Auto Transport Insurance: What You Need to Know
Transporting a vehicle across country calls for a good insurance plan. Here’s what you need to know about auto transport insurance.
Sometimes driving isn’t an option. There’s a multitude of reasons, ranging from weather to simple convenience, but the reasons usually don’t matter. What does, is getting your car from point A to point B without driving.
And doing that requires shipping your car. It’s not a hard process, or particularly expensive, but it does come with some inherent risk.
First off, shipping your car exposes it to the general public while it’s not in your control. Even the best shipping companies can’t guarantee the actions of other drivers.
Second, there’s also the weather to contend with. Many people ship their cars to avoid driving cross country in the winter. Though those winters storms still happen, and extreme weather like hail can damage your vehicle.
So to avoid any potential problems, you’ll need transport insurance. Proper insurance can protect your vehicle from any unfortunate events. Here’s how it works.
Transport Insurance 101
Transport insurance works through the transport company you’re using. Though in some cases, your auto insurance might also help cover damages. It’s always safer to assume that your private company won’t cover any damages.
However, each transport driver legally must carry a certain level of insurance. You’ll always receive some protection, but the question becomes the level of coverage offered.
Make sure to see the insurance certificate before signing any contracts. Then, ask specific questions about the insurance policy. If possible, get a copy of their policy in writing.
Some policies might only cover certain parts of your car, while others cover the entire vehicle, or have a different payout depending on what type of damage occurred and how it occurred.
Reading through the policy is the only way to truly protect yourself and your car.
Secure Your Items
Using your vehicle to transport your things makes shipping over long distances attractive. Anything extra goes into your car and arrives at your destination; all for just the shipping price.
However, not every company has the same rules when it comes to transporting items inside your car. Some have a zero item policy, while others limit what you can pack.
Though most transport insurance does not usually cover the actual items in your car. And when drivers brake, turn, etc. your belongings can shift during transport.
Always ensure to strap your items down inside the vehicle, and don’t include anything too valuable or things that could easily end up broken.
It’s not wise to ship TVs and expensive, delicate electronics that are especially susceptible to damage during transport, and likely not covered under the insurance policy.
Before and After Photos
Like private insurance, transport insurance is all about proving that damage occurred to your vehicle through careful documentation. You need to be able to prove fault if necessary.
While transport companies have forms that mark down existing damages to your car, and then those that could have occurred during transport, you’ll want to keep your own record.
Take time-stamped photos of your car before it’s loaded onto the truck. Compare these photos with your car’s condition after shipping.
It’s also wise to take a short video of yourself starting the car and letting it run for several moments. This can provide evidence for potential engine damage and other similar problems.
All of this evidence proves to the transport insurance company that your vehicle wasn’t damaged before shipping. Proven damages mean a guaranteed insurance payout.
Transport companies don’t make specific delivery date promises, but rather let the customer choose delivery windows. This ensures the customer is ready for delivery, and that the drivers aren’t running unrealistic deadlines.
However, delivery windows are just that; windows in time when your car could arrive. Sometimes, these windows happen at night or other inconvenient times.
Customers often don’t spend enough time checking the condition of their vehicle when it arrives at night, or midday during work hours.
This leaves these people susceptible to missing real damage and leaves them without documentation for an insurance claim.
Proving that shipping damaged your vehicle becomes nearly impossible once you’ve started the car yourself, or driven it, even just a few feet.
The reason being that it’s possible you caused whatever damage instead of the shipping company. Always make sure to thoroughly inspect your car, even if it’s delivered at an inconvenient time.
Your Bill of Lading
The bill of lading is documentation signed upon delivery that states your car is in satisfactory condition, and that you release the shipping company from any liability. Essentially, you’re saying that everything looks good on your end.
Know that once you sign the bill, you have zero recourse for holding the company responsible for any transport insurance claims. This is essential to understand.
Those before and after pictures? The importance of delivery times? Both come down to the moments before signing your bill of lading.
Always make sure you’ve checked your car as thoroughly as possible before signing the bill. If there’s one thing to understand and remember about transport insurance, it’s the ramifications of your bill of lading.
Choosing a Transport Company
Transport companies come in all shapes and sizes, with some being more reputable than others. Though with a little research, it’s easy to find a high-quality company.
Always look for a company that’s transparent and forthcoming with its insurance information. After all, insurance protects both yourself, and the company.
Even with a slightly higher quoted price, reputable insurance is always worth the extra money.
Plus, a company willing to carry high-quality insurance probably cares about its customers. It’s a good sign that your belongings are in good hands.
If you’re looking to ship your car, get in contact with us. We specialize in both short and long distance shipping of many different types of vehicles.
And yes, we carry high-quality transport insurance to make sure your vehicle is covered, no matter what happens on the road.
We make sure that you can ship your car with full peace of mind. Your vehicle’s safety and your convenience are our priority.
Senior automotive logistics professional with a passion for the industry and a 10+ year history of accomplishments. Proven track record of exemplary client management working with both RMCs, Van Lines and OEMs. Keen ability to react to an ever-changing marketplace while offering superior technology solutions, programs and services. Architect of award winning auto transport portal technology offering transparency and agility to clients, agents and transferees. Successful team builder and leader easily managing budgets with effective leadership, strategic planning, and problem-solving capabilities.