Car Damaged During Transport?

Transporting your car can be a nerve-wracking process any way you slice it. You hand over your keys and you cross your fingers and hope that your vehicle arrives at its final destination safe and sound.

But what do you do if the stars don’t align and there is vehicle damage during transport?

Follow these steps, starting before sending your vehicle on its way, and you’ll be prepared for the worst.

Do Your Research Beforehand

Before you sign the contract to ship your car, get as much information as you can about your shipping company’s insurance policies and what they cover.

Find out what is included in their basic insurance and ask what additional insurance coverage they might offer — and what it will cost. Do they cover only the damage or total loss? Is there a cap on how much they will pay?

For a vehicle in transit, possible damages might include chips, dents, or scratches, especially the roof or the area under the bumpers; flood damage; shipping truck rollover; window breakage; and theft.

If you determine the company’s insurance policy isn’t enough, factor in an additional policy when estimating the cost of moving your car.

Inspect your Vehicle Thoroughly Upon Arrival

When your car arrives at the final destination, check for any damage with a shipping company representative to see if you notice anything that indicates there has been damaged since the pre-shipping inspection.

Be sure to look at the roof and undercarriage, check for fluid leaks, and turn the vehicle on to be sure it is running properly and isn’t making any sounds indicating damage. Lastly, check the odometer to ensure there hasn’t been excessive miles put on the car since it left your hands.

When your car is received, your transport company will prepare a statement of the vehicle’s condition for you both to sign.

Read it carefully and be sure you know what you’re signing.

If you disagree with any of the statements or details, ask for a correction.

If You Find Damage…

  1. Take a photo of the damage, ideally from an angle similar to a photo taken prior to shipping your vehicle.
  2. Along with the car transport representative, document the damage in the Vehicle Condition Report. Most forms will have a detailed diagram so the part of the car damaged during shipping can be noted accurately.
  3. If the driver isn’t present during the inspection, notify them of the damages as soon as possible.
  4. The driver or representative of the company must sign the inspection documents before you drive the vehicle away.
  5. Visit your mechanic to obtain an estimate for repairing the damages. Get a written or email copy to provide to the shipping company.
  6. Provide photos and repair estimate to the vehicle transport company. They will need both to submit to their insurance company to secure payment for the repairs.
  7. If you require a rental vehicle in the meantime due to significant damage, keep all receipts.

If the Company Refuses to Pay for the Damage…

When it comes to transport and freight, the terms of carriage and what the carrier is and is not liable for will be spelled out in your contract or receipt – whatever paper work you sign or agree to before or at the time of payment.

If the carrier tries to avoid liability, you can rely on the Australian Consumer Law which covers goods and services if they are acquired for normal domestic use. This law dictates that any services covered by it, must be provided with acceptable care and skill or technical knowledge and taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage.

A follow up letter to the carrier demanding payment of the cost of repair for the damage, attaching a quote and outlining your rights under the Australian Consumer Law may help.

If you don’t hear back from them, contact your state’s Fair Trading Dept or the ACCC and they will help mediate a solution that both parties can be happy with.

If that doesn’t work to your satisfaction, contact the company’s insurance agent and tell them your vehicle was damaged, and you have not received fair compensation for it. They don’t want to see cars damaged during transport any more than you do!

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Customer Success Story

Why Car Transport Services Exists Today!

When I had to move my car from Melbourne to Perth, the journey of finding the right transportation service felt almost as daunting as the 3,400 km drive itself. Through trial and error, a bit of luck, and a few missteps, I learned a great deal about how to select the best service for such a task. Here’s my experience, and I hope it can guide you smoothly through your own process.

Start with Research

The first thing I learned was the importance of research. Initially, I made the rookie mistake of choosing the first service that popped up in my Google search results. Big mistake. The company had hidden fees I hadn’t anticipated, and the service was far from satisfactory. What I learned was to dig deeper. Read reviews on multiple platforms, ask for recommendations from friends or family who’ve undertaken similar moves, and don’t skip on checking the forums where real customers discuss their experiences.

Check for Licensing and Insurance

One good decision I made was ensuring the company was licensed and insured. Insurance is important. Transporting a vehicle across such a long distance has its risks, and you want to ensure that your car is covered in case of any mishaps. Verify the transporter's accreditation with transport authorities and ensure they have valid insurance that covers your vehicle during the transit. This gave me peace of mind, knowing my car was in safe hands.

Compare Quotes

Getting multiple quotes was another area where I initially faltered. I assumed all prices would be roughly the same and didn’t bother shopping around. However, after a pricey quote from the first company, I decided to get several more. The price differences were significant, and some companies offered more comprehensive services at lower costs. Always compare quotes from at least three to five companies. This not only gives you a better idea of the price range but also allows you to negotiate better terms.

Understand the Service Types

I wasn’t aware initially, but there are different types of car transport services: door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, open carrier, and enclosed carrier. Each has its pros and cons. I chose an open carrier for its cost-effectiveness, but in retrospect, considering the long journey across Australia, an enclosed carrier would have been better to protect my car from the elements. Understanding these options beforehand helps in making a more informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Communication is Key

One of the best decisions I made was selecting a company that had excellent communication practices. They provided updates at every major juncture of the journey, which eased my anxiety. Ensure that the company you choose has a point of contact who is reachable and willing to update you throughout the process. This is vital for peace of mind and to ensure that any issues are quickly addressed.

Timing and Flexibility

I learned the hard way that flexibility is key when transporting a car such a long distance. The initial service I chose promised a delivery within a week, but it ended up taking more than two weeks, which disrupted my plans significantly. Ask about the expected delivery times and check if the company can offer guarantees or compensation if they exceed the estimated delivery times.

Avoid Rush Decisions

A bad decision I made was rushing into booking without fully understanding the terms and conditions. This led to unexpected charges for additional services I wasn’t aware I had agreed to. Take your time to read the fine print or have someone else review it. Make sure you understand every aspect of the service contract.

What I Wish I Knew

If I knew then what I know now, I would have placed more emphasis on checking customer feedback about their post-service experience, especially regarding how companies handle damage claims and disputes. Knowing a company's track record in these areas can save you from potential headaches if something goes wrong.

Open vs Enclosed Car Transport

Open car carrier with new vehicles

Open Car Transport

Open car transport involves shipping vehicles in an open-air trailer, exposing them to weather and road conditions.

This method is cost-effective and widely available, making it a popular choice for transporting vehicles quickly and economically.

The main benefits include lower costs due to multiple vehicles being transported simultaneously and quicker delivery times. However, the downside is the potential risk of damage from environmental elements and road debris.

moving cars in an enclosed car carrier

Enclosed Car Transport

Enclosed car transport uses fully enclosed trailers to provide maximum protection for vehicles against weather, theft, and damage during transit.

This method is preferable for high-value, classic, or luxury vehicles requiring extra security. Enclosed transport is more expensive and less readily available but offers higher insurance coverage and peace of mind.

Specialised services include GPS tracking and expert handling, ensuring vehicles are delivered safely and discretely.

Find out more