How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car

Auto Transport Tips & Tricks
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Publish: 04.03.2019

Shipping a car would literally mean transporting your car by a ship. However for a car shipping company car shipping would mean transporting car from the place of origin to the desired destination through the safest and cost effective means of transportation available on the routes. Shipping a car may several times require a mix of transportation modes rather than one single transportation mode.

The modes of transportation include roadways, railways, waterways and airways. Waterways can provide a cost effective and reliable means of transportation. Domestic and commercial transportation often include waterways transportation in their transportation planning. Waterways can be used as a major means of transport depending upon the waterways infrastructure.

Waterways are also often used as a means of transportation in the entire transportation planning mix. Working out the transportation problem is simple for domestic cars. Working out commercial car transportation cost is a more intricate exercise. Commercial vehicles transportation costs may make use of transportation costing models and software.

There is always a list of concerns whenever we decide to ship our cars. The cost is one of the main causes of concerns. It is no secret that the cost of shipping is not exactly cheap. Therefore, it is natural to worry a little.

However, we advise you not to worry, as we will discuss some key elements in this article to make sure that you are able to understand the factors that determine true cost to ship a car. You will be able to make a well-informed decision in choosing the shipping company.

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    Factors Affecting the Cost to Ship a Car

    Shipping Options

    Auto-shipping companies offer a variety of options  to their customers for shipping their cars. You have two choices for shipping your car, you can choose carriers, or you can choose brokers to do all the work for you. Brokers get the job done for you quickly and efficiently and you won’t be involved in any hassles. However, you would not have a lot of information regarding the transportation process. Carriers on the other hand will simply take care of loading your vehicle and transporting it to your desired destination.

    Following are the options to ship a car that people most commonly use:

    1. Terminal to Terminal

    In this option, you will have to drop your car at a storage facility that is nearby. You will then receive your car from a storage that is close to your destination.

    2. Door to Door

    This option is extremely convenient as theu auto shipping company comes to you for receiving the car.  Alternatively, you can also select a location of your choice as well.

    3. The place of origin and destination

    The cost of shipping a car also depends upon the place of origin and destination. The local factors like local transportation, local /regional tolls and taxes are taken into account as well. Some places have learnt how to use waterways and the entire transportation back and front channels leading to the waterways are geared to provide easy and smooth access to waterways transport. In other places back and forth channels leading to the seas may still be under a development process. Places with developed channels have low associated transportation cost due to ease of transportation. The currency exchange rates at the origin and destination place also affect the car transportation cost.

    4. Enclosed Transport

    The enclosed transport option makes sure that your car is safe from outside elements that might damage your care. The effects of the elements of nature, including storm, strong winds, rains, and snowfall are minimal with this transport option. Most companies usually use a metal container for protecting the cars that are being shipped in enclosed transport. Classic and high-end vehicles that require some extra protection greatly benefit from this option. The cost to ship a car for enclosed transport is remarkably high.

    5. Open Transport

    This is one of the most economical ways to transport your car. However, it might not be the safest, as your car is openly transported and will be exposed to outside elements that have the tendency to damage it. Open transportation is cheap; however, it would be advisable not to transport classic or high-end vehicles through this method.

    6. Operable Method

    The operable method is considerably easy and cheap, as the shippers simply have to drive your car into the carrier in order to load or unload it.

    7. Inoperable Method

    The cost to ship a car increases significantly in the inoperable method, as special equipment is required to load the vehicle onto the truck. This method is used when the vehicle is inoperable (cannot be driven). The shipping cost in this option also increases because of the equipments involved and the added time. The terminal-to-terminal option to ship a car is relatively cheaper  than the door-to-door option. The reason for this is because the drop off and pick up locations in the door-to-door service varies all the time. There is additional driving time as well. Keep in mind that you might have to pay some extra money to the company if they need to load your car manually on the delivery truck.

    8. Distance

    The travelling distance is another key factor that is important for determining the cost to ship a car. The longer the distance your car travels, the higher the cost of shipping your car will be. $50 is the average transportation cost for every 100 miles. This is not an exact figure and it varies from company to company. Shipping companies may exercise flat and variable distance rates. The car shipping cost calculator of shipping company factors in the distance while calculating the cost to ship cars. The shipping distance is factored in distance per unit time like km/hr or miles/hr. The average cost of transportation per hour depends upon the prevailing fuel prices. The shipping distance associated cost can be minimized by shipping company if the shipping company uses cost effective fuels that are environmental friendly as well. You might have to pay extra money to the companies if your pickup and drop off locations are in remote areas where there isn’t a lot of transport activity.

    9. Transport facilities and security

    Water ways are also equipped with facilities like stop ports, docking, hangar, lighthouses, just as roadways have facilities of traffic control, stop points, police points, fuel points and repair and maintenance booths among other facilities. Waterways equipped with facilities are associated with low risks. Car shipping companies may charge lesser transportation rates over well developed transportation routes.

    An example of well equipped water ways transport system is that of Nigeria. People of Nigeria have been using waterways as a major means of transportation since early times. In present day Nigeria waterways is a well developed industry. The Association of Licensed Maritime Academy of Nigeria extends functional support to the shipping companies for the smooth and secure transportation of goods and people through the Nigerian waters.

    10. Type of Vehicle

    The cost to ship a car also largely varies depending on the type of vehicle you have. Let us use sedans as an example. 650 to 850 dollars is the average rate of shipping a sedan from Florida to New York. However, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs travelling at the same distance will have shipping fees between 800 to 1100 dollars.

    11. Delivery Time

    You will have to pay a considerably larger sum of money if you are not flexible with the timing of the delivery and need it to arrive in a short amount of time. The general window of time that most shipping companies provide to their customers is 3 to 4 days. For an additional fee, most shipping companies will keep your vehicle inside their facility. 300 to 500 dollars is the additional fee that shipping companies generally ask for if you want the shipping to be quick.

    12. Insurance

    Established shipping companies get the car(s) under transit insured through reliable insurance provider at nominal costs. The insurance premium for car transit depends upon the value of car(s) quoted by the car owner. The insurance premium is charged as a small percentage of the quoted value of car(s).
    Shipping companies that are well reputed always make sure that their quote includes insurance. You should always find out if the insurance is secondary or primary to your insurance. Additionally, you should also ask your personal insurance company whether they cover any damage during shipping. It would be wise to take all of your belongings outside the vehicle. The reason behind this is because car insurance policies do not cover personal belongings that are present inside your car. It would also be advisable for you to make sure that you maintain copies of paperwork related to the insurance in case an accident occurs.

    13. Discounts

    You might be able to get a discount if you plan to ship a fleet of cars. Make sure that you discuss it with the shipping company, as most of them do not advertise about these discounts openly.


    This article discusses factors involved in the cost to ship a car in comprehensive detail. The options for shipping, delivery time, insurance and type of vehicle are among the most important factors that decide the true cost of shipping a vehicle.

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