Shipping a car from Chicago can be a risky and expensive proposition. It doesn’t have to be though. Entrusting your car to a carrier is the most feasible option when you’re buying a car, relocating for a job or sending the car to a relative.
If you carefully think through the process, watching your vehicle disappear into the sunset doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. The following tips can help you have peace of mind when contracting Chicago car transport.
Research the Shipping Company
Talk to friends, family and work colleagues to find out which are the best carriers. This is perhaps your best source of referrals since they are less likely to take advantage of you. You can then expand your research by browsing the internet to find out which shipping companies have the best reputation.
Armed with a shortlist of the best carriers, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website to establish the shipping company’s complaint history, insurance record and shipping business’ license. Once you know which companies are in the clear, proceed to request for rate quotes.
Check Insurance Coverage
Start by reading through your own insurance cover to see what risks it caters for. Next, talk to the shipping company to establish the existence and extent of its liability insurance cover. Most carriers have a cover of anywhere between $50,000 and $1,000,000 but always check to make sure.
Whereas you expect the best shipping companies to deliver your car from Chicago unscathed, accidents are unpredictable. Damage can occur during transportation and the resulting repairs should be covered by the shipper’s insurance.
Factor Unforeseen Disruptions
Shipping a vehicle is different from shipping a package. Cars are bulkier, more tedious to transport and expensive. Sending a vehicle from Chicago to the farthest parts of the contiguous US can take as much as four weeks. If the car is going overseas, this will vary from country to country but it’s reasonable to work with two months.
The message from these timelines is that shipping a car is not something you want to plan at the last minute since your options will be greatly narrowed. Instead, start doing the groundwork at least 3 months before. Unfortunately, unforeseen delays are quite common so it’s best to leave at least a couple of days allowance.
Enclosed or Open
You have to decide on whether you want the car covered during transit. Leaving it uncovered costs less but leaves the vehicle’s body susceptible to scratches and dents from flying debris. An enclosed carrier provides the best protection but you can expect to pay about 60 percent more than you would for an uncovered contract.
The ideal choice usually comes down to the nature of the car being shipped. Persons shipping luxury, vintage or classic vehicles would be best served by an enclosed trailer. After all, the car is pretty valuable so it’s only prudent that you pay more to prevent any damage.
Inspect the Car Beforehand
Before the car is loaded onto the truck, the carrier will usually examine it for dents, scratches, missing parts and other signs of physical damage. You should participate or be represented by someone you trust during this inspection just to ascertain that the assessor’s report is accurate. Take photos before and after shipping as evidence in case you’ll need to file a claim.
Upon arrival at the car’s destination, the shipping company will compare the physical state of the car to the inspection report. If you agree with their results of this final inspection, you’ll both sign the relevant paperwork a copy of which will remain with you.
Empty the Car
Empty the vehicle of all loose items before it’s loaded. They could compromise the car’s and carrier’s safety. Loose goods may damage the car or complicate the loading and unloading process. There’s also the risk of theft since the car will come into contact with several people. You want to take all the necessary precautions.
Shipping the car in an enclosed carrier reduces the risk of items inside the car being stolen. If enclosed shipping is beyond your budget, consider putting a car cover that can be securely tied down. Remember to leave about a quarter tank of fuel in the car. You don’t want to run out gas when it’s time to collect the car at the carrier’s drop-off.
These tips will point in you in the right direction and make shipping your car out of Chicago an experience you are unlikely to regret.