Guide To Shipping a Car Across the Country

Cross country car shipping is a service that takes a car and moves it from one pick up location on one side of the country to deliver it on the other side of the country.  Most cross country car shipping consists of individuals moving, temporarily relocating, retiring, going to college, accepting a military transfer, or a snowbird staying away from the cold. These are just few examples of cross country vehicle transportation. 

Why to Use an Auto Transport Company

First time shippers may use a transporter only a single time and return customers doing frequent moves may need a consistently reliable car shipping company.

But if you never have shipped a car, you may ask yourself how much does it cost to ship a car across country?  Use our online calculator here to get an instant quote and of course visit other companies that are trustworthy as well to get prices to see if the service is for you.

There'a a lot of auto shipping firms out there.  But not all are created equal. It's critical to have an auto transport service that provides specialized vehicle shipping. A company that is there with you throughout the whole process.

For exmaple, NX is proven to be reliable and reputable car transport company. If getting multiple quotes, be sure to check reviews and reputation of the competition. Price seem too low to be true? It probably is. Going with the lowest price can put your cross country car transport in a tough situation.

It's been our experience that most don't take the time to use vetted carriers or take pride in the cross country vehicle shipping service provided to you. 

We know some are on a strict budget and can't overpay. That's why it's important to find an affordable rate that is a fair market rate. You want to balance cost and value with a car transport service.

Your success in shipping your car across the country depends on several factors but most importantly on who you choose. 

Choosing Customer Focused Cross Country Car Transport

As a professional auto transport firm that is customer focused, and takes time to make sure they have all the pertinent details about your specific needs to ship a car across the country, so you can be at ease.

For example, flexible payment options such as payment upon delivery. Another is curbside to your home, office parking lot, or any new location you decide on.  New vehicle or old. All must be treated equally.

A good shipper will provide regular updates on your cross country car shipping so you aren't left in the dark. You need a company that prides themselves on excellent customer service when deciding on cross country car transport services.1

Benefits of a Reputable and Reliable Auto Transport Company

There are many benefits from using a reputable auto transport company to move a car across the country. Such as having an answer to all your questions.  There's a lot that goes along with sending a car the whole way across the country. It's not just about saving money but saving time with the car shipping service you pick.  

Especially if this is the first time you ship a car, it's great to know you are working with a firm that has the right experience shipping cars.  Especially with cross country car transpiration. We have your best interests in mind throughout the whole shipping process with excellent customer service. 

Shipping a car across the country is very common, but the not everyone does so with excellent service and fast arrival to your desired location. This is because we handle thousands of shipments every year all with satisfied customers using a door to door service.  

Shipping a car wether it's just going 500 miles, crossing one state, 1,500 miles, or long distance sending the car from one side of the country, we can get the vehicle delivered for you. The only exception for cross country car shipping using door to door shipping would be if the carrier does not fit in the location or is not allowed to enter pick up or delivery locations.

--Not sure if you should drive your car across the country? Use our checklist to find out if it's a good idea to drive your car or not.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country?

Most of what you pay to ship a car across the United States,  you will incur are determined by size, weight, distance, and locations. In brief, when working with an auto shipping company, it can cost anywhere from 40-56 cents a mile to ship a car across depending on distance. So, for coast to coast you will pay the least per mile. Breaking it down car shipping cost via a specific distance, you are looking on average cost of  $840 for about 1,500 miles, and about $1680 for 3000 miles on full cross country car transport.

Here are some sample prices auto transport companies may charge to ship a car across the U.S.A to and from major cities using open transport as the shipping option:

  • Philadelphia, PA to Portland, OR – $1,375
  • Charlotte, NC to Phoenix, AZ – $995
  • Boston, MA to Las Vegas, NV – $1,350
  • Hartford, CT to San Diego, CA – $1,395
  • Los Angeles, CA to Miami, FL – $1,150
  • Seattle, WA to New York, NY – $1,250
  • Richmond, VA to San Francisco, CA – $1,295

The above estimates above represent the use of open transport for cross country shipping. The most common way to ship cars in the auto transport industry. You do have the option of enclosed transport for more protection but it is pricier than open transport because you will be paying extra to auto transport companies for the additional comfort of knowing your car will be shipped with minimal risk of damage. This extra cost to ship your car might or might not be necessary for you.

As a general guideline, use enclosed to transport a car when looking for cross country vehicle shipping for something exotic, a classic car, high end luxury vehicle, or even a highly valued vehicle that can be not necessarily expensive but valuable to you in a sentimental way. Otherwise you can use other options to transport a car across the U.S.  that will save you 40-60% on the cost of shipping, such requesting the use of an open air carrier. As with other transport options we provide, all enclosed car transport travels across the country. Also expect door to door car shipping. 

You may be able to save big money by going with open car shipping services. Pick an open transport car shipping service for your daily driver or family hauler. If you have any doubt or trouble with which type of car shipping to use, consult one of our auto transport company representatives.

Ship a Car Across the Country with Expedited Services

National Express has you covered if you want to ship cars across with expedited delivery as part of our shipping options thanks to our vast carrier network. As one of the best auto transporters we can easily move from west coast to east coast or vice-versa. We can also assure you make your best delivery date to thousands of delivery locations across the country. In a crunch? Previous company shipping your vehicle has siting for multiple days and has made it take longer than it should? About to miss your final pickup and delivery date? We can assist you in shipping a car with around the clock monitoring for available carriers to move your vehicle right away, regardless of the long distance.

See car pickup as quickly as within 24 hours without paying an overwhelming shipping cost. If you need a car shipped as fast as possible, call us right away. This can be for both open or enclosed carrier. (Please note with expedited pickup services, travel time is restricted by applicable laws and expedited will not change how long a vehicle may take while in transit even with typical traffic patterns.)

Talk to our car shipping advisors for assistance on shipping vehicles using expedited delivery. 

Take Advantage Of Discounts For Cross Country Car Transport

There are multiple discounts available that will reduce your shipping costs. Take advantage of them if they apply to you. They can be used  for cross country car shipping that you can make use of them so that you can save a few bucks from shipping your car all while still working with a quality automobile transport carrier.

For example, we offer military discount, a student discounts, and a senior discounts. Get up to $100 off to come back as a return customer. Meanwhile, for people who are transporting more than one car, you can get deals depending on how many vehicles you will be transporting.

How Do You Take a Car Cross Country?

These are generally two different types of cross country car transportation. Open or Enclosed. You can choose the auto transport service type that is best for you and your car. You can consider the distance, weather, and your vehicle’s value of car when deciding on how to move a car across the country.

Open Transport

If you are looking for the cheapest way to ship a car cross country without any compromise in insurance coverage or safety, you can opt for open auto transport as the budget friendly way. Open air transport is always on a car carrier with all four wheels on the open carrier transport vehicle and not on a tow dolly as can be seen when using a regular moving company. 

Also known as an open car hauler, it represents 98% of our services with the most available truck drivers to drop off almost anywhere. As a result, you also benefit faster pick up date and faster shipping. This is part of why it's such a convenient option and the best way to ship a car.  It is cost effective, helps you save more money, with the cheapest cost to ship. Open transport is the cheapest way to go. 

If your car is traveling shorter cross country distances or you do not mind a little dust and rain, open transport will suffice for you and your budget. It is also the most common way and the cheapest way to ship a car with just about any shipping company as they ship multiple cars at a time which divides the fuel costs and insurance coverages for cross country car transport.  Save significant money on car shipping costs with open air carriers. For more information go to our open carrier transport page.

Enclosed Transport

On the other hand, if you want to protect your vehicle or you are transporting a luxury or exotic vehicle, It is the best way to ship these sensitive vehicles that need the most protection. It all but assures your vehicle arrives in perfect condition. Therefore, if you choose enclosed transport, it will further avoid the possibility even the most minute pits or scratches from road debris. This is especially true if your car is traveling long distances. Such as those involved with cross country car shipping! 

It is also advisable to choose this type of car transport service for a classic car or exotic vehicles, especially when moving a car across the country during the winter months to shield it from weather conditions. Very sensitive vehicles or high value vehicles need enclosed transport.

Although some classic cars may still go on an open trailer, exotics nearly always are required to travel enclosed. You will see your car arrived in the exact condition it was loaded. The average cost of enclosed transport is 40-60% above the open cost to ship. 

It's also worth noting that enclosed shipping as your shipping method provides a faster delivery time from the pickup date. Although most hold multiple vehicles, an enclosed trailer carries fewer cars. Visit our enclosed shipping page for more details.

When you need to ship a valuable vehicle, it's paramount to know who is taking it to the destination. With enclosed transport, we provide enhanced details such as a bio and references when providing the carrier's information. This includes pictures of the trailer that will pick up and is taking your vehicle when using this transport type.

Terminal to Terminal - Car Across Country

With cross country vehicle transport, there is more opportunity to find terminal to terminal service since they are shipping multiple cars longer distances. Although most car shipping companies offer only door to door shipping. Using terminals when moving a vehicle cross country is more likely since they may have more than one shipping yard.  Please note that our online calculator prices only open and enclosed transport. You will beed a custom quote when shipping a car terminal to terminal (if available) as the cost per mile is usually different. You may luck out and it could save on the car shipping cost, however terminal storage can add up. Also, shipping time may be longer for terminals holding cars to fill up trucks. 

Getting A Car Shipping Quote Instantly

It’s relatively easy to get a cross country car shipping quote with us so you can then compare the price you get with us, with that of other transport companies. With our car shipping calculator, you can determine your cost ship a car across the nation instantly. We are always keeping up to date with current market conditions to ensure you have the most accurate cost of shipping that is possible. If the quote is higher than you can afford, you can look into different discounts to lower the price.

You can inquire about certain discounts for car shipping services when you are communicating with our staff, so that they can include it in your instant quote. We have the best rates and have the lowest possible prices by offering military discounts, breaks for travel nurses, and more. You will see we have more to offer than any other car shipping company

Vehicle Pickup

After determining the cost, the next thing you should do is arrange the vehicle pickup for your cross-country move. We will then assign the fastest and closest carrier, to ship your vehicle across the country.

Personal Belongings

When preparing to meet the carrier that provide your cross country vehicle shipping, be sure to have less than 100 lbs personal items stored under the window line.  Most vehicles have alarms systems, however those are usually disabled during transport to prevent them going off, so kindly note items in the vehicle should be of little value. This is especially true when using open trailer / open car transport where your stuff could be seen. Remember to only send personal items and not household goods such as appliances or furnishings.

If you feel you are close or just over the limit, as a courtesy keep the gas tank under a quarter as each gallon of fuel weights over 6 lbs. When hiring us to have a car picked up for cross country vehicle transport, the carrier will stop at multiple truck stops along the way during needed rest periods. Be sure to hide items.

Schedule Enough Time

Because the process (especially for cross country auto transport) has are a lot of moving parts, be sure to give yourself time. National Express will make the process as hassle free as possible, but it is important to know the amount of lead time you should plan for, and how long it takes.  So it’s good to always be prepared with at least a 24-48 hour window so that way should the carrier get delayed. Common delays are tire damage, car on the carrier won’t start and we can’t unload, traffic issues, detours, problems with road infrastructure, and other road conditions. Plan ahead and you increase the chances that you are not affected.

Don’t leave plans for the last minute. Expedited services cost a lot more if you realized you should have made arrangements sooner.  This seems simple, but everyone can get busy and forget to plan or underestimate how long it takes to get a car from one of the country to another. Be smart, plan ahead to avoid possible major delays by booking at latest a week in advance.

Pickup Address / Location

Make sure that you have verified exact address for your pickup and that your car will be available on the day that it will be picked up. In a rare situation where mapping isn’t available, your pickup might be delayed because the driver cannot find your location. Be sure to be specific especially if you are in a new development or rural unmapped area.

Getting  Your Car Ready for the Pickup

Before you have your vehicle shipped out, make sure that your car is secured and somewhat clean so in the rare instance that there is damages incurred during transport it can be seen. This helps out at delivery to your new home, school, office, or vacation residence. Should an insurance claim need to be made.

It is advisable that you take a picture of every part of the car as proof that there is no damage before you shipped it out.

Waiting For Your Car / Travel Time

There are several things that influence when your vehicle arrives. It take anywhere from three days or as long as two weeks depending on how far you car is traveling. For example, a typical move for someone shipping a car cross country takes about 3-4 days for 1550 miles. Or 7-10 days for a 2,734 mile trip. As you can see the longer the trip, the longer it takes. For complete information on the timing of your vehicle, read about how long it takes

Note: At this time realtime tracking is not available.

Snowbird Cross Country Auto Transport

Across the country shipping does not just mean east to west, or vice-versa. It can also be across from the northern U.S. to the southern sates on either coast. As a nationwide shipping company, National Express has the resources to ship a car across to your destination that other auto transport companies do not.

Of these seasonal shippers, these could be you.  Known as snowbirds because they begin their stay in late fall and return late spring to states like Florida, Texas, and California. 

We will gladly ship your car across for the northern states in the winter, to sunny Florida. Or provide your cross country car transport to California from the northeast as well. All so you can avoid the chilly winds and low temperatures from the cold states.  

Shipping a Car Across the United States that is Modified

If you have made modifications to your vehicle, they may affect your overall shipping cost. Our car shipping calculator will calculate the cost of shipping for open carrier or enclosed car transportation of a stock vehicle you are planning to send across the USA. 

For example, if you have a raised SUV or truck that exceeds seven feet that can not only affect pick up and drop off but also the car shipping cost. If your vehicle has been made to be too low due to a suspension modification, it may only fit on an enclosed car transporter as they are usually configured to handle super low cars. So that would be one of your only shipping options to ship your car in that case.

Inoperable Cross Country Shipping

Moving a project or inoperable car?  We can do that too. You can ship even if the vehicle condition is non running. And by the way, your vehicle does not have be covered by your insurance company or registered as it is cargo on carrier.  We can provide both pickup and delivery as long as the vehicle rolls and steers (unless it is loaded and unloaded at both locations).

Receiving the Vehicle

Now it's time to receive your cross country transport. Get ready receive, inspect, and make final payment.

Check For Damages After Your Cross Country Move

The first thing that the courier will do is to check your car if there are any damages. Since they are experts in transporting cars and have the proper documentation, there is a rare chance that there will be any damage during the shipment. If, however, there is damage in your car, you must use the bill of lading. This is the most important document in auto shipping. The driver will inspect the vehicle at pickup, inspect the vehicle at delivery and give you a copy of that one too. Compare both. If you do not sign off on new damage at delivery it cannot be claimed. 

It is common for your vehicle to get some road grime during shipping. Bad weather, icy roads, heavy snowfalls, all will contribute to this. Be sure to wipe off corners and bumpers while inspecting.  This is the best way to make sure nothing goes unnoticed.

Paying for your Cross Country Auto Shipping

The most common way customers ship a car cross country is via the deposit and C.O.D. (collect on delivery) method. This is the same if using either type of car shipping, if it's a classic car, or soccer mom van. It provides the same discount. You pay nothing to book, pay a deposit when a carrier is assigned, and finally a the remaining balance is given to the driver at the delivery location in the form of cash, cashier’s check, or money order.

You can also pay via credit card in full to ship a car across the country. But keep in mind, you lose that COD discount when choosing that method of cross country vehicle shipping. It’s still free to book of course, however when paying all on card we will bill the entire balance when a carrier is assigned on your method of payment.

About Cross Country Car Shipping Costs

It's always a great idea to not focus 100% on pricing at the time you are looking into using an auto shipping company. When you are trying to ship a car across the country, it's not a small task whatsoever. So just going by price alone can get you into some trouble what will usually be more expensive in other ways. Although you want to work with the cheapest car shipping company, keep in mind there is there must be a balance with cost and reliability. When dealing with something as sensitive as how to reliably ship a car across the country, auto transport companies can spit out some crazy rates. Be careful of the price that is  the outlier among the rest. 

When shipping a vehicle, determine the car shipping costs by getting an instant quote from our shipping calculator. You can select the transport type, which is either open or enclosed. Our estimate will include insurance coverage, fuel costs, and all related charges. From there you can begin the shipping process. Once your pick up occurs, you will be well on your way to getting your vehicle across the country.   

What We Do To Assure Quality Shipping a Car Across the Country

Pick up and delivery are logged in an inspection report known as the bill of lading, to assure your vehicle makes it damage free. In the rare case of damage, insurance coverage will be included. Driver forgot to bring a bill of lading? No problem. We have one on our resources page.

The insurance included to ship your car is more often provided by the carrier that physically shipping a car across the country, as opposed the to car shipping company. This is because the majority of carriers are owner-operators. This goes for both open and enclosed transport of cars across the country. 

Auto transport services are a breeze with National Express. Customers rely on our transport service as it is fast, simple, and efficient.  Let us be your number one choice when deciding on a car shipping company to take your car across the country! Call us today for more information. 

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.