Auto transport companies can save you and your business time and money. They can help you get a car across the state or across the country without putting miles on it and wasting the time of an employee driver. But before you start looking for auto transport companies, you should have a full understanding of common industry terms, such as universal load board, bill of lading, open auto transport and enclosed auto transport. You should also understand the legalities and liabilities that are related to the car shipping contract and insurance certificate.
Universal load board
The universal load board is a national inventory of cars and trucks that are waiting for shipment. Auto transport brokers list shipment dates and destinations on the load board, and auto transport companies use the system to select jobs. This helps the companies keep their car carriers full on long hauls.
Bill of lading
The bill of lading, also known as the condition report, is a report that acknowledges the delivery of the car. If you are picking up the car, then you should check it thoroughly for damage and note any that exists on the bill of lading.
The insurance certificate is a document that proves the auto shipping company has an active insurance policy. You should ask to see the insurance certificate before you agree to ship your car with any company. Keep in mind, the insurance certificate only proves the company has insurance, it does not necessarily detail what is covered.
When you hire a company to transport your vehicles, you will have to sign a car-shipping contract. The contract details the cost, cancellation fee, pick-up and delivery dates, deductibles, claim procedures and guarantees. If the company promises you something (such as a specific delivery date), then make sure it is in the contract. Do not rely on verbal promises.
When you use open-auto transport, your car will be put onto an open air car carrier. Most car carriers can carry 10 cars, with five on the bottom and five on the top. Your vehicle will be exposed to rain, snow, dirt and dust.
If you used enclosed-auto transport, then your vehicle is completely protected from the elements. It is placed in an enclosed truck with two or three other cars, and it's often covered with a cloth overcoat. Enclosed-auto transport generally costs 90 percent more than open-auto transport.