How to Calculate the Cost of Shipping a Car?

How to Calculate the Cost of Shipping a Car?

Whether you've purchased a vehicle at auction or are in the midst of a cross country move, auto shipping proves a godsend. It saves on gas, lodging, food, and other expenses related to driving the vehicle yourself. 

It's also the much safer option. After all, there are, on average, six million car accidents in the US each year.

That's approximately 16,348 crashes every day! Spending a week nonstop driving in your vehicle exponentially increases your odds of being in an incident.

But how much does car shipping cost? A car shipping calculator can provide you with an instant, no-obligation quote. Here's what you need to know about what goes into the quote. 

Car Shipping Calculator 101: What Goes into a Quote?

Like everything else in life, car shipping comes with a variety of options. For example, the following car shipping services will impact the final price:

  • Terminal-to-terminal shipping
  • Door-to-door transport
  • Expedited car shipping
  • Enclosed auto transport
  • Open auto transport

For most vehicles, door-to-door transport is a must. After all, do you really want long drives to and from terminals? What's more, terminal-to-terminal transport, while cheaper, means leaving your automobile in storage.

Terminal-to-Terminal Versus Door-to-Door Shipping

Storage at a terminal can add up quickly, resulting in fees not factored into your original quote. It also means having your car on-loaded and off-loaded from multiple trailers and trusting the car's safety in a facility without 24/7 security.

Most people say, "No, thank you!" to such a proposition and with good reason. That said, you'll pay more for door-to-door service.

But you'll also rest assured your car stays on the same trailer throughout the trip. Your driver will meet you in convenient locations for pickup and delivery. These locations are typically as close as possible to residential addresses that you provide. 

That means no storage fees, long trips to terminals, or concerns about theft along the way. 

Expedited Car Shipping

Besides door-to-door shipping, other options that can impact how much you'll pay include expedited car shipping. While we highly recommend having plenty of lead time when it comes to arranging car shipping, it isn't always possible.

For example, you might win a car at auction you didn't think you had a shot at. Or, you might be a military family whose next deployment gets moved up by three weeks. Fortunately, the best car shipping companies offer last-minute car transport. 

An excellent company can begin the service within 24 to 48 hours from the time you place an order. You'll pay more for rush service, but it's worth it if you must move a vehicle quickly. 

Enclosed Auto Transport 

Other options you'll need to weigh carefully when it comes to how much you pay for car transport include the type of hauler you choose.

Let's go back to the auction scenario for a moment. You've just unexpectedly purchased a shiny 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, complete with a plaid interior. The vehicle's in tremendous condition.

Now, how do you get it home safely? A cross country drive is not only impractical but would lead to the kind of wear and tear that makes your stomach queasy. What's more, the Mercedes is largely untested, so driving it makes no practical sense. 

As for transportation, do you want to leave your new convertible in an open car hauler? While this approach is satisfactory for a daily driver, condemning your auction prize to the elements, road grime, and gravel kicked up on the road isn't an option.

As a result, your only reasonable choice remains an enclosed carrier. An enclosed trailer will protect your car from dirt, debris, weather, and more. You'll pay for this less common form of car transportation, but getting your ride home in one gorgeous piece will prove well worth it.

Open Auto Transport

As for open auto transport? It remains the most affordable way to go. What's more, you'll enjoy flexibility when it comes to scheduling pickup and delivery. 

Approximately 90 percent of car transport services use open trailers. So, opting for this service comes with the best coverage, the cheapest rates, and the highest number of scheduling options.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car?

Now that you've gained some familiarity with the choices available to you, let's talk numbers. The average cost of shipping a car using an auto transport company is $2.92 per mile when the trip is less than 200 miles.

For trips of 1,000 miles or more, the cost drops significantly to an average of $0.78 per mile. Of course, these prices are just averages. How much you ultimately pay will depend on the auto transport service type you choose and:

  • The distance
  • The vehicle length
  • The vehicle height
  • The vehicle make and model
  • The condition of the vehicle
  • Pickup and delivery locations
  • Seasonal considerations

Although you'll generally pay less for shorter car shipping hauls, it'll cost more per mile. This figure correlates to the amount of fuel used to transport your car.

As for your vehicle's height and weight, expect to pay more when shipping bigger automobiles. For example, sedans are more affordable to haul than SUVs due to key dimensional differences.

Your car's make, model, and condition also present unique components of the final price. Again, much of this relates to the size of your automobile. In terms of condition, remember that you'll pay more for a vehicle that's non-running. 

Shipping to rural areas usually costs more than shipping to urban centers. Why? Because adding a rural stop to a shipping lane is both expensive and challenging. 

As for seasonal considerations, weather events and road conditions make winter car transport more difficult and expensive. After all, ice and snow impact typical trucking lanes. This fact, in turn, comes with higher rates. 

Now that you've got a better understanding of your options, use this car shipping calculator for an instant, no-obligation quote. 

The Cost of Car Shipping Demystified

Many considerations go into the final price you'll pay to move a vehicle. Fortunately, an excellent car shipping calculator takes all of these into account, providing you with an accurate shipping quote. No more guesswork needed!

Of course, there's a caveat to all of this. Never work with a shipping company that demands a deposit before they provide you with a quote. And always inquire about what's included with a quote to avoid nasty surprises later.

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