When you’ve invested in a classic car, you want to take every precaution to protect your investment. When you move or need to transport your car for service or a show, shipping your car, rather than driving it can help reduce the chances of accident or depreciation.
Follow these 10 tips to help protect your car when shipping:
1. Research the shipping company’s reputation and safety record
If you’re shipping your car, don’t trust just anyone. Performing some research ahead of time when selecting a classic car shipping company can save you a headache down the road.
Ask fellow car enthusiasts or friends who have shipped their classic cars which companies they’ve used. Were they happy with the work? Was anything damaged or missing after the car was shipped?
Next, read up on consumer reviews of classic car transport companies on sites like Angie’s List Classic Cars.
Once you have a few companies in mind, check their safety records with the local highway patrol, your state’s transportation department or with the federal Department of Transportation.
If the company transports across state lines, they should have a presence on the Federal DOT’s safety database, which lists inspections performed and major accidents.
2. Ask about what kind of trailer will tow your vehicle
You’ll want to know upfront whether or not your vehicle will be in a safer, enclosed container or if the company uses open-air trailers. Open transport may be cheaper, but it invites the risk of damage from flying road debris and your vehicle getting dirty from rain, dust and grime.
An enclosed container may be slightly more expensive, but it will keep your car out of the elements and protected from damage.
3. Ask about the company’s insurance coverage
Request a copy of the company’s insurance information. Verify that their policy is current and in effect by calling the insurance company. This will help guarantee your car is covered in the event of an accident or damage.
Ask the transport company: What does your insurance cover? What types of accidents, events or damage is not covered? Have you ever had to file a claim with your insurance?
4. Check your own insurance coverage
Before you ship your classic car, you’ll also want to make sure to call your insurance company and check your coverage to ensure the vehicle will be protected during shipping. This will provide a fallback in case the transport company’s insurance doesn’t cover damage or loss that may occur during shipping.
5. Drain the tank
For safety, many shipping companies require that your vehicle’s gas tank be no more than ¼ full before it’s loaded for shipping. Plan ahead by driving your vehicle before shipping to use excess fuel or drain the tank using a hand pump or siphon.
6. Remove valuables
Removing valuables such as removable car stereos, period owner’s manuals and removable emblems will help prevent any possible theft that may occur during shipping.
7. Document the vehicle’s condition
Take photographs of your car and any loose parts before shipping to document their condition. Should an accident or damage occur during the vehicle’s transport, photos will help you get maximum compensation for your insurance claim.
8. Take care of any nagging maintenance issues
Leaky fluid lines, tires that don’t keep air pressure and any loose or hanging parts should all be taken care of prior to loading your vehicle for transport. This will help ensure a smooth shipping process.
9. Get a copy of the shipping contract
Make sure you thoroughly read and review the terms of the shipping contract before you sign it. There may be hidden clauses or terms for storage fees and other items that you may miss if you don’t read all of the fine print before committing to the deal.
10. Thoroughly inspect the vehicle upon delivery
If your car will eventually be shipped back to you or you’re meeting it at its destination, be sure to completely evaluate the vehicle and check for any damages before accepting it.
If you’re shipping your vehicle to a restoration shop or a new buyer, make sure they conduct a complete inspection and review the noted damage description that should have been filled out when the vehicle was loaded.