How to Choose the Best Car Shipping Company for Your Snowbird Journey

As the chill of winter approaches, many Canadian snowbirds prepare for their annual migration to the sunny states of the US.

While the prospect of sunshine and warmer temperatures is enticing, ensuring that your beloved car makes the journey safely is a top priority.

Choosing the right car shipping company can seem daunting, but with the right information, it can be straightforward and stress-free.

Here’s your comprehensive guide to selecting the best car shipping company for your snowbird journey.

Understanding Your Needs

Before you start your search, it’s essential to understand your specific needs:

  •       Time Frame: How soon do you need your car at your destination? Some companies offer expedited services, but these can be more costly.
  •       Type of Vehicle: Are you shipping a standard sedan, a luxury vehicle, or an RV? Different companies specialize in different types of vehicles.
  •       Budget: Consider how much you’re willing to spend. While you don’t want to skimp on quality, having a budget in mind can help narrow down your options.
  •       Service Level: Do you prefer door-to-door service, or are you open to terminal-to-terminal delivery to save costs?

Research and Compare Companies

car shipping

1. Reputation and Reviews

Look for reviews and ratings on platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews.

Pay attention to customer feedback about the company’s reliability, punctuality, and customer service. A company with a strong reputation and positive reviews is likely to provide better service.

2. Licensing and Insurance

Ensure that the car shipping company is properly licensed and insured. In the United States, legitimate car shipping companies should have a Motor Carrier (MC) number and be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Insurance is crucial as it protects your vehicle in case of any damage during transit.

3. Experience with Snowbird Routes

Select a company that has experience with snowbird routes and understands the unique requirements of Canadian snowbirds moving to the US. Experienced companies are more likely to handle border crossings efficiently and comply with all necessary regulations.

4. Services Offered

Different companies offer different levels of service. Some important services to consider include:

  •       Door-to-Door Service: The car is picked up from your home and delivered directly to your destination.
  •       Open vs. Enclosed Transport: Open transport is more affordable but exposes your vehicle to the elements. Enclosed transport offers more protection, ideal for luxury or classic cars.
  •       Tracking Options: Reliable tracking allows you to monitor your car’s journey in real-time.

Request and Compare Quotes

Once you have a shortlist of potential companies, request quotes from each. Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true; they often are. Compare what each quote includes:

  •       Type of transport (open vs. enclosed)
  •       Insurance coverage
  •       Estimated delivery time
  •       Additional fees (e.g., fuel surcharges, storage fees)

Questions to Ask Potential Car Shipping Companies

When speaking with potential car shipping companies, here are some essential questions to ask:

  1. What is included in your quote?
  2. What type of insurance do you offer?
  3. Can you provide references or testimonials from other snowbirds?
  4. How do you handle customs and border crossing procedures?
  5. What happens if my car is damaged during transport?
  6. What is your cancellation policy?
car ready for shipping

Preparing Your Car for Shipping

Once you've selected a car shipping company, it's essential to prepare your vehicle for transport:

Clean Your Vehicle: A clean car makes it easier to inspect for any pre-existing damage.
Remove Personal Items: Clear out any personal belongings from the car as they are not covered by the transport insurance.
Check for Leaks: Ensure there are no fluid leaks and that your car is in good working condition.
Document the Condition: Take photos of your car from multiple angles and note any existing damages. This documentation will be crucial if you need to file a claim for any damages incurred during transport.
Keep a Spare Key: Provide the transporter with a spare key but keep your primary set with you.

    The Day of Pickup

    On the day of pickup, be present or have a trusted representative available to hand over the keys and sign any necessary paperwork. Verify the details of the contract, including the pickup and delivery addresses, contact information, and the agreed-upon terms of service.

    Tracking and Peace of Mind

    Many modern car shipping companies offer GPS tracking, allowing you to monitor your vehicle's journey in real-time. Stay in touch with the company, and don't hesitate to ask for updates if you have any concerns.


    Choosing the best car shipping company for your snowbird journey requires careful research and planning, but by following this guide, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. Remember, the goal is to make your migration to sunnier climates as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. By entrusting your car to a reputable and experienced shipping company, you can focus on enjoying your time in the sun, knowing that your vehicle is in safe hands.

    Ready to make your snowbird journey seamless? Start comparing top-rated car shipping companies today and get ready for a winter filled with warmth and adventure!

    Author - Olivia Poglianich
    Olivia Poglianich          

    Content Strategist

    Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the motorcycling and adventure space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.


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