If you like the idea of saving money by having someone drive your car for you, but want a bit more security or don’t want to deal with finding a driver yourself, you might consider driveaway services. A driveaway service finds a driver who is looking for cheap travel from point A to point B, and a customer who is looking for cheap vehicle transport from point A to point B, and hooks them up.
Here are some things to look for in a driveaway service:
Driver Criteria. The idea of a complete stranger driving your car can be a little unsettling: you don’t know what type of driver they are, you don’t know what might happen while they’re on the road, and you don’t even know if they will legitimately get the vehicle to you. To ease some of your concerns, every service has a set of criteria they use to choose which drivers they accept. The bare minimum they will screen for is clean driving records and an age requirement (generally 23). Chances are, the more they screen for, the better the driver will be, but that’s not a guarantee.
Try to request a driver who has already driven a car for this service and received good reviews from the owners of the vehicles.
Professional vs Amateur. The criteria above is a way of screening amateur drivers, people who get paid not with cash, but with a cheap ride. There are driveaway services that offer professional drivers as well – people who frequently do driveaways and are actually paid for their services. Professional drivers will be a little more expensive than amateur drivers, but their reliability and experience can be worth it.
Liability Insurance. Most driveaway services will have some sort of liability insurance should something happen to your vehicle during transport, but the extent to which that insurance covers you will vary. If you are trying to choose between two potentially good services, compare their liability policies and choose the one that seems to have greater coverage. Again, there’s a good chance that choosing a professional driver will give you greater coverage, as the chances of an incident occurring are slimmer.
Regardless of whether you have a driveaway service or an individual drive your car, you will want to give them a signed letter describing the service they are performing for you (including the expected route and your phone number) that the driver can use at road checks or similar circumstances.
3. Fly Over and Drive the Car Back
Driving the car back yourself isn’t always the most practical of options, but it’s cheap and can be a lot of fun. Maybe go for a weekend trip somewhere near where the vehicle is, and use it to get home. Or, if you or someone you know has to go that direction for business or something, they can drive the vehicle back (much like the previous option without the disadvantage of a stranger driving your car).
The obvious downside to this car transportation method is that it takes up a fair bit of time, and it might be a little unnerving taking a vehicle you’re unfamiliar with out on a long trip. But, if you’re willing to brave these pitfalls, driving the car yourself can be one of the cheapest and most reliable methods to get your vehicle to where it needs to go.
Car Shipping Best Practices
Clean out your vehicle. This may be common sense, but there’s innumerable stories of people losing GPSs, MP3 players, or other valuable items during shipment.
Give the transporter all your contact information, and keep your phone on you. The transporter will usually call you only 12-24 hours prior to the drop off to set up the meeting, so its important that they can reach you as soon as possible.
Take pictures of the car prior to sending.
Do this so the receiver can see if any damage happened during shipping. The transporter will also do an inspection for the Bill of Lading (BOL), a document that recognizes the vehicle has been picked up and delivered, but pictures always capture more than words. Get a copy of the BOL, and send copies of the pictures and the BOL to the receiver.
Keep the receiver in the loop. Let them know when the car has been picked up, and when they can expect it to be dropped off.
Consider getting “Gap Insurance”. This will cover you for anything not covered by the carrier’s insurance, including claims for less than the carrier’s deductible (which is often very high), and loss of use of the vehicle if delivery is delayed. The cost can be quite reasonable: AftaPlan offers a standard package for partner brokers (including AmeriFreight) for only $55.
Ensure the sender follows the steps above.
Do a thorough inspection of the vehicle on pickup. If you see any damage done to the car that wasn’t noted in the BOL or in the photos, make sure the transporter notes it in the BOL before they give you a copy. You can not make a damage claim unless the damage has been noted in the BOL, and it is your responsibility to make note of any damage.
Keep the sender in the loop. Let them know when you’ve received the vehicle, and of any further issues that may arise.
Rate your transporter. We always recommend that people check reviews on services before they use them, so it’s only fair that we recommend you make reviews as well. Note any poor or excellent service so that others in the future can use that information when choosing a car shipping provider.
Car Shipping Recap
There’s no reason to let a few (thousand) miles keep you from your perfect car. Depending on your budget and risk tolerance, there are three great options to get your car home:
Pay a professional vehicle shipping company
Find a driver, either through Cargaza / Craigslist or using a driveaway service.
Fly over and drive it back yourself!
If you’re considering using a shipping service, we recommend getting a quote from https://www.amerifreight.net/. You can also use uShip.com to get competing bids from multiple shipping companies to save some money. Just make sure to thoroughly research a company before accepting their bid. Compare them to Amerifreight using sites like bbb.org and transportreviews.com and decide whether they’re a good deal for the price.
However you get it home, enjoy your new car!