- Drive the car by yourself to your new home, or
- Ship it by a professional auto transport services.
Determining Car Shipping CostIt is not an easy task to determine the actual cost of shipping a car especially as a consumer of the service. This is because of the many factors involved in determining the shipping costs of a car. Most of these factors do tell consumers what an Auto Transport Company charges to transport a vehicle to their preferred destinations. Yes, I think I mentioned the destination now? That implies the distance to be covered before reaching your home. The cost of shipping a car from a particular location to Pennsylvania is different from the amount to ship the same car from the same location to California; as result of labor and associated costs involved in the process. While there are other several factors used in determining the cost of shipping your car, distance is the major indicator. This will be discussed extensively for more understanding later in this post. The point is that if you have never shipped a car before, you may be confused about how the costs are being calculated. However, if you are a layman in shipping cars, you may be cheated or felt being cheated with strange terms of auto transport services to arrive at the cost of transporting your vehicle. To prevent this, let’s take a rundown of all determining factors considered in calculating your car shipping cost.
Factors Affecting the Price of Shipping a CarThe actual cost of transporting your car varies based on a number of factors, and these are not limited to the following:
DistanceWithout mixing words, the farther the distance the car will be shipped, the higher the shipping cost. This is because there are many costs associated with delivery distance. For example, the cost of fuel, the labor cost of the truck driver to drive a long or short distance, and other related costs play a vital role in determining the cost of shipping a car. There is no doubt, the cost of shipping from New York to Illinois is cheaper that shipping the sane car to California. The cost to transport your vehicle cross country is higher than within the state. Some companies charge per mileage to calculate your shipping cost; hence, the farther they move your car, the higher the cost of delivery.
Size/Dimensions/WeightAnother factor that affects your shipping cost is the size and dimension of your vehicle. While some cars can fit into the shipping container, some are too wide to enter; hence, such vehicles should be shipped by the RORO method using cargo deck to secure the vehicles. Weight is also another consideration referred to as “curb weight.” Some transport companies will tell you the higher the weight of your car, the higher cost of shipping.
LocationYour location also plays a role in charging you. Your destination and origin affect both time and shipping rates. This is not only in the case of vehicle but also other goods. Some areas are rarely a final choice of people. If you live in popular areas such as metropolitan area, there is no doubt many trucks are coming to your city to pick up or deliver related goods; hence, other things or cars will be shipped along with your car and this tend to reduce the cost of shipping. Compared to rural or remote areas where your car will be only goods to be shipped because they are no other consumer requesting for the same or related service in the area. There are no many or fewer customers looking to ship a car which implies truck drivers may not/or have fewer opportunities to make more money shipping to those areas. This makes the shipping cost to go higher because no one to share the burden with you. We can associate this higher cost of shipping to low demand.
TimingCustomers do pay more during peak periods compared to other times. For example, car shipping costs do increase during the summer months up to $200-$300 higher per trip. If you plan your shipping early enough, you will be able to get a good deal. Request quotes from various transport companies and asks if they offer discounts during off-seasons and peak periods.
Shipping OptionsYour choice of shipping is also one of the factors that determine the cost of shipping. There are different shipping options available to ship cars. The one you choose out of those options to transport your vehicle says something about your overall shipping cost. Below is a list of options available to you to ship your car:
- Terminal-to-terminal: This option entails you drop off your car at the company’s terminal or storage location nearest to you, and your carrier takes it from there and drops it off at another service location or terminal closed to your preferred final destination. Then, you pick it up from there and drive it home by yourself.
- Door-to-door: If you don’t want to undergo the stress of dropping off and picking up from service locations, door-to-door is the best option for you. It is probably one of the most convenient alternatives to terminal-to-terminal. Door-to-door implies that your carrier will pick up your car from your location (usually your office or home) and transport it to your preferred final destination. Though it costs slightly higher than terminal-to-terminal because some hidden costs are involved in accessing your location, it saves you stress and time involved in dropping off and picking up the car from terminals.
- Open transport: This type of transport cannot be used for some vehicles due to the nature of the service. It involves your car being transported on an open truck; hence, it is exposed to foreign elements including rain, dust, wind, snow, and hail.
- Enclosed transport: Your car is shipped with an enclosed truck. It is the opposite of open transport. Your vehicle is protected against foreign elements such as rain, dust, wind, snow, and hail. While this option may seem 60% costlier than open transport, it is recommended for high class or high-end cars due to adequate protections offered by the service.
- Operable/serviceable: If your vehicle is in good condition and can be driven onto the truck directly and unload without the use of special equipment, your car is operable. It means carrier need not stress him loading and unloading your vehicle; hence, you may pay less than otherwise.
- Inoperable/unserviceable: This is the opposite of operable. If your car cannot be driven directly onto the truck, it means it will require extra equipment and time to load and unload your vehicle. This will be incorporated into your cost of shipping. Ensure you intimate your shipping carrier the condition of the vehicle during negotiation, so, they can prepare for it and quote for it. This will prevent disappointment or argument on pickup day.
InsuranceIf your car is shipped by a reputable company, you should expect insurance package along with the quote. Such a shipping company cannot ship vehicle without insuring the car. In fact, insurance is a standard in their shipping service. Ensure you confirm from your carrier whether their package is primary or secondary to your insurance policy. It is also advisable to confirm from your insurance company if your vehicle insurance covers any damage that might be caused during shipping. Insurance can only cover damage or theft of the vehicle; hence, ensure you remove every item from the vehicle and keep them in a safe place. Also, make sure you find out if the carrier’s insurance incorporates damage deductible, and ensure you document everything about insurance in the case of accident or theft.
Delivery TimeA short delivery means additional cost. Each shipping company has standard delivery time to each location. If you need your car to be delivered in a shorter time, expect to pay more. This is one of the reasons it is advisable to start planning for your car shipping early enough to prevent high cost associated with quick delivery, and also, to get a good deal from shipping companies. For example, most auto transport companies give a three-day window for vehicle pick up. But if you want your car to be picked up urgently (maybe due to urgent transfer or tenancy issue), the company need to store your car in the warehouse and charge you for it. Rushed shipping can gush up to $250 to $500 more compared to otherwise.
Payment MethodsThough the additional charge may be insignificant, it is worthy of note that most auto transport companies charge extra 2 – 3% when you use credit cards to make payment. There are other payment options such as cash and bank payment, but when you choose to pay through credit card, you pay a little higher. However, this is not the case for all companies. Also, while most auto transport services do charge a deposit before delivery, some will require that you pay the total shipping amount before pick up. Ensure you ask your carrier their terms and conditions such as refund policy, additional charges, and much more.
Vehicle FleetsIf you are shipping a fleet of vehicles at the same time, you will surely get a discount which can be huge in some cases. This is mostly in the case of the cab business or large-scale organization with fleet of cars. However, some auto shipping services may be silent about it if you don’t ask. Whenever you are shipping cars in bulk, ensure you ask your shipping company for a discount.
Can I Get a Unique Quote From Auto Transport Companies?Having gotten ideas about how the shipping costs are being calculated, you would be wondered if possible to get the same quote from shippers. Well, the answer is “no.” Quotes from various shippers can be varied due to the quality of services delivered by each of them. For instance, the quality of the transport equipment, the experience of driver, the reputation of the company, and much more can determine the quote of each company. Some companies do quote low to win the bid but they turn out to disappoint you in the long run. Many quotes lack some services such as insurance coverage, etc. Each company quotes based on the equipment they have, and they may not be explicit enough in their quotes. The truth of each quote will be known after delivery – if your car is delivered without asking for an additional charge for home delivery, if you are not asked to standby on the day of delivery, amongst others. However, it is advisable to choose a reputable transport service which offers the best package that is all-inclusive with insurance, rigid pickup and delivery method, no hidden charge, etc. Keep searching until you get one that fits into your budget.
Top Auto Transport Companies
Moving cars across the country either due to relocation or you buy a new vehicle overseas, and you are transporting it cross-country, it can be a challenging task sometimes. You can decide to drive your vehicle yourself if you are moving within the state. But if you are crossing country or interstate, you cannot do without the best car shipping company. Car transporters offer different services such as terminal-to-terminal or door-to-door services, single-car or multi-car trailers, and covered or uncovered car transport services.
However, having known how your car shipping cost is calculated, it is essential to choose the best auto transport service to ensure you are getting quality service you paid for. Below are top 5 auto transport companies to consider for vehicle shipping:
1. Montway Auto Transport
This is one the top reliable auto shippers you can consider for your car transportation. Montway Auto Transport offers a wide of range of services for small-, medium-, and large-scale car owners and businesses. This company has been found to be a great shipping company when it comes to car transportation. You schedule your pickup date at your end, unlike other auto transport services that give 3 – 5 days window. You can read more on their website here.
2. Ship a Car Direct
The company was established in 2008 to solve car shipping problem faced by many, and since its emergence, it has continued to rule the industry. Ship a Car Direct is one of the top-rated auto transport services that have stood the test of time in offering door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal auto services. The company prides itself on providing topnotch auto shipping services through both open and enclosed shipments options based on the customer needs. Unlike others that may turn things around, the company offers a damage-free guarantee when it happens. You can easily get a quote from Ship a Car Direct without schedule for shipping. However, you need an email to receive a more thorough estimate. For more info about this company, visit their website here.
When you want to get a good deal or discount for quality auto shipping services, AmeriFreight should be your bus-stop. Most consumers with fleet operation do rush this company for its outstanding deals when it comes to giving a discount to people. You can trim your cost with their service. Discount is for both fleet and every individual. For example, they can cut your cost based on who you are. For example:
- First responder and Military discount – $35
- Senior citizen and Student discount – $25
- If you book within a time frame of 24 hours of receiving your quote (referred to as early bid) – $35
- Multiple vehicle discount – $50 off every additional vehicle in your shipment
- Return customer discount – $50
Though AmeriFreight is #3 on this list, we are sure you will get top-tier auto transport from the company, especially with their insurance package.
4. Dependable Auto Shippers
Dependable Auto Shippers was founded in 1954 to be one of the longest and largest serving auto transporters in the industry. With its $50,000 insurance package to cover every vehicle they transport (which is available within 30 days resolution period), you tend to ship your car with more rest of mind. Dependable Auto Shippers has recently partnered with one of the top tech company – Cloud Application Company 2lemetry in a view to bringing cloud computing technology to its auto transport business model, and this has been yielding results. It has clear operational terms and conditions to be one of the most trusted in the business.
5. All States Worldwide
This is another auto shipping company with reliable transporting services that take the stress off you. With the company’s 20 years of experience in long distance and interstate auto transport, you are guaranteed of auto shipping experience that gives you the best. All States Worldwide offers a wide range of services including door to door, open air, and enclosed vehicle delivery. If you are looking for a tailor-made auto shipping solution, All States Worldwide is your very best. They transport different categories of vehicles to any state of the United States with mouthwatering discount and guarantee.
To Sum it up
The cost of shipping a car is based on a number of factors as discussed above. At a point in time, factors such as varied exchange rates can sometimes tell on the cost of shipping a vehicle at that particular time. Other factors such as fluctuations in oil and gas prices, the season you chose to ship your car if you choose to do part of the job (by dropping off and picking up from the nearest terminal), and other factors play significant roles in your overall shipping cost.
The auto transporter you choose can also determine the cost of shipping your car. You can check from different suggestions above. However, the cost of shipping a car basically depends on distance. For example, for a distance of 1 – 500 miles typically cost an average of $1 per mile and above 1000 miles further reduces below $0.7 per mile. We will keep you updated on this as time goes on. Stay tuned for informative posts on this page!