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I finally found an Insight that I'm purchasing in Seattle WA. I need to have it shipped to Ft.Lauderdale. Can anyone recommend a decent auto transport service.
 

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I have recently done this research myself and here is what I come up with:

NOTE: My insurance carrier (CA AAA) says they cover damage if damage happens.

IMPORTANT: All my rates are based upon East Coast (GA) to Northern California.

1. OPEN TRANSPORT

Open transport carriers have many many horror stories. If you use a broker or big company like DAS, then you may get a great driver and get your car in good shape on time, or you may get a nightmare.

Rates for an open transport GA to CA are about $1100 give or take a bit. Much cheaper than $1000 and likely someone is a broker hoping to get a bargain by filling the last spot on some truck and you may get lucky and get a good driver and timely service, or your car may wait forever for the bargain spot that never appears.

Essentially, it depends upon who gets subcontracted. It was very hard to try to figure out which was good or not, because they each use different subcontracted truckers at any given time.

I had a bad experience a few years ago with an open transport carrier where the car was damaged and it was not delivered on time (off by over a month and to the wrong state).

2. ENCLOSED TRANSPORT

Enclosed carriers are either top end or brokered out as for open. For run-of-the-mill enclosed GA-CA rates appear to be about $400 to $500 over open transport. These are for companies that do not just do high end but do both or contract out.

The highest level are for companies that just do fully enclosed with lift gate loading (no ramps) and pamper the car to one degree or another. InterCity lines says they use special nylon wraps for tie downs, cover your car in cloth and then plastic, use floor mat covers and seat covers. The whole 9-yards, for example.

For high end enclosed such as these where they baby your car and use a lift to get it in the truck and not ramps, then you pay for GA-CA from $1650 to over $2000. These services as best I can tell from research and talking to them are top of the line. Because they use their own drivers and trucks and have regular customers, they have less availability and you may have to wait more, but you know you will get good care when the trip is made.

3. COMPANIES

There is a web front end that anyone can buy and set up shop to be a broker for auto-transport. When you look around on-line, you will find many that appear very similar. This is because they are using the same web based software to present their business storefronts. This does not mean they are bad, but it may mean they are bad. Some look pretty suspicious.

If you visit:

http://www.auto-transport-reviews.com/

For example, there are a number of these companies listed there with a whole bunch of what appear to be fake reviews. You can bet good money they are fake because for the real companies there are maybe a couple reviews a quarter and they date back several years. For the fake companies, there are dozens of reviews a month and all are new reviews. All are written similarly, all are glowing. Use your own judgment. I smelled a rat for a lot of these guys. I figure if they fake reviews, they aren't honest, so I won't trust them with my car.

Be careful!

Use that website as a means to avoid the ones with fake reviews! If there are 100 5 star reviews all similarly written, avoid that company.

Here is my research results and notes:


ALL DOLLAR FIGURES ARE GA-CA RATES FOR AN INSIGHT AND MANY EXCLUDE SURCHARGES OF UP TO $100


ENCLOSED TRANSPORT COMPANIES:

========= Intercitylines.com==

413-436-9511 or Toll-Free: 1-800-221-3936

$1801.00

$1,715.00 - Enclosed Transport
Fuel Surcharge: $86.00
Total transport cost: $1,801.00

Every time I called someone answered the phone right away. I called several times asking lots of questions, as I was considering them. They apparently do corporate work and have regular clients, so a new client with one car may not be top of the heap. My experience talking with them made me think they were good and honest about pickup timing and availability.

Q: WHAT IS THE 'FUEL SURCHARGE'?

A: "Fuel surcharge is rate based upon a percentage, all carriers will be adding this, it is actually higher now but we are sticking with charging 5%, the only reason it would be extra cost beyond quoted rate is it does not run, or if extra parts outside of car like extra wheels/tires, or can not get access to car"



========= sundayautotransport.com==

$1650.00

800-541-6601.

Once or twice phone was busy, but talked to them on the phone, they seemed good and had the best rate for the high end service. They only deal with enclosed transports and do nothing open transport. The $1650 was the full cost, nothing extra she said. They transport mostly for individuals, not corporate. She says corporate clients can push individual jobs to back burner.

These guys would be my first choice, based on my experience so far.


========= Exotic Car Transport==

$2102

800 766-8797

High end, recommended by Thomas Sunday as an alternative. In Florida. Pricier.


========= VIP Transport==


Charlotte NC: 888 428-5847 VIP Transport

$1975 "door to door"

High end, recommended by Thomas Sunday as an alternative.



========= horselesscarriage.com==

800 631-7796

Rates are $1980 East to West rate, no discounts for pick-up flexibility

High end.

Recommended by IntercityLines as an alternative.



========= passport.fedex.com==

$1,963.23 Enclosed


800 325-4267

This is FedEx company, but when I called I was on hold forever and no one ever picked up the phone.

Recommended by IntercityLines as an alternative.


========= bluehighways.com==
http://www.bluehighways.net/services.htm

These guys are a subsidiary of a bigger open transport company. Not available from GA at this time, so did not talk to them on phone.



OPEN TRANSPORT COMPANIES:


========= expressautotransport.com==

Broker with 32 reviews in ePinions which mostly are positive, negative ones for the most part complain about not picking up exactly on time, which is because broker is finding truck it would seem... Did not talk to them, but seem like for-real company.

800-405-0914

========= http://www.crossoverautotransport.com

$890

Says they do not use terminals where things are damaged.


========= autoandtruckshippers.com==
$949

Broker

========= nationaltransportllc.com==

$1195

Recommended by a Honda dealer in GA. Also appear to be BlueHighways.com company (the enclosed transport part of their business). I talked to them and asked questions.

800-665-5022

Are you a broker?
- Yes

How do you pick your carriers?
- they both transport themselves and transport contracted out

Are the cars left at transfer terminals on the way out?
- once on the truck the car never leaves it (no terminal Xfers)

We can give you the drivers cell phone number
- 1-3 days for business and 2-7 delivery window


========= bravotransport.com==

$1040

Broker

========= a1shippingservices.com==

$800

Broker
========= asapautoshipping.com==

Price: $1,038.00 open

Price: $1,954.00 enclosed

Broker - site looks like cookie-cutter of other sites (the software sold for brokers)

========= wolfepacktransport.com==

Price: $1,050.00
Add $400.00 for an enclosed transport.

Broker


========= 1stchoiceshipping.com==

Open Transport - $1,055.00
Enclosed Transport - $1,555.00

"Once your vehicle is loaded on the truck we require that it stay on that same truck until delivery."

Broker

800-747-1095 (based in Redding CA)

They looked a little above average. I talked to them:

On the phone they said: $1115

- yes, we are a broker
- we use the same drivers over and over, they have to apply to work for us, have to have insurance etc., one truck transport no switching, must have 3 forms of contact for the driver phone, email or such, must be in business for 3 years... have no claims against them...

NOTE: auto-transport-reviews look fake like many of the others...

A couple reviews had bad experience - like a truck driver going to jail and car trashed

========= fleetunited.com==

Fleet United Auto Transport
Open Price: $945.00
Enclosed Price: $1,490.00

Broker - cookie cutter
 

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There are also transfer driver services. Where you pay a driver to drive it back rather than truck it. Still a "risky" proposition. But maybe another option :?: Any area auto dealership may be able to give you a few to choose from. I doubt you'll find them in the phone book etc. Too specialized a service and easily advertised face to face.

HTH! :)
 

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Does the car's price warrant such an expensive transportation cost? Unless you are still going to come out on top by more than a couple thousand dollars, why not just look for a car in FL? (There is one in FL with low cost & low mileage on AutoTrader now.)

I actually drove across country from Seattle to ATL, GA and it's actually not such a bad trip. Maybe you should take a week long vacation and enjoy the scenary across the U.S.

btw, Horselesscarriage is recommended.
 

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I recently shipped a car from Massachusetts to Colorado. (I drove the other one, which is much cheaper.) I shipped a Miata using "Dependable Auto Shippers" [mailto:D[email protected]]. It cost around $1400, including a fee for "top level shipping" which means that they put the car on the top level of the truck, the theory being that you avoid oil drips from other cars that way.

A local towing company came and picked up the car with a flatbed truck and took it to a central loading place, and then it went to Denver, and then another local company brought it down to Colorado Springs. They were not happy that I had removed the tie-downs that came on the car, as the tie-downs are the best way to get a solid fastening to the flatbed. They used wheel straps instead.

At pickup, they "found" about 100 little insignificant marks on the car, basically about two or three per panel, and marked them on their pre-shipping paperwork. CYA from their viewpoint, I suppose.

I didn't have any problems. Car arrived on time and undamaged.
 

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Insightful Trekker said:
There are also transfer driver services. Where you pay a driver to drive it back rather than truck it. Still a "risky" proposition. But maybe another option :?: Any area auto dealership may be able to give you a few to choose from. I doubt you'll find them in the phone book etc. Too specialized a service and easily advertised face to face.

HTH! :)
The movie "Vanishing Point" comes to mind... Anybody who's seen it will know that I'm thinking. :shock:
 

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One good experience with intercity lines

Thanks for Figgy for the extensive research. When I did similar (but less extensive) research, I came to the same conclusion: Although I didn't think I needed it shipped in a closed truck and treated like a show car, I didn't want to deal with a company that generated mostly horror stories in reports on epinions.com, etc. It seemed that only the closed transport companies were highly rated.

I used Intercity Lines. They were easy to deal with and the car arrived in good shape, earlier than scheduled. And the drivers were very nice and very careful with the car (more careful than I am).

My only disapointment was seeing that the huge truck had only one car in it--mine. It seems that at least a significant part of the trip was made with just one car in the truck, thus burning more fuel than my Insight will in my lifetime.

Charlie
 

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It would cost you less to...

It would cost you less to fly, get a taxi, and drive back. Also more fun!
 
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