Table of Contents
What Car Shipping Companies Consider When Giving You A Quote
Whether you’re preparing for a move across the country or just want to make sure your kid has a car at college, you’ll have to wrestle with the idea of getting your car to its destination. Driving the car yourself may not be an option. You’re already busy enough with the move, so throwing in a long drive is off the table.
When it comes to transporting an automobile, the first question drivers as is “how much does it cost to ship a car?”
Car Shipping Costs Explained
Shipping a car isn’t like mailing a package. You don’t wrap it up and put a stamp on it. Instead, a company collects your car and puts it on a large transport trailer that is hauled by a semi-truck. The car may end up being transferred between trucks along the way.
For many, handing your car over to a carrier and having it delivered to your destination is a straightforward option. Of course, there is a cost to ship a car that comes into play.
Let The Bidding Begin
Typically, when you search for car shipping quotes, you contact an auto transport broker. The broker gets some information from you and provides a basic quote. Keep in mind that the quote you get is merely a starting point, it may not be the actual price you pay.
Brokers will give you a quote based on what they believe is accurate. They will then accept bids from various carriers who will actually ship your vehicle. The Broker will pick the winning bid about a week before your move date. If that bid is less than what you were quoted, the broker makes a little extra money. If the winning bid is higher than what was quoted, you pay the difference.
A reputable broker knows the market and will provide a fairly accurate quote. There are some companies out there that just want your business, so they’ll quote super low. Thanks to their required non-refundable deposit, you end up feeling trapped and pay more than expected.
What Factors Impact Car Shipping Costs?
Prices can change from day to day. There are a variety of factors that brokers and carriers have to consider when providing car shipping quotes.
- Distance: longer trips typically cost more.
- Extra services: if you need additional insurance or expedited service.
- Number of vehicles: multiple vehicles raise the price.
- Region: it often costs more to ship to and from rural areas than urban centers.
- Route: whether the route has road closures, is close to other deliveries, and more.
- Seasonality: pricing goes up during busier seasons, like summer.
- Transport type: putting your car on an open transport costs much less than a closed transport.
- Vehicle type: larger vehicles cost more, often because they weigh more or take up extra space.
- Vehicle condition: cars that don’t run will fetch a higher price.
Shipping Isn’t The Only Option
While loading your car onto a trailer might seem like the cheapest and most convenient way to get your car from one place to another, there are other options. For example, some companies can put a professional driver behind the wheel of your car and simply drive it to your destination.
On average, it ends up being more cost-effective to drive your car versus having it shipped. Having someone drive your car reduces the number of things that impact the final price. The cost of shipping your car via a driver still has to take into account several items:
- Your car’s drivetrain (manual vs. automatic)
- Vehicle type
- Vehicle’s shape
- If anyone or anything is coming along (pets or passengers)
- Gas prices
- Lodging or plane tickets, if necessary for the driver
The Choice Is Yours
When it comes time to get your car from point A to point B, you have plenty of choices. You might decide to drive it yourself, which may end up being cheaper but will take time and energy you might need elsewhere.
You can also pay to have your car shipped by a carrier. This carrier will load up your car and bring it to your destination. It will cost more than driving, but won’t put any additional miles on your ride.
You may also decide to hire a driver who can deliver the car to your exact destination at the exact time you specify. This will cost less than shipping your car but will add to the wear and tear of your vehicle.
Your best bet is to plan your move early, get several car shipping and driving quotes, and make the decision that makes the most sense for you.