Knowledge Base:

How To Ship Your Car Across
The Country

Updated May 2021

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There are several factors that go into shipping your car across the country. AutoTransport.com wants you to be as prepared as possible for your car transport. That’s why we’ve put together this detailed guide on how to ship your car cross-country. Keep reading for important car shipping information.

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The need to ship car across country is something that most of us experience. However, it's not everyone who gets it right. Some people end up having a bad experience. To avoid this, you should start by getting shipping estimates from reputable cross country car shipping companies. This will help you compare their quotes and settle for the most suitable one. A good example is Autotransport.com who offer free and accurate across the country car shipping quotes.

Just to be sure, refer to the company’s cross country car shipping reviews. You should be able to decide whether to work with the company or not based on the reviews left by the previous customers. If you’re satisfied with their reviews, proceed to book a long distance driver to pick up your car. The cross country car shipping company will advise you on how to prepare a car for transport.

In this article, we’ll go over the most important factors when it comes to shipping a car across the country. Depending on the date you’ve given the cross country car shipping company, a driver will come to the pick up location where he or she will inspect the vehicle before loading it onto a trailer.

While he does this, you should also do your own inspection. This is important as it will help you determine whether your car has been delivered in the same condition or not. After collecting all the data and filling a bill of lading form, the driver will load your car on a trailer, secure it and transport it to the destination of your choice.

A reputable cross country car shipping company offers every client a bill of lading form and fully insures each car. Without this form, it’d be hard to prove any car damages. A quality cross-country car shipping company also makes you a holder of the insurance to ensure that incase there’s some damage to your car, you can claim compensation from the insurer without having to go through the driver/carrier for your claim needs.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country?

Unlike a lot of bills in our lives, the cost of transporting a car across the country is unstable. On average, it will cost you about $1280 to transport a car across the country. If you use an open trailer, you will pay about $ 1030 and $1530 if you use an enclosed trailer. The cost might be slightly higher or lower. Below we’ll discuss some of the factors that affect your cross country car transport cost:

The distance between the pick up location and the destination across the country varies from one person to the next. This is the same case when it comes to the cost of transporting a car. For example, the average car shipping cost by distance is $400 for 150 miles. For a cross country car transport, you pay $1280 on average for 2750 to 3000 miles.

In other words, the more miles, the more money. Transporting a car from coast to coast, north to south or vice versa will cost you more. Shipping a car through the same route in the opposite direction doesn’t cost the same. For example, shipping a car from Miami to California is cheaper than transporting a car from California to Miami.

This is because there’s a lot of cars being shipped from Miami to California and fewer cars in the opposite direction thus costing more.

To transport a car across the country, you can either opt for an open or enclosed trailer. The cost of shipping a car cross country on an open trailer is cheaper than that of an enclosed trailer. This is because enclosed trailers are made to transport single cars offering them protection from weather and any possible damage.

They are mainly used to transport luxurious, custom, exotic, classic and antique vehicles across the country. The average car shipping cost on an open trailer is $710 while that of enclosed trailer is $1135.

Car shipping cost across the country is highly dependent on the season. Moving a car across the country during summer is more expensive and is termed as the peak season. This is because a lot of people are more likely to travel or move. Majority of the snowbirds move to warmer areas like Florida, Arizona or Texas. Shipping a car across the country during winter will take longer due to the harsh weather thus being more expensive. There’s also fewer drivers working thus causing delays.

Just like most services, the bigger the size, the more the cost. Car transport is no different. Transporting a car across the country through a distance of 150 miles for example, will cost an average of $330 on an open trailer while an SUV will cost $360 on the same trailer and distance. The price changes because a bigger vehicle will occupy more space thus limiting the number of vehicles a carrier can transport at a time.

However, it’s the weight that matters as the drivers always try to get near capacity in weight for an effectively paying route. A larger vehicle’s weight is more which increases mileage and fuel consumption.

The roads between the pick up point and drop off location influence the cost of shipping a car across the country. High traffic and road closures might cost you more and vice versa. Looking for an experienced cross country car shipping company like Autotransport.com will save you some money.

This is because they’re familiar with the fastest and most convenient routes. Routes leading to cities such as Atlanta, San Francisco, New York city and Manhattan for example are off-limits. This is because;

If you need your car delivered in these cities, it’s dropped off at a local terminal for you to pick up or have your local company make the delivery at an additional cost.

Transporting vehicles to and from rural areas costs more than in big cities. This is because it takes more time. Majority of the cities are auto transport terminals thus costing less. However, transporting a car across the country far from the city through a less popular route will cost more. The driver might have a hard time maneuvering the truck to your drop off location which is a common issue with door to door car transport.

This explains why door to door car transport is more expensive than terminal to terminal. The further the drop off location is from the main highway, the more you pay.

If you urgently need to transport a car across the country, you will have to pay more so that the carrier can transport your car as soon as possible. Finding a cross country car shipping company with resources and manpower will make it easy for you to transport a car across the country urgently.

Transporting a car that’s in a good condition is cheaper than transporting one that’s not. If your car can’t be driven into a trailer during the loading process, you will pay more because the car shipping company will end up using resources such as cranes to load it and extra battery packs to jumpstart it.

Also, the drivers will have to maintain winches to load it back and forth while they deliver other vehicles around while in route.

Cross-Country Car Transport FAQs

Cross country vehicle transport is a service of moving cars from state to state or city to city. The cost of cross country car transport and time taken varies depending on the distance and the other factors discussed above.

The cost to move a car across the country is about $580 for 300 miles for short distances. For medium distances, it's about $900 for 1000 miles and $850 for 1500 miles when it comes to long distances. The cost varies depending on the size of the vehicle as well as some of the other factors previously discussed.

Using an open trailer is one of the cheapest ways to ship a car across the country. This is because open trailers transport multiple vehicles thus saving the carrier fuel costs. You may also save some money by shipping a car across the country during the cheapest seasons. Terminal to terminal is cheaper than door to door cross country car transport.

Drivers are allowed to drive 11 hours a day which is about 500 to 650 miles. Therefore, the time taken to transport a car across a country depends on the distance to be covered between the pick up and drop off location, how much the drivers are stopping and how fast they’re driving. Factors such as the weather and traffic also affect the time taken. Harsh weather conditions and high traffic will slow down the car shipping process.

After deciding where you want to transport your car to or from, you should determine the pick up and drop off dates. The next step should be finding a professional cross country car transport company. The reviews left by the previous customers should help you decide whether to work with them or not. If you like the company, get a quote and book your order. Your car will be picked up on the given date.

Shipping a Car Across Country

When you want to move a car across the country, you can either choose to have it shipped by a professional cross country car shipping company or drive it yourself. Below we will discuss the pros and cons of each option;

Pros of Shipping a Car
Across Country

1. Safety

Using a reliable cross country car shipping company saves your car from any possible accidents and breakdowns. Driving a car for long distances increases the probability of breaking down.

2. Convenience

Leaving the burden of moving your car across the country to a professional saves you a lot of headache and time. This is because they will take care of your car from the beginning to the end.

3. Miles

You don’t want to put 3000 miles on your car and especially if it’s a lease. Going over your allocated miles on a lease can incur charges up to 0.30 cents a mile on average. Common allocated lease miles are around 12,000 miles per year.

Cons of Shipping a Car Across the Country

1. Tardy Drivers

Shipping a car doesn’t always go as planned and can be late due to unavoidable circumstances. Sometimes drivers have to deliver multiple cars which causes delays. Weather conditions and traffic could also lead to late deliveries.

2. Stress

You might hire a carrier who will make you go through a string of agents and pay additional fees before your car is shipped. To avoid this hassle, do a thorough research about the company you hire and their procedures.

" Tip #5. Choose a company that provides a dedicated specialist to handle your entire move. "

Pros of Driving a Car Across the Country

1. Road Trip

Driving your car across the country will allow you to enjoy the scenery along the way or even stop at famous tourist attractions.

2. Freedom

You have the freedom of shipping your personal belongings with you or even a pet unlike the shipping companies that have a weight limit. (P.S, we’ve arranged dogs to ride with drivers too).

Cons of Driving a Car Across the Country

1. Wear and Tear

Driving your car for long distances will have a significant effect on your car mileage. This will reduce the value of your car or make it breakdown in the middle of your journey.

2. Cost

Driving a car might seem shipper than having it shipped. However, when you accumulate the lodging, gas, miscellaneous and the cost of having your car fixed incase it breaks down, it surpasses the shipping cost.

3. Accidents

Driving a car across the country makes the possibility of having an accident much higher than when your car is on a trailer, you might lose it within a blink of a second when driving it, but more importantly your well being, this is a common factor when shipping childrens or new drivers cars across country.

Cost of Shipping a Car from One State to Another

The cost of transporting a car from one state to another varies depending on factors such as;

Below we will discuss some of the most common and seasonal state to state routes;

How to Ship a Car From Florida to Washington

Once you’ve set dates of when you would like to have your car shipped, contact local or reputable car shipping companies. Provide them with your trip details. That should be where your car is to be shipped from and to, dates and details about your car.

You will then receive an estimate from that company as well as a few others if you’d like to make sure you’re paying a fair amount. Make sure to consider the distance in miles, as well as season as we discussed in previous sections. The distance from Florida to Washington is about 3063 miles.

It takes about 5 to 7 days to transport a car from the pick up location in Florida to the given drop off location in Washington. Highway I-90W is the shortest and most convenient when shipping a car from Florida to Washington.

washing traffic map auto transport
How to Ship a Car from Florida to New York

This is the most common route for car shipping services. Shipping a car north east to south east can be easy. However, this is highly dependent on the season you’re moving. On a regular time of year, it can get picked up within 48 hours. However, during the snowbird season, you may experience delays and be able to get a break on the price or it will be a high market price due to the demand of those migrating north/south due to the winter.

From your pick up point in Florida to the drop off location in New York, it takes 1 to 3 days to deliver your car. Florida to New York is about 1148 miles and the most convenient highway to use is I-95 N depending on other stops from the driver.

How to Ship a Car from New York To California

This is one of the common routes with lots of drivers. We suggest that you plan your trip at least 1 week ahead of time so that you can get the luxury services of having “Team Drivers”. Team drivers ultimately means that your vehicle can be delivered in as little as 3 days. That's because there can be 2 drivers in the truck at the same time.

One driving and one sleeping, exchanging seats all week long. The distance between the center of New York and the center of California is 2915 miles and the most convenient highway to use is I-80 W. Shipping a vehicle from New York to California takes 3 days from the time of the pick up.

How to Ship a Car From Texas to North Dakota

Shipping a car directly south/north in the middle of the U.S can be tricky. This is because most of the drivers like to travel back and forth from west and east. However, there are still some drivers. To ensure that you get a spot, you need to do the following;

1. Plan early: Given that drivers are harder to come by on this route, don’t wait until the last minute. Book early so that you can secure a spot.

2. Contact a Reputable Broker: Who does NOT ask for a deposit until your car is dispatched. This route may not be as easy as brokers think it would be and could be late. Paying early might limit your options.

3. Keep Your Schedule Open: Try to make the vehicle available for pickup for at least 7 to 10 days for more chances of landing a driver as opposed to turning them away early. You might be lucky and have your car shipped early or a later date due to delay.

The distance between Texas and North Dakota is 1226 miles. From the time of picking up a car in Texas, it takes 2 days to deliver it in North Dakota. Highway US-83 N is the shortest and most reliable.

Tips for Shipping a Car Across Country

red 1976 el dorado classic on trailer for auto transport

1. Get Multiple Rates From Different Brokers.

Comparing different bids will help you settle for an affordable carrier. However, make sure to call these companies yourself for verified rates. Submitting your request online where you’re provided with estimates isn’t enough. Remember, cheap is expensive. Reputable cross country car shipping companies should offer a similar range of estimates.

2. Make Your Vehicle Available For Pickup Over 5 to 7 Days.

Avoid restricting your pickup date to one or 2 days. Having an open schedule makes the rate of your car being picked around that time higher. Shipping a car across the country doesn’t always go as planned which means delays are normal. Limiting your car pick up to a specific day means there’re less options to get it done.

3. Clean your car well before it leaves and remove any personal belongings.

This is to ensure that during the inspection, both you and the driver can see each damage and fill in the right information on the BOL form. This will also ensure your car doesn’t arrive dirty to an extent that you can’t see any potential damages. It will be dirty during delivery but not as bad. In case you need to transport your vehicle with a luggage inside, ask the car shipping company about the weight they allow. Majority of the car shipping companies allow 100lbs anything past that will have to be approved.

4. Research the company you use.

Reading reviews left by previous clients will help you decide whether to work with a company or not. Websites like the Better Business Bureau, TransportReviews.com and Google Reviews are best to verify the reputation of any company.

5. Choose a company that provides a dedicated specialist to handle your entire move.

Don’t settle for a company that will sell you services. You shouldn't go through a string of dispatchers to keep track of the progress. Requests and valuable information get lost when working with these kinds of companies. It should be one rep or no rep.

6. Request to become a certificate holder of the drivers insurance.

This is a very simple task that the carrier can do. It will save you lots of hassle if your car gets damaged. If you’re not a certificate holder, it will be up to the driver/carrier to place the insurance claim for you. If they don’t agree with you or refuse to pay, this can become a daunting task. Being a holder of their insurance means that you can file the claim yourself.

Cross Country Car Transport Statistics

In a year there are millions of cars shipped across the country by dealerships, people and businesses. In 2019 for example, for a fifth consecutive year, more than 17 million new vehicles were sold by automakers and needed to be transported to different parts of the country. In addition to that, there is a high number of people transporting their personal vehicles to different parts of the country for vacations or when moving. Car auctions such as COPART sell more than 1 million used vehicles in a year.

Majority of them need to be shipped to their owners. Given that this is just a single car auction and there are more than 135 of them in the country, it means there are millions of cars shipped from auctions to different parts of the country in a single year. In short, there are a total of more than 120 million new and used cars shipped across the country in a year. 

In a day, there’s an average of about 320,000 vehicles being shipped across the country. This includes new vehicles being shipped to dealerships, businesses, new owners, used vehicles from car auctions and other dealerships as well as personal vehicles.

Regardless of whether they are shipped using open or enclosed trailers, it’s correct to say that there are thousands of trailers shipping vehicles across the country every day.

The vehicle shipping industry in the US has been very vibrant in the past 5 years. Currently, it’s estimated to be worth more than $10bn. With more than 4000 car shipping companies, it has created employment for more than 50,000 people.

Due to a boom in the vehicle manufacturing industry, the vehicle transport industry will continue to expand as people, dealerships and businesses transport their new and used vehicles. In 2019 alone, a total of more than $460 billion was spent on new cars. This was $8.4 billion more than the previous year.

Our Recommendation

For successful cross-country car transport, make a point of hiring a reputable and experienced cross country car shipping company. They should offer you a specialist fully dedicated to your shipment until it's delivered. This way, you can communicate easily.

Autotransport.com for example will serve you with the professionalism of an industry leader. It’s a cross country car shipping company with resources and knowledge to ensure your car gets to the destination of your choice safely and on time.

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