Car Transport Quotes and Services Guide
Our site connects customers with the leading providers to ship a car across the country. We help you choose reliable service from the top rated national companies in the industry.
Table of Contents
- How to Choose The Best Car Transport Company
- What's Included in Every Quote
- What is Car Transport?
- How are Vehicles Transported?
- About Insurance and Licenses
- How does the Car Shipping Industry Work?
- How Rates are Determined
- How to Prepare a Vehicle for Shipment
- Rate and review your vehicle shipping service easy
How to Choose The Best Car Transport Company
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Highest rated companies
Our quote engine matches you with the highest rated car shipping companies not just on our site, but also on Google, Yelp, BBB, Trust pilot and more.
Both Local and National car shipping companies that service any area within the Continental United States.
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Top rated companies
What's Included in Every Quote
What is Car Transport?
Simply relocating a vehicle from one city to another. People that purchased their car online, are moving to a new city perhaps for a new career, or dealerships that are adding vehicles to their inventory often hire a service to move their vehicles. Vehicles are most commonly transported by specialized vehicle carriers across the country.
How are Vehicles Transported?
Open Car Carriers
Open is the most common and economical choice for moving vehicles. It's the industry standard. It's hard not to notice open car carriers on the highways and roads in general daily.
Enclosed Car Carriers
Enclosed is for added protection from the elements (dust, pollution, weather, debris etc.) during transit. Vehicles are loaded onto enclosed hard or soft sided trailers. That added protection comes at an additional cost typically starting around $200 extra. So this option is usually reserved for luxury, exotic, or classic collector vehicles.
An individual is hired to drive your vehicle to the destination. Most people don't want the extra mileage put on their vehicle so this option isn't common.
This is the most uncommon option. It's expensive, and just not practical for most customers.
Read more information on how to ship a car.
About Insurance and Licenses
All car shipping conpanies are required by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to carry $100,000 in insurance to protect your vehicle should any damage occur. Companies cannot operate, or access the central online load board without insurance. This is signified by an active MC Number. You can verify a companies insurance status by looking up their details by Company Name or MC Number by visiting the FMCSA Safer Web - Company Snapshot Search Tool. Beware of companies that display a "pending insurance cancellation," or "NOT AUTHORIZED" Operating Status.
How does the Car Shipping Industry Work?
There's a few moving parts in the industry. Mainly there's brokers and carriers. Here's a breakdown for Car Shipping: How it Works.
Auto Transport Broker
99% of companies you initially deal with are Brokerages/Phone rooms. They handle customer service answering any questions or concerns you may have. Brokers connect you with carriers to pickup your vehicle via an online dispatch board which is only accessible to licensed and insured brokers, carriers, and dealerships. They also negotiate with carriers to get the best price to move your vehicle.
99% of carriers are independently owned and operated. They are small mom and pop operations that physically haul vehicles. Most carriers operate specific routes so they can't effectively target advertise to customers that need to move vehicles along their routes. Furthermore drivers don't have time to handle customer service and sales. So they rely on third party brokers to get customers and handle customer service. At most they have a dispatch agent to coordinate your pickup and delivery with their truck driver(s).
The few large all-in-one broker/carrier operations that do operate a fleet still don't service every location, and rely on independent carriers thus end up brokering shipments as well. Furthermore they are the highest priced.
How Rates are Determined
The way rates are determined is similar to an auction in a lot of ways. Often times the car that gets moved first is "the highest bidder." So How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?
Overall, rates vary and fluctuate based on factors such as:
- Weight of vehicle
- Length of vehicle
- Current fuel rates
- Season (Winter is typically highest)
- If vehicle is operational or not
- What other customers are willing to pay.
A carrier has room for one more vehicle on their route. For the next pickup on the way they have (2) vehicles waiting. They more often than not will choose the customer that posted their vehicle for the highest amount. The customer that posted their vehicle for less will have to wait for the next trucker, and so on. It's a game of cat and mouse in that regard. An experienced broker that has built strong partnerships within their carrier network can negotiate the best price for shipping your vehicle.
How to Prepare a Vehicle for Shipment
Here's several useful tips for shipping a car.
Take photos of your vehicle to use as evidence should any damage occur during transit.
Items in the vehicle
Items may shift during transit and result in damage. The carrier will not be liable for any such damages. It's best to clear out or secure any loose items in the vehicle.
Disable any alarm systems and provide instructions to the carrier for operation if needed.
Inflate tires to recommended pressure levels for safe loading and unloading.
1/4 tank is recommended for transit. Don't fill the tank.
For protection, nake sure the vehicle has enough antifreeze if you are relocating the vehicle from a warm to cold climate.
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