Shipping a car across the US or to another country is not a job for amateurs. The task comes with several complex processes and even involve different parties throughout the journey. It’s also not exactly the same as forwarding parcels from the US to Australia or from California to New York. For one, a vehicle requires special attention. Plus, transporting a valuable item like cars means more risks for the owner.

Fortunately, there are ways to lower the risks when shipping a car to a far destination. Here are some tips to help you carry out this task whether you’re moving homes or simply sending a car to another person:

Know the risks of every mode of shipment

Typically, you have two ways to ship your vehicle: open or enclosed trailer. Open trailers are more affordable, but cars shipped through these are at risk of theft and damage due to weather elements, road debris, and other factors. Be aware that vehicles on open trailers are often only secured with chains tightened over a car’s axle. If overtightened, these chains can put a lot of strain on your vehicle. If loose, these chains will bang against the car every time the trailer drives onto potholes and bumps.

Choosing an enclosed trailer is a better option. Enclosed trailers feature lift gates, keeping cars secure. Instead of chains, they utilize nylon straps or wheel nets to ensure the vehicle is transported safely. The only downside to enclosed trailer shipping is it is far more expensive than the open trailer option. But knowing the value of your car, isn’t it OK to spend a few more dollars to ensure it’s safe and secure?

Be wary of auto transport brokers

transport of car

Auto transport brokers are companies that bid your shipment to another company—a car carrier. When you do business with a broker, you don’t know which car carrier or driver they will broker your order to. This might mean you won’t have a direct link to the person transporting your car to the desired destination. And if you have an issue with your vehicle after the transport, you will have to deal with two separate companies. As much as possible, hire auto carriers rather than auto transport brokers. This way, you can deal with them directly, discuss paperwork, and even check out the trailer and have a chat with the driver.

Explain the oddities of your car

Auto transport companies usually charge a non-run fee if the car cannot be driven on and off the trailer. To avoid that unnecessary fee, make sure your vehicle has gas and a fully charged battery. Also, don’t forget to explain the oddities of your car. Tell the car carrier or the trailer driver whether your car has cut-off switches, special alarms, and any other oddities. The more information your driver has, the easier it will be for them to handle your car and ship it safely across states—and you’ll avoid the non-run fee.

Above all, get everything in writing. From charges to insurance policies, all necessary details should be in the contract. Before signing anything, make sure to read through the paperwork to check for hidden charges and other terms and conditions that you might have missed before. And whenever there’s a necessary change in the agreement, put it in writing. Keep in mind that shipping a car comes with risks. But you can always lower the risks and avoid unnecessary fees by being smart and thorough.