How To Transport and Store ATVs, Motorcycles and Other Non-Car Motor Vehicles
Moving a house full of personal belongings can be quite a task, so it’s easy to forget about what’s in the garage or driveway. How will you transport your four-wheeler, motorcycle, snowmobile, or scooter? Putting it in a storage unit while you’re in transit might work if you’re staying local, but moving further away will require auto transport. When it comes to shipping something like a motorcycle or ATV, you have two options.
Shipping: DIY or Hire Out?
You can transport your autos yourself or have a professional shipping company do it for you. One of the easiest ways to ship a motorcycle or four-wheeler is to rent a carrier and load up your machine. Then, you can tow it behind your vehicle or moving truck to your new destination. If you choose this option, be sure to check how much your towing vehicle weighs and what it is rated to tow, as well as the weight of the machine you plan on towing. Once you have it loaded, regularly check straps and tie-downs during the journey. Sometimes they can loosen over long or bumpy trips.
If you decide to have someone else ship it, be sure to compare different companies and the options they offer. Some questions you should consider are:
- Does the company provide pick-up services or do you have to deliver?
- Does the company offer cargo insurance?
- What damage does the company cover, should it occur?
- Is additional coverage offered?
Once you have chosen your auto transport company, be sure to schedule the pick-up ahead of time; four weeks before the move is about right, especially if you are moving internationally or cross-country. It’s important to have everything in place long beforehand. This allows the company to plan in advance for the pick-up and shipping and ensure everything runs smoothly.
Clean your motorcycle, snowmobile, or whichever auto you are transporting before pick-up. This makes it easy for you and the shipping representative to inspect it for any damage or pre-existing scratches. When the company delivers your vehicle to your new location, you’ll want to inspect it again for any damage that may have occurred during shipping. Having it nice and clean beforehand could avoid potential problems later. For example, dirt or grime could obscure existing scratches and cause confusion later on. It could also break loose during transport and make a mess in the container, which you could be charged for.
Be sure to let the gas tank drop to empty or just shy of it. Shipping a motorcycle with a full tank of gas could lead to spills and/or explosions in the shipping container. Leaking fuel could cause major problems en route, so take it on one last ride before shipping so you won’t have to worry.
If possible, watch the shipping representatives secure your machine in the shipping container. They are professionals, but it’s your four-wheeler or motorcycle. Ensure that it’s secure and strapped down tightly.
Insuring Your Machine
Purchasing shipping insurance for you machine can be a good choice. Make sure to ask for a copy of the company’s insurance certificate. Transporters are required to have some kind of minimum coverage, but whether that will be enough to cover damage or destruction of your machine is up to you. Ask about deductibles, what is covered—some parts of the machine may not be—and check with your regular insurance agency to see whether your policy will cover the machine in transit.
Once you get to your destination, be there to meet the shipping representative when he or she delivers your machine. Read any paperwork carefully before you sign, ensuring that any paperwork does not free your shipping agent of liability until you have thoroughly inspected what you shipped. Do a once over upon delivery to make sure your auto is undamaged, but be sure to conduct a more thorough examination of its condition once you’re settled into your new home.
If you insured your machine during transport, you have, by law, 90 days to file a complaint for damages during shipping. It’s very important you don’t sign away this right when you accept delivery. Strike out parts of the paperwork if it says something like, “By signing this, you release shipper from liability,” or refuse to take delivery. You have 90 days, and no less.
The Final Step
Once you’ve ensured everything is all right and the shipping agent is on to the next delivery, you can relax. Then, you can make room for your motorcycle or ATV in the garage or find a storage unit to put it in until you’re ready for your next ride. Congratulations! You made it. Hope these auto transport tips helped.
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