Cost for shipping a car across country

Reading time: 10 min
All you need to know about the intestate car’s delivery

Shipping a car across country cost is one of the first and the main questions arising when there is a necessity to apply for the transportation service. And even if you have enough money in your pocket, the car’s transportation itself is normally linked with some essential expenses. For example, when you need to deliver the car from the auto dealer’s salon, most probably you already paid enough for such a purchase. The same if you are ordering a car’s delivery service to transport your personal car to a new house while all the family and the furniture are travelling by plane.

No matter what the exact reason for the car shipping across country, its cost should be carefully considered before making a decision to choose one particular transporter.

What price to expect

Despite the fact that the cost of shipping cars across country depends on many different factors, we considered offers from various transportation carriers and brokers on a few sources to figure out how much you need to expect to pay if we are talking about really long-distance routes. The very minimum is 600 dollars, but only within the open-air transporter and in case of the very popular and common direction. The maximum is 1,600 dollars. As we can see, the difference is too tremendous to ignore, so let’s check in more details how it can happen.

To make everything easier, the overwhelming majority of the transporters today have their own website, where you can use a special analytical tool – online-calculator – to figure out at least an approximate price. You will be requested to insert some very basic and non-personalized information in regards to the upcoming delivery to let the system count the shipping car cross country cost. Here we can deal with two different options which will fully affect the accuracy of the quote. In many cases the calculation will be done automatically and you will get the result immediately on the screen of your computer or mobile phone. This option is faster but of course the accuracy of such calculations cannot compete with the quote you will be provided by the real person. In this case you also will be required to fill the form on the website, and the company’s representative will carefully consider all the details and give you more “real” price. Moreover, here you can easily discuss the details with the same person so you will not need to explain the same things to different people.

So basically, all the details you need to provide for the online-calculator have the main influence on the price.

First of all, the method of the delivery can essentially change the original cost of shipping your car across country you got it from. Open-air transportation is very popular among the cars’ owners in the United States, first of all, because of its lower quote. Normally, you can expect for the enclosed delivery around 33 percent more, but in some cases the difference can be even 50-60 percent. Definitely, this is a reason why you may prefer to use an open truck to deliver your vehicle from one state to another, especially if we are talking about the used vehicles with the value less than 100,000 dollars. On the other hand, even a 50 percent higher price is nothing in comparison with expenses you may have in case your rare and exotic car will eventually be damaged on the way. Of course, every professional carrier will take care of any can on the truck, but there are some unpredictable occasions that may cause a random scratch or dent of the surface of the car. For example, with a small rock from under the truck’s wheels on the highway.

Another essential factor of the cross-country car shipping cost is a type of your particular car. Obviously, you should expect to pay more in case you have an oversized vehicle. The basic quote is considered for the standard four-door sedan, and here you can expect to pay the sum between 600 dollars and 1,000 dollars. Of course, if the car is smaller, you will get a discount as its parameters may allow the transporter to place some additional vehicle (if not the full car but at least some motorcycle) inside the truck and, therefore, to make more profit during the same trip. On the other hand, for the SUVs the quote will be slightly higher – between 800 dollars and 1,070 dollars. Finally, you should expect an even higher cost of shipping a car cross country – up to 1,200 dollars – if we are talking about the truck or just a massive pickup.

The difference between the quotes for the same car’s type is caused by another essential factor not every owner knows about – the seasonality of the transportation industry. The lower variant can take place in the low season which is normally winter. If you will apply for the delivery service in summertime, you can expect to pay up to 400 dollars more. Of course, warm weather is much more attractive, especially if we are talking about open transportation, but here you need to choose what is more important for you – comfort or the real cost of shipping a car across country.

Finally, we can check the particular distance to figure out the cost for shipping a car across country. In this case we will consider the small SUV’s delivery from New York to San Francisco. Checking the offers from various transportation companies, both brokers and direct carriers, the average shipping cars across country cost will be 1,464 dollars with the ranging between 1,360 dollars and 1,600 dollars. This is a great example of the necessity to check at least three-five offers from different companies to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Other factors

how-car-transportThe lowest cost of shipping a car across the country is not always a good idea. Especially if this offer is coming from the transportation company with a very little experience and not enough reviews from the recent clients. Of course, a low quote is a great tool to attract new clients and to enter the transportation market (which is already pretty full with various carriers and transporters, both local and international). But you as a car’s owner need to think how these companies can make the price so low. Maybe the conditions of the delivery are not so great, or the fleet consists of the very old and unreliable trucks. Another reason for the suspiciously low cost of shipping car across country is so-called hidden expenses. They are not included into the original quote but will appear upon the car’s delivery leading to even a higher-than-average price to pay.

There are a few steps you can follow to avoid such unfair transporters for your car’s delivery:

  • Check the legality of the transportation company you are planning to deal with/ In reality, it’s pretty easy to do. For example, you can check its status and rating of the official website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as on the site of the Better Business Bureau. There you will find the information about the certification of the particular carrier or broker as well as its rating according to the recent evaluation;
  • If you have a choice, it’s always better to deal with the direct transportation carrier as that is how you can be sure that all the details are discussed exactly with the company that will perform the car’s delivery. In case of the broker, you will not know who is a real carrier unless it's at your door to pick up your car and, therefore, you will not be able to check its reputation prior to the transportation service. Of course, you can always check the rating of the broker, but normally they have a wide network of the carrier and you never know if you will be lucky enough to be served with a truly reliable transporter (especially if the broker chose the cheapest option for your vehicle’s delivery);
  • Online reviews are basically the most important factor. Here, in comparison with the official website of the transportation company and its advertisements, you will see a real picture of its service. All the advantages and disadvantages can be found in these reviews, and that is how you will have a much better understanding of the carrier’s business. As we know, it’s not enough just to bring the car from point A to point B. Such additional factors as the delays or poor customer service can significantly affect the overall experience and lead to the frustration of the car’s owners. Transportation service is already pretty stressful and nobody wants to make it even worse.

Insurance is one more crucial factor of the price. Today in the overwhelming majority of cases the basic insurance is already included into the quote, but you need to carefully check the coverage and the exact cases when it works. Thus, according to the governmental regulations, the basic insurance coverage of any transportation company should not be lower than 75,000 dollars. When shipping a car cross country cost is higher than average on the market, you can check the insurance as it may cover extra-damage. Thus, some brokers are providing their own insurance in addition to the one of the carriers, which means you will be double protected from any potential expenses – if the carrier for some reason will not agree to cover some issues with your car upon the delivery, the broker will take an essential part of them on its own.

A particular car shipping cross country cost can also be affected by the level of the transportation services you require. More expensive classic and sports cars will need much more attention and a personalized service during the way, which will lead to the higher price for such a tailored attitude. It’s not surprising that some transportation companies which are dealing exclusively with the expensive and rare vehicles have slightly higher than average quotes for their clients. In many cases the owners of such cars are applying for the delivery service to bring their valuable cars to some exhibitions and shows which means the cars should be in perfect condition upon arrival.

Also, inoperable vehicles will require some additional equipment and skills from the driver’s side to load and unload them onto the truck. While for this purpose most transporters provide only more expensive enclosed transport, you may also be charged for the extra effort they need to deliver your car which is non-running. That is why it’s recommended to inspect the condition of your vehicle prior to the delivery service so you may need to fix the problems in time and to save some extra money for the transportation.

Finally, one more additional tip of how to make the final price slightly lower is to pay the driver by cash. For the clients’ convenience many modern transportation companies have the possibility of online paying by credit card, but in this case, you will have a fixed quote. When paying the driver directly in cash upon the car’s delivery, in many cases you can expect to get a better price than it was agreed before. You can even check it with the company’s representative in advance as it’s not a secret and a pretty common practice to attract more potential clients across the USA.

Share this article on

Similar news:

Car shipping Autos transporting Main news Contacts
Log in
Get access to the database of drivers