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Auto Transport: Insurance Matters

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You know that you shouldn't drive your car without the right insurance, but you might not know that you have to think about insurance when shipping your vehicle too. When you load your automobile onto the transport truck you don't know what it might be in for and if you haven't double checked your auto shipping company's policies, you may be left footing the bill for scratches, dents or worse.

Most reliable auto transport companies carry the insurance required to cover any damage that occurs to the vehicles they're shipping (and in the vast majority of cases, transported cars arrive at their destination in perfect condition). However, as with any kind of insurance, there can be lots of caveats. Before you trust your automobile to a moving company, check out 123 Movers' advice on insurance and the vehicle shipping process.

Keep the following in mind:
  • Before you settle on which auto shipping company to use, ask the companies you're interested in for their insurance certificate. They're all required by law to have one. Don't be afraid to ask questions about their policies either. Will your car be covered for any damage that occurs during shipping? Or are only certain parts of the car (i.e. the body) covered? Will you be required to pay a deductible?
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  • Make sure to get any promises or assurances from the auto transport company in writing.

  • It's possible that your auto insurance will also cover the vehicle. Call your company or agent check into the specifics. Is the coverage the same while the automobile's being shipped? Do you have to provide the company with any notification?

  • Before handing over your keys, empty your car of any and all personal items. There are a number of reasons for this: First, most transport companies' insurance won't cover any objects in the car, should they end up damaged. The extra weight, if it's substantial, could damage the vehicle's exhaust system and objects inside the car could move around and damage the interior. Chances are neither kind of damage will be covered by the transporter's insurance. Also, be aware of the other ways you'll need to prepare your car for shipping .

  • When you drop your vehicle off at the shipping company, a transport truck driver or company representative will inspect the vehicle before loading it in order to note any pre-existing damage. Be sure to be there during the examination. It can't hurt to take a few snapshots of your car before the move either, as evidence, in case something should happen.

  • When your automobile is dropped off the same inspection process will take place again, this time to check for any damage that might have occurred during shipping. It's important you do a thorough check and note all damage on the condition report (also known as the "bill of lading") before you accept the car. Make sure to check the vehicle's undercarriage and start it up to check for mechanical damages, don't just look it over. Again, bringing along a camera for documentation can't hurt. If you take possession of the car at night, try to do the inspection under bright lights so you don't miss anything.

  • If any damage has been done to your vehicle during shipping, note it on the bill of lading, get the driver to sign it and then contact the auto shipping company directly for reimbursement.

  • If you don't feel your auto shipping company has treated you fairly during the claims process you can file a complaint with your local Better Business Bureau. You can also contact the U.S. Department of Transportation if your vehicle was transported over state lines. However, the U.S. DOT can't do much to help unless you already have a court judgment against the moving company.

It may be a lot to process, but there's no substitute for making sure your auto transport insurance is set up right. To get the process started, scroll to the top of the page for free auto transport quotes.

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