Whether your luxury car is a collectible retro BMW into which you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears or the Rolls Royce that you adore, you want to protect your investment. That means you won’t trust just anyone to transport your vehicle when it comes time to move to a new home or transport it across the country or the ocean for travel or a show. Watching your prized possession get prepared for shipping can be a stressful proposition, so let us explain your options in this process as well as a few tips for shipping a car.
- Open Air Trailer – You’ve seen these trailers cruising down the highway with cars strapped into a 70-80 foot long structure. This is the least expensive option since your vehicle will be transported with other cars, but it is also potentially the most dangerous for your vehicle. Road debris, weather, and the jostling of open-air transport could potentially mean your Corvette arrives with a few dings or dents. If you do choose this option, look into securing additional insurance just in case.
- Enclosed Trailer – These containers are typically preferred for luxury vehicles, as they have four walls and a roof and are built to withstand weather and even low-grade impact if, say, a tree were to fall on the trailer. Your vehicle is much more likely to make the journey safely in this type of luxury auto transport.
- Air Freight – When you need your classic car transported quickly and safely either domestically or internationally, get it a one-way plane ticket. Though this method is the most expensive and can cost thousands of dollars, it also ensures a speedy and exclusive trip. If your car needs to travel somewhere far away from a seaport, this method is probably your best choice as it helps you avoid lengthy overland travel.
- Ocean Shipping: Roll on, Roll off – This is not typically the method chosen for antique vehicle shipping as it leaves your vehicle a little more vulnerable to the elements, but it is one possibility. Cars are driven into the hull of an ocean liner, then secured into place for transport with a number of other vehicles. Many times you’ll need to wait until the ship has booked enough vehicles to make the voyage, so this method can take significant time.
- Ocean Shipping: Container Shipping – With this method, your vehicle is loaded into a closed container and then onto a ship. This offers your prized luxury vehicle greater protection for the journey, and in some cases can mean a shorter wait for transit.
How to prepare your classic car for transport
You want to make sure your beautiful vehicle is ready for its long journey, right? Here is what you need to know about preparing for luxury auto transport.
- Clean out your car entirely. If you’ve been driving your classic car, be sure to remove all important documentation from the glove box, pack up any non-factory ornamentation, and protect or remove any loose items on the car, like the antenna. If your antique has any parts under the hood that might be loose, be sure to either secure them or remove them for transport.
- Wash your car before transport so you can examine and document any pre-existing damage. Take lots of photos from every angle so that, in case of damage, you have accurate documentation to prove that scratch wasn’t there prior to shipping.
- Make a copy of your keys. If your vehicle will be driven onto a ship, it will need to be in running condition and you will need to provide keys. Make sure you have a working set to keep for yourself — which for high-end luxury vehicles, may mean ordering an additional electronic fob ahead of time. While you’re at it, turn off the anti-theft alarm on your vehicle. The jostling of a ship or trailer can easily set it off, which is more than a nuisance to the shipping crew!
- Is your luxury car crossing international borders? Customs will ask to see three notarized copies of the vehicle title, so take care of this well in advance. If you have any liens, you will need a notarized letter from the bank or lien holder authorizing the vehicle to be exported. All of these documents need to be present before your car can begin its journey, so prepare to hand them over to the shipping company.
- Give your vehicle its regularly scheduled maintenance. A charged battery, clean oil, and functioning breaks will all make the journey easier on your vehicle. Don’t fill up the gas tank though — you’ll need to have only ¼ to ½ a tank for most transportation methods.
How much will it cost?
The cost can vary widely depending on the size and value of your car and the distance it is being shipped. Domestic shipping via trailer will be the cheapest, and you can expect to pay between $800 to $2,000 for door-to-door service with full-service movers. For air service, the price can range between $12,000 to $18,000 depending on how far your luxury vehicle is traveling. The cost of shipping a car overseas depends on what method you choose, but expect to pay between $2,000-$5,000.