How much does it cost to ship a car cross country? That’s a question you must answer, especially if you’re unable to drive the vehicle yourself. Luckily, there are several methods you can choose to ship a car across the country. Each of these methods has its way of arriving at the haulage cost. When transporting a vehicle for the first time or haven’t done it for a while, it can be confusing how much you’ll pay. On average, you may pay between $600 and $1,600 to ship a car from one end of the country to the other. The actual cost depends on various factors, which this article discusses in greater detail.
What Is Cross-Country Car Shipping
You may already know that cross-country shipping entails shipping a vehicle from one end of the country to another. It can be east to west, north to south, or take another route spanning the length or breadth of the country. The typical distance involved in cross-country hauling can be 1,300 to 1,500 miles north to south and 2,000 miles east to west. Other shorter routes can also be cross-country.
If you choose to drive the car, you can move it across the country at a very minimal cost. Alternatively, you can rent an open or closed trailer or other shipping equipment. Professional car shipping companies have varied price considerations, which can affect how much you’ll pay.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Cross Country
Car shipping costs cross-country depend on the type of shipping method, amidst other factors. There are two main types of car shipping – open-air and enclosed carrier. Despite the available options, most people prefer open-air carriers. On average, open-air auto carriers cost nearly 33% less than closed carriers.
Depending on the prevailing season, you can expect to pay anything between $600 to $1,000 to transport a four-door sedan. If you intend to transport n SUV, pickup truck, or a small van, you will likely pay $800 to $1,070. Other experts put the cost at $700 to $1,200.
Be ready to pay the highest possible price to avoid getting unpleasant surprises. To transport a small sedan cross-country means preparing to spend at least $1,000. If the price is lower, you’ll be glad that you didn’t underestimate the cost.
Factors Affecting Car Shipping Costs Cross Country
What appears in the section above are only estimates of what you can expect to pay to haul a car across the country. You can only know the exact cost by getting a quotation from the shipping company. Several factors determine how much cost to ship a car cross country. Pay attention to the following factors, and you’ll never go wrong.
1) Time of Year
Car transport costs tend to rise when demand is the highest, especially in the summer and spring months. So, if you’re hauling your vehicle any time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, expect higher prices. However, that may vary depending on the places between which you’re moving the car.
Transporting a car in winter can also result in high prices. That’s because, during winter, it takes longer to ferry anything on the roads. The ice, snow, and reduced visibility can make the transport company stay on the road too long.
2) Size and Weight of the Car
By design, car carriers cannot hold weights beyond certain limits. Therefore, if you have a larger car, you will likely pay more to move it from one part of the country to the other. Consequently, you should expect to pay more to move a large SUV compared to a small sedan.
3) Cost of Insurance
Professional car haulers have insurance coverage for any mishaps during the transportation process. However, that might not adequately protect you from possible loss. Therefore, it may force you to take additional insurance to protect your car. Although that has no direct link to the transportation cost, it will eventually increase what you will likely pay more.
4) The Distance You Ought to Travel
The distance you should transport the car has one of the most significant effects on the haulage cost. Here is how it works. The farther the distance, the more you’ll pay in shipping costs. Shipping companies usually bill by the mile, which increases shipping costs.
Besides, you need to watch out for labor costs, tolls, fuel charges, and other small things for which you need to pay. If you’re moving only a small distance, you can expect to pay much less to ship a car across the country.
5) The Type of Car
Did you know that the car type and make have a significant bearing on shipping costs? When moving a classic or luxury car, you can expect to pay more due to the risks involved in transporting such vehicles. Apart from requiring special services, high-end vehicles need close attention from the transporter. So, don’t be surprised if the quotation is high.
6) Method of Transport
You can transport your car either using an open-air or enclosed carrier. Each of these shipping methods comes with varied costs. Open carriers are less expensive because they tend to carry more vehicles. On the other hand, closed carriers are more costly since they protect the car from damage from the elements.
The open-air carrier is the default choice when transporting ordinary cars. Choose a closed carrier if you have a classic or expensive luxury car. You might not know when to choose an open carrier over an enclosed one. Here is a detailed description of each of these methods to help you choose wisely:
- Open-Air Career: An open-air carrier does not hide the vehicles from view. A single carrier can hold up to 10 cars on two levels. Since it is exposed, the carrier allows the driver to see your vehicle while in transit. Open carriers are easy to find and readily available. However much they are affordable, they expose your car to the elements, which can cause damage. Besides, they carry multiple cars and make many stops dropping the vehicles. That may significantly increase your waiting time.
- Enclosed Carrier: Enclosed carriers are great, especially if you want to protect your vehicle from the elements. You can choose this option when transporting a car during harsh weather conditions. Enclosed carriers can ferry up to four cars and are a little more expensive. They make fewer stops and are likely to get your car delivered within a short time. If you have a valuable vehicle, this is undoubtedly the safest and most convenient way to move it cross-country.
7) Type of Vessel
The type of vessel refers to whether you use a haulage truck, freight train, passenger train, port-to-port shipping, or air freight. Here are detailed descriptions of some of the transport methods you can use, apart from road transport:
- Freight Train: A freight train can be an affordable option for shipping a car cross country. However, a commercial freight train may decline to work with you if you transport only one vehicle. The only way to get one of the limited slots on the train is via a transport company. This method can be inconvenient, especially when moving the vehicle from the terminal to your premises.
- Passenger Train: Did you know that you can ship a car on a passenger train? A good example is the train operating between Virginia and Florida and can ferry a vehicle for up to $300 one way. However, you have to board the car to accompany the vehicle to the destination.
- Port-to-Port Shipping: Port-to-port shipping is appropriate for moving a car across the ocean. This is the best option for people living in Hawaii to move a vehicle from the other states and vice versa. The estimated average cost is between $1,500 and $2,000. You’ll pay more going to Hawaii than returning to the mainland.
- Air Freight: You can also move a car cross country via air freight. While this is a faster option, the cost can be forbidding. Depending on the distance, the cost of ferrying a car by air can exceed the vehicle’s value. It, therefore, doesn’t make sense to use air freight, especially if you’re trying to save on the transport cost.
8) The Required Level of Service
What extra services do you need from the transport company? Do you require door-to-door delivery? If so, you should expect to pay more. Some auto transport companies may require you to pick the car from a given location. Others provide drop-off points closer to you. The transport company will deliver the vehicle to your doorstep if you can pay for it.
How to Get the Best Auto Transporter Deal
Before hiring an auto transporter, approach several companies and get quotes. Compare all the available options in terms of the pricing, quality of service, and the likelihood of door-to-door delivery. Be sure to obtain the quotes early enough to reserve a place with a reliable shipping company. Most of the time, car transporters would have free slots several months into the future. It gets worse in the summer when the demand for transport services is highest.
How to Find a Suitable Transport Company
How much cost to ship a car cross-country? As much as that question may seem to elicit a straightforward answer, it is only after getting quotes from several shipping companies that you’ll be sure what you can pay. Reach out to shipping companies via their websites and disclose the type of car you wish to transport, its location, and destination. You may also need to specify the make, model, condition, and vehicle’s year. Shipping companies also need to know when to move the car to estimate the average cost. Finally, compare the quotes and pick the most affordable one.
Other Ways to Ship a Car Cross-Country
Even though it is the most common, transportation by road isn’t the only option. Here are two options you may want to consider:
- Drive It Yourself: Driving the car yourself could be the best option to go on the long road trip you have always longed for. It is the cheapest cross-country car hauling method. However, you will likely find it an inconvenience.
- Hire a Driver: With a professional driver, you can have your car moved cross-country in no time. Even though costly, the driver will likely give special attention to your vehicle. However, the car will have substantially more mileage and wear and tear.
The Bottom Line
How Much cost to Ship a Car Cross Country? You can ship a car cheaply cross-country if you know what to look for. Unless you have a classic or luxury car, always use an open carrier to ferry your vehicle. The cost may also vary depending on the shipping company, so be sure to choose wisely. Alternative ways of moving a car cross-country include freight train, air transport, port-to-port shipping, and passenger train. Alternatively, you can drive the vehicle yourself or hire a driver.
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