Shipping Your Car
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Shipping Your Car to Alaska

Price

What is the total cost? Be sure to get quotes from several car transport and auto "driveaway" companies. Be ready to give them:

bulletorigination/destination
bulletapproximate departure date
bullettype of vehicle(s)
bullettype of service desired (such as door-to-door car transport vs. terminal-to-terminal)
bulletspecial car transport services (enclosed car transport?)

Payment Method

While some car transport and auto driveaway companies may not require payment in advance, many will want a deposit (10-25% of the total cost), or even full payment in advance. If a deposit is given, the rest of the amount due is always required at time of delivery – many times with a cashiers check or cash. Sometimes a surcharge of 2-3% is required when using a credit card with a car transport or auto driveaway company, even though that is considered illegal by the credit card companies!

Reading the Contract

READ YOUR CONTRACT CAREFULLY!!!  Do not rely on any verbal promises from your car transport company. After you sign your contract, your car transport company will ALWAYS refer you to the contract for any complaints you may have, including cost to cancel your shipment. The main thing to look for is a clause that says there is no guaranteed pickup or delivery date. Even though most cars are delivered by car transport companies within the expected timeframe, most will not guarantee a delivery date. You can ask for the following things to protect yourself against verbal promises that you would have otherwise relied upon (also see "Pick-up & Delivery Dates" below):

  1. Ask for a contract clause (in writing) that waives the cancellation fee if the car is not picked up by your car transport company within some number of days of the scheduled pickup date. If you cancel within the allotted window, expect to pay some fee, which may vary from $50 to $250. Although most cars are picked up on the scheduled date or within a few days of that date, a 1 or 2 week delay may occasionally happen. Your cancellation clause should allow for at least a week beyond the scheduled pickup date.
  2. It is difficult for any car transport company to promise a delivery date, however, if your car transport company offers a guarantee that covers a rental car, find out the cost of the guarantee (if any) and the maximum dollars per day covered.

Insurance

 Your vehicle(s) should be insured against damage and theft by your car transport company or auto driveaway. ASK FOR A COPY OF INSURANCE COVERAGE. Ask if the carrier's insurance is PRIMARY or SECONDARY to your own insurance in the event of damage during car transport. Also ask if there is a damage deductible – VERIFY ALL IN WRITING. In addition, your own car insurance may cover your vehicle in transit – check with your car insurance company to verify. Keep in mind that many car transport and auto driveaway companies may discourage or prohibit you from leaving personal articles in your vehicle. Any personal articles left in the car are not insured by them – your home policy may cover these articles, but you should check with your home insurance agent to verify. ALSO NOTE THAT OVERLOADING YOUR TRUNK WITH HEAVY ITEMS MAY RESULT IN DAMAGE TO YOUR CAR'S UNDERCARRIAGE. Your car transport or auto driveaway company may not cover damage in that instance.

Pick-up & Delivery Dates

 Ask for estimated pick-up and delivery times from the company. You should be able to get a 3-day window for pick-up – during the busy summer or snow bird season the window may be larger, but the car transport or auto driveaway company should warn you of possible delays ahead of time. BE SKEPTICAL OF EXACT PICK-UP AND DELIVERY DATES PROMISED BY CAR TRANSPORT AND AUTO DRIVEAWAY COMPANIES – IF YOU ARE PROMISED EXACT DATES, GET IT IN WRITING AND STATE THE REMEDY IF SERVICE IS NOT PERFORMED ON PROMISED DATES ($50 discount, no fee to cancel, reimbursement for rental car, etc.)  Once pick-up is made, they should provide you with a fairly precise delivery date. If you need an exact date for pick-up, most services can pick-up your car and hold it at a terminal for an additional charge.

References

 Just because we give you a link does not mean we can guarantee quality of performance of those companies listed. BEFORE SELECTING A COMPANY, we recommend that you contact the Better Business Bureau in the city in which the car transport or auto driveaway company is listed to inquire about the company's service history. Also, many car transport and auto driveaway companies are referred by van line companies. Ask for several references, if possible.

Before Leaving Your Car

Prior to leaving your car with a driver or car transport company, be sure you receive an "Original Inspection Report." This report provides pick-up and delivery information, current mileage, and MOST IMPORTANTLY shows the condition of your car at time of pick-up – pre-existing scratches and dents, cracked glass/mirrors, general paint condition, etc. Keep this report and use it when you receive your vehicle.

Accepting Delivery of Vehicle

At the time of delivery, inspect your vehicle SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY and compare the condition and mileage against the "Original Inspection Report" provided by your car transport company at origination (ALSO INSPECT THE ROOF AND UNDER FRONT AND REAR BUMPERS). If there are inconsistencies, note them as exceptions and be sure the driver signs it. NEVER ACCEPT YOUR VEHICLE AT NIGHT IF YOU CANNOT VERIFY ITS CONDITION – without being viewed and signed by the driver, you have little recourse if damage had occurred during transit.

If There is Damage

The majority of car transport experiences are worry-free, with your damage-free vehicle arriving at the estimated time. But sometimes, a vehicle may become damaged in transit. If this should happen, note all damage on your inspection report (see item above), obtain the driver's signature, and contact your car transport company. The car transport company should then work with you to reimburse you for verifiable damage done to your car.

Disputes

If you believe that a car transport or auto driveaway company has not treated you fairly, first try to work it out with the company. Car transport and auto driveaway companies are more likely to cooperate with you if they believe you are trying to work fairly with them. Be reasonable, but firm. If all else fails, you may consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in the city in which the car transport or auto driveaway company is listed. Be aware that if you do, it will involve a lot of back and forth letters as they give the company opportunities to respond to your accusations, and it will involve you for some time. Be sure to save all correspondance and back-up paperwork, and note carefully all deadlines for each answer.

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation – http://www.dot.gov – regulates car transport companies – however they will usually not get involved until after you have a court judgement against a car transport company (such as in small claims court).

Car Shipping Firms

Note: Costs for shipping a vehicle southbound from Anchorage are less than for shipping a vehicle northbound from Seattle/Tacoma. These are listed in alphabetical order and no endorsement is intended. These are their words in the descriptions, not ours.

Alaska Statewide:

bulletAlaska Marine Lines (800) 950-4265. Alaska Marine Lines, part of the Lynden family of companies, is a marine transportation company that ships all types of freight to and from Southeast Alaska, Central Alaska, Prince William Sound and the Yukon Territory of Canada.
bullet National Auto Transport (888) 628-2886. 60% discounts on auto transport vs. van lines. NAT is a network of over 500 movers that utilizes it's purchasing power to obtain discounted rates on auto transportation. Free online estimate or call 1-888-628-2886.
bulletHorizon Lines is the nation's leading domestic ocean container shipping and logistics company, providing cargo transportation services between the continental U.S. and Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico. Like Tote, they operate vessels in the Alaska trade lane. They created this page specifically for the vehicle shipping customers of Horizon Lines. They have multiple weekly sailings to Alaska.
bullet Reliable Auto Shipping (866) 668-2727. Nationwide door to door, fully insured with a zero dollar deductible. Guaranteed on time delivery service for low competitive rates. Reliable service from beginning to end.
bulletTotem Ocean Trailer Express 32001 32nd Ave. S., Suite 200
Federal Way, WA 98001, Toll Free Phone Numbers, Anywhere : 800-426-0074 , Anchorage : 800-234-8683. Totem offers 3-day vehicle shipment service year-round between Anchorage and Seattle/Tacoma via the world's largest trailerships, the S.S. Westward Venture and the S.S. Great Land. Ships operate back to back with two weekly departures from Anchorage and Tacoma. Vehicles can be driven on or off both vessels. "Please be aware that TOTE’s vessels do not accommodate passengers so you will have to pamper yourself by flying or cruising the inside passage back to Tacoma while your vehicle rides the ship. Reservations may be required, so please Email or call to reserve space on the vessel."

With Canadian Connections:

bulletA A Auto Transport (800) 466-6935. Licensed and bonded providing door-to-door / bonded warehouse service to anywhere in the USA or Canada.
bulletAutoRail Forwarders (800) 387-9000. Vehicles delivered, door-to-door by enclosed railcars and open & enclosed trucks throughout Canada, USA, and Europe. We specialize in export and importation customs clearance procedures. Fully insured. RV driver delivery service available. Contact us at 1-800-387-9000 or fax 1-800-204-4181 or email: info@autorail.com.
bulletAuto Trans Express (866) 277-6327 (toll-free). Complete vehicle transport solutions. Door-to-door service, fifty states and Canada. Open multi-car, flatbed and enclosed service. Oversized and non-running vehicles accommodated. Free instant estimates on our web site 24/7. Fully licensed and bonded.
bulletHansen Global Forwarding (888) 420-8888. Hansen’s provides door to door cross border service to all points in North America. We offer scheduled service, full insurance, guaranteed transit times and we are a U.S. and Canada Customs bonded carrier.
bullet Searail (800) 282-9892. Searail is a Canadian owned company with over 20 years experience and expertise in handling the transportation of cars and trucks throughout North America by enclosed railcar and truck transport. We specialize in door to door service throughout Canada and to/from the US. With offices from coast to coast Searail offers a service that is highly efficient, fully bonded, and fully insured.

Anchorage Based:

bulletAmerican Auto Shipping (800) 407-0137. Nationwide door to door service on open carriers, fully insured, licensed and bonded. We will transport your vehicle safely, quickly, and cost effectively anywhere in the country. "We take shipping cars personally."

Nationwide

bullet Dependable Auto Shippers (866) 327-8060. This is a nationwide carrier (not a broker) offering door-to-door service on car shipping, motorcycle shipping, plus boat and RV transport. DAS has been an eBay Motors' preferred carrier for many years. Dependable Auto Shippers has been shipping cars for more than 50 years, and transports more than 100,000 vehicles a year. They are based in Texas.

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