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Navigating the Road: How to Calculate Car Shipping Costs in the US

Whether you’re relocating to a different state, buying a vehicle from another part of the country, or sending a car to a family member, understanding the intricacies of car shipping costs in the United States is crucial. This comprehensive blog post is your road map to calculating car shipping costs effectively. We’ll explore the factors that influence car shipping rates, the different transportation methods, and the impact of your vehicle type, and provide practical tips to help you make informed decisions.

  • Factors Influencing Car Shipping Costs
  • Types of Car Shipping Services
  • Vehicle Type and Condition
  • Car Shipping Insurance
  • How to Get Accurate Quotes
  • Ways to get an auto transport quote
  • Hidden Costs and Avoiding Scams
  • DIY Car Shipping vs. Professional Services
  • Case Studies and Real-Life Experiences
  • Tips and Best Practices

Factors Influencing Car Shipping Costs

Before you embark on calculating car shipping costs, it’s essential to understand the various factors that can affect the final price.

A car is more than just a piece of transportation equipment. Instead, a lot of people think of their cars as friends or even as expanded extensions of their personality. Therefore, whether it’s a cross-country move, a sale, or an international vacation, transporting our cherished vehicles is a serious topic that needs to be handled with care while ensuring an optimal budget.

Like any financial choice, managing car shipping prices requires having a thorough awareness of the different aspects that affect these costs. We’re here to go in-depth on these elements, which range from the features of the vehicle, the actual trip, the car shipping service you choose, to the macroeconomic issues affecting the transportation sector.

Distance and Location

Firstly, trip distance plays a critical role in determining shipping cost. Essentially, the longer the distance, the higher the shipping price. While it’s common logic that longer distances would naturally require more fuel, vehicle maintenance, and drivers’ time, the specific price ranges might surprise you. Costs can vary greatly, with prices ranging from 40 cents to $1.96 per mile, depending on the distance.

Secondly, pick-up and delivery locations can dramatically sway your costs. Crucially, these prices are not just based on distance alone. Factors such as accessibility of the location, road conditions and the proximity to major shipping routes can greatly influence the total cost. For example, shipping to or from a remote location would likely cost more than shipping between two major cities due to the additional fuel and time required to reach out-of-the-way areas.

Vehicle Size and Weight

The type of vehicle is another factor that may influence an auto shipping quote. This is because the bigger a vehicle, the more space it occupies. If you need to transport an SUV or a pickup, you might have to pay more than when looking to transfer a hatchback. A 40 ft container has space for 2 to 4 cars. Transporting a big car might leave less free space in the container, affecting the total number of cars that can be transported.

Ships have limited space, which means that the bigger the car, the more space it will take up. Consequently, shipping companies often charge more for larger vehicles.

This logic extends to vehicle types as well. A heavy-duty truck is likely to cost much more to ship than a compact car. Both the size and the type of car you are shipping determine the kind of equipment and space required for transport.

Transportation Method

Auto shipping companies offer different types of shipping methods to cater to diverse needs and budgets. Open shipping, for instance, is the most popular and budget-friendly way to transfer cars within the states. Your car, however, is not protected from debris and weather conditions. Enclosed shipping offers complete protection from the elements, but is more expensive. Similarly, door-to-door transport costs more than terminal-to-terminal shipping services.

Time of Year

Just as with many other industries, car shipping also faces the ebbs and flows of seasonality. This generally means higher prices in spring and summer due to increased demand for auto transport services. Everyone wants to hit the road when the sun is shining and the weather is pleasant. No one wants their vehicle stuck in snow during the freezing winters or in intense heat during a scorching summer. Hence, if you’re planning to ship your car in these warmer months, be prepared for a surge in shipping prices.

Auto shipping companies generally charge more during winter due to the snowbird season when the road conditions are harsh and driving can be dangerous. In comparison, driving in summer is safer and most auto shipping companies are willing to offer their services for lower prices.

All things considered, the process of shipping a vehicle involves a multitude of factors that can significantly affect the price. However, armed with a proper understanding of these influences, you can make informed decisions and select the best options according to your needs, budget, and lifestyle.

Types of Car Shipping Services

In this section, we’ll explore the various types of car shipping services available and how they can affect your overall cost calculations.

When it comes to auto transport there are several different methods of transporting your vehicle. We’re not talking about auto transport carriers here – that’s an entirely different subject. We explain more about the methods of transportation used for car shipping in this section. It’s more about the specific transport service the carriers are providing. This is because there are a few various ways to transport your vehicle.

Shipping your car across the country, or even across the world, isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation. Instead, it’s a journey that requires attention to your personal needs, your unique car, and your location. That’s why choosing the best car transport carrier is important.

Door-to-Door vs. Terminal-to-Terminal

Door-to-door transportation eliminates the loading and unloading of cars multiple times during transit. This means your vehicle will stay on the same car carrier throughout the entire journey. Door-to-door shipping enables you to transport your vehicle without having to worry about traveling to a pickup area or collecting your vehicle, making it far more convenient.

Your vehicle will be picked up from a convenient place and delivered to you as close as you prefer. It is not necessary for you to travel to a pickup location or to collect your vehicle.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of door-to-door auto shipping:

  • Pros

1) It is the best option for non-running vehicles

If your car is not able to drive, you can have the auto transport company’s truck come to you and pick it up instead. This way, you won’t have to invest in getting it to the terminal.

2) You don’t have to worry about damage or theft

There is no damage or theft in door-to-door shipping because the carriers are secured with locks and chains.

And since the shipping company picks up and delivers the car at the locations you specify, there is less time when the car is unattended.

3) You can schedule delivery at a time convenient for you

Door-to-door auto transport has been designed to help you plan the most convenient time to receive your shipment.

  • Cons

1) Time

Door-to-door shipping takes longer than most people think. It depends on what the shipping distance is. It may take 12-15 days to deliver a vehicle cross-country door-to-door in the US.

Terminal-to-terminal auto transport is not nearly as popular as door-to-door transport but it is still a valued part of the industry today. Some companies will not provide terminal-to-terminal shipping, as there are not as many carriers that provide such services. However, it is still available in most major cities in the U.S.

Standard vs. Expedited Shipping

Each consumer wants their order to be delivered at a time that is convenient to them in our quickly changing world. While some people may require their things immediately, others are typically unconcerned with the delivery time.

In the eCommerce sector, shipping is crucial. When considering shipping options for an eCommerce firm, standard and express shipping are the two basic choices. Both are essential for managing an eCommerce firm, depending on the type of shipping, delivery time, and other criteria.

Standard or regular shipping is the cheapest shipping service available from a courier. It is a cost-effective shipping option where the shipments reach their destination within seven business days. Though more affordable, standard shipments don’t include overnight or special provisions to deliver products faster.

Expedited shipping is a shipping method that is faster than standard shipping. It is usually delivered by cargo. The whole motive of expedited shipping is to prioritize certain parcels or packages over others. Overnight shipping, 2-day shipping, and express shipping are all expedited shipping options. 

The best one might be different from business to business. It solely depends on what your business requirements are. The following factors will help you choose which ones will be the best or will suit you the most.

  • Delivery Time

Standard shipping is the baseline shipping option where the delivery time ranges from 2-to 8 days. In expedited shipping, the shipment takes a day or two to reach the customer as the product is shipped via air couriers. Sometimes, it is plausible that the shipment reaches the customer on the same day. Expedited shipping is ideal for fast and urgent deliveries. However, if you have or can wait for some more time, then standard shipping is a better choice.

  • Dispatch from Warehouse

The average time to leave the warehouse in case of standard delivery is around 2-8 days. In the case of express shipping, the same takes about 1-3 days. In this factor, Express Shipping does have the upper hand over the standard shipment.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

Depending upon the delivery timeline and your budget, you need to decide which option will suit you the best. Standard shipping is cheaper than expedited shipping as the shipment is sent via road using surface couriers. As expedited shipping means quick and urgent delivery, the price and rates are also higher due to the use of air couriers.

  • Chances Of Damage

There are hardly any intermediaries in the case of expedited shipping. Items are shipped directly from source to destination without interruption via air couriers. Since the shipment handling scope is lower, the chances of damage to items are also much less.

  • Shipping Cost

In the case of expedited shipping, the cost of shipping is usually incurred along with the price of the product. However, for standard shipping, the shipping can be provided free of charge to the customer.

Enclosed vs. Open-Air Transport

The best automobile shipping businesses frequently use both enclosed and open carriers, and we have analyzed the nation’s top-rated auto transport brokers based on price, service, and client satisfaction. We advise that you take the opportunity to get a few companies’ free quotes without obligation.

Open car shipping, or open auto transport, is a commonly used method for vehicle transport that is either “out in the open” or in a multicar trailer without an exterior covering. This shipping style can accommodate up to 10 vehicles at once, though this often depends on:

  • Car size
  • Car weight
  • Demand

Compared to enclosed car shipping, open car shipping is far less expensive, as more cars can be transported at once.

Enclosed car shipping, or enclosed auto transport, is a method used for vehicles that need protection inside an enclosed trailer. Enclosed trailers are smaller and can’t accommodate as many cars as an open trailer – on average, only 2-3 cars can be transported at once. Enclosed auto transport carriers tend to cost double that of open carriers, so this shipping method is less popular among consumers unless they own luxury cars that need more security.

There are more options for open car carriers than enclosed carriers among auto transport brokers, so those considering how to ship a car with enclosed vs. open car shipping gravitate toward the latter. The open car shipping method is also quicker, as open car trailers are more common than enclosed car carriers and require less stops during transport.

The average quote for enclosed car shipping ranges between $1,000 and $2,000, while open transport usually costs between $500 and $1,000. You will pay anywhere from 50 to 100 percent more per mile for enclosed vs. open car shipping.

Regardless of which shipping method you choose, there are a variety of factors that can affect the final price of your car shipment. These include:

  • Distance: Long-distance transport generally costs less per mile but is more expensive overall.
  • Destination: Popular shipment locations may be cheaper.
  • Type of vehicle, make, and model: Expensive and new cars tend to cost more to ship.
  • Shipment type: Terminal-to-terminal is typically cheaper than door-to-door shipping.
  • Condition of vehicle: Operable vehicles cost far less to move.

Enclosed car transport, of course, also bumps the price up. This is to be expected. The shipping method offers peace of mind for customers who need their vehicle to arrive in perfect condition. While it may not be the best method for cheap car shipping, there are situations when you should choose enclosed over open car shipping.

Vehicle Type and Condition

Regardless of the industry you work in, getting your products to customers safely, quickly, and in good condition is essential for your reputation and bottom line. However, with a variety of options and modes to choose from, picking the best one is not always simple. From power-only, refrigerated, and dry vans to straight trucks and cargo vans, here is a quick guide to help you decide on the type of equipment you may need.

  • Refrigerated Trailers

This piece of equipment is used for refrigeration transport of perishable goods like pharmaceuticals, dairy, and fresh produce. Refrigerated trailers or reefers are also used to ship temperature-sensitive items such as candles, flowers, and paints, as well as bulk liquids and hazardous materials.

While box trailers can maintain one temperature only, there are also multi-temperature reefers with multiple compartments, shipping different types of cargo together. Specialized reefers are a third variety, with specifications like double and single decking, meat hanging, etc. Goods can be shipped chilled or frozen.

  • Dry Vans

Dry vans are used to ship loose, boxed, and palletized freight, including electronics, furniture, and clothing, which don’t require refrigeration. Cargo is enclosed on all sides to protect it from direct heat, rain, snow, high winds, and other weather hazards. Dry vans are typically fitted with wooden flooring, swing-open doors, and metal coating on all sides. They can be used to ship a wide range of goods, including:

  • Construction materials like nails and hammers
  • Equipment, machinery, and large parts
  • Non-perishable foodstuffs, including cereal, canned goods, and potato chips
  • Plastics and textiles
  • Raw materials
  • Power Only

With power-only trucking, you have a trailer that is either owned or leased, but you need a driver and a truck to haul your cargo. Power-only trucking can be used for a range of shipping equipment, including containers, refrigerated trailers, dry vans, and open deck and flatbed trailers. Common scenarios in which carriers use a leased trailer plus power only include special shipping projects, weekend surges in demand, just-in-time shipping, peak seasons, and warehouse and facility moves.

  • Cargo Vans

Cargo vans are fitted with seats for a front passenger and a driver while the cargo area is in the back. They are suitable for small shipments and last-mile delivery services because of the more limited room for cargo. You will see this type of van in cleaners, movers, and roofing and painting businesses, but they are also used to expedite small shipments. In general, cargo vans can be used to assist businesses across industries, whether transporting gear for live events production companies or shipping materials for building and construction contractors.

Read Also: Business Coach

There are several factors to take into account, including destination and cargo size and type. Heavy trucks, for example, are used for long-haul road transport, while vans and minivans are best for short-haul transport. Different vehicles are also used for oversized cargo and goods that are gaseous, liquid, shipped in bulk, and packaged.

Although there are multiple solutions to get logistics delivered, trucking has always stood the test of time. The trucking industry was able to offer companies efficient, reliable, and cost-saving solutions for delivery. 

Small Trucks- These trucks are classified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in groups classes 1 and 2. 

  • Mini Truck: Also known as micro trucks are usually lightweight trucks that come with a rear-wheel drive or a 4-wheel drive. Mini trucks are mainly used in intra-city deliveries and travel that covers smaller distances with light loads. Some of the daily use cases observed are postal and courier services, shipment of home appliances, and furniture from dealer to customer address.
  • Small Commercial Vehicle: The small commercial vehicle (SVC) usually consists of vehicles with less than 1000cc engine and carries a maximum of 3.5 ton. These vehicles are practical for intra-city usage and offer more affordable, durable, and sustainable use cases. Similar to the mini truck, they are used by postal and courier companies, and delivery companies that offer single-day turnaround.

Light Trucks- These trucks are classified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in groups classes 1 and 2. 

    • Pick-up Truck: A pick-up truck also known as a light-duty truck consists of an enclosed cabin with the rear end having a cargo bed with walls enclosed from three sides without any roof cover. They are also called coupes or utes (utility vehicles). They are mainly used for passenger transport. Additionally, they are used by tradesmen and outdoor enthusiasts for transportation or large appliances, camping equipment, and amenities of a small motor home.
    • Mini Van: A minivan is designed to transport passengers, with the rear seats configurable and consisting of 2 to 3 rows. The rooftop covers the entire car, has a flat floor, and has a sliding door to accommodate rear passengers. A minivan is designed on a compact pickup truck platform.

Medium Trucks- These trucks are classified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in groups classes 3 to 6. 

  • Vans: Vans are vehicles that can be used to transport goods and people. They are usually bigger than a pickup truck and the common car. Most vans come with seats up front and the rear end used to carry goods and equipment. They are used in postal and courier companies and also used to haul equipment by cleaning companies, music bands, etc.
  • Box Truck: A box truck is somewhat similar to a van but is of a larger size. The major difference being a van consists of a unibody frame, while a box truck has a separate cargo box added to the chassis. These trucks have a separate cargo area, with some having a door between the cabin and cargo area. It’s a popular choice for many as it requires fewer licensing requirements. Box trucks are mainly used for transporting home appliances and furniture with relatable ease.
  • Tow Truck: A tow truck comes in different names like wrecker, breakdown truck, or recovery vehicle. They are used to tow/ move disabled, impounded, or improperly parked vehicles. In most cases, tow trucks are operated by private businesses. In metropolitan areas, tow trucks can be observed in police departments, fire departments, transportation authorities, etc. Special licenses have to be obtained to operate a tow truck.
  • Flatbed Truck: A flatbed truck has an open cargo carrier attached to the driver cabin. As the carrier is open from all sides, it becomes easier to load and unload goods like pipes, wood, crates, etc., which can be easily loaded and unloaded via cranes.

Heavy Trucks- These trucks are classified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in groups of classes 7 and 8. 

  • Trailer Trucks: The majority of long-haul logistics is carried out using trailer trucks. These trucks are ideal for the transportation of goods that can be easily stacked. They are mainly used to transport goods from manufacturer to retailer.
  • Cement Mixer: Modern construction sites use concrete transport trucks to mix concrete and deliver it to the construction site. Concrete mixers can usually be found with two or more axels, with four, five, and six-axel being the most common. Though cement mixers are available in different sizes, an average cement mixer can carry about 40,000 pounds of concrete.
  • Dump Truck: Need help with cleaning debris? A dump truck is your ideal solution. Also known as dump trucks or dumper lorries, they are used to transport materials (coal, sand, gravel, debris, etc.)
  • Refrigerator Truck: Refrigerator truck, as the name suggests used to transport perishable goods like fruits, veggies, agricultural products, etc. These trucks have the ability to control internal temperature, making it possible to handle temperature-dependent goods.

Having the best trucks in your fleet will ensure smooth operation. An efficient truck will be a crucial part of your logistics operations to achieve successful deliveries.

Car Shipping Insurance

Next to your home, your car may be your most valuable item. Although it is extremely unlikely, damage could happen while your vehicle is being transported. Although the likelihood of something going wrong is remote, a reliable auto transport company will provide shipping insurance to ease your concerns.

What, however, does car shipment include? How can you be certain that auto transport insurance safeguards your vehicle from any problems? What are the requirements for and costs associated with auto transport insurance?

Let’s try to provide some clarification on these issues as well as a few others.

Is insurance required when shipping a car?

No is the obvious response to this. To ship a car, no insurance is required. However, according to the US Department of Transportation, liability insurance is required by law for auto transporters. The business that is actually shipping your car must adhere to this legal requirement. Or put another way, the carrier must be covered by insurance.

An auto transport carrier is legally required to have liability insurance. They must also have an MC, or Motor Carrier, number with the Department of Transportation. It’s also a good idea to check whether the carrier offers cargo insurance.

Cargo insurance should cover any damage caused during the automobile shipping process after you pay the insurance deductible. Depending on the company, the terms and amount of coverage will vary, so it’s always a good idea to check.

It’s essential to make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of coverage offered. The minimum amount of insurance required by law will provide you with some protection. However, you may find that it falls short of the actual value of your car. 

Always find out the exact terms of the carrier’s insurance policy. Some crucial questions to ask include:

  • Is there any deductible?
  • How much will the deductible be for damage claims
  • What type of damage is covered?
  • What is the limit of the coverage?
  • Are only specific parts of the car covered?
  • Will specialty items such as spoilers be covered?
  • Can additional coverage be purchased if necessary?

When you ship a car with us, insurance coverage is included in the price. So don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to ask any of these questions. Our shipping advisors will be only too happy to put your mind at rest.   

What will be covered?

Most auto transport carriers have liability and cargo insurance. What this means is that the insurance covers any damages incurred during transit. However, you should note that the coverage provided only protects the cars. Anything inside is not covered by the insurance and is one of the main reasons we recommend you always clean out your car and remove all your personal possessions. 

When you’ve chosen the best auto transport company to ship your car, there are a few things you should do to ensure the process is a smooth and hassle-free experience. Here are our top car shipping insurance tips.

  • Request proof of insurance

If you’ve found a reputable auto transport company, they’ll be more than happy to supply you with proof of insurance. In addition, they should also be open to any questions you might have about the policy. If you encounter a company that is hesitant in providing this information, think of this as a red flag and think things through carefully before proceeding. 

  • Get everything in writing

Before you agree to anything, get any considerations or special agreements in writing. This will protect you should something unforeseen happen. This is particularly important if they provide you with a service or agree to something not indicated in their regular contract. 

  • Check with your own auto insurance company

As well as checking with the auto transport company, it also pays to check with your own auto insurance company. It depends on your policy, but some insurance companies cover your vehicle while it is being transported. However, never assume this is so and check to make sure. 

Enquire whether the same coverage applies if the vehicle is being shipped. Also, ask whether any form of shipping notification has to be provided by the car shipping company. 

  • Remove all your possessions from your car

Generally, auto transport insurance provided by the carrier will not cover any damage to your vehicle’s interior. Therefore, remove all personal and loose items from your car before handing over the keys to the carrier if you want to reduce the risk of anything happening. 

Items you should consider removing include:

  • CDs or cassettes
  • Loose change
  • Removable electronics
  • Coats and jackets
  • Anything else that could become airborne

As well as reducing the risk of damage, you’re also removing any temptation from potential break-in thieves. 

  • Perform an inspection

When the driver arrives to collect your car, the original condition of your car must be documented. In addition, a note will be made of any existing damage. Therefore, it is in your own best interests to be present and inspect your car with the driver. It’s also a good idea to take photographs of the vehicle to record its condition prior to shipping. 

  • The Bill of Lading

Upon delivery of your vehicle, you’ll need to check the condition of your car against the Bill of Lading and record any existing damage. You’ll need to provide detailed documentation if you need to file a claim. 

How to Get Accurate Quotes

By getting in touch with one of the top auto transport businesses and completing its quote procedure, you may obtain a car shipping quote. This often involves providing some basic information about your car, your location, and the time frame.

After receiving your initial vehicle shipping quote, we advise getting a few more to compare prices (some can range by hundreds of dollars). Each stage will be explained in detail below.

Step 1: Find car shipping companies

The first thing to do when getting an auto transport quote is to identify several car shipping companies. While there are thousands you could choose from, we’ve done the research to narrow down your options to five of the nation’s best vehicle shipping companies.

Since we recommend getting multiple auto transport quotes, you’ll want to visit the websites of three to four auto shipping companies.

  • Montway
  • AmeriFreight
  • American Auto Shipping
  • Sherpa Auto Transport
  • uShip

Step 2: Determine quote options

Visit the websites of several auto shipping brokers to determine how to get an auto transport quote. Companies offer a combination mix of three auto shipping quote options:

  1. Online forms. Nearly every car transport company has an online form where you can fill in basic information about your auto shipment. However, these forms don’t typically result in instant quotes. Instead, you’ll often receive an email or a confirmation number and be directed to call the company.
  2. Telephone quotes. All transport brokers can provide car shipping estimates over the phone. These are usually the most accurate because telephone reps analyze real-time variables that affect shipping costs, like route popularity and road closures. Most car shipping companies prefer this option, but it can take 10–15 minutes to get an estimate of your car shipping cost.
  3. Instant online quotes. A few top-notch auto transporters like American Auto Shipping and Easy Auto Ship offer instant online quotes. Unlike online forms, you don’t have to call the car transport company back with a confirmation number. You instantly get an estimate of the shipping cost. This is the most convenient option, but you also sacrifice some accuracy compared to telephone quotes.

Ways to get an auto transport quote

Car shipping quote typeEstimated timeWhen to use
Online forms15–20 minutesYou don’t have time to make a phone call and can’t find a company with instant online quotes.
Telephone quotes10–15 minutesYou want the most accurate quote.
Instant online quotes1–2 minutesYou want a quote right now.

Step 3: Provide vehicle shipping details

The car shipping company estimates your car shipping cost based on the information you provide about your shipment. Every broker you work with will request basic details about your vehicle, location, and time frame. You’ll also need to choose between open and enclosed transport.

  • Vehicle information

The car shipping broker needs to know whether your vehicle operates under its own power (it’s cheaper if your vehicle can drive directly onto the auto transport carrier). It will also ask for your vehicle’s year, make, and model. You can usually find this information on your vehicle registration or your car’s trunk or front grille:

  • Year. The year your vehicle was manufactured.
  • Make. The company that built your car (such as Toyota, Ford, or Hyundai).
  • Model. The specific type of vehicle (like a Corolla, Fusion, or Elantra).
  • Location

The auto transport company needs to know your origin and destination zip codes to estimate a car shipping cost.

You may also be asked for specific address information (it helps ensure that the car carrier has room to unload at your new address). However, that information isn’t necessary to get a car shipping quote, so feel free to push back if the broker presses you. Most telephone reps respond well if you say something like, “I haven’t memorized my new address yet. Could you give me a quote based on my zip codes?”

  • Time frame

Tell your auto shipping broker when you’d like your car picked up. We recommend giving yourself a week’s worth of wiggle room. Why? Most pickup dates aren’t guaranteed. We’ve seen rare exceptions like Montway Auto Transport, but in most cases, your pickup date is only an estimate.

For example, if you request a July 15 pickup date, the company will arrive on July 15—give or take a few days. If you must be out of town on July 15, and the transport company hasn’t shown up, that’s a problem. On the other hand, you’d have some room to breathe if you provided a pickup date of July 8.

Sometimes, companies may ask you for a time window rather than a specific date. For example, Sherpa Auto Transport allows you to indicate if your car will be ready immediately, within one or two weeks or two months.

  • Shipping option (or transport type)

Almost nothing affects car shipping rates more than transport type, so the broker will ask whether you want to use an open or enclosed carrier. There are a few main differences between the two options:

  • Open transport. Your car is shipped on the back of an open-air truck without walls. It’s generally about 30% cheaper than enclosed transport. However, your vehicle usually gets dirty and has a higher risk of damage for things like windshield chips or paint scratches.
  • Enclosed transport. Your car is shipped inside of a fully enclosed semi. There’s less room, so it costs more than open transport—but your automobile stays cleaner and has a lower risk of damage.

About 90% of customers use open transport because it’s cheaper. However, enclosed auto transport is ideal for high-end vehicles like luxury cars or classic cars.

Step 4: Get multiple quotes

Once you obtain your first auto transport quote, it’s important to repeat the process with a few different companies. That’s because car shipping rates aren’t the same from broker to broker. It’s not uncommon for two quotes to be hundreds of dollars apart, so it pays to request three or four auto transport quotes and compare them.

  • Fill out a car shipping quote online form

The most frequent shipping question we get is unsurprisingly, about rates. Why something costs what it does is really important in deciding how you value that service – and who doesn’t like a great value? Are you looking to relocate your personal car in the next couple of weeks? Timing is important because with fixed schedules prices tend to be higher. Are you a car dealer in need of moving multiple units for a trade or an auction that has just sold 40 cars to a dealer halfway across the country? There are many different factors that make up the formula car shipping rates and in this post, we will explain the importance of each one.

The first step to getting an accurate car transport quote is to provide as much relevant information as possible to help an auto transporter identify your unique needs. Filling out the quote form is a great start that will give basic information to the trucking company about directives, dates, and specifics about the vehicle needing transport. Selecting a large SUV vs a compact sedan will consequently increase your price.

Furthermore, if the shipping date is months away, the car shipping quote you receive will most likely change by the time the vehicle needs to be shipped due to seasonal fluctuations in supply and demand, it is best to get a quote no more than three weeks in advance. Last but not least, provide the exact zip codes for pick up and delivery as more popular cities will help to bring the cost down.

  • Call and speak to a sales representative

Sometimes, when filling out a quote, the calculator isn’t able to calculate the price due to the location or condition of the vehicle.  In this case, you would call and speak to a sales representative on the phone who would assist you with an accurate price given your specific circumstances. Remember to provide the rep with all the important details like the exact zip codes and if there is anything dysfunctional about your vehicle.

Incidentally, like in most industries, there are ways you can lower your shipping quote by shipping multiple vehicles together due to the economy of scale. This is especially ideal for dealers and auctions who ship hundreds of cars every year. Moreover, if you are looking to relocate across the country it might even be worth it to ship all of your cars instead of driving.

In conclusion, you want to make sure to read the reviews and check of BBB ratings before making the final decision. Believe it or not, there are lots of unscrupulous companies in the car shipping industry who will sell your quote to hungry brokers looking for leads. This will result in you receiving hundreds of calls and emails from companies that only want your money without providing you with quality service. Remember that getting the cheapest quote doesn’t necessarily mean you will receive the greatest service in return.

Hidden Costs and Avoiding Scams

Unpleasant surprises during the car shipping process can be avoided by understanding potential hidden costs and scams. In this section, we’ll shed light on these issues and how to steer clear of them.

Scams come in many different forms, but they all include the perpetrator trying to con you into handing them money. Rental scams, online dating scams, employment scams, freight scams, email scams, phishing, investment scams, and other types of scams are some of the most popular types of frauds. Unfortunately, there are many fraud and frauds in the goods shipping business. Below are some of them.

Freight Scams

Freight scams are a type of fraud that takes place during the freight shipping process. Freight scams are schemes in which fraudsters pose as shipping or transportation companies to defraud businesses or individuals. The scammers may contact their victims via email, telephone, or online and often promise low shipping rates or other discounts to lure them in. Once they have their victim’s information, they may request payment upfront or charge for services never rendered.

Freight scams can be costly and cause significant shipment delays, so it is important to be aware of them and take steps to protect yourself. The following sections will go through several sorts of freight scams and how to avoid them.

Instances of Freight Scams

Freight scams typically involve using false or misleading information to convince the victim to send money or goods to the scammer. This occurs when a shipper or freight broker receives payment for shipping goods, but the goods are never delivered. Freight scams can involve a single transaction or a series of transactions over time. In some cases, the scammers may even set up a fake website or company to make it appear as if they are legitimate. Some of the most common freight scams include:

False Promises of Low Prices

Many freight forwarders will quote you a low price but add hidden fees later. Ensure to get a detailed quote in writing before agreeing to use a freight forwarder.

Delay Tactics

Some freight forwarders will deliberately delay your shipment to collect extra fees. This can be extremely frustrating, so track your shipment closely.

Not Delivering the Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading is a legal document that proves that goods have been shipped from one place to another. It is also a contract between the shipper and the carrier, and it outlines the terms and conditions of the shipment. Cargo delivery is only possible with the bill of lading in hand, and some freight forwarders demand more money in exchange for the bill of lading.

Cargo Theft

Cargo hijacking by scam freight forwarders is a serious problem that can have serious consequences. Cargo theft is the illegal taking of a shipment of goods while in transit. This can be done by several means, including force, threat of force, or deception. Often, the thieves will pose as legitimate freight forwarders to gain access to the cargo.

Once they have access, they will take the cargo and sell it for their profit. This can be a serious problem for businesses that rely on goods shipments, as it can lead to lost revenue and damaged goods. In some cases, it can also lead to personal injury or death.

Misrepresentation of Services

Some freight forwarders will claim to offer services that they don’t provide. For example, they might claim to offer insurance when they don’t. Be sure to ask for details about all services before agreeing to use a freight forwarder.

Imposter Freight Forwarders

When shipping your valuable goods worldwide, you want to be sure you are working with a reputable freight forwarder. Unfortunately, there are imposter freight forwarders in this industry looking to steal your money. Here are a few things to look out for to avoid being scammed by an imposter freight forwarder:

  1. Lack of proper licensing and insurance: All legitimate freight forwarders should be properly licensed and insured. If the company you are considering working with cannot provide proof of these, it is best to find another option.
  2. No physical address: A company that only provides a PO Box or email address should be avoided. A legitimate freight forwarder will have a physical address that you can visit if needed.
  3. Unclear pricing: If the pricing structure offered by a freight forwarder is unclear or seems too good to be true, it likely is. Be sure to get all pricing in writing before agreeing to work with a company.
  4. Pressure to sign contracts: A legitimate freight forwarder will not pressure you to sign a contract before providing services. If you feel like you are being pressured to sign something, walk away.
  5. Lack of transparency: A good freight forwarder will be transparent about their process and fees. If a company is being secretive or evasive about its operations, it is best to find another option.

By being aware of these red flags, you can avoid being scammed by an imposter freight forwarder. To ensure they are legitimate and reputable, take your time to research any company you are considering working with.

Unlicensed or Unregistered Businesses

Many freight forwarders are not licensed or registered with the proper authorities. This can be a major risk, so check that the freight forwarder you’re considering is properly licensed and registered.

Lack of Transparency

Some freight forwarders are very secretive about their operations. This can make tracking your shipment difficult and ensuring it’s being handled properly. Ask lots of questions and get detailed answers before using a freight forwarder.

Payment Problems

In recent years, there has been a surge in fake payment email scams in the freight industry. These freight scams typically involve a fraudster posing as a shipper or freight broker and emailing a carrier or trucking company with instructions to wire money to a certain account. The email often contains fake documents purporting to be from a legitimate company and may even include a real company logo. These freight scams can be very costly for carriers and trucking companies, as they can often lose thousands of dollars if they wire the money as instructed.

It is important to be aware of these freight scams and to protect yourself and your company. Here are a few tips:

  • Never wire money to someone you don’t know, no matter how convincing the email may be.
  • If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of an email, contact the company directly to confirm. Do not use the contact information in the email, as it may be fake.
  • Beware of emails that contain grammatical errors or are otherwise suspicious-looking.
  • Never click on any links in a suspicious email.

Following these tips can help protect yourself and your company from fake payment email scams.

How to Avoid Freight Scams

Regarding shipping cargo, it’s important to be aware of the potential for freight scams. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid falling victim to freight scams.

  • Research the company or individual that you are considering doing business with. Check for reviews online and see if any complaints have been filed against them.
  • Get everything in writing. Ensure that you have a contract that outlines the terms of the shipping agreement and that all payments are made securely.
  • Keep track of your shipments. If you are using a freight broker, get tracking information from them and closely monitor the status of your shipment. If you are shipping the goods yourself, keep track of your shipment with the carrier’s tracking system.
  • Insure your shipment. Insuring your shipment, especially high-value items, is always a good idea. This way, you can get your money back if anything goes wrong.
  • Pay close attention to the details of your shipping contract. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing.
  • Be cautious of companies that offer very low rates for shipping. Often, these companies are not reputable and may not deliver your freight as promised.
  • If you are shipping internationally, research the customs requirements for your destination country. This will help avoid any delays or issues with your shipment.
  • Do not ship your freight with a company you cannot get in touch with easily. Ensure you can reach customer service by phone or email before entrusting your shipment to them.
  • Be wary of companies that require you to pay for shipping upfront. Many reputable companies will not require payment until your freight is delivered.

Ensure to get multiple quotes, ask many questions, and only use a reputable and transparent freight forwarder. If you find yourself the victim of freight scams, report the scam to the authorities. This will help to prevent others from falling victim to the same freight scams. Contact your credit card company. If you paid by credit card, you may be able to get a refund. Get in touch with a lawyer. You may be able to take legal action against the company if you have been the victim of a freight scam.

Finally, trust your gut. It probably is if something feels off or too good to be true. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a company or individual, it is best to err on the side of caution and look elsewhere.

The freight forwarding industry is susceptible to scams and fraud due to the nature of the business. You can do a few things to avoid becoming a victim of freight scams, and knowing what to look for is your best defense. If you’re shipping freight, be sure to use a reputable company that you can trust.

Research companies online and read reviews before selecting one to work with. Get all the details of the shipping arrangement in writing before you ship your goods, and don’t ship anything until you’re sure the company is legitimate. Be cautious of any company that asks for upfront payment or offers a too-good-to-be-true deal.

DIY Car Shipping vs. Professional Services

Explore the probable difficulties and unforeseen risks that could appear while relocating a vehicle on your own. Learn the convincing justifications for why using professional auto shippers is the preferable option, from unforeseen roadblocks to time constraints and added expenditures. You may minimize stress, problems, and potential mishaps by entrusting the transportation of your cherished car to industry experts.

There are two major options open to you when you need to transport your automobile to a new area, whether for relocation needs or just a vacation: DIY car shipping or working with a shipping business. You should definitely read this article all the way through if you believe that transporting your automobile yourself is preferable to using professional car shippers for whatever reason. In this post, we will discuss the dangers of DIY auto shipping and provide you with a number of justifications for employing a reputable car shipping business instead.

The Risk of Sustaining Damage During the Journey

The first and most obvious risk of driving your vehicle to your destination is the possible damage your vehicle will sustain along the way. When relocating, the safety of your vehicle should be a high priority. Exposing your vehicle will result in damages caused by some of these factors:

  • Abrasive particles: Particles from harsh weather or road debris can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s exterior. It could be as little as damage to the paint job, or it can cause big dents that are hard to repair.
  • Bad road conditions: Bumps or portholes along the way can cause serious damage to the underbelly of your vehicle or even to the car’s suspension system.
  • Wear and tear: Long distances will increase the mileage on your vehicle and seriously diminish its market value.
  • Accidents and collisions: Your vehicle could get involved in an accident or crash into places on the way. These could result in serious damage to your vehicle or even to you while you are in it.

Since your vehicle may not be covered by insurance, the cost of repairing all these damages will come directly from your pockets.

The Risk of Spending Above Your Budget

Most people tend to think driving their vehicles is much cheaper than shipping them. While this is certainly true for relatively short distances, when it comes to longer distances, like interstate or cross-country, you are better off engaging professional shipping services. When driving your car personally, your budget needs to cover things like lodging, food, tolls, and gas.

For lodging alone, the average hotel room costs above $150 per night, and if your journey includes making several stops along the way, the amount you spend on lodging alone could amount to a lot. Fluctuations in gas prices could also cause you to spend above your budget.

The Risk of Not Meeting Up With Schedules

Another risk of driving your vehicle yourself is that you may be unable to meet your schedule. Shipping your vehicle requires an intense amount of planning and calculation. If you prepare inadequately or do not make any preparations at all, you will encounter delays and complications. These delays may cause you to fall way behind schedule and may even hinder you from doing other things.

Driving your vehicle also means you would have to take time off from other things you are doing. You will also likely have to go through the stress and headaches that come with logistics and planning routes and procedures. All this will cause you to spend more time transporting your vehicle to the new location and could possibly affect your plans.

Benefits of Using Professional Car Shipping Services

Now that we have discussed the three major risks involved in DIY car shipping, you should also learn why entrusting the task of transporting your vehicle to a professional car shipping company is your best option.

  • Vehicle Safety and Protection: Professional shipping companies use carriers to transport vehicles. The use of these carriers minimizes the damage your vehicle sustains during transport.
  • More cost-effective: With professional shippers, you only need to pay the amount requested without worrying about extra or additional fees. Collecting and comparing quotes from different shipping companies also allows you to choose the option that works best with your budget.
  • Quick and Timely Delivery: Carriers in shipping companies can spend about 12 hours on the road daily. This allows them to ship your car on time, even if your destination is across the country.
  • Convenience and Peace of Mind: The shipping company takes care of all the details involved in the shipping of your vehicle. This allows you to sit back and do other things without worrying about complications that may arise during the process.
  • Extra Services: Shipping with professionals exposes you to numerous services that you may not be able to provide yourself, such as insurance on your vehicles, the ability to ship special or exotic cars, shipping multiple vehicles at once, or even transporting the vehicle internationally.

Some of the risks of shipping your car yourself include having the vehicle sustain damage, spending above your budget, and failing to meet up with plans and schedules. Rather than taking these risks that could have drastic consequences, you are better off hiring a professional car shipping company like Ship A Car.

Case Studies and Real-Life Experiences

1. Real Life Incident: Ship-To-Ship Transfer Ends In Tragedy

A chemical tanker planned to take on stores while underway via a small re-supply boat. The weather was fine with a slight sea and swell and light winds. The Masters of the two vessels had agreed on a rendezvous point and to undertake the ship-to-ship transfer operation on a heading of about 305° and at a speed of about four to five knots.

The tanker’s crane would be used to bring the stores on board. The re-supply boat came alongside the tanker and, without any lines attached, the tanker’s crane’s hook was lowered and the first pallet (XX in the diagram) was hooked on and the lift started.

As the lift started, the re-supply boat began to veer away from the side of the tanker. The pallet, now partially lifted, was caught by another pallet (YY) on the deck of the re-supply boat.A crew member ran to the re-supply boat’s wheelhouse to inform the Master to put more helm towards the tanker. The Master said he had done that, and suggested that the sheer was due to the lift coming clear of the boat’s deck. The Master then left the wheelhouse to try and help the deck crew clear the lift. The re-supply boat was still moving away from the tanker and the Master realized they needed to abort the lift.

Before the lift could be lowered to the deck, it came free from the YY pallet, swinging toward the tanker and knocking the Master overboard. Lifebuoys were thrown to the Master but he was unable to reach any of them. Search and rescue operations were initiated but the Master was not found.

His body was recovered four days later. The investigation found, among other things, that neither the deck crew nor the Master was wearing personal flotation devices, even though the gunwale was only 0.5 meters high meaning there was a considerable risk of falling overboard.

Lessons learned

  • The decision to transfer stores while making way at four knots was questionable. It certainly comprised more risks than stopping and allowing the re-supply boat to secure lines fore and aft to the tanker before the lifts began.
  • Leaving the wheelhouse unattended to help on deck was another questionable decision. The vessel was underway at four knots and in close proximity to the tanker.
  • Working on the deck of the re-supply boat, which had very low gunwales, without personal flotation devices was a clear oversight in risk appreciation – another example of ‘risk in plain sight’.

2. Real Life Incident: Car Carrier Goes Sideways

A car carrier had been loaded, not with cars but with bundles of timber. These were stowed on decks five and seven, the only decks allowing forklifts without height restrictions. The remaining decks would remain empty. This was just the second voyage for the Chief Officer (CO) in a Pure Car Carrier.

A pre-sailing calculation was made on the stability computer but the drafts as visually checked were found to be different from those calculated (actual forward draft 8.850 but calculated 8.256, actual aft draft 8.850 but calculated 8.460). The CO went back to the stability computer and adjusted the cargo weights to see if the drafts as seen would affect the final GM. He was satisfied all was safe and the vessel sailed.

During the sea passage ballast tanks five port and starboard were being used as heeling tanks; there was no ballast exchange. During the voyage, a small heel developed. The CO decided to do a five-minute transfer between the heeling tanks. The next day, the swell was increasing and coming from the stern. Over the next few hours, the weather worsened with six to seven-meter swells from the port quarter.

The Master ordered a reduction in engine rpm and a switch to manual steering. In the afternoon of the same day, the vessel rolled heavily to starboard, then back to port and again to starboard, a roll of about 30°-40°. A loud noise was heard from the cargo decks. The helm was put hard to starboard but the vessel did not respond. The angle of list now made moving on the bridge almost impossible. A MAYDAY message was sent and the Master activated the GMDSS distress signals and then the abandon ship alarm. All crew were ordered to move to the port upper side deck.

Fire hoses were extended and attached to railings to help crew move to the port side and don their immersion suits. Both the port liferaft and the lifeboat were lowered but both were pushed to the ship side due to the heavy list, making it dangerous to embark through the vertical ladder. Finally, helicopter evacuation was arranged and crew were disembarked by air.

A few days later the vessel was towed to safety. The official investigation found, among other things, that cargo weights were about 29% greater than those declared by stevedores, contributing to a reduction in real GM. Also, more ballast was used than had been estimated, so GM was again less than calculated.

Calculations were not efficiently supervised or followed up and no arrival calculations were considered. The CO and Master appeared to pay little attention to the importance of stability calculations since they were confident of the stability of the ship based on similar conditions in the past. However, conditions on this trip were not in fact similar to those in the past because this time bunkers had been kept to a minimum in anticipation of dry dock.

Lessons learned

  • Sailing without a finalized and accurately calculated GM is not a good idea.
  • Without proper training, it is likely that unsafe practices will become the norm. l When unsafe practices become the norm, it is only a matter of time before an accident occurs.
  • If you are required to carry an unusual cargo or a cargo that is not necessarily adapted to your vessel, best seek advice from Class or cargo experts before loading.

3. Real Life Incident: Anchor Lost In Heavy Winds

A tanker in ballast dropped anchor and six shackles of chain in the early evening to await a berth for loading. Winds were force 4, but stronger winds were forecast so the main engines were kept on standby. Early the next morning, with winds now gusting to force 6-7, the OOW deduced that they were dragging anchor as the vessel had departed its swing circle.

The anchor party mustered on the foredeck, but by the time they had done so, the vessel had already reached a speed of about 2.8 knots. Once at the anchor station, the personnel realized that the vessel was not dragging anchor, but that the anchor had been lost. The main engine was engaged and the vessel was able to safely make its way out of the anchorage.

Lessons learned

  • Anchors and associated gear are for holding ships in light to moderate weather conditions. For more adverse weather, drifting or slow steaming (hove-to) would be the safer option.
  • Vessels in ballast are particularly vulnerable to wind effects. This should be considered when anchoring.

4. Real Life Incident: Misdeclared Cargo Leads To Fire In A Container

A 9000+ TEU container ship was underway when a fire alarm sounded in cargo hold nine and smoke was seen coming from the hatch in the same area. The general alarm was activated and the crew went to their muster stations. The Master reduced the ship’s speed and altered course to direct the smoke away from the deck area.

Approximately 16 minutes after the alarm, a two man team equipped with breathing apparatus (BA) entered the cargo hold to find the location and extent of the fire.

They had difficulty entering and maneuvering in the hold, struggling with the pressurized fire hoses due to the hose couplings becoming stuck whenever passing a manhole. The firefighters saw no flames and felt no significant heat while searching for the fire. When the air supply was running out after about 20 minutes, they made their way back up without having been able to locate the source of the fire. Once on deck they briefed the second firefighting team.

The second firefighting team, also with BA gear, entered the hold to continue the search. They identified a container located between three and four levels down on the starboard side as the probable source of the smoke. At this point, the crew still had no knowledge of the extent and severity of the fire, nor the contents of the containers affected.

While the firefighting teams were deployed in the hold, their colleagues on deck had established boundary cooling of the adjacent areas. With the information provided by the firefighting teams, it was decided to deploy the ship’s CO2 extinguishing system.

The first attempt to release CO2 failed due to technical irregularities on the main pipeline. The main distribution valve to the cargo hold was then manually opened, and a second section of CO2 cylinders was discharged, this time successfully. However, the CO2 discharge did not give the required results.

Some time later, a team entered the fire area with the ship’s special ‘container firefighting equipment’; a cordless power drill, a hole saw bit and a spike nozzle. However, the power drill was not able to penetrate the container door. It was decided to close the hold, maintain the cooling, and allow the crew some rest and time to consider alternative approaches. Later, another attempt at placing the spike nozzle in the burning container was successful, this time using an angle grinder to cut the container open. A spike nozzle was inserted and water injected into the container; soon after, the fire was considered under control.

During the second day of the incident, smoke and steam in increasing amounts were again observed coming from the cargo hold. A firefighting team entered to investigate and evaluate the situation. When they returned, they reported elevated temperatures in the containers adjacent to the one that was burning. During the following 12 hours the situation was kept under observation.

Another three teams entered the hold during that period to measure temperatures and check the water level in the hold. Based on these evaluations, it was decided to cut holes in the two adjacent containers and flood them with water as well. Since only one special container ‘spike nozzle’ was available and had already been used, the crew inserted standard fire nozzles into the two containers.

On the third day after the initial fire, as the vessel made way to a port of refuge, small amounts of smoke and raised temperatures were reported from cargo hold eight, just forward of the original fire location. The firefighting teams that entered hold eight reported smoldering charcoal spread around the decks in the hold as well as significantly raised temperatures in the containers nearest to where the smoldering charcoal was found. The ventilation and power supply to hold eight was cut, and firefighting teams equipped with hoses were able to extinguish the smoldering charcoal within 1½ hours.

As the vessel approached the port of refuge, four days after the initial fire outbreak, a salvage team came on board and was immediately put in charge of the firefighting efforts. Once berthed, the still burning container was discharged.

Lessons learned

  • The fire originated from a container of charcoal that was susceptible to spontaneous combustion and should have been declared as a dangerous cargo – but was not. Misdeclared cargo, in containers and in bulk, continues to be a risk worldwide.
  • Seafarers cannot be expected to have a level of experience equal to that of professional firefighters. Firefighting preparedness should be carefully considered when designing equipment and work procedures to be used in an emergency situation on board ships.
  • Procedures, checklists and decision support systems alone cannot ensure a successful outcome of an emergency situation. Actual drills and equipment tests are an integral part of crew preparedness and effective response.
  • The increased size of ships and their cargo capacity has seen corresponding amendments to regulations such as adding an increased number of fire hydrants and hoses. However, these regulatory changes have not included a reconsideration of the strategies and methods used in emergency situations on such ships.

Tips and Best Practices

Whether you are selling your home, purchasing a new car, or relocating for a new job, using a car shipping company is a convenient and reliable method to get your vehicle where it needs to go.  It is crucial that you choose the right company for the job to ensure that your vehicle arrives safely. Having a positive experience is important and can be accomplished through preparation.

Below are some tips and best practices when it comes to car shipping

  1. Research the carrier.

Before booking auto transport services, you want to ensure that the company is professional and reputable. This can be accomplished by reading customer reviews, reviewing social media outlets, and by looking at their website. You should evaluate the car shipper based on their experience, licensure, and insurance. Auto transport companies are required by law to be registered through the Department of Transportation. You can look up this information by conducting a Google Search. It is also a good idea to search the car carrier on the Better Business Bureau website.

  1. Beware of low quotes.

Many auto transport companies offer a quote calculator on their website. This is a free form that requires some information to receive a car shipping quote. Not all car shipping quote calculators are the same. National Dispatch offers a form that requires no personal information. Upon submitting it, you will be instantly redirected to view your car transport rate. Beware of companies that quote prices below the standards for the industry. You may end up sacrificing the level of service and quality to save a few bucks.

  1. Contact a representative.

After requesting a quote, you should contact a representative with the company to get your questions answered. If this is your first time shipping a vehicle, you likely have many questions regarding payment, insurance, and the overall shipping process. An auto transport representative would be happy to assist you. A phone conversation gives you additional insight into the company. It tells you about their customer service, professionalism, and friendliness. Their staff should be courteous and knowledgeable. Contact National Dispatch at 800-321-2051 to find out more our car shipping services.

  1. Book ahead of time.

Car shipping can take anywhere from a couple of days to a week or more. It all depends on the location, services, and shipping method. Then, there are some things that are outside of our control. No one can predict the weather with 100% accuracy. We work to meet your deadline by offering a pickup and delivery window. This varies depending on which of our three shipping methods you choose. If you need your car by a specific date, be sure to book auto shipping ahead of time. Preparation is key to a smooth auto transport experience.

  1. Consider the location.

When you need vehicle shipping services to or from an area, think about the location. Is the area easily accessible by a main highway? Will there be enough space when the transporter arrives? National Dispatch offers door-to-door auto transport services for added convenience. We are happy to come to your home or place of business for pickup and delivery. Some locations present difficulties for a large transport carrier. If you live in an area where this is the case, discuss with your driver an alternative meeting place, such as a large parking lot, close to your home.

  1. Think about the destination.

Consider where you are moving to. If you are moving coast-to-coast, the climate could be completely different from your current home. Therefore, you should take the appropriate steps to prepare both yourself and your vehicle for the changes. Depending on the situation, you may need to protect your car from damages that could result from sun and heat or install snow tires on your vehicle.

You may want to study up on the best times to move to that area. Avoid seasons or times of the year when bad weather, such as hurricanes, snow storms, etc. is likely to occur, if possible. Also, keep in mind moving trends. People move more frequently during the summer months. Thus, auto shipping companies are busier during this time of year.

  1. Check insurance coverage.

Most auto transport companies offer insurance coverage when transporting. Ask the car shipping company what is and is not covered during the transport of the vehicle. How much is covered varies by the company. National Dispatch offers insured auto shipping services. Therefore, no additional insurance is required. However, it is a good idea to check with your own auto insurance provider. Find out what your car insurance provider covers during the transport of your vehicle.

  1. Understand the contract before you sign.

When the driver arrives at your home to pick up the vehicle, you must sign the Bill of Lading. The Bill of Lading is the legal agreement, or contract, between you and the auto transport company, outlining the car shipping services that are being provided. You should make it a habit to thoroughly read all documents before signing. If you have any questions or concerns pertaining to the contract, ask your driver for clarification.

  1. Be realistic about a timeline.

We work to accommodate difficult schedules to get your car to you in a safe and timely manner. However, it is important to remain realistic. The shipping process is different than that of an Amazon delivery. The safety of your vehicles, as well as our drivers, are our top priorities. One way to ensure that your car arrives when you need it is to plan.

  1. Ask about GPS tracking.

Check to see if the car moving company offers a trackable service, such as with a GPS system. This tracking system allows you to know where your car is at along its route, giving you more peace of mind.

  1. Protect the car.

If you own a classic, luxury, exotic, or other high-value vehicle, you may want to request a service that will protect your car from the weather and road elements. It is recommended that these types of vehicles be shipped via an enclosed car carrier for added protection. However, you can also request that your car be “top loaded”.

Top loading refers to when a car is positioned on the second level of a two-level transport carrier. A car in this position is less likely to encounter road elements, such as dust, dirt, and other debris. Keep in mind that these services come at an additional expense than the standard method of transport.

  1. Inspect the car before pick-up.

When the driver arrives to pick up the car, a vehicle inspection will be completed. A report will be written up on the findings. This is important for insurance purposes, in case any incident was to occur during transit. Before the arrival of the transporter, designate some time to conduct your own inspection. Note any visible cosmetic damages, including paint chips, scratches, and dents. Take photographs, from all angles, of any cosmetic damages that you find. Keep these photographs for your records. You can also supply a copy to the transporter, as well.

  1. Remove all personal belongings.

It is recommended to remove all personal belongings from the vehicle for safety and insurance purposes. Extra items in the car can cause damage to the car or the objects, themselves. In addition, the auto transport company does not cover damages caused by these items or the loss of these items. Personal belongings also add more weight to the vehicle. Car transport rates are calculated partly based on the weight of the car. Therefore, these additional items could result in added fees.

  1. Remove loose parts.

Just as personal belongings should be removed, any loose parts on the vehicle should be removed or secured, as well. This would include bike and luggage racks. Make sure that all hood ornaments, decals, hubcaps, spoilers, and fog lights are secure and ready for auto shipping. It may be necessary to remove or retract the antennae. In the case of convertibles, ensure that the top is up and secured. If the convertible top is not in good condition, enclosed auto transport may be a better solution to avoid possible damage to the vehicle.

  1. Maintain the vehicle.

It is vital to perform proper maintenance procedures on your car all year long. This ensures that you have a reliable form of transportation when you need it the most. Before transport, ensure that all the car’s fluids are filled to the appropriate levels. Check the tires to make sure that they are in good condition and at the proper pressure. Make sure that your car does not have any leaks. If it does have a mechanical issue, take it to your local auto mechanic for repair.


Navigating the complexities of car shipping costs in the United States doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By understanding the factors that influence pricing, the various services available, and the best practices for obtaining accurate quotes, you can confidently manage the process of shipping your vehicle. Whether you’re moving across the country, buying a car online, or handling any other vehicle transport needs, this comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions, ultimately ensuring a smooth and cost-effective car shipping experience. Safe travels on your journey!

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