How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

Whether you’re moving or participating in an out-of-state auto show, you need a reliable way to ensure your vehicle arrives at your destination on time and in good condition when you ship a care to another state. Auto transport companies provide a variety of options for shipping a car, but multiple variables influence the final cost.

How much does it cost to ship a car between states in the U.S.? This guide can help you determine the best shipping method for your situation so that you can budget accordingly.

Car on Map

How Far Are You Shipping a Car?

As with any shipment, the farther a car has to go, the more it will cost to ship. Transportation costs average around $50 for every 100 miles. However, this figure differs between companies and is subject to variations based on where you’re shipping from and the ultimate destination of the car. Transport companies may charge more for cars being picked up in or delivered to remote areas where transport activity is low.

If you’re just going over state lines, it may be cheaper to drive the car instead of shipping it. Traveling partway or all the way across the U.S. costs more in fuel, and these costs must be weighed against the estimated expense of shipping.

What Options Are Available?

There are two main choices for auto transportation: brokers and carriers. Brokers charge a fee to find someone to ship your car. Carriers handle the loading, transportation and delivery of vehicles. Going with a broker means less hassle, but you also don’t get as much information about the process as you would when working directly with a carrier.

Whether you choose a broker or a carrier, there are different ways to have your car shipped:

•     Door-to-door means the company comes directly to your preferred pickup location and transports the vehicle to the desired destination.

•     Terminal-to-terminal delivery requires dropping the car off at a nearby storage facility and picking it up from a similar facility near your destination.

Because of additional driving time and the variability in pickup and drop-off locations, door-to-door service costs more than terminal-to-terminal. Expect to pay an additional fee if the car has to be physically loaded onto the delivery truck due to inoperability.

When Does the Car Need to Arrive?

Shipping cars from coast to coast in the U.S. takes anywhere from five and 14 days. Shipping from north to south or to either coast from the Midwest takes between three and eight days.

What if you can’t wait quite so long? Rush jobs always incur added costs, and with car shipping this could mean paying between $200 and $500 more than the basic rate. This may be on top of an added $200 to $300 if the vehicle is being transported during peak season, which is often during the summer. Shipping during off-season months can mitigate this cost, but it will still be more expensive to speed up the transportation process.

Interstate Transport

Even with a standard timeframe to work with, it’s not possible to be completely sure of the date your car will arrive. Some car transport companies try to minimize the uncertainty by providing expedited shipping services with smaller pickup windows and guaranteed arrival dates. Choosing a single carrier instead of a multi-vehicle carrier also reduces shipping times because the driver doesn’t need to make additional stops to pick up other cars.

How Will You Keep Your Car Safe?

Choosing a cheaper shipping option can mean sacrificing some measure of guaranteed safety for your vehicle. Open transport shipping puts cars on carriers open to the elements, so there’s a risk of vehicles becoming dirty or incurring minor damage. This isn’t a good option for sending rebuilt or customized classics from one place to another or for transporting fairly new vehicles. Your other choice is an enclosed truck to protect the car from the outside world, but this can cost up to 60 percent more than an open carrier. When asking yourself “How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?” remember that there are other factors when finding a good transport company besides just price.

Auto transport insurance is usually provided by shipping companies to cover any unforeseen problems occurring during the trip. The industry standard for coverage is around $50,000, and you should also check with your own auto insurance company to determine if your current policy protects the car while it travels.

Is the Shipping Company Reliable?

When dealing directly with a transport company instead of through a broker, it’s essential to research each option before making a final decision. Online reviews provide insight into other people’s experiences and reveal how companies handle disputes. Check each company out on the Better Business Bureau website, and make sure they’re registered with a USDOT number through the Department of Transportation.

Once you have a list of potential choices, call each one and ask for references and proof of insurance. Find out if you need to put down a deposit or provide partial payment upfront and if this money is refundable should anything go wrong. Some companies may also provide a discount if you’re shipping more than one vehicle at a time, so don’t hesitate to ask about ways to save money.

Contact the references to learn more about how well companies perform in terms of punctuality and their treatment of vehicles. Wait to make a final decision until you find a company in whose hands your feel completely confident leaving your car.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

What to Expect When You Ship Car

In the end, how much does it cost to ship a car? You have to do your own calculations based on your situation, the chosen transport company and personal requirements.

Imagine you need to ship a 2008 Honda Civic sedan from Phoenix to Philadelphia. The total distance between these two cities is about 2,350 miles, and the car is of a fairly standard size. Going by the average rate, the base price should be around $1,200, but other options increase the fee:

•     Expedited delivery may cost between$1,400 and $1,800

•     Peak season shipping increases the price to $1,400 to $1,600

•     Enclosed transport could cost up to $1,900

The cheapest way to ship this particular car would be to go with open transport and terminal-to-terminal service with a flexible delivery date.

These estimations run a little higher than the national average, which is $600 to $1,000 for sedans and $800 to $1,200 for pickups, SUVs and vans. In general, you can expect to pay between $1,100 and $2,000 to get your car to its destination.

Doing your research is the only way to make sure you hire a reputable shipping company and get the best rates for your preferred shipping method. The lowest price may not always be the best choice, and not all options are appropriate for all vehicles. Factor in all the variables when planning a car shipping budget, and choose a company with a reputation for reliable service.

You may have to pay a little more for the security of knowing your car will be safe during transport and arrive at the desired destination on time, but this peace of mind is often worth the extra investment whether your driving a VW GTI or a Porsche 911. Budget a bit higher than your calculations suggest so that you can rest assured your car will have a smooth trip.

Now, let us help you find a reliable car transport company to ship your car safely.

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