entails. That primarily depends on your state and the shipping company policy.

For example, a car shipping carrier may purchase a liability insurance policy for an open trailer that holds 10 vehicles with $250,000 coverage, which comes down to $25,000 per car.

In many instances, that’s sufficient, but if your vehicle is worth more, you may need to seek a carrier that offers more comprehensive auto transportation insurance.

Some carriers specialize in transporting exotic, vintage, and luxury vehicles and primarily ship in enclosed trailers. Their car insurance shipping cost will be higher, with more comprehensive policies by default.

But to get a clear picture of what type of motor vehicle transport insurance your chosen carrier offers, here are a few questions to ask them directly.

  • Is there a deductible?
  • What are the limitations of your vehicle transport insurance policy?
  • Do I need supplemental insurance?
  • Are there any hidden fees?
  • Can you give me a list of damages that are covered?

Auto Transport Insurance Facts to Keep in Mind

Carriers and brokers are not hard to find these days, as nearly anyone can start a car shipping company. But that’s precisely why you must be looking for questionable practices and unreliable companies.

Fraud is not uncommon, and fake shipping companies that advertise online are a reality. Some of them go to extreme lengths to falsify documentation to appear legitimate.

However, even if the company is legitimate, it might not be vigilant about what kind of insurance they offer clients. They might even have bad reputations regarding accepting insurance claims.

Damage Free Guarantee

Best Practices to Protect Yourself

While no one is immune to fraud, there are several actions vehicle owners can take before choosing an auto transport company. Namely, checking the paperwork should be the first order of business.

Check whether the company has a Motor Carrier (MC) number by going to the official Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. If you cannot find the company’s MC number, then it’s probably best to steer clear.

Another essential certification to check is the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number which ensures that the carrier can operate across state lines.

These two numbers should be easy to find on the carrier’s website, but you should still check the numbers to be on the safe side.

Another practical and efficient way to check a carrier’s legitimacy, which increases the chances of getting comprehensive vehicle transport insurance, is to search for reviews. If the company practices a nefarious business model, that will likely be reflected online.

Finally, avoid carriers that ask for total payment upfront because that’s rarely a good sign. Leaving a deposit is standard practice, but paying the full amount should come after the shipping is completed.

When Do You Need Supplemental Vehicle Shipping Insurance

It’s important to know that auto transportation insurance is an inseparable part of the car shipping process. But if you’ve learned from your carrier that their liability insurance is less than satisfactory, you might wonder, “What insurance do I need to transport cars safely and fully covered?”

The best action is to check with the carrier directly if they offer supplemental insurance, which they often do, especially for more valuable vehicles.

Therefore, if your car costs more than the insurance policy, it might not be safe to ship. Car insurance offered by the carrier might not be enough cases when the vehicle has expensive accessories such as a sound system, expensive roof racks, LED lights that can be stolen, and similar add-ons.

Lastly, the standard car shipping insurance might be inadequate if your vehicle contains specific aftermarket parts that the official vehicle brand does not manufacture.

Brokers Can Also Sell Supplemental Auto Shipping Insurance

If you’re not too keen on researching car shipping companies and vetting them, you can hire a broker to do it for you. These companies don’t actually transport vehicles but connect clients with reliable carriers.

They’re the efficient middleman that can also be the liaison when processing insurance claims. Furthermore, they are in a position to sell supplemental vehicle transport insurance if the carrier is not.

On top of that, they can offer brokerage insurance which comes in handy if the carrier’s insurance is insufficient. Brokers cut the effort and time of having your vehicle shipped, but the overall cost is higher.

Terminal To Terminal Service

Your Car Insurance Policy Might Also Cover Transportation

Another essential element of answering the question, “What insurance do I need to transport cars?” is checking whether the insurance you already have for your vehicle covers the transport. Car insurance providers often include shipping in their policies, but that’s something you would need to verify.

Whether the auto insurance you pay for every year covers damages inflicted in transport will vary on several factors. The provider might not offer this coverage at all; if they do, it might depend on your insurance premium.

But if they cover it, knowing that your vehicle is substantially covered during transport can be immensely helpful.

Things You Can Do Before Shipping Your Vehicle

If you’ve selected the car shipping company to work with and are happy with the amount of insurance for transport, you can still tend to a few details to ensure your vehicle remains safe.

Ask for Proof of Insurance

This is an essential step. Because you don’t pay for vehicle shipping insurance separately, it’s easy to assume it’s calculated into the final shipping price tag.

But just because the carriers are required by law to carry a valid insurance certificate, it doesn’t mean they abide by it. Therefore, it is within your right to request proof of insurance. If the carrier refuses to show you, they’re likely up to no good.

Put Everything in Writing

To some, this might seem like an unnecessary step, but you can really never be too careful, especially if you’re transporting a valuable vehicle.

Whatever agreement you’ve made with the carrier, make sure it’s in writing. It should include all the details of auto transport insurance, including what the coverage entails and the exact amount.

Call Your Auto Insurance Provider

We’ve touched on this topic before, but it’s important to reiterate it. It’s best not to assume that your car insurance company covers the vehicle transport as they might not. You can find out with one phone call or take the time to read the insurance policy fine print.

Inspect the Vehicle

Before the car shipping company comes to pick up your vehicle, it’s essential to perform a detailed inspection and write down all existing damage.

When the shipper comes, they’ll do the same, and you can compare notes. In fact, it’s a good idea to take detailed pictures and be on the same page about the existing damage, if there is any.

Remove Personal Possessions

It might seem like a good idea to leave some possessions in the vehicle, as removing every single can take some time. But it’s vital to remember that standard auto transportation insurance from carriers and brokers typically does not cover interior damage.

By leaving items inside the vehicle, you’re risking a loose item damaging glass, upholstery, or the dashboard. Therefore, taking everything out will minimize the chances of interior damage.

Don’t Forget About the Bill of Lading

If you have never had your vehicle shipped before, you might not be familiar with the Bill of Lading, a form of receipt used for various freight services.

This is a legally binding document issued by the car shipping company but filled out by the vehicle owner. Another way to view the Bill of Lading is as a report on your vehicle’s condition after the transportation.

If you notice damage on your vehicle, you should fill it in the Bill of Lading and submit it to the carrier. That’s the first step of claiming insurance coverage.

If you’ve missed a dent on your car but filled out the Bill of Lading already, it might be challenging to get the carrier to take responsibility for it. Still, some companies are more likely to re-examine the situation, especially if the vehicle was delivered at night.


What Is Cargo Insurance, and Do I Need It?

Some carriers offer additional coverage apart from liability insurance, which is required by law. Cargo insurance is a type of supplemental insurance that bridges any gaps left by the existing policy. Some vehicle owners searching for extra car transportation insurance could ask about the carriers for cargo insurance.

What Happens if an Item Left in Your Vehicle Causes Damage?

If you forgot an item in your car that results in interior damage, the car shipping insurance doesn’t cover it. You’re pretty much out of luck here, and that’s why it’s so important not to leave anything in your car before it is relocated.

Are Deductibles a Part of the Car Insurance Cost?

There shouldn’t be any deductibles when it comes to basic liability insurance the carriers are required to provide by law.

On the other hand, supplemental insurance costs extra, and it’s a one-time fee for which the amount may vary on different factors such as distance, vehicle value, and coverage.

Car Shipping Insurance Protects Your Vehicle

It’s probably safe to say that auto transport insurance required by law is why vehicle damages during transport are relatively rare. This rule has forced carriers to ensure the vehicles they transport are always protected.

Naturally, damages aren’t always avoidable, and that’s why vehicle transport insurance protects the customer and the carrier. When researching auto shipping companies, it’s important to include the discussion about insurance and what that is the extent of coverage.

It shouldn’t be difficult to get all the information you need from the company; if it is, you might want to reconsider your choice. Don’t forget to ask about potential supplemental insurance and whether your auto insurance provider covers transport.

If you need a reliable, licensed, certified, and fully insured car shipping company, contact Cross Country Car Shipping and get a free quote today.