How Does Auto Transport Work?

How Does Auto Transport Work?

This article will walk you through how to transport your vehicle in three simple, quick, and easy steps.

We understand that the process of auto transport can be stressful, so we created this page to share all the details and put your mind at ease. We want you to know just how easy, stress-free, and smooth the process is.


Get a quote and schedule it


We pick up your vehicle


Receive your vehicle


Get A Free Car Shipping Quote And Schedule It Online Or Over The Phone

To get started and receive an instant quote, you can use our online car shipping cost calculator. If you would prefer to speak with a car shipping expert directly, simply call 888 277-8212 and we will be more than happy to discuss your options. To get an accurate quote via the calculator, enter your origination zip code as well as your destination zip code. Then select the year, make, and model of the vehicle or vehicles you need to be shipped. Finally decide if you want Open or Enclosed transport for your cars. In just a few seconds, you can find out how much it will cost to ship your car!

If you're ready to book our car delivery service, click the link in your email or quote, chat with us online, or give us a call at 888 277-8212. You are not required to pay a deposit or make a payment upfront to place your order. Plus, our low-risk vehicle transport is budget-friendly for everyone!

Once you place an order with us, we will contact you right away to schedule a transport by one of our 18,000+ thoroughly examined and insured professional truckers.


We'll Come To Pick Up Your Vehicle, And The Transportation Process Begins

One of our dispatchers will collaborate with you to establish a date, time, and location for vehicle pick-up that is convenient for you. Before we ship your car, please ensure it is clean on both the inside and outside. Additionally, remove any valuables as well as loose parts or toll tags. For loading and unloading purposes, please make sure there is at least a quarter tank of gas remaining in the car.

On the day of pickup, inspect your vehicle with the trucker to notate any pre-existing damages or other concerns. Once the inspection is complete and you've signed The Bill of Lading, your vehicle will be on its way to its destination.

During the delivery, your vehicle will be in excellent hands and fully covered. You may keep track of your shipment using our website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or call your trucker to find out where your car is on its path.


The Trucker Delivers Your Vehicle

Your trucker will reach out to your destination contact the day before arrival to give them a window of what time they can expect him. He'll also do his best to get as close to the address as possible, but please keep in mind that he has to prioritize safety and following legal traffic guidelines. Lastly, if there is a balance remaining on your shipping invoice, you may pay the trucker at that time.

Once the trucker arrives, you and the driver will inspect the vehicle one final time. If everything looks good, then you'll sign the Bill of Lading to accept your delivery. The driver will hand over the keys and that's it! Shipping is more complicated with other companies, but Safemile Auto Transport keeps it as easy as 1-2-3.

Ready to Ship your car with SAFEMILE?

Our car shipping experts are available by calling 888 277-8212 or you can use our instant cost calculator to get your free car shipping quote now!

If you still have any questions about shipping your car, see our FAQS page to get more information;

Frequently Asked Questions
Pick Up / Delivery
Pricing Payment & Cancellation Policy
  • When will my car arrive?

    -Delivery Time Estimate Guide;

    100-500 miles takes 1 or 2 days
    500-1000 miles takes 2 or 3 days
    1000-1500 miles takes 3 or 4 days
    1500-2000 miles takes 4 or 5 days
    2000-2500 miles takes 5 or 7 days
    2500-3000+ miles takes 7 or 10 days

    Depending on the distance, weather conditions and population centers it could be a few days or weeks until a vehicle reaches its destination. The carriers usually estimate about 8-9 days on coast to coast trips, but they frequently arrive earlier.

  • Is there a vehicle title or registration required to transport it?

    No, all we need are the keys and the vehicle(s).

  • How do I prepare my car for shipment?

    - Make sure your vehicle has been cleaned thoroughly inside and out, so the trucker can do a thorough examination of any existing scratches or dings. Also, make sure there aren't any more personal belongings in the vehicle unless you intend to include them (remember those items must total less than 100 pounds combined and be kept in the trunk or back seat below the window-line of the vehicle). Remove all loose components attached to the body, any non-permanent luggage, bike, or ski racks. Be sure to inform the driver of any special circumstances concerning the vehicle.

  • How can I find out my pick-up date and time?

    We'll text and email you a "dispatch notification" with the anticipated pick-up/loading date and the trucker's name and phone number after a vehicle has been assigned/dispatched. The driver usually calls you a few hours before arrival to notify you of his anticipated arrival time at your home. On request, special arrangements may be made.

  • What is the bill of lading, and what role does it play in my shipment?

    The bill of lading is a crucial piece of paper that car transportation firms use to document any prior damage on the vehicle when it is picked up. It also serves as a record of your contact information and the formal transport agreement. If you wish to file an insurance claim regarding your shipment, you'll need the Bill of Lading.

    The Bill of Lading's final purpose is to serve as a receipt for the transaction. Even though the customer booking the transaction or the owner of the vehicle doesn't need to be at pickup or delivery to sign it, we highly recommend that someone who is eighteen years old or older signs it because it's such an important legal document for this type of business dealings.

  • Can I transport a car that I bought from an auto auction?

    - Yes, we send dozens of vehicles each year from salvage auctions and other sorts of auto auctions. Each auction will have its release criteria, and we'll get all the relevant information from you at the time of booking. Please double-check that the vehicle has been fully paid and cleared for release from the sale. Also keep in mind that if an automobile is reserved as operable but turns out to be inoperative, there will be an extra charge and the original trucker may not be able to handle an unusable car. In that case, We will arrange for you another trucker who has a winch to load your vehicle.

  • Can you ensure that my order will be picked up or delivered on a specific date and time?

    -Yes, we can provide a guaranteed pickup date(s). All you have to do now is decide if you need the vehicle picked up by a specific date or on a specific date, which will determine the extra cost involved in guaranteeing your deadline. If you require a special pickup date(s), please contact us for a personalized quote. The automobile transport industry, however, does not guarantee delivery dates because anything might happen on the highway.

  • How can I prepare my vehicle for shipment?

    - Make sure your vehicle has been cleaned thoroughly inside and out, so the trucker can do a thorough examination of any existing scratches or dings. Also, make sure there aren't any more personal belongings in the vehicle unless you intend to include them (remember those items must total less than 100 pounds combined and be kept in the trunk or back seat below the window-line of the vehicle). Remove all loose components attached to the body, any non-permanent luggage, bike, or ski racks. Be sure to inform the driver of any special circumstances concerning the vehicle.

    Remove all antennas and loose parts, toll tags and parking passes. Make sure the battery is fully charged. The vehicle is clean and there are no personal items (other than those discussed).

  • Can I store personal belongings in my car?

    - You can ship personal belongings in your car as long as they don't weigh more than a hundred pounds and are stored in the trunk or back seats (under the window line). Please note that if you report any damaged or missing items, insurance will not cover them.

  • What should I do with my E-ZPass or automatic toll collection pass ?

    Please remove your E-ZPass or any other electronic toll collection mechanism from your vehicle entirely and mail it to your destination or bring it with you. Due to the nature of the automated toll road systems, if your device is left in your car as it is transported, you will incur toll fees as if you were driving the vehicle. Safemile Auto Transport will not take responsibility for this avoidable expense.

  • Can I ship a Motorcycle or ATV/UTV?

    -Yes, we can ship motorcycles and ATVs/UTVs. Call us at 888-277-8212 or use our instant car shipping cost calculator online to get your free car shipping quote now.

  • Is it possible to transport a vehicle that has been modified or is too large?

    - Yes, even if your vehicle is oversized or modified, we can still ship it. Our network of specialized carriers nationwide allows us to accommodate vehicles of any size. However, since pricing is based on the dimensions of the vehicle, you will need to call for a quote. The online quote calculator cannot generate an accurate quote because it uses standard and unmodified vehicle sizes and specifications.

  • If a car has low ground clearance, can I still ship it?

    -Yes, however any vehicle with a clearance of fewer than 4 inches will almost certainly need to be transported on an enclosed trailer with a liftgate. Low-clearance cars can't be loaded onto an open trailer because the vehicle would Bottom out while being loaded.

  • Do I need to have license plates on my vehicle before I transport it?

    - No, we just need the vehicle and keys.

  • What is door-to-door car transport?

    -Door-to-door car transport is the full-service delivery of your vehicle where our drivers take it directly from its current location to the door at your desired destination. Our drivers do their utmost to get as close as physically and legally possible to the pickup and delivery locations, but there may be external factors beyond our control that prevent us from getting to your door. For the safety of your vehicle and our drivers, we need a hazard-free route to get to your car. If there aren't any nearby large parking lots or shopping centers, consider meeting us at a location where our driver will have enough space to load/unload safely.

  • What types of car shipping services do you provide?

    -At Safemile, we have open and enclosed car shipping services. Open car shipping is when vehicles are transported on two exposed decks, which is the type of auto transport typically seen driving down highways. Enclosed car shipping involves placing your vehicle in a trailer with walls and a roof--it looks like an enlarged 18-wheeler truck. This method is recommended for luxury cars, exotics, or classics

  • What sort of truck will be used to transport my car?

    -Our options are designed to meet the needs of all our customers. The recommended option for transport is an open trailer--the same method used by factories to provide dealerships with brand-new cars. If you need to move an exotic, collectible, or antique vehicle, though, we recommend choosing an enclosed trailer instead. You can speak to one of our auto transportation experts at (888) 277-8212 for more information and YOUR free no-obligation quote today!

  • What is top load service?

    -Top load service is the loading of a vehicle onto an open auto transport trailer's higher level or deck. Because automobiles on the lower level are at risk of having liquid from cars above seep on them, this is considered to be superior to bottom loading.

  • What are the key distinctions between open and closed transport?

    -The most common type of car shipping is open transport. There are two types of open-air transporters: larger carriers that can hold 8-10 cars, and smaller carriers that can hold 2-3 cars. The latter is more often used for local moves. Open-air carriers tend to have more frequent availability since they're more in demand.

    When shipping a classic, luxury, or exotic vehicle, we recommend using an enclosed shipping method. This will protect your car from any exposure to weather elements while on the road. It's best to book your transport in advance as there are limited carriers available who offer this service.

  • Will my car be covered by insurance during transport?

    Every shipment comes with basic liability coverage in transit time for up to $250,000 for open trailers and up to $1.000.000 for an enclosed trailer. If you want a higher level of protection, we also offer comprehensive insurance options. You can choose your desired level of coverage when booking. For more information on our insurance options, please call 888 277-8212 and one of our representatives will be happy to help you out!

  • What is the difference between open and enclosed transport?

    The majority of vehicle shipping is done by way of open transport. Open-air transporters come in two forms. Larger 8-10 car carriers are used for the most part for shipments. Shorter, more local moves are completed with smaller 2-3 car carriers. Because they are utilized more frequently, open-air carriers have a greater frequency of availability. Additionally, they cost less than an enclosed carrier. If you are looking for the most affordable option, open-air transport is likely your best bet.

    Choosing an enclosed shipping method is the best way to ship classic, luxury, or exotic vehicles. Enclosed transporters provide maximum protection from exposure to any open-air elements on the road. Book your enclosed transport in advance since there is limited carrier availability.

  • When is the best time to schedule my shipment?

    -The sooner you book your transport, the more likely we will be able to meet your required timeframes. To ensure the best results, schedule your shipment 1-2 weeks in advance whenever possible. However, we also offer expedited shipping for times when you need the same or next-day shipping options.

  • Can I place an order without knowing the exact address?

    - Yes, the city and zip code will be sufficient until we know your exact pickup or delivery location.

  • Are there any discounts available?

    -We provide discounts to military personnel, students, first responders, medical professionals, repeat customers, and multi-vehicle purchases. Call us for a discount. We may need a copy of your identification to apply a deal to your quotation.

  • What information is required to place an order?

    We will need the following information from you to provide our services:

    -The address for the locations that your vehicle will be picked up from and delivered to, along with the name and phone number of the contact person at each location.

    -The date that your vehicle will be ready

    -The year, make, and model of the vehicle(s) that will be transported.

  • Is insurance included in my quote?

    Yes, our quotes are all-inclusive and we only use carriers that are required to have a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability insurance and $250,000 in cargo insurance.

  • Can I track the progress of my shipment online?

    -Yes, you may track your shipment online at any time of day or night. You will obtain a unique booking number after making a shipping arrangement, which may be used to monitor the progress of your shipment online. You can also use the tracking portal to communicate with a shipping agent and get answers to any questions you have about the status of your vehicle(s).

  • How can I receive a shipping quote for my car?

    -To obtain a quotation for vehicle transport, either utilize our quick online car shipping quote calculator above or call (888) 277-8212 to talk with one of our transportation experts. To calculate your personalized estimate, just tell us the pickup and delivery locations, automobile make and model, and pick-up date. Also, if your car(s) is in running condition or not.

  • How refunds work ?

    Depending on the status of your order, you may or may not be refunded:

    If your order has NOT been assigned (dispatched) for loading, then you will be given a full refund.

    But, if your order HAS been dispatched for loading and is no longer changeable, then unfortunately only part of your payment can be refunded back to you that can go towards future car shipments with us according to Terms & Conditions in more detail.

  • For what reason do you need my credit or debit card number?

    We do not demand any sort of deposit from you until your vehicle has been assigned to a reputable driver for a price that you agree upon. Before we begin working on finding you a carrier, though, we do take your credit card information.

    We do this because it's typical for customers to "double book" with multiple carriers, believing this will improve their chances of getting their car transferred. All auto transport businesses are leveraging the same tools to locate a carrier for your automobile. So if a vehicle is "double booked," it just delays the process and muddles the carriers looking for their next vehicle on their route. By providing your credit card information in advance, we can work in good faith toward locating you a driver based on our efforts.

    We guarantee that if we are unable to locate you a carrier at a price you are comfortable with, there will be no cancellation fees and your card will not be charged. We simply ask that you allow us to work on obtaining the finest carrier and best price for you.

    Your credit or debit card number guarantees that we will do everything possible to get you a reputable driver on the dates and at the price you request. We don't get paid until your vehicle is shipped, so it's always in our best interest to provide stellar service.

  • How do we calculate the cost to ship your car?

    A few things that we consider when telling you how much it will cost to ship your car are the mileage between where your vehicle is and its destination, the type of car being shipped, and the time of year. The last one is important because prices change depending on how busy it is for cars to be transported.

    Rates are subject to change, depending on the weather, route demands, and national holidays. It will have an impact on intrastate shipments since gas prices in certain states are extremely high. Each quotation is based on the season and current rates for pick-up/drop-off locations.

    There are also more choices, such as enclosed carriers, top-load service, and fast delivery, which can be added to your order at the time of booking for a higher level of service.

  • What are the payment options for my auto shipping?

    -For the deposit or full pre-payment of your shipment, we accept all major credit cards, electronic transfers, money orders, and bank/certified checks. If a balance is owed at delivery, it may be paid to the driver directly and in cash, bank/certified check, or money order.

  • Can I cover the entire transport cost using my credit card?

    -Yes, you may pay the whole transportation cost via a credit card. You can make a convenient, one-time payment with a credit or debit card if you want to pay in full online at the time of booking. You have the choice of paying a deposit with your credit card and then paying off the rest of your balance in cash upon delivery using this method.