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Shipping Your Vehicle

Prepare Information

Shipping companies require some basic information to provide an accurate estimate or schedule a vehicle pick-up. Details such as the exact weight and dimensions of your vehicle can greatly affect the requirements for the shipper. Oversized vehicles like SUVs or custom designs can also incur extra fees. Thoroughly read through paperwork – especially the bill of lading.

Know Your Options

There’s more than one way to ship a car. The most common shipping vessels include:

  • Enclosed or open containers
  • Multi-car trailer trucks or a pick-up, often called a “hotshot”
  • Non-stacking trailers
  • Multi-level carriers (commonly seen at dealerships)

Your options vary depending on the type of vehicle you’re shipping. If you prefer expert care, you can shop around for shippers who specialize in a specific type of vehicle, such as classic cars or off-road vehicles.

Know Your Shipper

Conduct due diligence and research the background of any person or company that offers to ship your vehicle. Ask about insurance, certifications and/or if the person with whom you’re speaking is a broker or the actual shipper. Much like a home contractor or plumber, car shippers can vary from business to business. Don’t be shy about asking questions. If you’re uncertain about any items that the shipper addressed, just ask. As always, if something seems too good to be true, it likely is.

Tips for Shipping

Our friends at uShip are the true experts when it comes to shipping. Dean Xeros, Head of uShip Motors, highlights the three actions to set you up for success.

  1. Inspect the vehicle at pickup and delivery.

No matter how well you know your vehicle, others don’t and it’s your word against theirs when it arrives with dings or scratches “that weren’t there before.” It’s crucial to document the state of the vehicle with photos before and after its delivery to determine whether any damage occurred. If you’re doing a private purchase from a distant seller, there are third-party services that can help you.

  1. Let the vehicle ship empty.

It might seem like a brilliant idea to pack your car with extra items and boxes. After all, it’s just empty space, right? It’s actually illegal to do so. If the car hauler has to stop suddenly, those items essentially become dangerous. Vehicle handlers are not licensed to transport household goods, the most common items stuffed into the backseat before the car leaves. Putting these items in your car puts them at risk for hefty fines, which they would very reasonably pass on to you. Finally, if something is lost or stolen, the carrier is not liable for these goods, nor would they be covered by insurance.

  1. Obtain insurance.

Would you rather spend a few dollars now or potentially a lot later? Many people take their chances and go with the latter and it ends up costing them. Spend a few extra dollars now for the appropriate amount of shipping insurance. Your carrier probably already has some base level coverage but you can supplement it. It’s also important to understand what your carrier’s deductibles are.

PaySAFE® recommends the following transportation and packaging vendors:

East West Auto Transport is a 30-year-old, family-owned and operated shipping company, specializing in vehicle transportation throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Craters & Freighters

Items like artwork, personal goods and oddly sized goods may require a helping hand when it comes to transportation. You may wish to consult with shipping and packaging experts like those at Craters & Freighters. For more than two decades, Craters & Freighters has been meeting America’s custom shipping needs with consistent, high-quality professional packaging and worldwide transportation services.


When dealing with smaller items, use a certified and bonded shipper like FedEx, UPS, DHL or USPS. These retail shippers offer options such as certified delivery and package tracking. We highly recommend insuring items for at least the full value of the item itself. While all carriers do their best to ensure items are treated with care, accidents can and do happen.

To learn more, you can see our other posts regarding shipping a vehicle.