Does Car Value Determine the Cost to Ship a Car?

When it comes to car shipping costs, there are many factors influence the overall pricing. One common question that arises is whether the value of the car plays a significant role in in car shipping costs.

While the value of a vehicle can have an impact on certain aspects of shipping, it is not the primary determinant of what you will pay to an auto transport company. In this article, we will explore the various factors that contribute to the cost of shipping a car and evaluate the extent to which the car's value influences the final price.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Shipping a Car

Numerous factors contribute to the cost of shipping a vehicle with a car shipping company.

Distance and Location

One of the most significant factors in determining car shipping costs is the distance between the pick-up and drop-off locations. Generally, the farther the distance, the higher the cost. Additionally, shipping to or from remote areas may be more expensive due to limited accessibility and the need for specialized carriers.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of a vehicle play a vital role in calculating car shipping costs. Larger and heavier vehicles require more space on the carrier and may demand additional fuel consumption, resulting in higher costs.

Type of Carrier

The choice of carrier also influences the car shipping cost. Open carrier shipping, which is more common and carries multiple vehicles simultaneously, is typically less expensive than enclosed car transport, which offers additional protection for the cars being shipped. Enclosed carriers are often used for high-value, luxury or exotic vehicles, which require extra care and protection from the elements.


The time of year can impact the cost to ship a car. During peak seasons, when demand for auto transportation is high, prices may increase. Conversely, during slower periods, prices may decrease due to lower demand. An example of this seasonality would be snowbirds that leave the cold states as winter approaches.

Pick-up Speed

The desired pick-up speed can also affect the cost of shipping. Expedited shipping services, which guarantee faster pick-up times, often come at a premium

The Role of Car Value in Shipping Cost

While the value of a car does not directly determine the cost of shipping, it can influence the choice of carrier and the level of insurance coverage, both of which can impact the overall cost. Here's how:

Choice of Carrier

Owners of high-value or luxury vehicles may opt for enclosed auto transport carriers for additional protection because of the vehicle value alone. As mentioned, enclosed transport keeps cars from potential damage during transportation. Enclosed carriers shield vehicles from weather, road debris, and other hazards, providing an extra layer of security. However, this added protection comes at a higher cost compared to open carriers. Usually 40-60% more.

Insurance Coverage

The value of a vehicle also plays a role in determining the amount of insurance coverage required during transportation. The higher the car's value, the more insurance coverage may be needed, which can lead to increased shipping costs. Additionally, owners of high-value cars may choose to purchase supplemental insurance to ensure they have adequate coverage in case of any potential damages during transit.

Balancing Value, Protection, and Cost

When shipping a car, it's essential to strike a balance between protecting the vehicle's value and managing the overall cost. Here are some tips to help you make the best decision for your car and your budget:

Assess your Vehicle's Value

Consider your vehicle's value and the level of protection it requires during transportation. If your car has a high market value or holds sentimental value, it might be worth investing in an enclosed carrier and additional insurance coverage to ensure it remains safe during transit.

Obtain Multiple Quotes

Before deciding on a shipping company, obtain quotes from multiple carriers. This will allow you to compare prices, services, and levels of protection to make an informed decision.

Review Company Reputation

We cannot stress enough to choose a reputable shipping company with a proven track record. Research customer reviews and ratings to get a sense of the company's reliability and professionalism.

Plan Ahead

If you have flexibility with your shipping timeline, planning ahead can help you save money. By booking your shipment well in advance or during a slower season, you may be able to secure a lower price.

Be Realistic About Delivery Times

While expedited shipping may be appealing, it often comes at a premium. If you can afford to wait a little longer for your vehicle's arrival, opting for standard delivery can help reduce costs.


In conclusion, car shipping cost is not directly determined by the value of the car, but it can influence the choice of carrier and the level of insurance coverage, which in turn impact the average cost to ship a car.

Ultimately, the primary factors that determine the cost of shipping a car include distance and location, size and weight, type of carrier, seasonality, and delivery speed. This is all factored in with car shipping quotes you will receive.

To ensure you are making the best decision for your vehicle and your budget, assess your car's value, obtain multiple quotes from reputable carriers, and plan ahead. By taking these steps, you can strike a balance between protecting your vehicle's value and managing shipping costs.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.