The cost of shipping a car depends on the type of car, how far it is being shipped, and whether the pick-up and delivery locations are along regularly traveled shipping routes. The time of year can also be a factor, such as when larger numbers of snowbirds are shipping their vehicles. (For some example prices, please see our post for average car shipping costs between regions for September.)
To get an accurate estimate of the cost to ship your car, truck, SUV or motorcycle, you should request a quote from several car shipping companies. They will give you an accurate price based on your specific vehicle, pick-up and delivery points, and the time of years. However, to get comparable quotes from different car shipping companies, be sure you are requesting the same options. The following three options are the most common you need to choose from:
Door-to-Door vs. Terminal-to-Terminal
For door-to-door car shipping, the car carrier picks-up your car at your home or workplace and delivers it to your final destination (e.g. your new home). For terminal-to-terminal car shipping, you bring your car to a vehicle storage location where the car carrier picks it up at a future date. The car carriers delivers it to a terminal near your final destination.
Door-to-door shipping is typically more convenient in most situations. However, there are times when a terminal is preferable. For example, if you need use of your car until the day of a scheduled flight, you can drop off your car on a scheduled date even if the auto hauler will not pick it up for a day or two. (Typically, car shipping companies give you a three day pick-up window.) Also, your car can be delivered to a terminal near your final destination, even if you have not yet arrived.
Open or Enclosed
Open transport is the less expensive and most common way to ship a vehicle — on open carriers like the ones that deliver cars to car dealerships. However, this exposes your car to dust, rain, snow and other elements. That is why some owners of collectible and high-end cars choose enclosed transport. While enclosed transport is typically priced higher, your car is protected from the elements by walls and a roof.
Operable or Inoperable
An operable car can be driven onto the car carrier under its own power. A car that is inoperable or non-running requires the car carrier to have special equipment to get the car onto the trailer.
Because not all car carriers have equipment that allows them to load inoperable vehicles, it is important to let your car shipping company know that your vehicles is inoperable when getting a quote. Then, they can make sure your quote includes the use of a truck that has the proper equipment for loading an inoperable vehicle.
When you understand your options for shipping a car, you ensure you get an accurate quote that can help you compare quotes between companies.