Compare Car Shipping Rates

Learn more about car shipping process and get quotes from top-rated auto transport companies

How to compare car shipping companies

Updated: 07/17/2022

So you finally decided to transport your car, but I bet you have a lot of questions about the process and about what you need to provide to the car shipping company. You might also wonder what kind of questions to ask and what kind of paperwork they will require. In this article we will try to explain everything from start to finish and we will answer all the questions about the exact process of car shipping. This information might help you get the best quote on the market and not be scammed.

Let’s start with simple things: in order to to get her vehicle shipped any car transportation company will ask you a couple of questions. They will need to know what kind of vehicle you’re trying to ship, from where and to where this vehicle is going to be shipped, when exactly are you trying to perform the transportation (basically they want you to have the first available pick up date). But keep in mind that it would be perfect if you can let them pick up your car with one or two days window.

You will need to decide what kind of trailer are you looking to use: open trailer is going to cost a little bit less, also most companies will be able to provide enclosed trailers, however if it will cost around 50% more than open.

In this article we’ll disclose everything you need to know about the process, type of car and trailers, rates, major routes and questions. Tune in 🙂

The best car transport comparison sites

There are a lot of websites that you can use in order to get a car shipping quote. However there are a couple of things that you have to remember: first of all most of these websites are going to be lead generation websites. It means that they will ask you all information that they will need: pick up and delivery addresses, what kind of vehicle are you trying to ship, when exactly you’re trying to ship, and of course they will ask you to provide them with your contact information like phone numbers, email addresses and of course your name.

And here is where magic happens –  they will sell or distribute this information to transportation companies, and it might become a real mess because you might get like tons of phone calls every minute from different companies. These companies will try to sell their service in most brutal way.

So in order to be safe from this point I would recommend you not to use your real phone number also you might get a temporary email address that you can use to get quotes from different companies. After you check the reviews the Google, legal standings and their feedbacks on the internet you will be able to decide with whom you’d like to place your order.

The best free car shipping comparison websites that will not spam the heck out of you:

Uship

Shiply

Citizenshipper

Montway

As another option you might try and get a quote from real companies (not lead generation websites). Most probably these companies will have broker license. Chances to get a quote directly from the carrier are very low.

Car shipping insurance

Most companies you will be working with are brokers. 95% of them do not carry broker insurance (known as contingent cargo insurance). Your vehicle will be insured by carrier company.

Don't forget to get the copy of the BOL!

Your vehicle will be insured by carriers insurance during the whole transportation process. You should get the copy of signed Bill of Lading (BOL) from the carrier on pickup and delivery location. In case of the damage their insurance company will need to have this documents.

Car shipping rates by major routes

All major roads are perfectly known to each transportation company because the more vehicles are being shipped from the location – the more companies are registered in this area. I would say that the most popular routs for car shipping are: Florida to New York and back, Florida to Texas, California- Florida, Texas – California and of course from New York to California and to Illinois.

There are a lot of carriers working on these routes and it won’t be a very big problem to get a car transportation company to pick up your car. However if you’re if you’re trying to ship your car to Montana, Wyoming or Kansas you my face up a really big problem, because they’re not so many car transportation companies willing to go there. The reason is very simple – they’re not so many cars being shipped to these locations from other states. It means that they can pick up your car and after the drop off they will not have a single vehicle that they will be able to pick up on a back trip. Empty (or deadhead) is not best thing drivers like to do.

Sure, there are a couple of companies that cover not popular routes, however they might ask for premiums and the car shipping rate would be significantly higher compared to the same mileage on major routs. If you are shipping your vehicle from Florida to New York or from New York to California you won’t face up any problems. All rates are pretty much standard. However if you’re shipping your vehicle to not so populated areas you will face up things like delays with pick up, higher rates and not so many companies willing to pick up your car. In this case you might want to place your order just a little bit earlier prior to your shipping date and give some time to your broker to find an appropriate carrier.

 

Route

Sedan

SUV

Pick up Truck

FL-CA

$800

$950

$1050

FL-TX

$550

$600

$715

NY-CA

$1200

$1350

$1500

NY-TX

$750

$850

$975

TX-CA

$550

$700

$825

CA-WA

$550

$600

$790

CA-IL

$870

$950

$1100

FL-NY

$650

$750

$900

One more thing that you have to remember is the season. It’s really important because prices change during the year. When you’re shipping your car from New York to Florida during the spring period the price might be around  $500 sometimes $550 for the transportation. However if you were going to be shipping your vehicle from New York to Florida in autumn you might pay $950 or $1000.

It’s all about the marketplace and how many vehicles are being shipped during the same period of time you were trying to transport your car. The market is working pretty much like a standard marketplace – supply and demand. The more carriers are on the road the less the prices are, and the fewer carriers are on the road the higher the prices are.

If you’re willing to ship your car as soon as possible then you might want to add just $100 or $200 on top of what your broker is offering to the carriers. Most carrier use the load board called Centraldispatch to hunt the loads. You need to be on top to catch their attention.

In the table above this text you’ll find a comparison of how much on average you might expect to pay on different routes. This is not something standard, prices really change all the time during the year because of the season, because of coronavirus, because of gas prices – basically everything that’s influence the market can fluctuate car shipping prices and carrier rates.

Best car transport companies

Let me tell you this right from the beginning – most probably you will be working with the broker company. Simply because this is way auto transport industry works – you submit your request, broker companies reach out and then sub-contract your order to the actual carrier. And it’s totally fine. FMCSA (the industry regulator) issues two type of licenses to regulate the market: broker and carrier licenses.

Broker company needs bond and FMCSA registration. Carrier company needs liability insurance and FMCSA registration (MC number for interstate shipping orders). Keep in mind that in order to obtain their FMCSA registration carrier DOES NOT need to have active cargo insurance. The broker company usually needs active cargo insurance to assign the driver, but that’s something you have to keep an eye on.

There are a couple of websites where you can check car shipping companies reviews. The most trusted are:

TrustPilot

TransportReviews

BBB

Google reviews

Thinking about Yelp? Well, I wouldn’t. Their review system works like my drunk uncle, I wouldn’t trust their manipulated system simply because they tend to show low star reviews in top and hide 5 stars (as many users say, that’s not our opinion).

Here is the list of top car shipping companies according to our research. We’ll review each company separately later on.

Company

BBB

Yelp

Google

Montway

A+

2.5 stars

4.6 stars

Uship

A+

N/A

N/A

Ship A Car Direct

A+

4 stars

4.6 stars

Movewheels

F

1.5 stars

3.4 stars

Amerifreight

A+

3.5 stars

4.7 stars

Mercury Auto Transport

B

3.5 stars

4.6 stars

There is a trick when you’re trying to get a car shipping quote – google company names, not abstract requests. Check Transportreviews and go directly to the websites of the companies you liked. In this case you won’t be spammed with hundreds of phone calls from different sales managers.

One thing to remember – most probably the company you hired will post your vehicle shipping request to the national car shipping loadbord called CentralDispatch. That’s where all carrier companies get their orders from. So in reality it doesn’t really matter with which company you’ll place an order – your vehicle will end up on CentralDispatch. So check reviews. talk with two-three companies and place your order with the one you liked the most.

In the end it’s all about how your company deals with problems when they occur. What kind of problems can happen during the transportation process?

  • Damage
  • Late pickup / delivery
  • Extra milage
  • Extra charges on delivery
  • Price ends up higher than quoted

The best advice would be to read T&C of the contract you are about to sign and ask as many questions as possible.

Rates by vehicle type

The carrier’s golden standard is sedan size of the car. Drivers can use different types of trailers also. It can be 5-8 cars car haulers or so-called wedge trailers that can carry 2-3 vehicles. The larger/heavier your car is – the higher rate will be to transport it.

You should expect extra charges in case your vehicle is modified or has large tyres.

Sedan rates

Route

Open Trailer

Enclosed Trailer

Inoperable car

FL-CA

$850

$1450

$950

FL-NY

$650

$1200

$750

FL-TX

$450

$750

$500

NY-CA

$1100

$1800

$1200

NY-TX

$750

$1200

$850

TX-CA

$450

$850

$525

CA-WA

$550

$1000

$625

The price to ship an SUV usually 15-20% higher than for the sedan type of car. Here is typical conversation you should expect with car shipping company when shipping your SUV:

You – Hello! I have an SUV that I’d like to transport. Is there a price difference between sedans and SUVs?
Company – Hi, usually the costs for SUV is more expensive due to the size and weight
You – oh, ok. Could you please tell what type of trailers do you usually use? I’m shipping from NY to CA
Company –  Most likely will be an 18-wheeler, though that depends on what sort of trucks are available
You – Got it, thank you! Do you know how long does it take to ship a car from NY to CA?
Company – The usual time frame for a pick-up is 1-5 business days from the date that you chose, the transit time is around 7-9 days, so around 2 weeks or so
You – I see, thank you! Will my car be insured by your company?
Company -Yes, up to $100,000 for Open Transport and $250,000 for Enclosed

 

SUV rates

Can I ship inoperable cars?

Sure, you simply need to indicate that your car is in inoperable condition. In this case shipping company will hire a trailer with winch to load your car.

Inoperable cars shipping cost is higher!

It will take some time and effort from the driver to load/unload your car into the trailer. You should expect extra 75-100 dollars charge for inoperable car shipping.

Route

Open Trailer

Enclosed Trailer

Inoperable car

FL-CA

$1200

$2200

$1300

FL-NY

$1000

$1800

$1100

FL-TX

$750

$1500

$850

NY-TX

$1000

$1550

$1100

NY-CA

$1600

$2400

$1700

TX-CA

$750

$1300

$850

CA-WA

$850

$1400

$950

As you can see car shipping for SUV cars are almost 20-25% more than for sedans. Needles to say – pick up truck shipping rates will be even higher.

From the author – It’s June 21, 2022 when I’m writing this. The market rates are going crazy! I remember the times when the price for sedan from FL to CA was around $750 all in. Now it’s around $1100-$1150 – wiiiild! The war in Ukraine, gas prices going sky high, market is in the middle of recession. It all counts and everything adds new $$$ to the total car shipping price.

Let me check what’s going on with pick up truck shipping rates at the moment. I’ll update the table below with actual data. Hold your sits ladies and gentlemen!

Pick up truck shipping rates

Route

Open Trailer

Enclosed Trailer

Inoperable Car

FL-NY

$1300

$2400

$1400

FL-TX

$950

$1500

$1050

FL-CA

$1300

$2300

$1400

NY-TX

$1100

$2100

$1200

NY-CA

$1500

$2400

$1600

TX-CA

$850

$1600

$950

CA-WA

$950

$1800

$1050

Please be advised – all rates above are just ballpark prices. You should request new rates from your preferred shipping agents or check rates only while planning your budget.

Car shipping rates tend to change all the time. Companies charge different amounts for their service also. But one thing is clear – they will not go lower anytime soon, I’m not even sure what should happen for prices to drop down.

Let me also break down things your shipping agent will ask you prior to giving you the rate:

  • Pickup zip code or city
  • Delivery zip code or city
  • Vehicle year make and model
  • Is it operable or not (can in roll, brake and steer)
  • 1st available pickup date (remember to give your shipping company a couple of days window to pickup your car)

Most companies accept all major form of payments, like: credit card, Zelle, PayPal, checks. But the golden rule in car shipping industry is paying a small partial deposit via the credit card once the carrier is assigned to the order, and the remainder to the driver in delivery via cash.

How to prepare your vehicle for car shipping?

There are a couple of things you can/need to do to prepare your vehicle for shipping. These tips will save your time, nerves and help you to make sure the process will go as planned.

1) Wash your car.
It will help you and the driver to indicate all scratches and dents on pre-inspection on the pickup location.

2) Disable alarm.
The car won’t need the turned on alarm while in transport.

3) Disable all extra accessories and antennas.
To make sure nothing will get broken or lost remove everything from inside and outside of the vehicle.

4) Leave 1/4 of fuel in the tank.
A quarter of the tank of fuel is more than enough to load and unload your car from the trailer and will help the driver not to get overweight tickets.

5) Make photos and videos.
it’s better to make photos and videos of the car during the pickup and delivery process.

6) Check tires and fluid leakages.
Make sure your car is in “ready to go” condition prior to pickup.

 


 

Car shipping FAQ

Q. How long will it take to deliver the car?

A. Drivers can make up to 400-500 miles per day. You can simply divide your route milage by 500 to get an estimate amount of days your car will be on the trailer.

 

Q. Can I put personal belongings if so how much?

A. Yes and no 🙂 While some broker might tell you that it’s totally ok to put up to a 100 pounds into the trunk – some drivers might charge extra $50-$250 for additional items inside of the car. We would not advice to ship personal items in your car, moreover it’s forbidden by FMCSA carrier license and their insurance will not cover any item damage.

 

Q. Will it be covered and protected from stones and weather in open truck?

A. Unfortunately your vehicle will not be protected from rocks or any road debris while shipping in an open trailer. Moreover carrier’s insurance most probable will not be able to cover any scratches or dents. You should consider using enclosed trailer in case you are shipping exotic, classic or expensive vehicle.

 

Q. Does the driver need the keys?

A. Yes, the driver will need to have the keys from your car. Please make sure the driver indicates that he has your keys in the contract he is obligated to sign with you on the pickup location (it’s called Bill of Lading, or simply BOL).

 

Q. Is it safe to give driver my keys?

A. Sure. Once the vehicle is loaded into the trailer the driver becomes responsible for your vehicle. Simply don’t forget to sign and get the copy of the Bill of Lading.

 

Q. Can driver ship to port?

A. Yes, the driver will need a special permission though – Twic card. Please make sure to indicate that your vehicle is going from or to the port facility.

 

Q. Can driver pick up the title along with the vehicle?

A. Yes, special instructions might be needed though. It’s a standard practise and usually not a big deal for the driver. Just make sure your broker company indicated this information in the dispatch sheet.

 

Q. Can you pick up at airport?

A. Yes, most companies will be able to pickup the car from the airport as long as it’s permitted for their truck to enter the parking lot.

 


 

Cuver
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