Car Shipping FAQs

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    We can imagine you have questions about car transportation. We have answered a lot of car shipping questions over the past 15 years. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions to serve as a guide for your car transport.

    If you don’t find the answer to your question in our car shipping FAQs below, please contact us, one of our Transport Coordinators and we will be delighted to answer them.

    Vehicle transportation information

    Any special documents for shipping your vehicle? (license, ownership…) 

    If you are transporting within the continental U.S. from residence to residence… NO! You do not need to show your license, title, registration, or anything else. If you are transporting internationally, we will inform you which is the paperwork needed, according to the country of delivery.

    Do I need to be present when you pick up and/deliver my vehicle?

    YOU don’t need to be there, but we strongly recommend that someone of your choosing is present to hand over the keys and sign off on the Bill of Lading (inspection report) with the driver upon pickup and delivery.

    Can I put things in the vehicle?

    The official answer according to the FMCSA and the D.O.T. is “no.” However, a common practice is to allow between 50-100 lbs in the trunk or out of the line of sight. This is really at the discretion of your carrier, though, as they risk hefty fines and lengthy inspections for carrying anything but motor vehicles.

    Is my vehicle insured? Will it be safe?

    Damages are very rare during transport, but we believe in being safe and not sorry. We only work with carriers that are fully insured with Zero Dollar Deductibles for our clients. The Insurance belongs to your particular carrier Company and we keep copies of the policy on file for your protection. No Extra Fees: each and every one of our carriers is fully insured, which means full-coverage insurance with a zero-dollar deductible for you is included in each of our quotes for no extra cost. The AutoStar Transport Express Difference: we take protecting you one step further than many Brokers out thereby requesting to be made Certificate Holders with the select carriers with whom we work. This allows us to assist in starting a claim on your behalf and shows our commitment to you!

    How far in advance do I need to book?

    We love to work with about a week’s lead time, but we can start looking today if your vehicle is ready to go!

    How Do I Prepare My Vehicle For Shipment?

    Clean your vehicle both inside and out, and take a picture of it. All personal belongings are prohibited, except factory hardware, and Remove and protect the loose parts of the vehicle. Theft during transport is rare, but extra caution is recommended to avoid loss. A vehicle may have a one-fourth (1/4) tank of fuel. Your vehicle must be operable and Make sure the auto transporter has your keys. Check the Radiator, Battery, and Tires. Disable alarms and anti-theft devices. This is a detailed guide on how to prepare your vehicle for car shipping.

    How long will it take? (to get it picked up, to get from A to B)

    Most of our vehicles are picked up within the first few days of their availability! The best thing to do is go over the details of your particular transport with our staff who can advise you on what to expect for your route and your vehicle. Also, have a look at our Service Area and Travel Times for ideas about trip length.

    What is the cheapest way to ship a car?

    The cheapest way to ship a car is by open transport, which is roughly 40% less expensive than enclosed transport. Nearly 97% of all vehicles are shipped by open transport, which is actually quite safe. Click here to know more about what is the cheapest way to ship a car.

    Can I transport an inoperable vehicle?

    Yes – AutoStar Transport Express has a decade of experience in shipping non-running or inoperable vehicles, Our Experts can transport any type of non-running vehicle. Although your vehicle can’t move, it still needs to roll, steer, and brake smoothly. Make sure our transport specialist is aware that your car is not functioning

    Where will you pick it up and drop it off?

    We provide door-to-door service as long as our trucks can physically reach your desired location. If for whatever reason our driver can’t get to your door (low-hanging branches, weight restrictions, etc.), or he/she will liaise with your directly to figure out a convenient meeting point, such as a grocery store parking lot.

    Can I book if I am not totally sure of the delivery address yet?

    Sure. What we need to know is the city/zip code you’re heading to so we can make sure to book a driver who is going that way.

    Does the size of my vehicle matter?

    Yes – If your vehicle is oversize, an oversize vehicle transport service will be required. A larger vehicle occupies the same amount of space as two midsize cars.

    Can you pick up/deliver from/to…

    • Military bases Getting clearance can be nearly impossible, we will get as close as the base will let us
    • Airports No for two reasons 1.) Near impossible to get clearance 2.) Legally we work in windows of days, not hours, and nobody wants to hang around an airport for more than a couple of hours.
    • Dealerships Sure! Just make sure we have the VIN number and hours of operation.
    • Ports Sure! We just need to know if we need a TWIC card or not, your booking number, and the hours of operation.
    • Body shops Sure! We just need to know the license plate and/or VIN and the hours of operation.
    • Auctions Sure! We just need the VIN, hours of operation, Buyer Number, and Lot Number

    Open or Enclosed?

    Please review our blog entry on the appropriate type of carrier for your vehicle: Open or Enclosed?

    Can I move high-value, luxury, or antique vehicles?

    Yes, AutoStar Transport Express offers leading expertise in shipping high-value, luxury, and antique vehicles with competitive pricing. Here is all you need to know about luxury car transport services.

    Can I book a return trip?

    Yes, of course! We just need to keep in mind that car shipping prices are subject to change if you are setting your return date for more than a few weeks in the future. Our Transport Coordinators can give you personalized guidance if you write in or give us a call.

    Can I track my vehicle for a status update?

    Yes, we offer a standard vehicle shipping tracking system. This allows you to track the progress of your shipment. It’s all part of the customer-focused service we offer. We will need your tracking number, name, email address, and/or telephone number, as well as your zip code to track your car shipment.

    Pricing, payment, and shipping guarantees

    Why am I receiving a range of quotes?

    Our quote is based on current market rates to move your car on your route. If you are shopping around, you will always receive a range of car shipping prices. It’s helpful to understand a bit about why this happens: A broker works with two customers – you and the carrier. Whilst you obviously want the lowest price possible, a carrier with a space on his truck is looking to make the most he can to fill that space, so will always choose the Conversely, if you really need your vehicle moved quickly or around specific dates, you will need to pay more. Our quote is set at a price that we are confident will move your vehicle in a reasonable timeframe. If you are relaxed about your timescale we can very often save you money and get you a good deal, so let us know.

    How long are the quotes valid?

    Our quotes are valid for 2 weeks. This is because the market rates can change drastically either for or against our favor on certain routes. Check with your transport coordinator for the correct current price.

    How much does it cost to ship a car?

    The auto transport industry comes down to supply and demand for trucks and fuel prices, along with the size of your vehicle and the commonality of your locations. We have our finger on the pulse of the transport world so that each and every quote we send out has been put together by one of our real, live experts who knows how to read the market and offer a good, fair deal to both our Client and our partner carrier… this ensures that our vehicles get on the road in good time and with a quality transporter. For more information about how we evaluate the cost of your journey please check our blog entry on “How much does it cost to ship a car“.

    How do I pay? (when do I pay?)

    Your Quote is made up of two equally important parts: the Deposit which reserves your place on the carrier and the carrier Pay which covers all of the carrier’s costs. We separate ourselves from the pack by only charging your Deposit once either a.) We have already assigned a carrier to your transport b.) You have returned your signed contract which protects you with our Money Back Guarantee.

    Payment Options

    • Credit Card + C.O.D. – this is the most common option; reserve your space with a credit card and then pay your driver directly upon delivery with Cash, Certified Check, or Money Order
    • All on a Credit Card – if you’d like to pay your total on a credit card, we can arrange that, too! We then have to wire the carrier Pay to the driver, so this option does incur a 5% fee.
    • Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer, PayPal – we are all about making your life easier, so we can also arrange any of these options… just talk to your coordinator and we will work it out!

    Can you guarantee a pick update?

    No! Legally, nobody can. We will give you the carrier’s projected schedule and then keep you updated along the way.

    Do you offer any discounts?

    We ALWAYS get the best car shipping prices possible that are fair for the customer and the carrier, for those in the emergency services, returning customers, and people moving multiple vehicles take a look at our discounts page.

    Are there any hidden charges?

    No – We include all costs of transporting your vehicle in our quote. Your quote includes pickup, delivery, insurance, and taxes.

    What is your refund policy if I have to cancel my order?

    If the order is canceled before that first (1st) available date, or before the end of the 5 business days, the deposit is non-refundable. Otherwise, you are eligible for a full refund of your deposit. Confusing? Click here to read more or call us and we’ll be happy to help and explain.

    General and company information

    What are your hours of operation?

    Please check our Hours of Operations page.

    How long have you been in business?

    Since June 2007!

    How big is your company?

    Our team is compound by 25 Transport coordinators and 9 CS Agents. We have a main hub in Miami, FL, and 5 remote hubs in Los Angeles, CA; Dallas, TX; Chicago, IL, Denver, CO; Newark, NJ; New York, NJ. We move over 5,000 vehicles a year!

    Is AutoStar Transport Express licensed?

    Yes.  We play by the rules and have up-to-date licensing and bonding with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  You can find AutoStar Transport Express license information from the US  Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration at AutoStar Transport Express, LLC operates under USDOT Number: 2239014  We also adhere to the regulatory rules set up by the Department of Transportation. So you can rest assured that your vehicle is in good hands.

    Why Use AutoStar Transport Express… why not carrier Direct?

    Dealing with a broker is the preferred way that carriers like to do business.  It’s good for them and good for you.  For the carrier, going through a broker means they have access to many more customers, which keeps the prices down.  Good for the customer!  Also, most carriers are not set up with a customer service department to deal directly with the customers, so any inquiries, status updates, or any other questions will most likely go unanswered by the carrier.  Most carrier companies are family-owned and have maybe only 1 or 2 trucks in their entire fleet, so if you book directly with a carrier and their truck break down, then you will have to wait for them to fix their truck.  This can take weeks for them to repair their truck. With a broker, we have access to literally hundreds of carriers, and can immediately get on the phone and find another carrier who can get your car back on the road usually in a day or two. The biggest distinction between a carrier and a broker is the service area. While brokers generally have contacts all over the United States and often internationally, most carriers travel very specific routes with limited trucks. Because they have a limited number of resources, they are prone to over-booking and therefore you may experience long delays. While carriers have the authority to physically transport vehicles, many do not meet the federal requirements for brokering your vehicle. If your automobile transport is not along their specific routes, they will be forced to give it to another carrier, sometimes illegally, putting your vehicle in jeopardy. Our quality control department ensures safe transport with an insured and reputable carrier. Another major difference is communication. While carriers physically transport vehicles and are vital to any broker’s operation, they often fall short of keeping the customer well-informed throughout the transportation of their vehicle. If there are delays and you need to know where your vehicle is, you will wish you had a broker, whose main purpose is constant communication with the customer. The third area of distinction between brokers and carriers is cost. While brokers have very little overhead, carriers have to contend with rising fuel prices and costly mechanical problems. These often lead to higher car shipping prices to make a profit. Brokers help carriers by keeping their trucks fully loaded. Because we provide them with this valuable service, often helping them avoid half-full loads, we get your vehicles moved at a discount.

    What’s all this about a National Board?

    There are many brokers in the auto transport industry, and one of the tools we all use is a National Board which connects us with truckers and allows us all to see real-time updates about what is going on in the market: how many vehicles are moving on each route, what the going rates are, how many trucks are available, etc. It also allows us to advertise the vehicles that we need to ship. What makes AutoStar Transport Express different is that we do not let the National Board do all the work for us- we have our own coveted preferred carrier lists, insider contacts, and dedicated Dispatch Department which focuses solely on reaching out to the best carriers out there for our clients. All of our carriers have up-to-date, full-coverage insurance and stellar ratings on our insider industry tools.

    Affiliates, safety, and legal questions

    The Lowdown on Auto Transport Insurance

    Bill of Lading (B.O.L.) – This inspection report is the key to making sure you are covered. If you’ve ever rented a car, you know the drill: you or whoever you designate checks the vehicle out with the driver upon pickup and delivery and notes the condition on the B.O.L. You get a copy of this inspection report upon delivery, and in the unlikely event that the vehicle is not in the same condition it left in, just give us a call and we will help you with what’s next! » DOT, MC #, Insurance Certificate, W-9 – Each of our carriers is registered with the Department of Transportation, has a Motor Carrier Number with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), proof of liability insurance coverage, and a taxpayer W-9 form on file with us. » How Much Coverage – carriers are generally insured for between 500,000-1,000,000 dollars; it varies by type of carrier and the number of vehicles they carry. Your vehicle will be insured for its Kelley Blue Book value. » What Exactly is Covered – The basic answer is anything at all that is driver negligence. For all the ins and outs, just call us and ask or see our terms and conditions.

    Still, have questions about shipping a car?

    Call our car shipping professionals at 888-802-8250 to answer all your questions.