The cost of shipping a car across the country is no light bill. And like anything that can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing, learning the ropes of auto shipping is important (especially if you want to get the best possible service at a fair market price).
Keep scrolling to learn everything you need to know about the cost of shipping a car across the country.
Tips: Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country
There will be a lot of “rules of thumb” in this post. But we promise that each of them will help you through the process of booking a car transporter and calculating the cost of shipping a car across country.
1. Book in advance
The first important thing to know about the cost of shipping a car across the country is to book in advance.
Think of it sort of like the fare of an airplane ticket. The sooner you book, the cheaper it will be. Make note if any of these situations apply to you so you can plan accordingly:
- Larger vehicles usually cost more to ship than smaller ones.
- Shorter trips will cost less than moving your car from one state to another.
- If you need your vehicle to reach its destination ASAP, you’ll likely have to pay a little extra.
- It’s important to consider the size and weight of a car, as this will have a direct impact when calculating the cost. A larger vehicle, such as a Chevy Tahoe or a full-size SUV similar to it, will take up much more room on the transport truck than a Honda Civic.
2. Cost of car shipping in summer vs. winter
People will tell you that shipping a car in the winter months is always more expensive, but if you transport your car across country in the summer, and it’s leaving from a major city, you may find that your route is the exception.
Many auto transport companies charge more in the hottest months of the year when vehicles are being picked up or delivered to urban centers. This is because there is a higher demand for shipping in cities in the summer months and the fact that the roads between major destinations are more congested with travellers.
Given the effects of weather, you might assume that shipping would be less expensive in wintertime in the south. But, the fact is that more people (including the retiree population) head south during the winter for warmer weather. Some auto transport companies raise their rates simply because there is increased demand as snowbirds schedule their bi-annual shipments.
3. It’s cheaper from metropolitan areas
Pickup and drop-off location will play a big role when you’re scheduling your transport. If you live in a major metropolitan area, there are many trucks coming in-and-out of your city to deliver loads. Since these areas are heavily populated, there are more opportunities for truck drivers to pick up more cars…and make money. This generally means lower prices for customers.
4. Only used enclosed if you need to
Most new vehicles being shipped to car dealerships are shipped by way of open transport.
Customers that ship classic cars or high-value luxury or sports vehicles may prefer enclosed transport, however. This means their vehicle is protected by the elements such as sun, wind, rain, and more during transport (and therefore is more expensive than shipping by open transport). Here are some situations when you might find you need enclosed transport:
- When you’re protecting an ‘investment.’
- When you’re protecting from snow or cold.
- When you’re protecting from other weather.
- When you’re protecting an antique.
- When you’re protecting your own peace of mind.
- When you’re protecting your own safety.
5. Utilize customer services (like our Live Chat)
The car shipment booking process includes three major steps: research, booking, and shipping.
When you talk to companies, they should never try to push you to book immediately. Most people who need to ship a vehicle will get quotes from multiple companies, so watch out for shippers that pressure you to make a decision immediately. A super hard sell is usually a bad sign.
Montway Auto Transport and other reliable auto transport management companies make the process very easy with awesome customer service tools like our rate calculator or Live Chat portal. Make sure you book with a company that will work with you on your reservation and ensures you’re getting the most value out of your cost of shipping a car across the country.
FAQs: Cost shipping a car across the country
You’re not the first person that needs a touch of knowledge when it comes to shipping a car across the country. We have employees that could tell you more than you ever wanted to know about auto transport. But, let’s be realistic, nobody in their right mind wants to know more than they need to about auto transport (except us, of course).
How much does it cost to ship a car across the country?
It depends on all the factors mentioned above in this article, as well as distance. Here’s a look at some cross country car shipping cost examples to give you a better idea:
- Chicago, IL (60629) to Albany, NY (12203): $699.00 (816 miles)
- Chicago, IL (60629) to Miami, FL (33186): $969.00 (1,391 miles)
- Chicago, IL (60629) to Los Angeles, CA (90011): $889.00 (2,021 miles)
- Chicago, IL (60629) to Seattle, WA (98115): $1,109.00 (2,030 miles)
*Cross country car shipping cost averages were calculated based on a standard-sized car (with no modifications) and open transport. Also based on Montway Auto Transport’s “discounted cash price” option, not the standard upfront credit card payment option price.
What if I need to ship a car ASAP?
People who need to ship their vehicles immediately will most likely pay a little more. Auto transport companies can move as many cars as they do because they spend a great deal of time coordinating pickups and deliveries for not only maximum efficiency.
How much does it cost to ship a car with a military discount?
Here at Montway, we make it easy by streamlining pickup and delivery, giving you around the clock updates on your vehicle, and handling the details so you can focus on getting settled in.
We also offer a minor discount for active and retired personnel. If military car shipping is something you’d prefer not to do — and you’re driving your car across the country — you can claim Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) when you drive your own vehicle from one duty station to another.
Why is it better to book with a bigger auto transport company?
Large auto transport companies that operate nationwide work with heavy-duty trucks that carry a dozen cars at a time. As mentioned in the last paragraph, small or local companies might not be able to offer all the resources that an established company like Montway can. And when you’re considering the cost of shipping a car, it’s crucial to remember: you’ll “get what you pay for.”
You should be wary of local auto transport companies offering to move your vehicle for a cost of car shipping that eye-opening low. Small car transporters are likely to increase the cost of car shipping for cross-country shipping. Most likely, this is because they don’t often execute these types of longer routes and might not have the resources in place to fulfil your shipping order on time.