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How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car? – Choices that Affect Your Final Bill

When you begin to research how much to ship a car, you will discover many factors go into the final price. Many people assume that the initial auto transport estimates provided on websites are an accurate representation of the total bill, but it’s only a starting point.

Web Calculators

Most interstate movers<, cross country movers and car transport companies have a calculator on their website that provides a base quote determined by the total move distance, preferred dates and type of vehicle. When looking at comparisons, often obtained from broker sites that yield multiple quotes at once, many people mistakenly choose a company based on that initial figure. If you want to know exactly how much to ship a car will cost, you need to contact the companies to find out the additional individual costs. Try comparing rates at companies such as uShip, CarTransportQuotes.com, and A1 Auto Transport.


Type of transport – open or closed – affects the price. An open transport, much like the ones seen carrying new cars from the manufacturer to a dealership, leaves your car exposed to weather elements that could potentially cause surface damage to your car. In addition, depending on the placement of your vehicle on the trailer, you have a slight chance of accidental scratches from passersby, walking near the trailer parked at a rest area.

If you have an older car, possibly with external wear such as rust, paint chips, dents, dings or scratches, you should save move and choose an open transport. Although the odds of damages occurring are not great, if you own a new, vintage or classic vehicle, you should opt for the extra protected afforded by an enclosed transport.

In addition, closed transports have more flexibility in terms of where they can deliver your car. Many advertise door-to-door service, but in many cases this is not meant literally. These smaller transports are able to navigate the smaller roads found in residential areas, enabling the driver to deliver to your new home. However, street size, one-ways, hills or if you live along a bend are all factors that may prevent the driver from dropping off your car in your driveway.

Sometimes, the driver of the closed vehicle needs to ask you to meet him/her at an alternate location such as a parking lot or bus/train terminal – similar to the pre-arrangements the driver of an enclosed vehicle would make.


If you require added insurance protection through your private long distance movers or through the transport company, it will increase the total cost to ship your car. Again, the age, condition and type of car you own will all be determinate factors in the amount of insurance coverage you require.

Always remember to read the fine print and ask questions if you are unsure if specific parts or types of damages are covered.

Other Costs

Many people often overlook personal and preparation expenses when trying to figure out how much to ship a car. You need to remove personal belongings, roof racks and external spare tires – these items will need to ship separately via the mail or your home-movers, unless you can fit them in a rented U-haul.

The company will also expect that you take car of any leaky fluids as part of your preparation – you are liable for any damages that occur to the transport, other vehicles and your own car because of fluids.

You should also make any necessary repairs or climate adaptations before you trip – you’ll have a safe car for you and your family to drive in your new location and won’t have to worry about finding a trustworthy mechanic while settling into your new home.

So in the end, how much does it cost to ship a car?

There are many contributing factors when determining the ultimate auto transport cost. Initial quotes give you a starting point; from there, you need to decide on the car transportation services appropriate for the transport of your vehicle. Although not tallied on your final bill, indirect costs associated with maintenance, repairs and modifications all count toward the total amount you might spend to move your car.