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 depends on the level of auto transport 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 an auto transport company and auto transport type based on their service and car shipping reviews not just on the car transport cost alone.


So how much is it to transport a car? The price to ship a car depends on the type of auto transport service you’re looking for. For a standard-sized car going from New York to California, the average car shipping cost will be $2,000-$4,000 depending on the level of service and time of the year.

The auto transport industry has a wide range of prices from hundreds of different companies that ship cars. This price drastically changes depending on the equipment used to transport the vehicle. The amount charged reflects the cost of their equipment, the price of fuel needed to ship your car, and the quality of service you will receive.


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 nonrunning vehicles.

Flatbeds also expose your car to the elements and road debris. They typically have less insurance than other types of car shipping companies and service a small geographic area than other services. Shipping a car on a flatbed should be reserved for breakdowns or shipping daily driver cars short distances.

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

Shipping a car on Open trailers is a cheap option for shipping a car nationwide, but it is one of the riskiest car shipping methods for your vehicle and you’re customer service experience. Open transport like on open car carriers or even flatbeds put the car you’re shipping 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 auto 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 coverage 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 shipping services with a company. Finding out afterward the car carrier didn’t have enough insurance could leave you paying out of pocket for repairs on higher-value vehicles.

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. Enclosed car trailers typically 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 typically offer added comforts like lift gate loading and covering the car once it’s loaded. Not every enclosed auto transport company 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 the auto transport company’s insurance certificate before shipping your car.

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

Auto transport brokers are companies that 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 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 maximize their profits. Unfortunately, the cheapest carrier is not always the best or the most reputable.

If you receive a very low auto transport quote to ship a car with an enclosed car carrier, be very wary because it is likely a broker or a less reputable company. Brokers despite their commission can sometimes provide a below-market rate because they are using less than reputable car carriers. Brokers sell your car shipment to other companies that they have no affiliation with.

best way to ship a car enclosed trailer

Car shipping cost depends on the level of auto transport service you choose

Car shipping prices vary company to company, 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 different transport type and auto transport services have different average costs to transport cars and you want to ensure you’re comparing similar services when making a decision.

The different types of car shipping service 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 car shipping companies, 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.

How to save money on shipping costs when shipping a car with a car transport company

There are several ways to save money when shipping a car with a car transport company. Firstly, you should research and compare quotes from different car shipping companies to find the best deal. Additionally, you should consider shipping in the off-season like fall and winter, as this is usually cheaper than peak season. The fall is peak season for snowbirds shipping their cars to Florida and the southwest, but it’s typically slower for other vehicle shipment lanes. Furthermore, you should try to ship multiple cars at once, as this can often save money by allowing the car shippers to fill more of their trailers with less pickup and delivery locations.

Additionally, you can save money by making sure your vehicle is running and not non-operational, as this will save the car transport company the extra costs associated with special tools and machinery for loading and unloading. Finally, you should try to be flexible with your pickup and drop-off dates, as this often leads to cheaper prices. If you are strict with your scheduling needs it will increase the average cost to ship because the car shipping companies may have to bypass other vehicle shipping work or run a car carrier out of route to meet your dates. They will then pass those potential costs to you even if they don’t incur them when they actually provide the car transport service.

Intercity Lines nationwide enclosed car transport services provide excellent customer service and white glove service to every vehicle we ship at a fair final cost

Intercity Lines has been setting the standard for car shipping services since 1980. At Intercity Lines, we never broker any of our shipments out and only ship cars with our enclosed shipping services driven by our experienced car haulers. Our expert auto transport 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 most renown 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 for a fair car transport quote.

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.

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