Imagine the following: You've been living somewhere in the middle of the country, Texas, perhaps, or Nebraska. You've just been offered the job of your dreams but you have to relocate to California or Massachusetts. You've arranged for movers to pack and ship your belongings, and found a company that will transport your car, so you can fly in cushy comfort, but is it safe to cancel your insurance policy yet? Here are some points to consider:
Most auto transport Companies Have Insurance
Reliable carriers companies carry insurance polices that will cover any damage that might occur during transit, and they are required to present their insurance certificate for your inspection. If you haven't already seen it, be sure to request this information. You'll also want to know exactly what is covered. For example, is coverage limited to body damage, or any part of the car? You'll also want to know if there's a deductible you'll have to pay, should an auto insurance claims representative be notified. As well, it's important to know that the movers insurance is based solely on the value of your car. If you have a vintage model, or a collector car of any kind, be certain to get an appraisal as close to the departure date as possible.
Your Own Insurance May Still Apply
Your existing insurance policy may still cover your vehicle while it's in transit, but you'll need to contact your agent and ask a few questions. Specifically, you'll want to know if they need to approve the transport company, and if they will require any special documentation. You'll also want to find out if your regular deductible applies, or if there will be a different amount you may have to pay. Finally, you want to check the position of the coverage. In most cases, your insurance will be the primary form of coverage, and the shipper's policy will be in secondary position, which means if there's a claim, your rates may be affected.
Driving at the Destination
If you're going to be using your car when it (and you) get to your new home, you'll want to make sure that you leave your current policy intact until you arrive. In most states, you have thirty days to get a new driver's license, and insurance will be required in order to do that, but the insurance must be written in that state. Your best bet is to wait until you and your car are safely at your destination, change your insurance, and then apply for your new license.
Smoothing the Way
Whatever you ultimately decide about your car insurance policy, there are a few things you can do before you hand over your keys that will reduce the likelihood of something happening to your car, and also make it easier to deal with any damage that may occur.
Remove personal effects. Not only is it illegal to pack belongings in a car being transport, but loose items can roll around and cause damage that may not be covered by insurance.
Inspect the car. While the shipper's representative will make a visual inspection of your car, you should do so as well, before you drop it off. It's a good idea to take pictures, as well, just in case. You'll want to inspect it again when you reclaim it, too, to make sure nothing has changed.
Note any damage. In the unlikely case that there is damage, note it on the bill of lading, and make sure the driver signs it. Don't hassle the driver about money, just call the office of the transport company and deal with them for any reimbursement.
In the vast majority of carriers, all the cars arrive in the same condition that they were in when they left home, if a little dustier, and your transport company will be fair when dealing with you. Knowing how to handle your insurance and how to document the condition of your car before it leaves your possession will give you peace of mind, and help to maintain cheap auto insurance rates, so you can concentrate on more important aspects of your cross-country move, like finding the closest café to your new office.