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The root of transport pricing is cost per mile. Vehicles traveling under 500 miles can cost $1 a mile. Like a trip within the state or to the next state.
Going through multiple states or over 500 miles can cost from $.40 to $.60 cents each mile. Generally, the longer the trip, the lower it will be for every mile traveled But if your locations are far from big cities and highways, then expect to pay the higher amount for each of those miles or more.
Remember, the more cars going to and from your locations as well as the bigger and more populated your locations are, the better the price will be. For example, Miami to Los Angeles can be as low as thirty-five cents each mile. You are going from one big city to another and over two-thousand miles.
|Distance||Sample Cost Per mile||Example Rate|
|50 – 499 Miles||$1.00||$325|
|500 – 649 Miles||$0.75||$775|
|650 – 1,999 Miles||$0.60||$895|
|2,000 + Miles||$0.50||$1,300|
There are some other factors that will determine the cost to ship. These will be broken down in detail as you read further. For an instant answer, use our car shipping calculator.
Just the Facts:
A compact car like a Mini will cost less to transport than a full size SUV like an Expedition or Tahoe. Bigger vehicles take more space and are heavier. They will cost more in fuel. Some can take the space of two small cars making the carrier charge more to make up the difference. It can cost one-hundred and fifty dollars more for an SUV. Even more for an extra large one.
If your vehicle doesn’t run it will affect the cost. Even light vehicles may have to be unloaded a couple of times depending on the order other cars are delivered. This extra work can add one-hundred and fifty to two-hundred dollars to the cost.
Enclosed transport is more as well. The average trip crossing multiple states will add around five-hundred dollars for the extra protection.
In some areas, time of year makes changes to the rate. This is most common in the snowbird states. Warm places cost more to ship cars to in the winter, and when the cold leaves, everyone pays the higher rate to move their vehicle back. This is also known as seasonal auto transport.
Enclosed Transport – Cost to Ship In Detail
With open regular open carrier transport, you will find the most availability and most competitive pricing. If you require enclosed / covered transport, this will also raise the price.
Open carrier is not the best option if you’re shipping a valuable car that you would not want to be exposed in any way. But if you scour the route your trucker will take to make sure it’s debris-free enough, and you choose a good time to transport your car, you might not have to worry about damage by the elements and be able to save some money with this option.
This is the opposite of open carrier transport. Your car will be transported on an enclosed carrier that has a roof and four sides. This might be a trailer or even an airplane if your budget allows it. Your car will have more protection from the elements but the cost will be higher. Enclosed shipping trucks are less fuel efficient so they will cost the shipping company (and you) much more. You might want to go with this option is the car you’re transporting is very valuable to you, either financially or sentimentally.
Not many people choose air shipping, but it is a form of enclosed transport. Although it’s the safest method of transport, it’s significantly more expensive by very much more than road transportation (up to several times the value of your car). It may be a suitable option for you depending on your budget and how much your car means to you. But most people who would reserve this option for a car will be that it is basically an extension of their identity and worth hundreds of thousands.
Cost for Inoperable Vehicles In Detail
If your vehicle does not run, you will see an increase due to the extra work involved. If you have a car that can be driven onto the shipping trailer, you will pay much less than if you have an inoperable car that has to be loaded with special equipment. In the latter case, your shipping company might need to rent special equipment to facilitate your shipping, and the higher costs they will have to take on will be transferred to you as well. As mentioned earlier this can range from $150 to $200.00 more. In many cases if you are moving a vehicle that is inoperable a far distance, not only does this price increase but availability will also be scarce because not many carriers are equipped for long distance and inoperable vehicles.
Cost to Ship in relation to Distance, Time, Location, and Auto Transporter
You might have already guessed that the further you wish to ship your car, the more it will cost. Even though it’s less per mile. The miles add up. Usually, shipping will cost more per mile for 300 miles or less than for 1000 miles or more.
Naturally, going further will cost the trucking company more in fuel and maintenance costs. Longer distances will also mean more hours for the truck drivers.
To illustrate, some companies will expect you to pay up to $1.54 per mile if you’re shipping your car over a distance less than 200 miles, but if you want your car transported over 1000 miles, you will only have to pay about $0.45 a mile.
Your per-mile cost will also vary depending on the shipping company you choose. A company that’s more local to your destination and starting point will charge less than an out-of-state company. Bigger companies might also feel the freedom to charge higher than smaller companies because their clientele allows them that. Smaller companies might be wanting to win over customers by charging less per mile. The trade-off is that you may have less security with a more competitive and less experienced shipper as a result.
The time of the year during which your shipping your car also plays a role in with the price to ship a car. As you know, different industries have high seasons and low seasons.
For the shipping industry, the high season happens during the summer to early fall. That’s because more people tend to ship their cars during these months, and so there will be a generally higher demand for shipping. Established companies will have more freedom to choose which loads are more convenient for them, and this freedom means that they can charge you more without worrying about suffering a loss if you refuse their offer.
Some industry experts say established companies can increase their prices by $200 to $500 in the summer.
On the other hand, smaller companies might be looking to use the higher demands during the summer months as their opportunity to grow their clientele. They might keep their prices in the more affordable range to attract more customers. So, if it’s summer and you’re looking to ship your car at an affordable rate, maybe look around to see which shipping start-ups are springing up around you. Keep in mind, however, that they might not have solid insurance policies or safe transportation procedures yet. It might end up being a bigger loss if you later have to spend money on damage control in addition to the transportation.
The origin and destination location for your shipping will also play a role in the total cost of the shipping. Shipping a car from a metropolitan area to another metropolitan area is usually cheaper than shipping from rural to rural or a variation where a rural area is involved.
That’s because metro areas have higher populations. There will be more people in the cities looking to ship their cars from place to place. But with that higher demand in metro areas, there is also a higher supply. More shipping companies are based in the cities and they often plot out their routes with the cities as the central points. The amount of competition is higher and that means more metro companies will keep their prices affordable for customers to maintain that competitive edge.
On the other hand, the lower population in rural areas means that there are fewer people looking to ship their cars around. There is lower earning potential for the shipping companies. Also, rural areas are often outside the customary routes that shipping trucks take. That means that for it to be worthwhile for a shipping company to venture out to the rural areas, they have to charge much higher than they would in the city.
Some cities are also bigger than others so there might be a supply-demand difference even between major cities that will affect the cost. Shipping a car to or from New York City, for example, might cost differently to a Chicago shipping even if all other factors are identical. They’re both major cities but one is significantly more “metro” than the other.
Vehicle Size Cost Explained
You should know instinctively that larger cars will cost more to ship than smaller cars. Larger cars take up more room than smaller ones. If you’re shipping a large SUV, your car will be taking up space that could have been used to transport another customer’s car. Shipping companies will be looking to make up for that loss by charging you more.
If your car weighs heavier than others despite being more moderate in size, that will also affect the cost of your shipping. Heavier weights will cost the shipping company more in fuel. Also, shipping trucks have weight limits that they’re required to adhere to. Your heavier car’s extra weight will mean that the shipping truck has to leave another customers car behind to be able to transport your car without being flagged for exceeding the weight limit at the weigh stations. It’s only fair that the shipping company has to charge you more in these cases.
Another aspect which shipping companies look into when deciding the total of your invoice is the value of your car. Even though it might seem like unnecessary discrimination, carriers do consider how highly your car ranks on the luxurious scale when deciding the price. They might charge more for a 2016 BMW sedan that for a 1997 Kia Rio.
If your car is just coming out of the factories, you might also see your bill being slightly higher than the next customer’s older car even if the size, weight, make, and other factors are identical.
That’s because more expensive cars and cars that are still in the earlier stages of their depreciation years will cost the shipping company more on insurance during the transportation.
On the topic of insurance, you should know that the way your shipping company chooses to insure your car will also affect the cost. Most reputable companies will not only have a solid insurance policy, but they will also include a clear insurance deductible on your quote.
Depending on your situation, this may be an unnecessary deduction though. If the insurance company you’re already contracted with also covers your vehicle’s shipping, then you will be able to forgo this expense. There is no need for double insurance so ask your auto insurance company how far the coverage extends. If it is the case that your insurance company does cover shipping, then remember that you might have to provide the shipping company with documentation proving this insurance before they can remove the deductible from your invoice.
In case you still have to pay for insurance with your shipping company, make sure you understand the terms of the insurance and exactly how far the coverage extends. Sometimes a shipping company’s insurance policy might not cover damage that occurs during the shipment process, it might only cover parts of the car, or it might not cover damage to the interior of the car. Also, most shipping company policies don’t cover damage to personal items that you may wish to ship along inside your car.
If any of that is true for your shipping company, then you will have to be prepared to pay out of your own pocket when any uncovered damage occurs during the shipment process. And it’s probably also best to avoid shipping personal items inside the car that could cause damage to it.
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the terms of your shipping company’s insurance. Get it all in writing if possible or ask them for their proof of insurance certificate. Also, make sure they perform the necessary inspection procedures on either end.
At the starting point, carriers are required to perform a thorough pre-possession inspection where they check your car for any existing damages before they take it into their custody. It’s a good idea to be present during this inspection and to take photographs of your vehicle so there is no misunderstanding later about which damages occurred when.
At the destination, you will be required to fill out a bill of landing where you can describe the vehicle’s condition on arrival and rate your satisfaction with how it looks. Check every part of the vehicle thoroughly under bright lights. Report any damage so you do not have to pay for damages that are otherwise insured. You probably don’t want to lose out on a reimbursement because you missed a dent somewhere.
Cost in relation to Proximity to Major Highways Explained
There is very little chance that someone else is shipping a car to your exact neighborhood. If you are miles from the highway, chances are that truck driver has to make their way back to continue on towards the next state to the pick up or drop off location. The farther you are from the highway the higher the chances are that you are in a residential neighborhood with narrow roads and streets. The carrier has to be maneuvered through these areas to make your delivery as everything is done door-to-door. The time and effort involved in each stop the carrier makes will affect cost.
Who Can Give You a Car Shipping Rate
There are many different types of companies that are part of the shipping industry, and each of them has just a slightly different job description. In your car shipping process, you might deal with anywhere from one to three different companies that are each connected to the eventual shipping of your car.
The total cost of your car’s shipping will vary depending on which companies you choose to work with or through. Here are some of the ones you might come across:
Lead Aggregators – Like most people, your first instinct when you start thinking about shipping your car will probably to be to run to your computer and do a quick Google search about the whole topic. When you do that, you might come across some website based companies that are known as lead aggregators.
These ARE NOT auto transport companies. They ask you for information about the kind of shipping you want, and they use that information to connect you to auto transporters that deal with the latter steps of the process. Usually, these latter companies are brokers. Which dealing with a broker is not bad, but can be when found through this medium. These are companies with very little presence and haven’t been around for more than a short time.
Once you enter your details into these websites, a lead will be generated with your information to dozens of lower end brokers. Then, these small companies and individuals will be able to see your lead and respond to it with quotes detailing their prices. That way, you’ll have a list of companies to choose from for the rest of your shipping process but keep in mind most won’t have any credentials. We do not reccomend this at all.
You can better decide to not use a lead aggregator company and go directly to an auto transport company.
Auto Transport Companies – These companies deal with the more advanced steps in the shipping process, but they still don’t do the actual shipping for you. These are the most popular of all the transport options and typically offer the best results when picking the right one. They’re more like a connection point between you and the carriers that will eventually load and transport your car to its destination.
Transport brokers will charge you a fee to find a shipper for you, to communicate all the details of your shipping to that shipper, and to finalize the payments later.
You might be wondering why you should spend extra money on a middle man instead of going directly to the shipping carrier yourself. Well, the reason is that auto transport companies have access to thousands of drivers and load boards which is essentially where shipping carriers go to find new loads and pricing is much better. Where you get into trouble will usually be with a transport broker that runs a small expendable business and gets your information from a lead aggregating website to find new customers that they can contract with.
Reputable brokers will be able to find the most affordable trucking company for you through these load boards. They will enter your details into the record, and trucking companies will be able to respond with their quotes for your shipping. You will be able to choose the most suitable trucking company for you.
When you choose a shipping broker, you should make sure that they do not have a conflict of interest though. Some brokers might be affiliated with bigger companies that deal with both the brokerage and the transporting of your car. They might end up suggesting that you pick the company that they’re affiliated with even though it’s not the most affordable option for you.
With small or inexperienced companies or one-man operations like those that solely buy leads, there is the risk of miscommunication and a grey area regarding your final price. If the broker that you choose is not exactly the most skilled in the industry, they might give you the wrong information about pricing and insurance. You could be staring a very different price from what you expected at the end of the shipping process.
Auto Transport Carriers – Maybe you prefer to avoid the hassle and the extra cost of having to go through lead aggregators and brokers to get your car shipped. You might want to work directly with the company that’s going to do the actual shipping of your car, the auto transport carriers. So then it seems like it’s the top of the totem pole for shipping a car, but truly it’s not.
These shipping carriers are the ones that will load, transport, and deliver your car to its destination. All carriers usually work with brokers as they don’t need to worry about sales. So it’s win and the reason carriers won’t directly solicit from the public.
Many consumers think about the price and assume you could save a lot. You should remember though, that although you’re more likely to have accurate information about costs and insurance, working directly with the carrier is not necessarily cheaper. The truth is they know brokes make a small fee. They will calculate and add that fee when working directly with you.
Reputable brokers are skilled in finding the most affordable shipping options for you, but if you choose not to use them, you will have to take on the responsibility of finding a shipping company yourself, getting all the pricing and availability information, and booking the shipping. Unless you’re one of the few people well informed about the shipping industry, the chances that you will find and choose the best shipping option for you are slim. You might end up paying much more than you need to in addition to suffering all the stress of taking on so much responsibility.
Shipping a car can be fairly affordable or expensive when taking into account all the specifics. Where your total cost lands on that spectrum will depend on a long list of factors that you have to consider when choosing how to ship your vehicle. Make sure you give all the factors a good minute’s thought before you make your final decision.