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The Cost of Shipping a Vehicle Across the Country


Most of the costs you will incur in shipping a car across the country are determined by size, weight, distance, and locations. In brief, smaller vehicles pay less, how far you have to go drops the price per mile but the less miles in total keeps the price down, and metropolitan areas are cheaper to ship to and from.  Beyond that basic outline, there are other factors that determine the price you will pay.


Choose the Correct Method of Shipping


With cross-country shipping, you not only have to worry about your car being hauled over a very long distance, but you also may want to consider if you want your vehicle exposed to different weather conditions over the different states. If you’re shipping it in a south to north direction, you could have your car in a heat wave on one end and in a snow storm on the other end.

For very sensitive vehicles or high value vehicles, you can go with enclosed transport to improve the chances that your car reaches the other end as safely as possible. Unlike open transport, with enclosed transport, your car will be protected in an enclosed trailer while being shipped. Your car could even be shipped in a climate controlled cargo trailer, so you don’t have to worry about any damage by suddenly changing weather conditions. Keep in mind, this is a premium service with a higher price.


Costs For Shipping A Car Across The Country


Keeping Cross Country Shipping Affordable


The long shipping distance involved with cross country shipping will mean that you have to pay quite a bit more to see your car on the other side than you would when hauling your car over a shorter distance. The amount you get quoted for the shipping will vary from company to company. Some companies will ship your car at a discounted rate after a certain number of miles, while others will keep their per-mile price the same regardless of mileage. Either way, with cross country auto transport, you might want to be a little savvier and look out for methods to keep the costs as low as reasonably possible.

The total cost of your shipping will depend on a number of factors. To begin with, the type of shipping you choose will affect how much you end up pulling out of your wallet to cover the process. Enclosed transport is pricier than open transport because you will be paying extra for the additional comfort of knowing your car will be shipped with minimal risk of damage. But this extra cost might be unnecessary for you if you’re not shipping a car that is exotic, classic, or highly valued in any other financial or sentimental way. You may be able to save money by going with open transport. Pick open transport for your daily driver or family hauler.

If you have a flexible schedule and you don’t mind having to wait to see your car on the other coast, you may be able to save some money by choosing the time of the year during which you ship your car strategically. Cross country auto transport will be cheaper during the winter and spring because, at this time of the year, the shipping industry is in the low season. There will be fewer people looking to ship their cars and most companies will reduce their prices to make up for the lower demand. Summer shipping rates are usually higher because more people choose to ship their cars at this time to leverage freer schedules and fairer weather. You may still be able to ship your car at a lower rate in the summer, though, if you go with a startup company. Startup auto transport companies usually keep their summer rates affordable so they can draw in more customers and grow their business.

Also, if it’s possible for you to pick up and drop off your car at a more metropolitan area on both ends, you might want to do that to save money on the shipping. Shipping to metropolitan areas like New York City or Los Angeles is often cheaper than rural shipping because auto transport companies usually base their shipping routes on metro areas to leverage the higher demands there.

There are other less flexible factors that will affect the cost of your cross country shipping. The total on your invoice will vary depending on the type, size, weight of your car, for instance. It costs more to ship heavy and inoperable cars.

Terminal to terminal is seen very rarely these days.But you might want to ask about terminal-to-terminal shipping where the trucking company will store your car in a secure storage facility until you’re ready to pick it up. This is great if you don’t know when you will be ready to get your vehicle. On the other hand, if you’re uncomfortable with leaving your car at a storage facility where you can’t exactly be sure about the safety precautions put in place, door-to-door shipping will work better for you. You’ll just need to make sure that you’re available to collect your car at your chosen destination once it’s delivered..


Save By Preparing for your Cross-Country Transport


If you are vehicle is available now to be shipped across the country, then it could take an average of 24-72 hours to provide you with a carrier. This is typical with a good company.  If the vehicle is available for a future date, you should be able to\ aim for your specific day. Because the transport process, especially cross-country auto transport has a lot of moving parts, always be prepared with at least a 24 hour window so that way should the carrier get delayed (i.e. tire damage, car on the carrier won’t start and we can’t unload) you are not affected.


Schedule Enough Time


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.


Costs for Faster Turnaround


Naturally, getting your car shipped to the other end of the country will take longer than shipping it over a shorter distance. Most carriers will be able to get your car to the destination within 5-8 days after it’s picked up. But with some carriers, you might have to wait a little longer than that depending on the number of loads that they’re dealing with at a particular time and the number of trailers they have available.

Some carriers have team drivers for those on a tighter schedule. Team drivers means 2 drivers, double the hours for driving. If you really can’t go through the inconvenience of not having your car with you, you may be able to ask your carrier to put your car on the expedited arrival list. (Different than the expedited list for pickup). Although you will have to pay more for express shipping, you will have the comfort of a knowing your car will reach its destination at a time most suitable for you.

You must remember, though, that some unforeseen circumstances can still affect how long it takes for your car to get to the other end of the country. Things like bad weather, unexpected maintenance issues, and even delays by other customers can force carriers to spend a little more time on the road than they’d like.