How to Compare Car Transport Prices & Why It’s Important


Hiring a car transport agency to transport your vehicle domestically can be a great investment and make your life a lot easier. There are several topics that you are going to want to address before committing to vehicle transport. 

One of the most important topics that you are probably going to be worried about is the pricing comparison between various vehicle transport agencies. You are going to have an opportunity to learn some of the different ways that you can compare vehicle transport prices and make a decision that is within your budget. 

Compare the Cost of Car Shipping Options

Most people that are planning on shipping their car are probably looking for different pricing quotes before making a decision. The good news is that most vehicle shipping agencies are willing to provide customers with quotes and estimated pricing before an order is placed. 

You might still be wondering exactly how the pricing system works. While every car shipping agency is different, most companies will supply the customer with a mileage rate that can vary depending on the overall shipping distance. This information is sometimes supplemented with an overall estimated cost as well. 

Once you receive this information from a car transport agency, you should keep that pricing quote and reach out to other car transport agencies to see how the pricing compares. Talk to a couple of the car shipping companies that you are considering using. 

You should then have enough pricing information from each of them to understand how much each company is going to charge you to have your vehicle shipped to the desired destination. 

You should always spend a little time reaching out to different vehicle shipping companies to get the best pricing that is available. You could be missing out on the ability to save money if you don’t follow through with this process. 

Comparing Car Transport Pricing While Factoring in Quality, Reputation, and Value

having a car transported

Let’s imagine the scenario where you spend time reaching out to three different car shipping companies to see how much it is going to cost. Let’s assume that the first two companies supply you with a similar pricing quote, while the third company offers you a pricing quote that is 33% cheaper. 

That might seem a little bit suspicious. Why are the first two companies offering the same price and the third company is offering you such a significant discount? This is a great question and it shouldn’t be ignored under any circumstance. There are a few different possibilities and it is important that you understand the risks.

It is possible that the reputation of the third car shipping company is not as good as you would have hoped. Maybe accidents are common with this particular service or customer service is bad. It could be any combination of things. But you should conduct some research to make sure that this discounted company is not struggling to maintain its reputation.

Another possibility is that there are hidden fees that aren’t discussed initially. They could be trying to trick you into signing an agreement with them without revealing some hidden service fees. This is a dangerous practice that sometimes occurs in various industries. You should always ask about hidden fees when reaching out for an initial pricing estimate. 

The final possibility is that the discount is genuine and there are no hidden fees to worry about. This is probably the least likely possibility, but sometimes car shipping agencies are capable of offering cheaper services during promotional events or other special times throughout the year.

You will want to try and balance out the service quality, brand reputation, and overall value to the best of your ability when attempting to select a car shipping provider that is capable of transporting your vehicle to your desired destination. 

Other Important Factors to Consider When Comparing Auto Transport Pricing Quotes

shipping a car

Vehicle transport prices can depend on a lot of different factors. Some people may need their vehicle shipping to be expedited. An expedited vehicle shipping service is rare, but it can be arranged with many different vehicle shipping providers. 

You can expect additional service fees for expedited vehicle shipping. This is because it can cost a lot of additional money to have your vehicle receive priority handling during the vehicle shipping process. 

You will also have to consider the possibility of having your vehicle delivered to a vehicle delivery terminal. Terminal delivery is a little bit different than home delivery, but every agency has specific pricing for each shipping option. 

Some customers might have a preference for their vehicle shipping process, but not all car shipping companies offer both of these options. This is an important question to ask when initially reaching out to a car shipping agency. 

Enclosed Car Transport Hauler 

Many individuals that are planning on shipping a brand new car or some other form of a luxury car may consider utilizing an enclosed car shipping hauler instead of an exposed car shipping hauler. The enclosed hauler ensures that your vehicle is not exposed to the environment and nobody else will see your vehicle while it is being shipped.

Many customers may be willing to spend more money on their shipping service, especially if they know that their vehicle will be shipped and protected inside of an enclosed hauler. 

The bad news is that an enclosed car shipping hauler is more expensive with just about every single car shipping agency across the nation. Here is a list of some of the ideal vehicle types for enclosed car shipping haulers.

Ideal Vehicle Types for Enclosed Transport Haulers

  • Luxury Cars
  • Sports Cars
  • Race Cars (Stock Cars)
  • Specialty Cars
  • Military Vehicles
  • Limousines

There are a wide collection of vehicle types that are ideal for enclosed car shipping haulers. If you want to ensure that your vehicle has the maximum level of protection during car transport, then you should ask your preferred car shipping company about enclosed shipping services. 

Exposed Car Transport Carrier

An exposed car shipping carrier is the most common type of hauler that you will see on the road. These are extremely common haulers that are used by nearly every car shipping company across the nation. 

You won’t have to pay an additional service fee when attempting to use an exposed car shipping carrier for your car transport services.

Most vehicles can safely be shipped with exposed car haulers. As mentioned previously, if you are planning on shipping a luxury vehicle or sports car, then you might want to consider enclosed car haulers instead.

Comparing Car Shipping Cost Per Mile When Selecting an Auto Transport Company

Many car shipping agencies have specific mileage rates that vary depending on the overall shipping distance. Sometimes a car shipping company will provide a customer with a piece of paper that covers all of the different mileage rates that they have within their services.

Car shipping mileage rates typically go down significantly with longer shipping distances. For example, if you ship your vehicle 200 miles, you might pay $1.00 per mile. If you ship your vehicle 600 miles, you might pay $0.80 per mile.

Make sure to ask your car transport company about the mileage rates because it will help you gain a better understanding of how much your vehicle shipping services are going to cost. 

Comparing Car Transport Mileage Rates by Distance

In most scenarios, mileage rates are only affected by distance. There may be some instances where the type of vehicle that you ship can affect the mileage rate. The mileage rate can also change with expedited shipping or some other form of priority handling. 

It is always a good idea to reach out to a few different car transport companies to learn more about how they calculate their mileage rates. 

Comparing Auto Transport Mileage Rates by Hauler Type

A little bit earlier on, you had the opportunity to learn about the differences between an enclosed vehicle carrier and an exposed vehicle carrier. Some car shipping agencies may adjust their mileage rate depending on the type of hauler that is requested by the customer. 

In some cases, this can be a flat fee as well. Sometimes it depends on the type of vehicle that you plan on shipping as well as the overall distance that you expect to ship your vehicle. This is information that you are going to want to ask about when receiving a pricing quote. By asking about this initially, you are reducing the chances of running into unexpected costs later in the process. 

Tips for Getting the Best Mileage Rate when Comparing Car Transport Quotes

saving money on car shipping

The mileage rate will likely be the number that affects your final shipping costs the most. To get the best mileage rate, you are probably going to want to ensure that your vehicle is being shipped a long distance. 

Shorter distances can cost more per mile because it is less convenient for the shipping agency. That is why it might be a good idea to look for other ways to transport your vehicle instead of shipping it, especially if the distance is fairly short.

Medium and longer distances will be a little bit more appealing in terms of the mileage rate because car shipping companies can operate more efficiently with longer shipping distances. They pass on this ability to their customers by offering a much more generous mileage rate on longer shipping distances. 

General Tips for Getting the Best Mileage Rate 

  • Longer Distances Offer Better Mileage Rates
  • Ship Your Vehicle with an Exposed Car Carrier
  • Don’t Request Expedited Car Shipping
  • Ask About Promotional Offers and Discounts

By following the tips in this section, you are giving yourself the best chance of receiving the most generous mileage rate for car shipping services. You can reach out to various car shipping companies and ask about promotional offers and discounts that may be offered. You never know when you might be able to save a little bit of money while shipping your vehicle. 

Should You Ever Ship a Vehicle a Short Distance?

shipping a car across the country

Everyone might have slightly different circumstances when asking this question but the truth is that it can be extremely costly to ship your vehicle a short distance. Is it worth it for your specific scenario? That is a question that only you will be able to answer. 

If your vehicle is driveable then it may be possible for you to save money by not shipping the vehicle through a vehicle shipping agency. At the same time, if the vehicle is not driveable, you may not even have a choice. 

The mileage rates are higher for shorter distances because it is significantly less efficient for shipping companies to transport vehicles short distances. If you are only shipping a vehicle 100 miles, the car shipping agency will spend most of the time attaching the vehicle to the car hauler at the beginning of the process and removing the vehicle at the delivery point. 

This process takes a lot of time and there really if car shipping companies continuously received shipping requests for short distances, it would be nearly impossible to make a profit without significantly inflating their mileage rates.  

Most car shipping agencies address this topic by having a pricing system that adjusts automatically depending on the shipping distance. As mentioned previously, shipping a vehicle a short distance will cost significantly more per mile than it would cost to ship a vehicle a much longer distance. 

To address the initial question, it is possible to save money by driving your vehicle instead of shipping it, assuming that the distance is not very far. You can reach out to your specific car transport agency to learn more about how the pricing is affected by the shipping distance that you are requesting. Every company has a different mileage rate so that can play a significant factor in your decision as well. 

Why You Should Compare Car Shipping Rates?

ship a car cost

You should now have a reasonable understanding of the pricing systems that many car shipping companies use. You should also understand how pricing can go up depending on the types of vehicle haulers that may be available. 

Why is it important for you to compare car transport prices? Wouldn’t it be much easier and less stressful to simply ignore all of these factors? 

While it may be easier to completely ignore pricing and simply look for high-quality car transport services, many customers need to understand the estimated costs to help fit the car shipping costs into their budget. The last thing that any person wants to do is have their vehicle shipped and then not be able to afford it. 

By going out and reaching out to various car shipping providers, at least you will understand how the pricing varies based on the types of car shipping services that you are looking for. This process can help to prevent unexpected costs, as mentioned previously. 

It is highly recommended that everyone spends at least a little bit of time comparing the various services and prices before committing to any specific car shipping agency. This will allow you to have the confidence that your vehicle will be shipped correctly and for a cost that was previously agreed upon by all parties involved. 

Comparing Car Transport Prices by Shipping Route

ship a car from state to state

This might be one of the most important topics that will be covered in this post. The shipping route can significantly affect car transport prices, especially if you are using a car transport company that receives a lot of shipping requests for a specific route

For example, let’s imagine that you are planning on using a car transport company that has a lot of shipping requests with destinations along the Interstate-10 Freeway. That shipping route may be more common with a specific shipping agency and therefore it may be more affordable and efficient with that specific shipping provider. 

Other shipping providers may not receive as many shipping requests for destinations along the Interstate-10 Freeway, therefore it may not be as affordable because it is a less popular route. 

You can compare different car transport prices based on the specific shipping routes and destinations that you expect to be used throughout the shipping process.

Choosing the Best Delivery Dates When Comparing Car Transport Rates

cheapest way to ship a car

Some shipping providers for vehicle transport may adjust their prices if certain delivery dates are super-busy. This is generally most common during the holiday season. It might be more expensive to transport your vehicle with some car transport companies around the holidays because there is simply more demand at that time of year. 

If there are not enough haulers and drivers to fulfill the shipping requests, then prices go up and delivery times slow down significantly. It might be a good idea to avoid busy times of the year because it can cause the shipping prices to skyrocket with many car transport companies. 

Holiday Season

The holiday season is typically really busy, especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. People are constantly traveling around the holiday season which means there are more people also shipping their vehicles to their desired destination for an extended vacation.

It can be challenging to find an affordable car transport company during the holiday season that can guarantee your vehicle will be shipped at a specific date or time. You should factor this into your planning if you expect to ship your vehicle around the holiday season. 

Delivery Dates

Some car transport companies will allow customers to select a specific date and time for vehicle pickup and delivery. Dates and times can be more expensive if you are extremely specific. If you are more flexible with your delivery time and date, some car transport companies will offer a slight discount in exchange for the added flexibility. 

Most car transport companies will work with you to make sure that your vehicle is picked up and delivered within the range of dates that you request. It doesn’t hurt to conduct some research and read previous customer reviews to see how reliable that specific car transport company really is. 

Expedited Shipping

Expedited shipping is a concept that has come up several times within this post. Some people might have a vehicle-related emergency and they might need their vehicle shipped as soon as possible to a specific destination.

If this is the case, you might be able to work with a car transport company to have your vehicle shipped with priority and expedited handling. You should expect the costs to be significantly higher if you require your vehicle to be shipped under these circumstances.

Some car transport companies might be slightly more affordable when offering expedited shipping services, but it ultimately depends on a large collection of factors. 

You should evaluate your circumstances to see if priority shipping is right for you. If you are lucky, you might even be able to get a great deal on your expedited shipping request. 

Comparing Quotes to Get a Great Deal on Shipping Your Vehicle

best car shipping company

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to learn about car transport prices across a wide collection of circumstances, you should have a much better understanding of what to expect when having your vehicle shipped through a reliable car transport agency.

Always be sure to conduct an appropriate amount of research before having your vehicle shipped. You want to make sure that you have all of the necessary information before you transport your vehicle. You should understand the mileage rates, shipping costs, delivery times, and any other similar information about your shipping request. 

It might be a good idea to compare shipping quotes from multiple agencies before finalizing a decision of which provider you want to use. Some shipping companies have higher service qualities and reputations, so that will have an impact on the shipping quotes in most cases.  

It can be stressful and tedious to compare car transport prices, but it is necessary to make sure you can confidently ship your vehicle with all of the details that you need. Without this information, you are allowing for many different possibilities that could turn out in a negative way. 


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