Although the concept of car shipping may seem simple, car owners often find many of the decisions they have to make confusing. For example, what's the difference between terminal and door-to-door service and how do these choices impact you?
Many car shipping companies use terminals to coordinate their loads. A terminal is often simply a big parking lot. The car owner drops the car off at a terminal near the starting point. The car is held there until sufficient vehicles are heading in the same direction. The vehicles are all loaded on a truck which drives to a terminal near the destination where the owner can pick it up.
Some shippers offer discounts for terminal-to-terminal auto transport. This is a convenient method for people who live in dense downtown areas where door-to-door service might be impossible.
On the other hand, the car may sit in the terminal for days, subject to theft and vandalism. The terminals have better security than the owner's garage, but the concentration of cars is a tempting target for criminals. The car is likely to be exposed to the elements which can also lead to damage, and the contract will almost certainly have a clause to absolve the shipper of weather-related damage.
As for convenience, it's both more and less convenient than door-to-door auto transport. It is more so because the owner can drop the car off at leisure rather than needing to wait for a truck to show up. However terminal shipping is less convenient because the car is out of the owner's hands for longer.
Door-to-door auto transport is just what it sounds like. The truck drives right to your door and the car is driven directly onto the carrier. The truck then drives to the destination where the car is dropped off at the front door of your new home.
If the owner's home is in an area where large trucks have difficulty navigating, the truck may have to be met in a nearby parking lot. Although door-to-door shipping may cost more, many owners prefer it. Since their car is out of their control for less time, there is less chance of something happening to the vehicle. While the shipper is waiting for enough cars to be available to make the transport trip cost effective, the customer retains full use of the vehicle.
So Which Is Better?
As with many choices, the ideal solution depends on your preferences and your situation. However, most car owners say they are happier with door-to-door auto transport. The slight inconvenience of waiting for the truck is offset by the advantages of knowing that their car is in the care of a driver at all times on its journey.
Before making a decision, talk to the transport company about your particular needs and you will be able to decide which of the methods is better for you.