Buying a Car Online? Plan for the Vehicle Home Delivery

Learn more about vehicle transportation for consumers interested in purchasing a car online.

The used car industry has been on fire since the chip shortage adversely affected car manufacturers’ supply chains. Subsequently, the shortage of new cars significantly drove up the demand for used cars.

In addition, Covid accelerated the used car industry’s e-commerce penetration, which only accounted for 0.9% prior to the pandemic. Covid also kept some consumers from visiting a dealership. Others simply couldn’t find a vehicle they were looking for in the local market. Either way, consumers turned to their computers and are now more comfortable purchasing a car online.

High demand for used cars expanded dealerships’ sales across state lines. Large metropolitan markets, with a greater pool of cars, became a target for car shoppers seeking deals. This phenomenon subsequently increased demand for vehicle home delivery.

Most dealerships do not take liability of the vehicles being transported and complete their transaction with the sale of the vehicle. Generally, dealerships will provide the consumer with several referrals to arrange transportation. Now, many consumers have to navigate the online car buying process and arrange for transportation.

There are several important factors to take into consideration when planning for the vehicle home delivery.

Where do I get started?

  1. As you are negotiating the vehicle deal with the dealership, request a referral for a few car shipping services.
  2. Research each auto transport company by paying close attention to their website and Google reviews.

You are transporting one of the largest assets you own so it is important you work with a professional company. Their website (or any communication for that matter) should be very clear about the services they offer. Look for FAQs outlining the entire transportation process.

Should I ship my car in an open or enclosed trailer?

It is preferable to ship luxury or exotic vehicles in an enclosed trailer. The enclosed trailer protects the vehicle from debris but is generally more expensive than the open carrier. Keep in mind that enclosed trailers are also more specialized. So, it could take longer to have the vehicle shipped due to the availability of the equipment.

How much does it cost to ship a car?

There are numerous factors that play a role in the cost of shipping a car. When fully calculated, these factors create a huge price range. For vehicles traveling longer than 300 miles prices can vary from $0.60/Mile up to $1.50/Mile. The following five factors affect the cost of shipping a car.

Distance – The distance is the most important component to determining the cost of shipping a car. Generally, the longer the distance, the more it costs in total dollars. However, the per mile cost goes down as distance increases.

Vehicle Size – Larger and heavier vehicles may require special accommodations and may have an additional surcharge. Naturally, larger vehicles take up more space on the trailer and the heavier ones mean the transporters use more fuel. For example, electric cars weigh more than combustion engine sedans, due to the weight of the battery pack. So, they could cost more to transport.

Specialized Equipment – Vehicles that require specialized equipment to transport will incur an additional surcharge. As previously mentioned, open transport is generally the standard option and enclosed transportation keeps the car better protected from flying debris. Similarly, inoperable vehicles require specialized equipment and will also have a surcharge.

Urban vs. Non-Urban Locations – Vehicle transport between two urban areas costs less than to transport to rural locations. Generally metropolitan areas have an abundance of available car shipments. Larger supply of available shipments provides easier reloads for transporters making the trip more cost effective.

Shipment Seasonality – Seasonality also plays a large role in driving up the cost of transporting a vehicle. As with anything else, when demand increases so does the cost to ship the vehicle.

What else should I take into consideration?

Once your research is complete and you find a few companies that look trustworthy, get two or three different quotes for comparison. The cheapest rate is not always the best value, so it is important to take other factors into consideration.

Pay close attention throughout the quote process, it is a preview to working with that company. Be mindful about the steps it takes to work with them.

Especially pay attention to the following stages:

  • Ease of getting a quote
  • Speed of response
  • Ease of reaching personnel on the phone
  • Follow up after the quote was provided
  • Insurance coverage for the vehicle in transit and ability to track a shipment in transit

Clear communication and transparency are going to play a critical role during the transportation process. Here is a rating system to help you make your decision with 40 as the highest score.

How long does it take to ship a car?

One of the first questions anyone has when it comes to shipping a vehicle is “how long does it take?” Like anything else, that depends. Depending on the origin and destination, coordinating pickup of the vehicle can take 1-3 days to complete. Car hauler equipment varies in sizes from 2-9 vehicle spots and the goal is to fill the entire truck with vehicles.

Once the vehicle is in-transit, the truck driver can generally travel 500 miles per day. Drivers have to follow US Department of Transportation regulations called “Hours of Service.” These regulations limit the number of hours a commercial driver can operate a truck.

How do I track my vehicle shipment in transit?

It is important to choose a transport company that can provide real-time tracking updates and customer service 24/7. There are various options that a transporter can provide including: ability to track on the transporter\’s website, a tracking link, text updates, etc. Whether it is self-directed tracking access or on-demand updates it is important to have access to the tracking information.

Is the car insured while being transported?

Generally, most transporters carry at least $100K in cargo liability insurance which is sufficient for most vehicles. You can request a copy of the insurance from the transporter to confirm the insurance is valid. If you are shipping exotic and/or luxury vehicles, provide the value of the vehicle to the transporter. Then make sure there is proper cargo insurance to cover the vehicle.

It is also important to ensure the transporter has commercial general liability insurance, auto liability insurance and workers compensation. You don’t want to be liable if the transporter causes damage to commercial property, or if the driver gets hurt on your property.

Additionally, many transport companies state that the vehicle is insured during transit. However, if a claim occurs, you are passed off to the driver’s insurance company, forcing you to deal with the hassle of the claim. Make sure you choose a company that will take ownership and facilitate the entire claim administration.

Does anyone need to be present when the vehicle is being delivered?

Delivering a vehicle is not like delivering a package. The vehicle owner (or designated individual) must be present at delivery to confirm identity and take possession of the vehicle.

What if the preferred delivery location is not accessible by a car hauler?

It is important to provide the transport company information regarding truck access to the delivery location. Consider these common obstacles for car haulers: narrow streets, limited access, apartment gates, etc.

If a semi-car-hauler can’t access the location, a smaller trailer could possibly make the delivery. Just provide the information in advance and be transparent about your situation. You can still organize a non-residential delivery location if that works better.

Do I need to sign any documents once the vehicle is delivered?

Once the car has been delivered, the driver will request a signature on the Bill of Lading (BOL). The BOL is a legal contract for transporting goods. It will need to be signed at the origin and again at the destination. Before you sign, make sure the driver has documented any vehicle imperfections (scratches, dents, etc.) and takes pictures of the vehicle; inside and out.

If your vehicle arrives at the destination in a different condition than at the origin, you will need documentation. If damage did occur the BOL and photos will play a critical role. They provide proof that damages occurred during transit and should be covered by the car transport service’s insurance.

Carpool Logistics

CARPOOL is an experienced logistics partner that offers vehicle home delivery. We have partnered with many dealerships and understand today’s consumer expectations when it comes to vehicle delivery. Our logistics team leverages transporter partnerships and technology to optimize vehicle shipments.

On-time delivery and open communication are crucial when selecting an auto transportation service. That is why we utilize SMS technology to keep the customer updated 24/7. We also carry comprehensive insurance coverage, so your vehicle is always under protection. Carpool Logistics’ platform provides vehicle pooling, route optimization and status visibility for our customers.

Learn more about Carpool Logistics’ personal vehicle shipping services here.

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