7 Best Car Shipping Companies (2024 Reviews)

In most cases, your car is one of your most expensive and prized possessions. Whether you have hired a full-service moving company from our best interstate moving companies or gone with a moving truck rental company, you are probably now looking at your car and wondering just how you will get it to your new home.

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.9 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Transparent pricing
  • Fully insured
Check prices (864) 492-1221

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.75 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • No deposit
  • Quick pickup
Check prices (888) 259-6046

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.4 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Services all 50 states
  • Ships most vehicles
Check prices (770) 501-9057

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.55 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Established in 2007
  • No upfront payment
Check prices (224) 206-5633

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Price lock promise
  • Free car wash
Check prices (833) 775-1461

% of users select this mover

Of course, you can drive it, but if you are moving from California to New York, this can put a lot of unnecessary miles on your car. Plus, if your car is older, it may not be able to survive the trip without mechanical issues. Those renting a moving truck have another problem entirely —you can’t drive two vehicles simultaneously, and driving a moving truck is hard enough without adding a trailer!

For these reasons (and more), many movers choose to ship their car to their new home, saving them time and hassle. Here at moveBuddha, we’ve worked with some of the best car shipping companies, and we want to help you choose the best one for your next move!

Keep reading to discover all of the best car shipping companies as well as some tips and tricks for choosing the best one.

Our ratings of the best car shipping companies

Based on our own research and the customer reviews of hundreds of moveBuddha readers, these are the top car shipping companies:

Comparing the best car shipping companies

The car shipping company that is best for your vehicle will depend on the specifications of your move. We’ve created the table below for an easy comparison of the best car shipping companies on our list.

Company Best for BBB rating State availability
SGT Auto Transport Overall A 49 states (not in AK)
Easy Auto Ship Quick pickup A+ All 50 states
Amerifreight Best discounts A+ All 50 states
Montway Auto Transport Cross-country A+ All 50 states
Sherpa Auto Transport Accurate pricing A+ 48 states (not in AK or HI)
Ship A Car Direct Insurance coverage A+ 47 states (not in AK, ND, or SD)
American Auto Shipping Customer service A+ 49 states (not in Ak)

Our reviews of the best auto shipping companies

Want more details on how to have your car shipped? We’ve got you covered. moveBuddha’s team of auto shipping experts analyzed the pros and cons of these top car shipping companies to help you find the best shipper for the job.

Best overall: SGT Auto Transport

Best for Overall Value
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.9 / 5
Check prices (864) 492-1221

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • Transparent, all-inclusive pricing with no hidden fees
  • Free online quotes; binding quotes available over the phone
  • Door-to-door service available in 48 states
  • Exact pick-up dates available
read our full review
Check prices (864) 492-1221

93% of users select this mover

Founded in 2014, SGT Auto Transport is an auto transport company that is quickly becoming a favorite among movers. With both open and enclosed car shipping services in 49 states, SGT has an A+ rating on BBB and overwhelmingly postive customer reviews.

SGT Auto Transport is a car shipping broker, so once you receive your initial quote, they will search for a vetted car transport service within their network. Their network is one of the largest, with over 25,000 auto shipping partners they can assign your shipment to. The cool thing is, if you get a lower binding quote from another highly-rated car shipping company, SGT has a price match guarantee!

Binding car quotes from SGT are all-inclusive, and you won’t have to worry about additional car shipping costs. SGT requires a deposit when the car is dispatched and they accept cash, money orders, and credit cards.

Our favorite part about using SGT as your car transport company is they have options many other shippers don’t offer, such as exact pickup dates for your vehicle. While it isn’t the cheapest car shipping service on our list, SGT truly provides the most value to customers.

Car transport services include:

  • Exact pickup dates
  • Vehicle delivery from car dealerships
  • Door-to-door car shipping
  • International shipping (on a limited basis)
  • Expedited car shipping
  • Motorcycle shipping

Overall, SGT is a customer favorite, known for their excellent pricing and top-rated customer service.

Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.9 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Pros & Cons of SGT Auto transport

  • Offers long-distance car shipping services to 49 U.S. states, including Hawaii
  • Easy-to-use website with free car shipping quotes
  • Services are door-to-door, so you don’t have to take your car somewhere to drop it off
  • Straightforward, competitive pricing with no hidden fees
  • Custom vehicle shipping options, including open or enclosed shipping
  • Fully insured ($100,000 in cargo insurance coverage)
  • Excellent customer service
  • Exact vehicle pickup dates
  • Limited international auto shipping available
  • Does not ship RVs or large equipment
  • No digital shipment tracking options

SGT Auto Transport pricing

SGT provides an initial car shipping quotewithin minutes on their website based on the shipping distance. Those who are shipping internationally will need to call and speak to a customer service agent.

Once you choose to proceed with an initial quote, SGT will match you with a vehicle shipper and contact you with a binding quote. This binding quote might be slightly different than the initial quote, but most customers report that it is fairly close.

Pricing for car shipping with SGT depends on several aspects, such as the time of year and whether or not your vehicle needs open or enclosed transport. The more miles you need to ship your vehicle, the cheaper the per-mile cost will be.

SGT Auto Transport is widely known as an affordable car shipping option, and they often have some of the lowest prices in the industry — one of the reasons they are one of our best overall car shipping companies!

Here is a general overview of what you can expect to pay when choosing SGT Auto Transport:

Distance Average per-mile cost
0–500 miles $1.00
500–1,000 miles $0.75
1,000–2,000 miles $0.60
2,000–2,500 miles $0.50
2,500+ miles $0.40

Our full review: SGT Auto Transport

Best for quick pickup: Easy Auto Ship

Best for Quick Pick Up
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.75 / 5
Check prices (888) 259-6046

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • No deposit upfront to schedule
  • Expedited Shipping Available
  • Ship an additional 100lbs in the car for Free
  • Guaranteed pick-up and delivery available
read our full review
Check prices (888) 259-6046

93% of users select this mover

Founded in 2012, Easy Auto Ship specializes in domestic auto transport to and from all 50 states in the U.S., plus Canada. The car shipping company has an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It also has a 4.5-star rating on Google, with over 1,000 mostly positive customer reviews.

Like most auto transport companies, Easy Auto Ship is a third-party logistics provider (or broker). This means the car shipping company has access to a large network of vetted carriers throughout the entire United States. Easy Auto Ship evaluates your specific auto shipping needs and matches you with a qualified carrier to pick up and deliver your vehicle. You will always have a dedicated account rep from start to finish with Easy Auto Ship.

Easy Auto Ship never requires any money upfront to schedule vehicle pickup. Once Easy Auto Ship assigns a carrier and pickup date, you pay a small deposit and pay the rest on delivery. The company will send you a text and email with the company’s name, truck driver’s name, and phone number before pickup and delivery, too.

Services include:

  • Car shipping (open or enclosed transport)
  • Vehicle delivery for auto dealers or online buyers
  • Heavy equipment transport
  • International vehicle shipping

Overall, Easy Auto Ship is a great company that delivers high-quality service and transparency to customers no matter where you need to ship your vehicle. They are also one of the only car shipping companies on our list that services Alaska.

Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.75 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Pros & Cons of Easy Auto Ship

  • Free contingency cargo insurance
  • Expedited car shipping available
  • Guaranteed pickup dates available
  • Free car washes on delivery as part of their clean car guarantee
  • No deposit upfront to schedule
  • Ship an additional 100 pounds of belongings in your car for free
  • It offers more types of discounts than other auto shippers
  • If it takes more than 14 days to transport vehicles, Easy Auto Ship provides a free rental car
  • Doesn’t ship boats or heavy equipment
  • No guaranteed drop-off dates

Easy Auto Ship pricing

Easy Auto Ship provides real-time quotes on its website for one- to five-day pickup. If you have a unique situation, it’s best to call the car shipping company directly for a custom free quote.

Easy Auto Ship doesn’t have the cheapest car shipping services, but it offers the most accurate pricing — no bait-and-switch tactics here. The final price you will pay varies widely depending on the type of vehicle you are shipping and the transport type.

Easy Auto Ship is one of the few auto shipping companies whose rates depend on the weight of your vehicle. Those with a heavy vehicle or equipment will likely pay more with Easy Auto Ship.Pricing depends on a lot of factors, but

Easy Auto Ship offers customers a variety of discounts, mostly for those in the military or families shipping multiple vehicles. Easy Auto Ship is also unique in that you can pay for your vehicle shipment using PayPal in addition to cash and credit card.

Here’s what you can expect to pay when shipping your vehicle with Easy Auto Ship:

Distance Average per-mile cost
Less than 500 miles $1.00 each
500–1,000 miles $0.75 each
1,000–2,000 miles $0.60 each
2,000–2,500 miles $0.50 each
2,500+ miles $0.40 each

Our full review: Easy Auto Ship

Best for discounts: AmeriFreight Car Transport

Best for discounts
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.4 / 5
Check prices (770) 501-9057

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • Very competitive pricing
  • Can handle last minute car shipments
  • Offer guaranteed and expedited shipments
  • Offer AFta PLAN gap insurance coverage
Check prices (770) 501-9057

93% of users select this mover

AmeriFreight Car transport has the ability to ship a variety of vehicles nationwide, including cars, trucks, boats, RVs and more. Still, what sets AmeriFreight apart from the car-shipping competition is the wide variety of discounts they offer customers. Military, students, first responders, healthcare workers, and senior citizens are all eligible for specific discounts or support with additional services.

AmeriFreight also offers markdowns for returning customers, shipments of multiple vehicles, and an “early-bird” discount for booking within 48 hours of receiving your quote. The company also offers rotating promotions, so it is always important to speak to a customer service representative to make sure you’re getting the best price for your situation.

With these markdowns and other flexible payment options, it makes sense why AmeriFreight Car Transport is one of the most cost-effective options for car, boat, and pretty much any vehicle-shipping.

Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.4 / 5

89% of users select this mover

  • No money up front, free cancellation
  • You can ship a variety of vehicles, including boats and RVs
  • Flexible payment options
  • A variety of discounts for military, students, returning customers, and more
  • 20 years of experience
  • No GPS tracking available
  • No international car-shipping options
  • No online booking, you have to call to schedule
  • Can be more expensive than quotes suggest

Our full review: Amerifreight

Best overall value: Montway Auto Transport

Best Cross Country
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.55 / 5
Check prices (224) 206-5633

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • No upfront payment required
  • GPS tracking
  • A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau
  • Almost 100,000 online customer reviews
read our full review
Check prices (224) 206-5633

93% of users select this mover

Since its founding in 2007, Montway Auto Transport has been a market leader, arranging car shipping for more than one million customers.

Montway Auto Transport is available in all 50 states, as well as in several international locations, making it easy to ship your car no matter what your move entails. Montway also offers guaranteed pickup dates and expedited delivery for those in a rush to move their vehicle.

Montway is a preferred shipper for some of the largest corporate relocation companies in the world, as well as the exclusive transport partner for Auto Trader Classics. The auto transport company has received recognition for being a top brand in car shipping, being named best overall on US News’s list of best car shipping companies.

Car transport services include:

  • Open or enclosed transport
  • Door-to-door service
  • Guaranteed pickup dates
  • Military and cash discounts
  • Coverage in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska
  • Service for motorcycles, ATVs, classic/luxury cars, and more

Like most national auto carriers, Montway acts as an auto transport broker. The car shipping company has a network of over 30,000 car carriers that it contracts with to haul your car both within the United States and internationally. When you book with Montway, a portion of the total amount you pay goes to Montway and the rest goes to the actual car hauler.

Montway’s decades of auto shipping experience means it can usually find you a more affordable and higher-quality car carrier than you could find on your own. In our opinion, Montway’s competitive pricing and simple booking process make it the best overall value.

Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.55 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Pros & Cons of Montway Auto Transport

  • Additional insurance coverage up to $250,000 included
  • Expedited car shipping services available
  • Ship one piece of luggage up to 100 pounds for free
  • GPS tracking available (limited)
  • Military and cash discounts available
  • No upfront payment required—pay at delivery
  • Pay with cash, PayPal, or credit card
  • Guaranteed pick-up date and expedited services
  • Quotes expire within 1 week
  • Limited GPS tracking
  • Online quotes aren’t binding
  • $249 cancellation fee for dispatched vehicles
  • Doesn’t ship RVs

Montway Auto Transport pricing

Montway makes it easy to get an instant quote on their website. Just enter a few basic details about your car and your email address and Montway will display a regular price along with a discounted cash price. From there, Montway will give you a variety of different pricing options.

Online quotes with Montway aren’t binding, so you’ll need to call customer service to get an exact price. While customer reviews report that online quotes are often close to the final price they pay, be prepared for the price to be slightly different when you book your auto transport.

These shipping costs range widely depending on the shipping company you are paired with and your pickup and delivery location, and the move, but here are a few examples of Montway pricing:

To ship a Honda Accord from New York City to San Francisco (2,900 miles) during peak season, the discounted cash price would be about $1,369. Using the same criteria, shipping a car from Washington DC to Boston (430 miles) would be approximately $619. Being flexible with your dates and selecting open transport will keep your costs as low as possible.

Distance Average per-mile cost
Less than 500 miles $1.96 each
500–1,000 miles $0.93 each
1,000–2,000 miles $0.52 each
2,000–2,500 miles $0.50 each
2,500+ miles $0.50 each

Our full review: Montway Auto Transport

Best for accurate pricing: Sherpa Auto Transport

Best for accurate pricing
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
Check prices (833) 775-1461

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • "Price Lock Promise" keeps pricing fixed
  • Pay by credit card available
  • Free car wash at delivery
  • No deposit upfront to schedule
read our full review
Check prices (833) 775-1461

93% of users select this mover

Sherpa Auto Transport’s founder created the company after having a negative experience shipping his own car. Because of that, Sherpa Auto Transport is very customer-focused.

What sets Sherpa Auto Transport apart is its accurate pricing and excellent communication throughout the car shipping process. It also works to ensure your vehicle is protected by requiring each of the carriers it works with to carry at least $100,000 in cargo insurance coverage.

Although Sherpa Auto Transport is a newer car shipping company (they started in 2017) they have quickly risen through the ranks and set themselves apart as vehicle shippers. Customers especially love their clean car guarantee and Price Lock Promise.

Services include:

  • Open and enclosed vehicle shipping
  • Expedited car transport services
  • Transportation of inoperative vehicles
  • Dealer pickup services

Car shipping prices vary based on a lot of variables. It isn’t unusual for pricing to change from your booking date to your pick-up date. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that with Sherpa. It offers consistent pricing from quote to delivery, so you always know what you’ll pay and why.

If the price needs to change for any reason, Sherpa contributes up to $300 to make sure the transport happens. Most shippers pass these price increases to you, so this is a big bonus.

Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Pros & Cons of Sherpa Auto Transport

  • Offers fixed pricing
  • Free car washes at delivery
  • $100,000 in cargo insurance
  • Ships cars, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and vans
  • Pay by credit card available
  • No upfront deposit required
  • Ships inoperable vehicles (as long as they can brake, roll, and steer)
  • No international auto shipping
  • No shipping boats, motorcycles, RVs, or trailers
  • No shipping to or from Alaska

Sherpa Auto Transport pricing

Free quotes for shipping your vehicle with Sherpa Auto Transport are available both online and over the phone. The quote you will receive is all-inclusive, so you don’t have to worry about surprise fees popping up later.

The price of shipping your vehicle with Sherpa Auto Transport varies widely based on the type of vehicle you plan to ship, as well as the shipping distance. While Sherpa Auto Transport isn’t known as a budget option, customers report that the prices are reasonable for the services they receive.

Sherpa Auto Transport offers a variety of discounts for those in the military, students, and even repeat customers. You’ll have to speak directly with a customer service representative to receive one of these discounts.

Here’s what you can expect to pay when shipping your car with Sherpa Auto Transport:

Distance Average per-mile cost
Less than 500 miles $2.75 each
500–1,000 miles $1.55 each
1,000–2,000 miles $1.23 each
2,000–2,500 miles $0.84 each
2,500≠ miles $0.74 each

Our full review: Sherpa Auto Transport

Best insurance coverage: Ship A Car Direct

Best Insurance Coverage
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.35 / 5
Check prices (866) 563-0804

93% of users select this mover

At A Glance
  • Home of the industry’s only “Damage Free Guarantee”
  • $500 complimentary damage or loss coverage
  • No deposit to schedule
  • Rental car assistance should transport take more than 14 days
read our full review
Check prices (866) 563-0804

93% of users select this mover

Founded in 2008, Ship A Car Direct made a name for itself by carefully vetting every auto carrier in its network. It also offers generous carrier insurance with every shipment.

Because the company backs every carrier with a Damage Free Guarantee, it doesn’t take any risks choosing to ship your vehicle with them is risk-free. Ship A Car Direct is very selective about which carriers will they work with to haul your car. It even has a Damage Protect App for iOS and Android that explains how to document your vehicle’s condition before and after auto shipping. This can definitely simplify the claims process if you ever need to file a claim.

Car transport services include:

  • Shipping for both operable and inoperable vehicles
  • Open or enclosed car auto shipping
  • Door-to-door shipping
  • Classic car transport services
  • Premium insurance coverage for all vehicle shipments and a Damage Free Guarantee

Ship A Car Direct doesn’t require a deposit until the carrier provides the driver’s name and pick-up or delivery information. Be aware, however, that when you work with Ship A Car Direct you will pay twice: first a broker’s fee when you book, then the remaining balance when your vehicle is delivered.

Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.35 / 5

89% of users select this mover

Pros & Cons of Ship A Car Direct

  • Offers the auto transport industry’s only guarantee against damages
  • Expedited auto shipping available
  • Ships all vehicle types
  • $500 complimentary damage or loss coverage
  • Ships inoperable vehicles (as long as they can brake, roll, and steer)
  • No deposit needed to schedule
  • Pay by credit card
  • Ship an additional 100 pounds of belongings in your car for free
  • If transport takes more than 14 days, they will provide a free rental car
  • Quotes expire within one week
  • No international shipping
  • Doesn’t ship boats or heavy equipment
  • The website doesn’t have a lot of information

Ship A Car Direct pricing

Customers can request a Ship A Car Direct quote using one of their two online free quote tools. The initial quote you receive will be a price range, then you will need to speak with a customer service representative to receive a binding quote.

The cost of shipping a vehicle with Ship a Car Direct varies widely depending on your shipping specifications. Those looking for enclosed shipping, for example, will pay more than those who don’t mind shipping their vehicle in an open transport.

Here’s what you can expect to pay when working with Ship A Car Direct:

Distance Average per-mile cost
Less than 500 miles $2.00 each
500–1,000 miles $1.29 each
1,000–2,000 miles $0.62 each
2,000–2,500 miles $0.60 each
2,500+ miles $0.55 each

Our full review: Ship A Car Direct

Best for customer service: American Auto Shipping

Founded in 1999, American Auto Shipping is a premium auto shipping company revered for its excellent customer service. They have an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Known for their long-distance car shipping options, American Auto Shipping services all U.S. states except Alaska.

Like most auto transport companies, American Auto Shipping is a car shipping broker. This means they will move your vehicle using one of their vetted partners but won’t be the ones actually shipping your vehicle.

American Auto Shipping is unique, however, because they offer locked-in prices based on the quotes they provide online —as long as you book within 24 hours of requesting your quote.

American Auto Shipping also offers expedited car shipping options in every state they service, including Hawaii. In most cases, they can pick up your vehicle within five days of booking.

American Auto Shipping accepts many payment methods, but the most inexpensive option is to pay for your entire auto shipment upfront using a debit or credit card. If you would rather pay cash or pay at delivery, you can choose this option as well, but it will cost more.

American Auto Shipping guarantees their deliveries will be on time. If your vehicle is ever late, you’ll be happy to know that they will provide you with a rental vehicle for free!

Services include:

  • Vehicle transport (open and enclosed transport)
  • Vehicle delivery for auto dealers or online buyers
  • Heavy equipment transport
  • Auto auction transport

Overall, American Auto Shipping is an excellent company that delivers high-quality customer service and pricing transparency.

Pros & Cons of American Auto Shipping

  • A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Instant online quotes with locked-in pricing
  • Helps with up to $500 of your insurance deductible if damage occurs during transport
  • Offers expedited shipping options
  • Free rental car if your vehicle is delayed
  • Does not service Alaska
  • Is a more premium option in terms of pricing
  • Full deposit is required to get a discount on price
  • No GPS tracking

American Auto Shipping pricing

American Auto Shipping offers fast and easy free quotes both online and over the phone. When you receive a quote, the price is locked in for 24 hours and there will be no additional or hidden fees.

The cost of shipping your car with American Auto Shipping will vary widely depending on the distance you are shipping and whether you require an open or enclosed trailer. Compared to other companies on this list, American Auto Shipping is considered more expensive, but customers report the increased shipping rates are worth their positive experience.

Here’s what you can expect to pay when working with American Auto Shipping:

Distance Average per-mile cost
Less than 500 miles $3.00 each
500–1,000 miles $1.10 each
1,000–2,000 miles $1.15 each
2,000–2,500 miles $0.49 each
2,500+ miles $0.47 each

Our full review: American Auto Shipping

What to know about shipping a car

Picking a top-notch shipper is the best way to enjoy an stress-free experience, but even then, it’s important to understand a few things about car shipping. Before you book your vehicle shipment, we recommend going through the steps below.

1. Choose between open and enclosed carriers

Car transport companies will ask you if you want to ship your car in an open or enclosed carrier. These are two different shipping options that come with their own pros and cons — and pricing differences.

Open transport carriers use trucks without walls to transport your car. Carriers typically use two-level trailers to move your car cross-country. There’s zero protection over your vehicle, so it’s exposed to weather and road debris.

Enclosed transport, on the other hand, ships your car in a sealed box or container that protects it from the elements. Enclosed transport is almost always recommended for those shipping classic vehicles or a new vehicle purchased from a dealer.

Enclosed transport is definitely safer, but it’s double the price of open transport. Open transport is also easier to find, so it’s the more popular option. If you have an expensive car and need extra security — and don’t mind paying extra — go with an enclosed carrier.

2. It can take a few weeks

Cars can’t move across the country overnight. When hiring auto transport companies, you need to remember that it can take as long as two weeks to ship your car.

Of course, this depends on factors like:

  • Shipping distance
  • How many cars the provider ships in the same direction
  • Traffic

Because of this, remember that car shipping dates and delivery estimates can change. It isn’t unusual to have a pick-up window of five to seven days, so be flexible.

3. Decide on delivery options

Did you know there are two ways to have your car delivered?

  • Terminal-to-terminal delivery: You drop off your vehicle at a designated terminal and pick it up at a destination set by the auto transport company. This is less convenient, but because of that, it’s much cheaper than door-to-door delivery. Of course, this only works if you live reasonably close to the terminals.
  • Door-to-door shipping: This is when the company picks up your vehicle at your old house and drops it off at your new home. Door-to-door is incredibly convenient, but it’s more work for the car shipper, so they’ll charge you more.

The delivery option you choose has a big impact on the timeline and shipping cost, so don’t be afraid to ask for multiple car shipping quotes.

Not all auto transport service providers offer these options, though, so when in doubt, check with your car shipping provider to see what’s on the table.

4. You get quotes from a broker

When you ship your car, you aren’t working with the shipper, but with a broker. The brokers then go out and find a reputable shipper to handle the actual relocation for you. They’re the middleman that handles scheduling, communication, and more.

But don’t let this worry you—brokers are a normal part of the car shipping industry. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates car shipping brokers, so you’re legally protected when you ship your vehicle.

5. Understand the quote process

No reputable car shipping company will charge you for a quote.

However, if the final price changes between the time you requested the initial quote and when you ship your car, that’s normal, unless the company provides guaranteed pricing. Car shipping is unpredictable, and most carriers will pass on the costs of that unpredictability to you.

To reserve your shipment, most car shipping companies will ask for a deposit when they find a carrier for you. More often than not, you’ll pay a deposit upfront and then pay for the rest after delivery.

6. Document everything

The best car shipping companies do what they can to protect your car, but nothing is a guarantee. This is why documentation is your best friend.

Take 360-degree “before” photos of your car. When the shipper delivers your vehicle, immediately compare it to the photos you took. The shipper might ask you to sign the bill of lading (BOL) to say you received your car, but don’t sign it unless it notes the damages to your car. It’s really hard to argue about damage after the fact, so inspect the car carefully before you leave.

It’s also important to look at the paperwork to see what insurance will and won’t cover. Some might only cover structural damages and not cosmetic dings or scratches. You can always buy an additional insurance policy for peace of mind.

7. Payment methods accepted

Not all car shipping companies accept the same methods of payment. Many companies require an upfront deposit placed with a credit or debit card, while cash or money order will be required at the time of delivery.

If you have a specific payment method you would like to use to pay, you’ll want to discuss this with the car shipping company before you book. After you have booked, it is often too late to request another method of payment.

Different methods of shipping a car

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.9 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Transparent pricing
  • Fully insured
Check prices (864) 492-1221

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.75 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • No deposit
  • Quick pickup
Check prices (888) 259-6046

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.55 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Established in 2007
  • No upfront payment
Check prices (224) 206-5633

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Price lock promise
  • Free car wash
Check prices (833) 775-1461

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.35 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Rental car option
  • Ship inoperable
Check prices (866) 563-0804

% of users select this mover

Car shipping companies usually ship cars via trucks, but that’s just one of the many ways they can transport your car.

  • Truck or trailer: This is, by far, the most popular choice. It’s popular for both local moves and cross-country moves in the contiguous U.S. You’ll choose between open or enclosed auto transport.
  • Rail: Train transport isn’t an option in most areas, but it’s affordable for long distances. If you live on the East Coast or in an area with lots of rail infrastructure, this could be a solid option.
  • Plane: Shipping a car by plane is the quickest option — especially if you’re moving internationally — but it’s incredibly expensive.
  • Ocean freight: This is when you ship your vehicle on a big boat. This is ideal if you’re moving down the coastline, and ocean freight is most common for international shipping.

How much does an auto shipment cost?

Car shipping costs are about $1,780, on average.But keep in mind that the amount you’ll pay depends on a lot of factors.

Several factors influence transport costs, including:

  • Vehicle size: Heavier or bigger vehicles are harder to move, and they also take up more space that the shipper would normally sell to another customer. You’ll probably pay more if you have an SUV, van, or truck.
  • Location: Are you moving to the sticks or to a major city? It’s generally cheaper to move from major cities, like Los Angeles, because the car moving companies are already there, anyway. It’s also more common for these companies to charge less if you’re near a port town in California or Florida. But if you have a delivery location in the Middle of Nowhere, Illinois, you’ll probably pay more.
  • Shipping time: Time is money, and if you need your car ASAP, the shipper will usually charge you a rush fee. You can save money by being as flexible as possible with your pick-up and delivery dates.
  • Distance: The further you’re moving, the higher the car shipping costs. You can usually score cheaper pricing per mile on long moves, but even then, the longer the shipper travels, the more they charge you.
  • Time of year: There’s more demand for car shipping in the summer months when everyone’s moving. Moving your car during the summer is more expensive, so try to move outside of the peak season.

How to save money on your car shipment

We know that $1,700 is a lot of money. Even if you go with a cheap car shipping company, costs can quickly add up if you don’t look for ways to cut costs. The good news is that there are several ways to slash the cost of car shipping.

Try a few of these tips for cheap car shipping:

  • Ship your car in an open trailer
  • Schedule during the off-peak season (not summer)
  • Be flexible with delivery dates and locations
  • Pay with cash or check

But if you have your heart set on a specific option, look for these discounts. Not everyone will offer them, but it can never hurt to ask!

If you qualify, ask your auto shipper if they offer any of these discounts:

  • Military discounts: Many car shipping companies offer discounts for active duty or retired military. You may need to provide a valid military ID for the discount.
  • Student discounts: If you’re in college, see if your shipper offers student discounts. Be ready to share a copy of your student ID.
  • Medical personnel discounts: Some shippers will provide discounted service to medical personnel like first responders.
  • Government employee discounts: You might need to submit a government ID or use a government email address to get a discount. (Check your government employee handbook to see if accepting a discount violates any rules)
  • Senior discounts: “Senior” is a broad term, so you’ll need to see what age requirements the shipper has for these discounts. Generally speaking, senior discounts are available for folks in the 55 – 65 age range and up.
  • Seasonal discounts: Not in a rush? Some car shippers run specials during the winter months when business is slow.
  • Day of the week discounts: Some car shippers offer discounts if you opt for pick-up or delivery on slower days of the week—usually weekdays.
  • Referral discounts: Did your friend refer you to this shipping company? Let them know! Some companies offer referral discounts, so it can’t hurt to ask.
  • Bundling: Some will give discounts if you move more than one car, or if you use the company for moving your personal items.

Choosing the right car shipment company

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.9 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Transparent pricing
  • Fully insured
Check prices (864) 492-1221

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.75 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • No deposit
  • Quick pickup
Check prices (888) 259-6046

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.55 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Established in 2007
  • No upfront payment
Check prices (224) 206-5633

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.5 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Price lock promise
  • Free car wash
Check prices (833) 775-1461

% of users select this mover

moveBuddha logo iconrating starstarstarstarstar 4.35 / 5
Licensedcheckmark
Insuredcheckmark
Price dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign dollar sign
  • Rental car option
  • Ship inoperable
Check prices (866) 563-0804

% of users select this mover

All car shipping companies might seem the same at first. Most shipping companies can take your car anywhere, and usually, they’ll get it there safe and sound. But here are some things to think about when making your selection so you can find the best car transport company for you.

Find a company that offers what you need

It sounds silly, but make sure the auto shipping company actually offers what you need. For example, maybe you found a company with great customer reviews, but it only offers open shipping and you wanted an enclosed carrier.

Start by making a list of your must-haves. Make sure the company ticks all of your boxes and look into other car shipping companies for better comparison of services. This is way better than just picking a company and hoping for the best.

Some of the items to consider for your must-haves list are as follows:

  • Enclosed transport
  • Expedited shipping
  • Guaranteed pickup dates
  • Guaranteed dropoff dates
  • Car dealer pickup services
  • Classic vehicle or premium car shipping services
  • Price lock guarantee
  • Clean car guarantee
  • GPS tracking during shipment

Give yourself time

You’re trusting this company with your car—this is no small decision. Try to take your time picking a company instead of going with the first option you find.

Always get at least three quotes before committing to anything. This way, you have a better idea of the going rate for your shipment and know your options.

Here at moveBuddha, we recommend starting your search for a car shipper one to two months prior to your move. This will ensure you have plenty of time to search and choose a car shipper that matches your needs. Additionally, you’ll be able to choose your favorite car shipper whether or not they offer expedited car shipping services.

Check insurance coverage

Any reputable car shipment company will be happy to provide you with their insurance policies, but know that not all car shipping policies are created equal.

In most cases, the provider a car shipping company pairs you with should carry cargo insurance with enough value to cover your car. Those with classic or specialty vehicles will need to double-check that their shipper carries enough insurance for their vehicle.

You may also want to look at purchasing additional insurance to cover your vehicle during transport. While cargo insurance covers major damages to your vehicle, it often doesn’t cover things like vandalism, weather, or minor scratches, which could still be costly if they occur.

Before booking, have a customer service agent walk you through their insurance policy and note what isn’t covered. Also, check with your current auto insurance provider to see if they will cover your car during transport or if additional service for your vehicle is needed.

Verify this is a legitimate business

It’s unfortunate, but there are some bad apples in the car shipping space. These scammers are getting better at pretending to be real auto shippers, so verify this is a real business. You can verify they really are the best car shipping companies by:

  • Looking for companies with hundreds of verified customer ratings
  • Working with a company that has years of experience
  • Checking that the business has insurance
  • Looking for consumer complaints or a poor rating by the BBB

If you find a car shipper with bad reviews and they aren’t able to prove insurance coverage, do not book them. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Check your quotes carefully

Most quotes are just educated guesses. They can change because of things like gas prices, other bookings, and the exact provider you are booked with.

If you need to know exactly what you’ll pay, look for a company that offers guaranteed pricing or a binding quote. Keep in mind the best price will differ for different move needs and preferences.

Make sure you know what you’re paying for before you sign anything. Some quotes won’t include everything, and some companies will try to sneakily add charges later. Look for companies that promise to stick to their original quote or are upfront about all possible costs.

Check reviews

Customer service is a big deal. Look for a company that has plenty of awesome customer reviews.

Reading about other people’s experiences can help you avoid surprises and feel more confident in your choice. It can even save you time and money and streamline the car shipping process. Every business will have negative reviews, but the goal is to find a company with an overall positive reputation.

Car shipping checklist

Ready to get started with the best car shipping companies? Great! To prepare your car for shipping:

  • Gather important vehicle documents
  • Check with your car insurance company to make sure they’ll cover your vehicle in transit
  • Wash your car inside and out
  • Ensure your car is empty of all belongings (unless you are using a shipper that allows you to leave items in your car during transport)
  • Take 360-degree photos of your car
  • Perform maintenance
  • Don’t fill up the gas tank (it will be on a carrier, not driven, so drive it until the tank is down to one-quarter)
  • Remove exterior accessories
  • Lock the car and leave the keys with the transport company
  • Sign the bill of lading

For a more in-depth checklist, check out the moveBuddha car shipping checklist.

Car shipping FAQ

What is the cheapest car shipping method?

The cheapest way to ship your car domestically is with an open container on a truck. Ocean freight is often the cheapest option for international shipping.

However, this really depends on the circumstances of your move. Remember, you often get what you pay for with cheap car shipping. The best car shipping companies might not also be the cheapest, but they’ll offer high-quality services and get the job done right. If you are shipping your car as part of a bigger move, be sure to check with your moving company to see if they offer any car shipping.

How far in advance should I schedule my auto shipment?

You might get better rates if you book auto shipping services a month in advance, but you should book at least two weeks in advance. The further in advance you book, the better chance you have of working with the best car shipping companies.

Do I need insurance to ship my car?

Most carriers don’t require you to buy insurance when you ship your car. It’s still a good idea, though, since it could cover damages if something goes wrong—especially if you’re shipping your car overseas.

Can I ship a vehicle internationally?

Yes, many of the best car shipping companies offer international car shipping, but you need to use a reputable company.

You can ship your car overseas using door-to-door service or port-to-port service via:

  • A shipping container
  • Airfreight
  • Ocean transport vessels

Can I put stuff in my car when I ship it?

Generally, most car shipping companies require that your vehicle is empty when you ship it. There are a few companies, however, that do allow you to have up to 100 pounds of stuff in your car during transport.

How do I avoid car shipping scams?

The best way to avoid getting scammed by a car shipping company is to do your research and ensure any company you plan to use has a valid MC (Motor Carrier number) and is registered with the U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation). You should also check for insurance coverage and that the company is licensed by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).

What should I do if there is damage to my vehicle when it is delivered?

If your vehicle arrives at your new home damaged, don’t sign the bill of lading until after the driver has acknowledged the damage and has provided you with the information for filing a claim. You’ll also want to take images of the damage to include with your claim.

Not what you were looking for?

Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!

See All
Hide All