Cheap California Car Shipping

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California car shipping basics

Updated: 07/17/2022

California is one of the most important states for car shipping industry. Many companies are registered here, many of them only deliver cars within the CA. Ports, big warehouses, many dealerships make this state a standout among other in terms of car shipping business.

Why cross country car shipping is so important these days? The answer is simple – it saves time and money. Not only for end customers, but for businesses also. And while car transport process can be a little hard to underwent for those who ship car once or twice per decade, the process itself is not that hard. In this article we will try to explain the basics and you’ll understand that it doesn’t matter whether you are shipping a luxury, standard or classic car – with a bit amount of knowledge this task can be done with peace of mind.

But let’s start with why California is one of the largest car shipping hubs, it’s history and location. Then will desire the car shipping process, prices and driving conditions in CA for newcomers.

A brief history about how it was discovered/settled.

Native Americans have inhabited the area for more than 10,000 years. Spain established a colony on the west coast of North America in 1769, and California became part of Mexico when it won independence from Spain in 1821. The Bear Flag Revolt in 1846 led to California becoming part of the United States as a result of the Mexican-American War.

California Gold Rush

In 1848, gold was discovered in California, sparking a wave of settlers to the state. This event is known as the California Gold Rush, and it greatly increased the population of California.

Modern California

Today, California is known for its beautiful weather and beaches, its diverse population, and its thriving economy. The state is home to many major corporations and is a leader in industries such as agriculture, entertainment, tourism, and technology.


The culture of California is very diverse and includes influences from the Native Americans, Spain, Mexico, and the United States. The state has a reputation for being liberal and progressive, and it is home to many different ethnic and cultural groups.

California is a large state with many different things to see and do. There are some great places to visit, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite National Park, and Disneyland. The state also has a lot to offer in terms of its economy, environment, and culture.

California is the third-largest state in the United States. San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in the nation and Oakland is the eighth. Cheap car shipping service is one of the most important for new car owners in these cities along with many dealerships that are located there.

California cheap car shipping companies

Car shipping services are very important not only to end users, but to businesses in California. But we’d like to remind that not always cheap means good. Some companies can take advantage of people who are trying to find the cheapest car shipping services out there. How? The answer Is very simple – low ball prices and price raise prior to pickup date.

You should be very careful with companies that offer unrealistically low prices – most probably it’s just the tactic they use to lure your attention and convince you to place an order with them. That’s why it’s so important to reach the businesses you are about to hire.

What are the steps to make sure you will hire reputable and trustworthy company?

  • Get quotes from different car shipping providers to compare the rates and get an average cost;
  • Select 3-5 companies that you like (by the way they communicate with you, by their online presence);
  • Check their online reviews on niche sites like TransportReviews or MyMovingreviews;
  • Check T&C and cancellation policies on their websites.


These easy steps will help you with avoiding companies that offer low prices to raise them when you don’t have any other options. Now let’s check the best California cheap car shipping companies based on TransportReviews:

Company name




AmeriFreight Car Shipping


5 stars

5 stars

Mercury Auto Transport


5 stars

5 stars

Tempus Logix


5 stars

5 stars

AutoVocity Transport


5 stars

5 stars

Cavalier Auto Transport


5 stars

5 stars

AutoStar Transport Express


5 stars

5 stars

RoadRunner Auto Transport


5 stars

5 stars

Ship a Car Direct


5 stars

5 stars

Direct Express Auto Transport


5 stars

5 stars

Angels Moving Autos


5 stars

5 stars

Best nationwide car shipping companies

There are two types of companies that can ship cars in the USA: brokers and carriers. Brokers are the middlemen who organise the process. prepare all documentation, talk with customers and solve issues. Carriers are the actual companies who perform the transportation.

The driver from the carrier company will show up on the pickup location, load your car and deliver it to the destination point. We’ve prepared the list of Top 5 nationwide car shipping companies you can be safe to work with. You can find the list below.

Company name




Ship a Car Direct


5 stars

5 stars

Auto Transport 123


5 stars

5 stars

AmeriFreight Car Shipping


5 stars

5 stars

Montway Auto Transport


5 stars

5 stars

Auto Shipping Group Inc.


5 stars

5 stars

Car shipping rates to and from California

California is one of the most important states for car shipping companies. Many people and businesses ship cars long distance from and to this state.

What are the main cost factors?

  • Vehicle size (sedan, SUV, pick up truck);
  • Vehicle pickup and delivery locations;
  • Type of the trailer (open or enclosed);
  • How urgent do you need to ship a car (some companies can charge extra for expedited shipping);
  • Vehicle condition (does it run and drive);
  • Vehicle pickup location (is it going from dealership, private residence or an auction).


Let’s check what are the average rates to ship a car from California on all major routes.


Most common price

Average price


































California major cities

Seven major cities in California.

Los Angeles

With a population of over 4 million people, Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the United States. Located in Southern California, LA is a global center for business, entertainment, and culture. Major attractions include the Hollywood Sign, Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Griffith Observatory.

San Diego

San Diego is the second-largest city in California and the eighth-largest city in the United States. It is located on the coast of Southern California, just north of the Mexican border. San Diego is known for its beautiful weather, beaches, and array of tourist attractions such as SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and Legoland.


The capital of California, Sacramento is the seventh-largest city in the state and the 35th largest city in the United States. It is located in Northern California, at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers. Sacramento is a hub for politics and government, as well as business and agriculture.

San Jose

The third-largest city in California, San Jose is the tenth-largest city in the United States. Located in the Bay Area of Northern California, San Jose is a major center for technology and innovation. Major attractions include the Tech Museum of Innovation, California’s Great America amusement park, and Downtown San Jose.


The fourth-largest city in California, Oakland is the 12th largest city in the United States. It is located in the Bay Area of Northern California, across the bay from San Francisco. Oakland is a major center for culture and art, as well as a hub for business and industry. Major attractions include the Oakland Museum of California, Lake Merritt, and the Oakland Zoo.


The fifth-largest city in California, Fresno is the 34th largest city in the United States. It is located in Central California, at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Fresno is a major center for agriculture, as well as a hub for business and industry. Major attractions include the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Forestiere Underground Gardens, and the Tower District.

Long Beach

The sixth-largest city in California, Long Beach is the 37th largest city in the United States. It is located in Southern California, on the Pacific coast. Long Beach is a major center for shipping and transportation, as well as a hub for business and industry. Major attractions include the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and Shoreline Village.

San Francisco

The second-largest city in California, San Francisco is the fourth largest city in the United States. It is located in Northern California, on the San Francisco Bay. San Francisco is a major center for tourism, culture, and industry. Major attractions include the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Chinatown.

California is a large state with many different regions and attractions. These are just some of the cities that make up this great state.

Reasons to move to California

There are many reasons why people relocate to California. The following are some of the most common reasons:

1. The weather

California has a Mediterranean climate, which means that it generally has mild, wet winters and dry, warm summers. This type of climate is ideal for many people, especially those who are looking to escape the cold winters of the Northeastern United States or the Midwest.

2. The economy

California is home to many different industries, including technology, agriculture, tourism, and entertainment. This diversity ensures that there are plenty of job opportunities available in the state.

3. The lifestyle

California is a very diverse state, with something to offer everyone. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach lifestyle or a more fast-paced urban environment, you can find it in California.

4. The education

California is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the world, such as Stanford University, UCLA, and USC. If you’re looking for a great education, California is the place to be.

5. The natural beauty

From the beaches of Southern California to the mountains of Northern California, there is no shortage of natural beauty in this state. Whether you’re looking to hike, camp, or just enjoy the scenery, California has it all.

6. The culture

California is a melting pot of cultures, with people from all over the world coming to live in this state. This diversity results in a rich cultural experience that can be enjoyed by everyone.

7. The opportunity

California is a state full of opportunity. Whether you’re looking to start a business, further your career, or just enjoy a different way of life, California has something to offer you.

People relocate to California for many reasons, including the weather, the economy, the lifestyle, the education, the natural beauty, the culture, and the opportunity. There is something for everyone in this great state.

California car shipping cost factors

The main factors are: route, vehicle size, runner or non-runner, season.


Average Price to/from Ship From California

California car shipping process

You might think that California car shipping process is hard and can be overwhelming. But good news are that it’s not that hard and won’t take lots of time to prepare. Here is a simple California auto transport guide to prep your vehicle for car shipping and steps you need to take to ship your vehicle.

  • Get quotes from auto transport companies.

You will need to indicate your pickup and delivery locations (it’s ok if you don’t have the exact delivery address yet, simply indicate approximate zip code of the area), year/make/model of your vehicle, desired shipping date, type of the trailer.

  • Compare shipping quotes

Make no mistake – prices you are getting are just quotes (estimates). All prices are a subject of drivers confirmation. While some companies will claim prices are total and final – most probably they will change. Simply because the market is fluctuating and drivers can ask for more/less depending on the current marketplace situation.

  • Research your top picks and check their reviews

Make your own research. Google “company name” reviews to check online feedback about the companies you are thinking to hire. Check BBB, Google reviews and Transportreviews. DO NOT place orders with companies that have a lot of negative feedbacks and bait and switch alerts on their online accounts. Most probably these companies will offer the lowest prices.

  • Read the contract

Yes, you have to read the contract to be prepared for things that might happen during the transportation process. Things like damage, delays, extra charges, wrong delivery locations do occur – it’s better to be prepared.

  • Request drivers insurance once the carrier is assigned.

Your vehicle is insured by the carriers insurance, not by the company you signed the contract with. You have to request the insurance of the company that will actually pickup your vehicle. Take a closer look at cargo insurance and insurance deductibles.

  • Set up pickup date for Friday and get a day off from the job if necessary

Driver might be late because he needs to pickup 7-8 more cars within one day. It’s better to have some free time to realise your car whenever the driver is nearby. DO NOT FORGET to sign and get the copy of the Bill of Lading from the driver on pickup and delivery locations.

Open trailers

Open trailers used by vast majority of car shippers in California (private and business). It's a low cost, affordable and easy to find way of transportation to or from California

Enclosed trailers cost 75% more!

You should consider using enclosed trailer in case you have a classic, luxury or exotic car. While open trailers are safe enough to ship cars in California, insurance options are better in enclosed trailer.

California driving conditions

California has a reputation for being one of the worst states for drivers. Traffic is often congested, especially in major cities, and accidents are common. However, there are some things that you can do to make driving in California a bit easier.

1. Avoid rush hour.

If at all possible, try to avoid driving during rush hour. Traffic is often at its worst during this time, and you’re more likely to get into an accident.

2. Know your route.

Before you hit the road, make sure you know your route. This will help you avoid getting lost and wasting time in traffic.

3. Be prepared for weather conditions.

California can have some extreme weather conditions, so it’s important to be prepared. If you’re driving in the mountains, make sure you have snow tires and chains. And if you’re driving in the desert, be sure to have plenty of water.

4. Watch for wildlife.

California is home to many different types of wildlife, so it’s important to be on the lookout. If you see an animal on the road, slow down and be prepared to stop.

5. Drive defensively.

Since there are so many bad drivers in California, it’s important to drive defensively. This means being aware of your surroundings and being prepared for anything.

6. Obey the speed limit.

Speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents in California, so it’s important to obey the speed limit. Also, be aware of speed traps and areas where there is heavy enforcement.

7. Don’t tailgate.

Tailgating is not only rude, but it’s also dangerous. If you’re following another car too closely, you’re more likely to get into an accident.

8. Use your turn signal.

Many accidents in California are caused by drivers who fail to use their turn signals. So, be sure to use yours when changing lanes or making a turn.

9. Yield to pedestrians.

In California, pedestrians always have the right of way. So, if you see someone crossing the street, be sure to yield.

10. Watch for construction.

Construction is common in California, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. If you see a work zone ahead, slow down and be prepared to stop.

Driving in California can be a challenge, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be one step closer to being a safe driver in the Golden State.



California car shipping FAQ

Q. How long does it take to ship a car from or to California? 

A. Most drivers can make 450 miles per day, so you can simply divide your route by 450 to get an approximate amount of days needed for transportation.

CA-TX = 2 days

CA-FL = 4 days

CA-NY = 7-8 days

CA-IL = 3-4 days


Q. Will my car be insured during the car shipping process? 

A. Sure, all carriers are required to have an active liability insurance and brokers have to make sure carrier companies carry cargo insurance to cover all cars on their trailers. In case of the damage you’ll have to get in touch with carrier’s insurance company and file a claim directly to them.


Q. Should I place an order with California based car shipping company? 

A. Yes and no. If you are living in CA it’s better to choose somebody from your city or state to help you local business. But in reality it doesn’t matter because most probably the company you hired will post your vehicle to the national carriers board and sub-contract your order to the actual carrier (who can be form anywhere).


Q. What information do I need to provide to ship a car? 

A. You will need to provide all information about your vehicle (year, make, model), pickup and delivery locations (zip code), dates when you need to ship your car and condition of your vehicle.


Q. Is it safe to ship a car? 

A. Sure, majority of new car dealers ship cars in open trailers daily. Car shipping process is considered as safe, but things happen during the transportation process of course. You can choose enclosed trailer in case your vehicle is expansive.


Q. Can I ship a car only from my private residence? 

A. Car carrier can pickup your vehicle from any location that is safely accessible to them. It can be private location, business or an action.


There’s no doubt that California is a great state to call home. With its mild climate, diverse economy, and abundance of amenities, it’s no wonder that so many people are drawn to this great state. While driving in California can be a challenge, if you follow these tips, you’ll be one step closer to being a safe driver in the Golden State.

Car shipping in California can be a bit of a challenge also. While the state is one of the major states for car shipping businesses there are many things you have to remember and predict before shipping your car. The company you hire, the carrier they hire, insurances and documents they sign – everything plays it’s role in your auto transport experience.