cost to ship a car


When shipping a car one of the first questions people have is “How much does it cost to ship a car?” or “What’s the car shipping cost?” What many people don’t realize is the price they should expect to pay depends on the level and service you choose. The cheaper price may not always be the best way to ship a car.

The different levels of service are shipping your car on a flatbed, open car carrier, or an enclosed car carrier. Car shipping costs can also differentiate whether you’re shipping your vehicle directly with a car carrier or with a broker. Be sure you choose auto shipping companies based on their service type, equipment, and customer reviews not just on the car transport cost alone.


What’s the cost to ship a car? How much does it cost to get a car shipped? The car shipping cost varies based on the kind of auto transport service you opt for. For a regular-sized car being shipped from New York to California, the typical car shipping expense ranges from $2,000 to $4,000, contingent on the service level and the season.

The auto transport sector offers a broad spectrum of prices from numerous companies that provide car shipping services. These prices can vary based on the equipment utilized for the vehicle’s transportation. The shipping cost reflects the expense of their equipment, quality of drivers, the fuel cost required to transport your car, and the service quality you’ll receive.

Don’t estimate your auto transport budget; get an instant car shipping quote now with our auto transport cost calculator!


Shipping your car on a Flat Bed – Cheapest, but short moves only

The cheapest way to ship a car a short distance is on a flatbed or long distance towing. Shipping your car on a flatbed trailer is usually the cheapest, but is the riskiest in regards to your vehicle. Flatbeds force your vehicle to climb a steep ramp during loading, which can be an issue for low clearance vehicles, sensitive transmissions, and non running vehicles.

Flatbeds also expose your car to the weather and road debris. They typically have less insurance than other types of car shipping companies and service a small local area. Shipping a car on a flatbed should be reserved for breakdowns or shipping daily driver cars short distances. Not shipping a car across the country.

Open Car Carriers – Cheapest car shipping costs, but the riskiest

Shipping a car on Open trailers or open carriers is a cheap option for shipping a car, but it is one of the riskiest ways to ship your vehicle. Open transport like on open car carriers or even flatbeds put the car at risk because the cars are forced up steep ramps. These steep ramps can be problematic for classic cars, race cars, and exotic cars.

Cars shipped with car transport companies using open trailers are also exposed to the weather, elements, and road debris. Large open car carriers have the added risk that cars can be transported above yours, so if they leak any fluids those fluids may hit your car and damage the paint during transport.

Open car transport companies also tend to have lower insurance coverage for your car than enclosed car carrier companies. If considering shipping your car on an open car carrier be sure to check their insurance before to be sure it’s enough to cover your car’s entire value.

It’s best to receive a copy of the insurance certificate before booking your car’s transport from the shipper. Finding out afterward the car carrier didn’t have enough insurance could leave you paying out of pocket for repairs.

shipping a classic car

Enclosed auto transport companies like Intercity Lines – Safest, but more expensive

Shipping your car on an enclosed trailer is usually more costly than flatbeds or open trailers, but provide a much higher level of security and insurance coverage especially when transporting a car cross country or long distance.

Enclosed car carriers keep your car safe and secure from the outside world including weather and road debris whether shipping a car locally or nationwide. Reputable enclosed car carriers like Intercity Lines have lift gate loading. We also cover the cars with two car covers to add further protection.

Not every enclosed auto shipper uses lift gates and take extra precautions like covering cars, so check with the specific car carrier first.

A new enclosed transport trailer can cost $500,000, which is why enclosed auto transport tends to have higher car shipping rates than open auto transport. Enclosed auto transport companies, like Intercity Lines, take every step possible to protect the car you’re shipping. They have well trained and experienced truck drivers and state-of-the-art equipment, in contrast to the companies that may have a lower shipping car cost, but use older equipment and less experienced drivers.

Enclosed car carriers also carry the highest levels of auto shipping insurance for your car. Intercity Lines carries $2 million dollars worth of cargo insurance that protects your car from pick up to delivery. Flatbed and open car carriers may carry a fraction of this insurance coverage, helping keep their shipping costs low, but it may leave your car underinsured. Always get a copy of their insurance certificate before shipping your car.

Auto Transport Brokers – Add a commission to your car shipping cost

Auto transport brokers book your order and then find a car carrier to ship your car for a lower price than what they charged you. Brokers do not own any equipment nor have car haulers working for them. They make money by taking the difference in shipping cost from what they charged you and what they’re paying the car carrier. A popular broker is Montway Auto Transport.

Unlike a broker, a car carrier has a fleet of car haulers that drives exclusively for them shipping their client’s cars. An auto transport broker’s incentive is to find the cheapest car carrier they can find to ship your car in order to increase their profits.

The cheapest is not always the best or the most reputable. If you want your vehicle condition to stay the same during transport it’s important to pick the right carrier not the cheapest car shipping. Especially during times of year when the weather and road conditions are worsened.

If you receive a very low car shipping quote to ship a car with an enclosed car trailer, be very wary because it is likely a broker or a less reputable business.

Brokers despite their commission can sometimes provide a below-market rate because they are using less than reputable car carriers. They may have subpar trailers, drivers, and lower insurance coverage.  Brokers sell your car shipment to other companies that they have no previous affiliation with.

best way to ship a car enclosed trailer

Car shipping cost depends on the level of service you choose

Car shipping prices vary, but scheduling needs, type of car transport service, vehicle size, and distance and location are the main factors that affects car shipping costs. When you need to ship a car determine the type of vehicle transport service and protection you’re looking for before you start comparing car transport costs.

It’s important to understand that auto transport services have different average costs to transport cars and you want to ensure you’re comparing similar services.

The types of car shipping services are working directly with a carrier or car shipping broker and whether it’s door to door service or terminal to terminal shipping. Along with the type of equipment they use for shipping cars whether on an enclosed carrier or open transport. Just remember the best car shipping companies are likely not the cheapest, so be sure to look past the car transport quotes and only work with reputable auto transport providers for a seamless car shipment.

Once you determine what type of auto transport provider you want to ship your car with it’s important to ensure you deal directly with the carrier. Brokers add their commission to your car shipping cost making it more expensive than working with a car carrier directly.

Top tips to save money when shipping a car

There are several ways to save money when shipping a car. These car shipping tips will help you save on the average cost to ship a car cross country.

Firstly, you should research and compare quotes from different car shipping companies to find the best deal. Shipping a car in the off-season like fall and winter is usually cheaper than the spring and summer.

Shipping multiple cars together saves money as it allows the carrier to fill trailers more efficiently with fewer stops.

You can save money by making sure your vehicle is running and operational. Many car shippers will charge a non run fee if the car does not run.

Finally, you should try to be flexible with your pickup and drop-off dates, as this often leads to cheaper prices.

Being strict with your schedule can increase shipping costs. This is because the car shipper may need to prioritize your dates and make detours to accommodate them. They will pass these potential costs to you.

Intercity Lines sets the standard with our nationwide enclosed car transport services at a fair cost.

Intercity Lines has been setting the standard for car shipping services since 1980. At Intercity Lines, we never broker any of our orders out and only ship cars with our dedicated in-house fleet of experienced car haulers.

Our expert team will make car shipping seamless with our excellent customer service and white glove handling of every vehicle.

We ship cars for the world’s top car manufacturers, car collectors, museums, and businesses. We will treat your car with the same care, you always know that you and your car is receiving the highest level of service at a fair price.

We’ve led the auto transport industry in service and reputation for decades as being the best car carrier for nationwide car transport in the United States! Don’t take a chance with cheap car shipping companies, trust the best in enclosed transport. Trust Intercity Lines.

Use our instant car shipping calculator to get a price and book your order!

Find out how much is it to ship a car with Intercity Lines today with our instant car shipping cost calculator and book your vehicle shipment with no deposit or credit card information needed!

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