Our advice is to document the condition of your car by washing it thoroughly and taking pictures of the car from every angle before it is picked up. When the carrier comes, he will give you a Bill of Lading, which spells out the car’s details and includes a sketch of the vehicle from all sides.
The purpose of the drawing is so that as you and the carrier can go around the car together to inspect it for any scratches or damage, which you will indicate on the drawing. This creates a record of the exact condition of the car before it was shipped. When you sign the Bill of Lading you are in effect transferring responsibility for the safety of your car, to the carrier.
As the broker arranging the transport of your car, we ensure that the carrier is fully licensed and insured for the transport of your car. At the time of pick up the carrier should give you copies of their license and insurance as well as their contact information. Do not hesitate to ask for this documentation if it isn’t offered up front.
When your car arrives as the final destination the original Bill of Lading will be used while your car undergoes a second inspection. You should carefully look at every square inch of your car to see if there are any new scratches or dents before you put your signature on the form. If you do spot some new damage, you must take pictures of it and make notes on the Bill of Lading immediately, indicating that the car was received damaged. If you do not mention the damage on the form when you sign it, you would be confirming that the car arrived in good condition.
The carrier is totally responsible for the damages that occur during transit, up to the limits of their insurance policy. There are two ways in which carriers normally handle the damages. If the damage is minor, they may do the repairs themselves in a car repair shop of their choosing, or they may leave it up to you to handle the repairs, sending them the bill directly without going through their insurance. But if there is major damage to your vehicle, an insurance claim should be filed.
You will have all the information on the carrier’s insurance because you would have obtained it prior to transporting your car. You will then contact their insurance agent to file your claim. The insurance company will ask for the Bill of Lading and this is when your pictures will come in handy. Once the insurance company has processed the initial paperwork, they will send an inspector out to look over your car and make an appraisal of the damage.
Soon after the inspector has turned in his report, the insurance company will contact you regarding the next step. If the car can be repaired, they will probably refer you to a specific repair shop or possibly request that you have the car repaired, sending them the bill. If your car cannot be repaired and it is a total loss, the insurance company will send you a check for the full value of your car. This will be determined by the figures on the national list and should be the same amount listed on your own personal car insurance. The insurance industry does not usually drag their feet in resolving these issues, so you can expect all of this to be handled quickly