How Much Does It Really Cost to Ship a Car?

The average cost to ship a car in the US is about $1.17 per mile. However, averages aren’t always the most useful indicator of what you can expect to pay.

Car shipping prices will vary based on factors like location. Plus, there are a variety of choices you can make when choosing your car shipping service that will lead to an increase or decrease in price.

Today, we’re going to take a look at the factors that do impact car shipping prices, what to look for, and warning signs that you should find a different service.

Read on to find out more about what it really costs to ship a car in 2023.

Factors That Affect Car Shipping Costs

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much it costs to ship a car. It’s often more useful to understand the factors that affect car shipping costs and how they relate to your own situation. This will help you to make a more informed choice when it’s time to pick your vehicle shipping services.

Vehicle Size

The size of your vehicle will correspond with the price per mile you have to pay to ship it. Smaller cars weigh less and take up less space, making it easy for carriers to transport more vehicles. The more vehicles the carrier can transport, the less they’ll charge you per mile.

On the flip side, larger vehicles cost more to ship. Larger vehicles include SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks.

Time of Year

When a carrier is in high demand, it tends to drive up prices. Popular car shipping times align with popular moving times, which fall in the late spring and summer months.

That said, winter isn’t always cheaper for car shipping. If the carrier has to transport cars through regions with snow, ice, and other inclement weather patterns, you can expect an increase in costs. You may also need to prepare for the possibility of delays.

Shipping Distance

As you’d expect, you’re going to pay more if you’re moving to another state versus shipping your car from one town to another within state lines. The farther the distance, the higher the total price.

However, some long-distance services come with a discounted per-mile rate. The more time a carrier can spend on highways, especially after receiving proper training at a driving school, the more ground they can cover per day, which tends to cost less per mile. On the contrary, if the drive involves passing through several metropolitan areas, you won’t see that same discounted rate because the trip is slower and more tedious.

Type of Carrier

There are two main types of carriers that you can choose from when shipping a car. One is the open carrier, in which cars are strapped to an open bed. The other is an enclosed carrier, in which cars are held in an enclosed trailer.

Open carriers can transport more vehicles at a time and cost less money as a result. However, they won’t protect your car from the elements. If you have a luxury or classic car, you should consider paying more for enclosed transportation so that your car has more protection.

Time Frame

When you sign up for car shipping services, you’ll receive an estimated time frame. This time frame represents the number of days between pickup and dropoff that you can expect, assuming there are no unexpected delays.

If you opt for standard shipping, you won’t see any increase in price. However, rushed shipping can cost a minimum of $200 more because it requires drivers to spend longer hours on the road.

Car Conditions

If your car is currently inoperable, you’ll have to pay more for shipping. This is because it’s harder to load and unload your car from the carrier. You may want to see if the cost to repair your car is lower than the price increase that comes with shipping an inoperable car.

The Most Affordable Way to Ship a Car

If you’re working with a tight budget, you may be wondering how to ship your car for the lowest cost possible. There are a few choices that you can make and avenues you can pursue to get a lower price.

For starters, you may want to select a terminal-to-terminal option. This means that rather than someone coming and picking up your car and dropping it off at your new home, you are responsible for getting it to and from the carrier terminal.

You can also skip any of the added services that raise the price of car shipping. Select an open carrier and standard shipping times.

Finally, you may be able to find a discount. For example, some car shipping services offer military discounts, student discounts, and senior discounts. You can also ask if they offer first-time discounts or discounts for return customers, depending on which of these apply to you.

Avoiding Scams and Red Flags

Avoiding car shipping scams is crucial in the digital age. Anyone can build a website claiming they offer a service they don’t. Never give your money to a company if you’re not certain that it exists.

You should also avoid car shipping companies that make promises that sound too good to be true. For example, if one shipping service is offering prices well below your local average, consider it a sign that their services are subpar. While you don’t need to go with the most expensive choice to get good service, extremely low prices are a red flag.

Don’t Get Ripped Off When Shipping a Car

If you need to ship a car, use this guide to make sure that you get the best price for your needs and your budget. Don’t get ripped off by paying more than you need or falling for a scam. Looking for more travel tips that will prepare you for this next big chapter? Take a look at our travel content to stay on top of industry trends.

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