When most people want to move their Harley-Davidson to a new location somewhere else in the country permanently, they simply hop on, turn the key, and hit the road. But what if that’s not an option?
If you’re a Harley-Davidson owner, you’ll want what’s best for your motorcycle, and that means working with professional Harley-Davidson motorcycle shipping services. Whether for domestic or international shipping, an experienced carrier who welcomes the opportunity to transport a genuine Harley can be a good indicator of a proactive shipper who’ll try to make the delivery go without a hitch. And you’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to settle for subpar services.
Harley-Davidson Shipping Methods
Anyone looking to save money on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle transport will consider strapping the bike to a flatbed trailer. Many people use this method to ship bikes across the country. It’s quite affordable, and with the right trailer and driver, your bike will reach its destination without problems.
Another way to approach Harley motorcycle shipping is an open carrier. This means hiring a Harley-Davidson transportation company with specialized equipment to ship multiple bikes and cars across long distances.
It’s a bit pricier than flatbed trailer Harley shipping but safer due to better equipment and driver expertise.
But doesn’t your Harley deserve the best treatment? Ramping it in the back of a pickup truck or open trailer isn’t a good idea. The longer the distance, the longer the drive and the more your precious bike will be left exposed.
An enclosed trailer is the best way to ship. Harley-Davidson motorcycle protection should be taken seriously, especially given the high value of these bikes. To limit your bike’s exposure, consider crated shipping.
This will stabilize your Harley in transit, keep other cargo from scratching or denting it, and protect it from road debris and the elements. Opt for a Harley transport service that works with air-ride suspension trucks for an even smoother delivery process.
Make Sure Your Bike Is Covered
Have you ever asked yourself what happens if I ship my Harley-Davidson and it gets damaged during the delivery?
All licensed Harley-Davidson transportation company must have insurance. It’s federally mandated.
That’s why shippers have cargo and liability insurance. While this may sound great in theory, insurance claims aren’t always resolved easily in reality.
Shippers are obligated to have insurance, but they’re not mandated to pay more than the federal minimum. At any given time, a shipper may have cargo insurance coverage between $250,000 and $350,000.
Here’s the caveat. If your Harley-Davidson motorcycle delivery is via truck or 18-wheeler, the driver might be hauling multiple bikes, maybe even a few cars. That means the cargo insurance coverage will be split between all vehicles being transported in the event something happens.
Therefore, when you make a claim, the amount of money you may receive might not be enough to cover all the damages. Since you’re shipping a Harley, any insurance appraiser might give your vehicle a higher valuation. But that still doesn’t guarantee the insurance company will reimburse you in full in the event of total loss or critical damage.
Luckily, you can opt for additional coverage. Some carriers sell extra coverage for damage sustained during loading and unloading of your bike and during transit. You may find shipping brokers that have various transport insurance packages to complement the carrier’s limited coverage.
Your personal motorcycle insurance could already have shipping provisions or the option to add them to your policy.
But the general idea is that you shouldn’t pull the trigger on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle delivery until you’re sure you will be fully reimbursed for whatever happens.
How to Get the Most Out of a Claim
Insurance companies might have a hard time making money if they honored every claim. Although most of their profits come from people who never need to file a claim, their adjusters may also try to find reasons to pay less on most claims.
One way to protect yourself against this is to fully document your Harley’s condition before the carrier picks it up. Even with the best protection, there are no guarantees during a Harley-Davidson motorcycle transport. That’s why you need to go through a checklist before shipping. Clean the bike and take multiple photos from various angles, including the underside. Make notes of dents, scratches, and other types of preexisting damage.
Of course, not all damage is visible. If your bike has mechanical issues, make a list before shipping. Should something happen during transport, you will be able to prove it wasn’t your fault.
You may also want to overinflate the tires a bit to ensure your bike can handle shocks better. And leave the gas tank either empty or half full.
Understand that cargo coverage extends only to the bike itself and not the personal items you store on your bike. It’s best to remove those prior to the carrier picking up the bike.
What You Need to Know About Harley Transport Costs
Is one Harley-Davidson transportation company better than the rest? That’s hard to say. Many will offer excellent services, but not all will be right for your unique needs.
The best Harley transport service should balance speed, customer service, communication, price, and expertise in dealing with Harleys.
But how do you know if you’re getting a good deal? For that, you must understand what Harley shipping
companies use to calculate prices.
In most cases, your delivery costs will start with a flat fee per mile. Every shipper has their own pricing structure, but the general rule is that longer distances tend to be cheaper than shorter ones.
A long haul will help the driver get better mileage out of the transport vehicle. Additionally, carriers try to fulfill multiple orders on the same route, significantly improving their profits.
Other costs are then added to the flat distance fee.
One of the most important pricing elements is the size and weight of your Harley. The more cargo space it occupies, the more you have to pay.
If your bike needs special care, it can cost extra. What constitutes a bike that needs special care? Some examples include luxury Harleys, non-operational bikes, bikes with specific damages that make them more fragile, etc.
A non-operational Harley (such as a vintage model that needs some work) might be one of the toughest to ship. It will require specialized equipment to load and unload the bike, something that not all shippers can provide. This can be an even bigger issue for international shipping, as not all freight ships and air freight companies will allow bikes that don’t work.
The more effort that goes into loading, securing, transporting, and unloading your bike, the higher the delivery cost.
And there are other factors many people aren’t aware of. Shipping during certain times of the year is more expensive. This is usually the case around holidays, in the winter, or during a stretch of really bad weather.
Fluctuating gas prices can also influence the delivery cost. If you can’t wait for a standard delivery and you need quicker service, it may cost you extra.
These are just some of the reasons why you should always provide carriers with as much information as possible about your delivery expectations and requirements. More information equals more accurate quotes, which means you can pick the best Harley-Davidson delivery service and schedule your delivery faster.
How Do You Know if a Harley-Davidson Transportation Company Is Right for You?
When you first buy a Harley straight from the source, the manufacturer will often use its shipping partners to deliver your bike to a local dealer or your doorstep.
But when you’re dealing with relocating a Harley or buying and selling these bikes second-hand, you must find a carrier yourself.
Reputable companies aren’t hard to single out. They’re often the most transparent about their credentials, delivery history, and insurance coverage. If the customer service department answers your questions or the information you need is readily available, you just found a viable contender.
Then you have to look at the equipment. There are many good motorcycle shippers, yet not all of them are experienced with transporting Harleys.
A Harley-Davidson motorcycle requires extra care due to its higher market value. It also needs a proper transport vehicle, preferably an enclosed trailer or truck with air-ride suspension. These vehicles are ideal for fragile cargo because they absorb road shocks better and won’t let the cargo feel every bump on the road.
Does the company have a good strapping system and allow sufficient room between bikes, or do they cram in every bike they can? Is crating available if you want to give your Harley more protection?
These are essential questions to ask when comparing Harley-Davidson motorcycle delivery service providers.
Coordination Is Key
Suppose you have never shipped a Harley before or had bad experiences with carriers. In that case, you should find a Harley-Davidson transport company that can stay in constant communication with you.
Receiving updates, getting guidance for extra insurance coverage, paperwork assistance, and dealing with international customs (when shipping overseas) are essential benefits.
If you’re having a hard time getting through to the carrier or can’t easily track the delivery, you’re not looking at the best shipper for your delivery.
Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Shipping Overseas
International shipping is much different than domestic shipping. Sure, if you want to send a Harley to Canada or South America, you could still opt for land Harley shipping.
However, shipping a bike to Europe, Asia, or even North or South America may require different delivery methods.
Shipping via container on a freight ship is slow but very affordable. As long as the loading is handled correctly by the carrier or shipping broker, your bike will arrive safely at its destination.
In most cases, bikes are secured in their own wooden enclosures to minimize swaying and reduce the chance of impact.
But air freight is a much faster alternative and is the ideal choice if you’re on a short delivery timeframe.
Air travel safety almost guarantees your bike will reach its destination in one piece. And given the strict crating protocols, it’s unlikely it will be damaged during transit.
Bike owners have to shell out more cash to benefit from this treatment. Shipping via air doesn’t account for distance as much as cubic volume. Remember that airplanes have very limited cargo space and specific weight limits. The bigger the bike, the more expensive the shipping.
In addition, crating isn’t optional as it is via land or freight ships. You will have to pay for a crate made from heat-treated and certified wood, which isn’t cheap.
Then there are some additional considerations. Overseas shipping involves more paperwork. Not all countries apply the same customs fees, so your delivery costs can vary wildly depending on the destination.
The pickup might also add to your final invoice unless you can ride the bike to the carrier.
Although this can be an expensive endeavor, it can be pretty straightforward and hassle-free if you don’t mind paying top dollar and you work with the right Harley-Davidson transportation company
for the job.
Use the Best to Ship the Best
Harley-Davidson motorcycles are not only the most popular but arguably still some of the best bikes on the market in terms of engineering, variety, power, and comfort. If your bike treats you well, you should want the same for it, especially when it’s out of your hands.
Trusting your prized possession with a reputable Harley-Davidson transportation company is the right decision. Only someone with experience shipping and caring for these bikes will treat yours properly and get it to its destination on time and in the same shape as when it left your driveway.
Don’t rush your decision and take your time comparing quotes and analyzing a company’s ability to handle your order. Prepare your bike for transport when the time comes, document its condition, and double-check the carrier has proper liability coverage to reimburse you if you need to file a claim. If you do your due diligence, you reduce the risk of something bad happening.
At Ship Vehicles, we know what goes through the customer’s mind when entrusting a stranger with their Harley. That’s why we use the best shipping equipment available and work with top international shipping services to ensure timely deliveries and customer satisfaction. Don’t hesitate to reach out and tell us more about your Harley shipping needs.