Pitfalls of Purchasing a Car That Requires Shipping

Purchasing a new or used car can be challenging. If you can't find a vehicle to meet your needs in your immediate area, you may find yourself buying a vehicle online or out of the area that will need to be shipped to you. While shipping a car has many benefits, there are several potential pitfalls involved.

Price

Anyone who has ever paid to have a car towed across town will testify that having a vehicle towed or shipped is expensive. The farther your car has to go, the more the shipping will cost. You will likely be charged by the mile.

Time

Don't expect your shipped car to arrive overnight. You may have to wait a week or longer for your car, depending on where it's located and how far it has to travel to reach you. Move Cars Auto Shipping Directory reports that most car-shipping companies can get your car on a truck within seven to 14 days after you schedule to have it shipped.

Damage

Your car stands a greater chance of being damaged during shipping than it does if you just buy it from a car lot or private seller and drive it home. Car shippers travel busy highways and typically carry multiple vehicles. Accidents can occur while loading the car for shipping or if the truck towing the car is in an accident during transit. Fortunately, most shippers carry insurance against damage, but you need to make sure to read your contract thoroughly to avoid problems.

Surprises

Odds are, if the vehicle is shipped to you, you probably didn't get a chance to inspect it thoroughly in person before you handed over your money. It's not uncommon for any item that was sold online to arrive at its destination, only to have the buyer discover it wasn't at all as advertised. You are fairly likely to find your car has some unmentioned quirks when it arrives. Surprises can occur because of innocent misunderstandings -- or fraud. However, once the car arrives, you can't just drive it back to a dealership or owner 1,000 miles away.