Contactless Car Shipping During COVID-19

moving vehicle with medical face mask on rearview mirror

 

Here’s what you need to know to take safe delivery of a car you bought online

The coronavirus pandemic has forced operational shifts across most sectors. Many industries are adjusting to these changes by moving toward online, contactless business models. It’s been rough for some industries but a boon for online car sales as demand for new and used vehicles trends upwards. 

But how do you take safe delivery of a car you bought online while COVID-19 runs rampant? The answer is contactless, or “no-touch,” car shipping. In this blog, you’ll learn:

  • How vehicle selection is taking place digitally
  • How Tesla is pioneering total no-touch delivery
  • The safe way to receive your car in person
  • Why physical contact is sometimes unavoidable

 

How car shopping happens in a virtual world

Much of the vehicle selection process has taken place digitally since the Internet took hold. Shoppers browse dealer’s websites and have faith that the pictures they find would tell the whole story. However, closing the sale typically involved an in-person visit for a firsthand look at the vehicle in question.

Now, dealerships are increasingly offering services that enable the entire buying process to happen in cyberspace, and the customer won’t miss a thing. Big names like Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and Honda are allowing interested buyers to call an agent and receive a virtual tour of the lot or a closer inspection of a particular vehicle.

Some dealerships even let buyers deck out their choice with their desired look and optional extras before moving on to settling the financing, all online or by phone. The dealerships which are most ahead of the COVID-19 curve will then deliver the vehicle to the customer’s home, some even doing so at no extra charge.

If your local state regulations allow your dealer to deliver this way, the only physical contact necessary is to sign the contract. It’s becoming more common as COVID-19 continues to squeeze profits across the board and car dealers are increasingly willing to go that extra mile to close a sale. But there’s one usual suspect who’s looking to make contactless car shipping into a complete no-humans zone.

How Tesla is pioneering no-touch delivery

You’re in line for the full no-contact experience if you have your eye on a Tesla. Ever the industry shaker, the California-based company premiered its no-touch test drive in September 2020. A totally solo experience for the potential buyer, vehicles on standby were remotely unlocked and activated for a short time to give drivers a feel for the car before being disinfected for the next user.

Tesla has also been working to make no-touch delivery a literal experience by eliminating the need for physical contact of any kind, from first look to contract signing. Their “Direct Drop” option is coming soon to many states, while some locations are already taking part. The service aims to bring the car to the buyer after all paperwork, including signing, is electronically completed.

From there, the buyer will simply go to the agreed location and unlock their new car via Tesla’s app. The entire viewing, purchasing, and shipping process involves zero contact with another human. Innovative, hugely popular companies like Tesla often ring the bell for what will become industry-wide norms. Check out this YouTube video for a quick look at what truly contactless car delivery may be like in the.

The safe way to receive your car in person

First, you’ll probably be in brief contact with a dealership representative to sign the paperwork and take final possession of the vehicle. In that case, standard social distancing rules will help keep you safer, as will wearing a mask.

You should make it clear to the dealership that you want to inspect the car and very probably test drive it before signing off on the deal. Many dealerships will even deliver the car to you at home for a test drive. Typically, the rep will have disinfected the inside of the car before handover, but do it again to make sure. There’s a right way to disinfect a car courtesy of Consumer Reports, which details how to keep your car super clean without harming its surfaces.

Take your time looking the vehicle over and taking it for a spin. There is a way to cut out the need for a test drive and further reduce the need for physical contact, and that’s to purchase a vehicle that’s authentically certified pre-owned, or CPO. This is typically a more expensive option, but it means the vehicle comes covered with a previous inspection and a warranty.

Warranties bring us to our next prep step: Be ready for the hard sell. Being face-to-face with a rep for however short a time means they’re likely to push add-ons, extras, and extended warranties. Research these before you interact in person and decide if you’re for them or against them. This will cut down contact time, which can be dragged out by absorbing new information.

If you’re content with how the vehicle performs and the paperwork is over, close the deal and perform a thorough hand cleansing afterward. This will wrap up your COVID-19 car collection.

Why physical contact is sometimes unavoidable

In order to get a new vehicle, it’s very common that you have to trade in your old one. Trade-ins make it necessary for dealers to take a thorough look at the vehicle before deciding on what they feel is a fair offer. Many dealerships offering trade-ins will require the previous owner to be there in person to answer questions, show ID, and provide vehicle documentation.

There are occasionally exceptions even to this rule. Ask your dealership if they carry out blind trades: The provision of an appraisal offer based purely on extensive photographs of the vehicle inside and out. This is yet another step toward taking fully contactless delivery on your next purchase.

If you buy a car online, no matter how far away, Mercury Auto Transport can help bring it to you. Our platform finds quotes in minutes for open, enclosed, and flatbed auto transportation. We’ve arranged safe delivery for over 186,000 vehicles by road, rail, and air while working with the most trusted shipping partners in our industry. Email info@mercuryautotransport.com or call us free at (800) 553-1828 or for a quote.

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We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.