You trust your auto shipping company to get your vehicle where it needs to go, whether it needs to go across the country or across the globe. So what happens when you show up at the point of delivery and discover your car's nowhere to be found? There's always a risk for a vehicle to be lost in transit, so here are a few steps to take if your vehicle has vanished without a trace.
Check with Your Broker or Shipping Company
If your vehicle isn't delivered by the agreed-upon arrival date, the first thing you want to do is get in touch with your broker. Your broker will then contact the shipping company and find out the vehicle's whereabouts. In many cases, this is a simple case of a vehicle being stuck at port or on a lot awaiting the next shipping window.
If you're dealing directly with a shipper, don't hesitate to get in contact with them. Most shipping companies offer online tracking, with which customers can log on and find out how far along their vehicles are in the shipping process. Some companies offer instant updates with the latest information while others offer updates within 24 hours of being contacted.
If the broker or shipping company gives you a new date, it's usually best to wait until that date passes before taking any further action. Shipping is a complicated, high-volume industry, and there are plenty of things that could derail a promised arrival date, including severe weather and customs issues. In many cases, the problem could just be that the shipment is running late due to various backlogs and delays.
Get the Authorities Involved
If days of waiting for your vehicle turns into weeks or months, and you haven't gotten any satisfactory answers from your broker or shipping company, then it may be time to alert your local authorities. Depending on the situation, your local law-enforcement agency may be able to help you search for and hopefully recover the vehicle. Once a vehicle is shipped overseas, however, there's little that the authorities can do to track down your vehicle and have it returned in one piece.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If there's evidence that your vehicle was lost or stolen during shipping, you'll want to let your auto insurance company know about this as soon as possible. Depending on your coverage, your insurance provider may decide to reimburse you for the value of your vehicle.
Prevention is the Best Policy
A little prevention can go a long way when it comes to having your vehicle shipped cross-country or overseas. Here are a few things you should always do before you leave your car in the hands of a shipper.
- Make sure you have all of your vehicle's correct documentation. This includes your vehicle's registration and proof of insurance coverage. You'll need this information to prove ownership of your vehicle in case any problems occur.
- Make sure your auto insurance covers your vehicle during shipping. If your insurance provider excludes coverage for your vehicle while it's being shipped, you may need to purchase supplemental insurance that covers the full value of your vehicle.
- Check the shipper's background. You'll want to make sure they're registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Don't forget to check their online reviews and testimonials, and if possible, ask their previous customers about their experiences with the company.
- Carefully read the contract. The terms of your shipping company's contract can have a major impact on your ability to receive due compensation for your losses. Some contracts prevent the shipping company from being held liable if a vehicle doesn't show up by its due date.
These tips can help make the shipping process smoother and lower your chances of your car being a no-show at its destination. Talk to a company like Automobile Shipping Quotes, Inc for more information.