What to Do When Your Car Arrives Before You?

Finding out that your car has arrived before you can be both exciting and stressful. Whether you’re relocating, shipping your car for a long trip, or simply coordinating a delivery, it’s important to have a plan in place to handle this situation smoothly.

Key Highlights

  • Confirm details, arrange a safe drop-off location, and authorize someone to receive the car for you.
  • Prepare for a thorough inspection upon arrival to identify and report any damage.
  • If your car arrives at a different location, consider public transport, rentals, or a ride from a friend or family member.

Ensuring a Smooth Car Delivery: 7 Steps for Success

Here are some steps you can take to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

1. Confirm Delivery Details

Before your car arrives, confirm all delivery details with the car shipping company. This includes:

  • Delivery address: Make sure the address is correct and accessible.
  • Contact information: Ensure they have your correct phone number and email.
  • Delivery time frame: Get an estimated window for when the car will arrive.

2. Arrange for a Safe Drop-Off Location

If you won’t be there to receive the car, arrange for a secure location where the car can be dropped off. Options include:

  • A friend’s or family member’s home: Ask someone you trust to accept the car on your behalf.
  • Storage facility: Arrange for the car to be delivered to a storage facility where it can be safely kept until you arrive.
  • Dealership or service center: Some dealerships or service centers offer storage services for shipped vehicles.

3. Authorize Someone to Receive the Car

If someone else will be receiving the car for you, provide the auto shipping company with their contact information and make sure they have the necessary documents to accept the vehicle. This might include:

  • A copy of your ID
  • A letter of authorization
  • Vehicle shipping documentation

4. Prepare for Inspection

Once your car is delivered, it’s crucial to inspect it for any damage that might have occurred during shipping. If someone else is receiving the car, ask them to do the following:

  • Check for exterior damage: Look for scratches, dents, and other visible damage.
  • Check the interior: Ensure everything inside the car is in the same condition as when it was shipped.
  • Take photos: Document the car’s condition upon arrival.

5. Address Any Issues Immediately

If any damage is found, report it to the car shipping company immediately. Most companies have a window of time in which you can file a claim for damages. Make sure to:

  • Contact the shipping company: Report the damage as soon as possible.
  • Provide documentation: Submit photos and a detailed description of the damage.
  • Follow up: Keep in touch with the vehicle shipping company until the issue is resolved.

6. Make Transportation Arrangements

If your car is delivered to a different location, you’ll need to arrange transportation to pick it up. Options include:

  • Public transportation: Use buses, trains, or rideshares to reach the location.
  • Rental car: Rent a car to drive to the delivery site.
  • Friends or family: Ask someone you know for a ride.

7. Plan for Future Shipments

If you anticipate shipping your car again, learn from this experience to improve future arrangements. Consider:

  • Choosing a reliable shipping company: Research and read reviews of different car shipping companies to select a trustworthy provider.
  • Clear communication: Ensure all parties involved have clear instructions and contact information.
  • Detailed inspection: Document the car’s condition before and after shipping for future reference.


When your car arrives before you, having a clear plan can help ensure everything goes smoothly. By confirming delivery details, arranging for a secure drop-off location, authorizing someone to receive the car, preparing for inspection, addressing issues promptly, making transportation arrangements, and planning for future shipments, you can handle the situation with ease and confidence. Safe travels!

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