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Why it pays to read the fine print when shipping vehicles

Subscribe September 11, 2014
Auto Transport | Car shipping process | Choosing an auto shipper

You've heard it before: Always read the fine print.

But who among us actually does, right? These days, it seems that every password change, new software version, and smartphone app update comes with a ten-page Terms of Service user contract that must be accepted or not accessed at all. (Or at least scrolled through in order to activate the Agree button.)

Some things matter more than others. Vehicle shipping is an investment.

After all, the vehicle itself is one of the biggest investments that most of us make, second usually to our homestead. When you need to transport it far away, you don't mind paying professionals to ensure safe, secure, and timely treatment of your precious possessions.

You know that saying about hand grenades and horseshoes? These are both matters of "close enough."

But any activity involving your vehicles? "Close enough" is simply not good enough. Not when you're parking and especially not when you're shipping from one side of the country to the other.

What should you look for in auto transport contract language?

Yes, it's legalese. And it's a boilerplate bred to be boring to everybody but lawyers. That doesn't mean it doesn't contain (and protect) a wealth of information – your wealth and the provider's both.

1. Origination & destination points of delivery

Unless otherwise specified, some car shippers will deliver your car to their own terminal "nearby" to your new location. In this case, "nearby" could mean several hours of drive time for you and your follow car when you go to retrieve your shipped vehicle. Door-to-door service is a premium option worth consideration.

2. Pick-up & drop-off times

Depending on the carrier and level of service chosen, vehicles may be shipped within a window, within three or four days of a certain date. Premium providers, like DAS, offer you the opportunity to specify the pick-up and drop-off times and locations that you prefer.

3. All fees & charges in the quote

An itemized schedule of fees and services is ideal. But charges are not considered "hidden" if they're provided in the contract. It's caveat emptor – up to us buyers to know what we're buying. Some charges that might otherwise surprise you are pick-up, drop-off, mid-transport, and storage (parking) at the terminal. Premium upcharges often include enclosed and top-load transportation, guaranteed delivery date, and expedited shipping.

4. Insurance

In addition to the policy you carry on your vehicles, your shipment should be covered at no additional charge by the insurance of the carrier for any damage that occurs due to negligent handling.

Speaking of records, make sure they include video of the vehicle from 1-2 days prior to shipping. Document all dings and chips. In the event of a claim, this will be a valuable piece of extra insurance, so to speak.

When you're ready to get a custom, no-obligation quote from DAS to transport your vehicle anywhere in the world, simply complete the quick form on this page. Depending on your shipping needs, we will either provide an immediate quote or get back with you shortly for more details.


No issues to report, service was dependable and reliable. Our car was available before the scheduled date! Very much appreciated!
T. Rosenthal


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