How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?
Whether you want to ship your car across country or interstate, you need to find the most cost-effective method and plan your budget in advance. To help you choose the best shipping rates and reduce the cost of shipping a car, we have prepared this comprehensive guide to prices, rates and car shipping quotes.
Table of Contents
Main factors that affect car shipping costs
How to Compare Car Shipping Quotes and Companies
What is the average cost of shipping a car?
How to reduce car shipping costs?
What is the cheapest way to ship a car?
Main Factors that Affect the Cost to Ship a Car
If you are transporting a vehicle coast-to-coast, logically the cost would be higher than the cost of transporting the same vehicle just a few hundred miles away. Longer distances usually cause a higher car shipping price, but eventually a lower cost of shipping a car per mile.
When transport companies calculate shipping rates per mile, the general idea is that the longer the route, the less the rate per mile is. And, vice versa, the shorter the route distance is, the higher the rate per mile is.
If you want to ship a typical sedan from the east coast to the west coast, the cost per mile would be between 30 and 40 cents, depending on the scenario. When shipping a car less than 1000 miles away, the typical rate varies between 40 and 75 cents per mile.
Time of year
Another factor that affects the cost of shipping a car is time. Keep in mind that when transporting your car, your quote would vary based on the season of the year, plus the particular route itself. Not to mention that if there is a great demand for certain state(s), the shipping cost would increase.
Here is a quick example - the “Florida Snow Birds”: Each fall, auto transport quotes with a route to the states of Florida and Arizona get more expensive due to thousands of people who are moving from the North to the South for the winter season.
At the same time, if you need a car to be transported on the way back, coming out of Florida or Arizona to New York or Chicago, the car shipping cost would be significantly lower.
Car shipping rates are sensitive and may fluctuate greatly during severe weather conditions and federal holidays, too. Generally, peak season is summer, as it is the preferred time for households to relocate, and you can expect car shipping quotes to spike with $200 - $300 above the average shipping costs.
When calculating your shipping costs, transport companies take into consideration your preferred shipping method:
By far, the most popular method to ship a car is via open transport. It is a preferred shipping method by most private customers, dealerships and auto auctions. Open Transport is suitable for cars that are worth under $100,000 and have higher road clearance. You can save money and reduce the cost of shipping your car by opting for this method.
This type of shipping method is suitable for high-end vehicles or sports cars that have very low road clearance. Vintage cars and collectible vehicles are usually transported via this method, when extra care is required.
The price between open and enclosed transport varies between $400 and $700 depending on the route and size of the vehicle that is being shipped.
Moving to or from a major city is a lot cheaper than moving to a more rural area. Generally, the farther your located from a main highway is, the more expensive the shipping price is. In big cities and popular metro areas such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, there are a lot of carriers and so due to the high competition the average price is lower.
If your car has to be transported from a big city to another big city, the chances of your vehicle to be picked up quickly and at an affordable rate are very high. On the other side, if you need your vehicle to be shipped from Casper, WY to Greenwood, MS, then the cost to ship a car would increase due to the low volume of car haulers working in those rural areas. The delivery might be delayed as well.
- Vehicle height - When you ship a car or other vehicle, height matters for calculating your cost. Most popular sedans have an average height of 57 inches, while SUVs range between 63 and 73 inches. Due to the height difference, SUVs are generally more expensive to ship than sedans. Shipping a SUV from New York to Miami could cost up to $100 more for the same route and transport type.
- Vehicle length is another important factor that weighs in the calculation of your cost to ship a car. The average length of a sedan is 189 inches and vehicles under this length are cheaper to ship. Cars over the length of 196 inches become more difficult to fit inside the truck trailer, and that would lead to higher costs.
- Vehicle make and model are also crucial to calculating the cost to ship a car. Basically, the larger the vehicle is, the higher the car shipping price rate is. The transporter would move fewer cars simultaneously to meet the weight restrictions.
- Condition of your vehicle - If your vehicle is in operable condition, expect more affordable shipping quotes and rates. Contrary, shipping a vehicle that does not work and is in non-operable condition would require extra tools and labor, and so overall price would be higher.
- Expedited service could easily increase the shipping cost by $200, up to $500.
- Top-loading (shipping your car on the top deck of the trailer) might add some $75 to the final bill.
- Fuel surcharges may apply because of unexpected market fluctuations.
- Oversized vehicles with significant modifications can double the average price.
- Extra insurance may be needed for vintage cars.
- Shipping some personal luggage within your car would also incur extra surcharge, because of the added weight.
Shipping a Car – How to Compare Car Shipping Quotes and Companies
When you are looking for the best shipping services, take into account particular price rates on the quotes and also what services are included on the quote. And, most importantly look into business credibility and years of experience. Ask questions to find out if the car shipping quote is guaranteed and what possible surcharges could incur and increase the final bill. A reputable car transporters provide comprehensive vechile transport quotes with fair pricing policies.
- Look for licensed car transporters. You can check the Department of Transportation website to confirm a transporter is compliant with federal regulations.
- Pay attention to details such as how many years do companies have in business. Research online reviews on reputation on BBB to avoid scams.
- Ask at least 3 reputable companies for car shipping quotes.
- To receive an accurate vehicle shipping quote, provide details regarding car make, model, condition and also pickup and delivery locations.
- Confirm insurance policy.
- Ask about arbitration and claims, before you decide on a car shipping quote.
- Last but not least, use your common sense! Some transport providers offer car shipping quotes that are pretty low and as a result your vehicle will be shipped in a low quality trucks and by inexperienced drivers, without any cargo insurance.
What is the average cost of shipping a car?
You can expect to pay from $370 to $750 on average for shorter interstate car loads and between $1,200 and $1,700 for long distance car transports. As you know, the size of your vehicle will play a major role in determining the final shipping cost. If you are shipping SUVs, vans and pick-up trucks would cost around $200 more on average, than shipping a sedan for the same route distance.
Here are some average car shipping costs to will help you get a rough idea of how much does it cost to ship a car:
- Coast-to-Coast Loads: $1,100 on average for a sedan and $1,300 on average for an SUV or a pick-up truck.
- East Coast to Midwest or vice versa: $700 on average for a sedan and $800 for an SUV or a pick-up truck.
- West Coast to Midwest or vice versa: $900 on average for a sedan and $1,100 for an SUV or a pick-up truck.
- North-to-South Loads: $700 on average for a sedan and $800 for an SUV or a pick-up truck.
Please, kindly note that the above price rates are only approximate and in order to receive the best car shipping quote, you need to reach a professional auto transport specialist and provide particular details regarding your case.
Auto Transport Insurance
The best shipping quotes come from professional transport companies. Along with reading online reviews and preparing your vehicle to be picked up, you should take time to look through your cargo insurance options. Review the exact details provided from the auto transporter and ask questions if legal terms are difficult to understand. You can also contact your current auto insurance provider and ask if you are covered during transportation.
Insurance coverage is crucial to shipping a car intra or interstate. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires registered transporters to be able to present a certificate of insurance to customers.
How to reduce car shipping costs?
To reduce your car shipping costs and avoid potential charges, you need to carefully prepare your car for shipment.
Here are a few essential steps:
- Clean out your car - Auto transport companies are not licensed to transport household goods from one state to another state. In fact, the Department of Transportation will penalize a carrier if there are personal items on board. That fine will be added to your bill. Shipping additional personal items in your car is prohibited by federal law, plus the added weight will also increase your shipping costs. Car transport companies even recommend emptying your gas tank to a quarter or an eighth of a tank to reduce the auto transport costs.
- Inspect your car for damage prior to pick-up - Take high resolution photos before and after your car is loaded in case you need to file a claim for damages later. In the unlikely event that your car is damaged, it is important to have the details on your bill of lading report. Failing to do so would prevent you from receiving reimbursement.
- Remove personal documents and files from your car. Sensitive personal and financial data needs to be protected in a time of relocation and must not be handled to providers.
- Remove all extra ornaments, such as roof racks, spoilers, antenna, etc.
- Remove toll tags and EZ passes from windshields.
What is the cheapest way to ship a car?
Opting for an open auto transport service without any extra requirements is the cheapest way to ship a car. Open auto transporters can load up to 10 vehicles and this allows carriers to reduce costs on fuel and other transport costs. If time is not pressing you, then consider postponing the delivery. And if you are living in a rural area, it might be a good trade-off to meet the driver near the closest highway to pick up your vehicle.
Furthermore, keep in mind that most reputable car shipping companies offer special discounts and you may qualify for one. Some companies offer:
- Military discounts to support military members and their families;
- Student discounts for young adults who are moving to college;
- Senior discounts for low-income retired persons;
- Return customers and referrals usually get a discount;
- Multi-car shipments – when shipping multiple vehicles at once, you may be offered a discount on the job;
Bottom line: When you are looking for the best car shipping quote and you ultimately want to save money, do not immediately go for the lowest bid. Research company reviews and ask for a professional quote to find out what the cost to ship a car would be in your personal case. Consider all factors that affect the car shipping price.