When you're making a big move, it's often necessary to have your car hauled from your former home to your new location. Before you let your car depart, you need to prep the vehicle and document its condition. That way, if the car is damaged in transport, you'll be able to make the insurance claim with ease. Follow these tips.

1. Prep your vehicle for inspection and transport.

It's easier to document the condition of your car when it's clean. Take the time to clean your car inside and out. That way you can take some clear photos without any odds and ends in the way or dirt on the doors that could be mistaken for damage in the photos.

You also want to do a final sweep of the vehicle to make sure that you don't leave behind any personal items or important papers that you don't want to lose. Loose objects could also roll around while the vehicle is in transport, damaging the interior. In addition, you never want to try to pack your vehicle with any of your personal belongings to save on shipping, even in the trunk. The transport company's insurance won't cover personal items.

There are a few other basic preparations you need to make:

  • Have a complete set of keys made for the transport company. That way, they can move your vehicle when necessary. 
  • Drain your engine of gas to save on transport costs.
  • Make sure that none of your fluids are leaking.
  • Add antifreeze to your vehicle if your vehicle is being hauled to a cold climate.
  • Make sure that the tires are properly inflated.
  • Check the battery and make sure that it has a full charge.
  • Remove all accessories, like bike racks and luggage racks.
  • Retract or remove your antennas.
  • Disconnect or disable any alarm systems.

2.) Inspect and document your vehicle's condition.

Unless your vehicle is brand new, it probably has a few slight scratches and a little minor damage. You want to make sure that you have visual and written documentation that can help differentiate between an old scratch and a new one. Take as many photos as you can of the interior and exterior of your car, including close-ups of doors, mirrors, the hood, bumpers, and tires.

In addition, you or a designated representative must be there when the company picks up your vehicle and when it is delivered. Go through the written description of your vehicle carefully and make sure that everything is documented to your satisfaction before you sign off on the paperwork before the car is loaded. Once the vehicle is delivered, confirm that your vehicle's condition is the same before the driver leaves and make sure that any damage that occurred during transport is noted.

Hopefully, your vehicle will go through transport without any problem. Car haulers are professionals who handle a lot of vehicles every day without any trouble. If there is a problem, you'll be prepared to file the insurance claim and have all the necessary documentation ready.