5 Surefire Steps to Save on Car Shipping

Save on Car Shipping With These 5 Surefire Steps


Car shipping can be a pricey business, but it doesn’t have to cost you. Learn the right ways to separate necessary outlay from expensive regrets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Timing is a critical element when calculating cost
  • Savings depend on numerous customer and carrier-specific factors
  • Sacrificing some convenience can benefit you financially
  • Working with an experienced auto transport broker saves time and money


Budgeting for car shipping services can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time transporting a vehicle. There’s a lot to consider logistically, and every new mile can seem to add dollars to an already big bill. The reality is that calculating for all your unique variables, combined with some industry know-how, can be your road to significant savings.

Five principal factors dictate the best ways you can save on auto transport expenses. This guide will walk you through everything you should consider so you can ship your vehicle with cash-saving confidence.

1. Weigh up different transport options

Auto carriers typically fall into one of three categories: flatbed, open, and enclosed trailers. Each has pros and cons to consider. Enclosed carriers are more expensive and offer one, two, or up to seven spaces. While slower than other carrier types, the higher price tag provides superior protection — a money-saver if it prevents costly damage to rare, antique, or luxury vehicles.

Standard models or used cars are better served by open carriers. These are the cheaper option due to lower operational costs and greater on-road numbers. On the downside, open carrier cons include longer wait times; higher elemental exposure; and greater risk of tampering, vandalism, or theft (more on mitigating those below).

Flatbed carriers are the most expensive option due to the unique cargo they haul. Vehicles such as motor homes, heavy pickups, tow trucks, and construction equipment are flatbed specialties. These carrier drivers are experts in on-road maneuvering, which helps prevent vehicle damage, but they’re a slow haul with little to no wriggle room on price if it’s your only option.

2. Consider the time factor

A comfortable preparation window is helpful when shipping a car, but sometimes you need to make a relatively sudden move. The first scenario saves money because you’ll have time to research auto transport companies and compare important data like safety records, job history, consumer reviews, and, of course, prices.

A situation requiring quick transport makes the time factor more stressful. It can also cause rushed and costly decisions driven by the need to just “get it done.” Hasty vehicle owners may end up choosing poorly qualified and unscrupulous carriers who will underperform and charge more because they know you’re in a hurry.

Time of year can be another cost-cutting factor. The seasons dictate how busy carriers will be, and winter months (excluding holidays) are typically cheaper for car shipping. The best move in any scenario is to contact an auto transport broker. They can quickly supply a list of pre-approved auto carriers graded on all the important shipping factors, saving you time and money.

3. Think about extra insurance

Good auto carriers will already be insured. You may now be wondering how paying more will save you money! Carrier insurance, unfortunately, has its limitations and won’t protect your vehicle against factors like elemental damage, vandalism, or on-road debris. Choosing an enclosed trailer helps, as we mentioned above, but consider buying extra coverage as a further money-saving move.

4. Don’t be too impressed (or put off) by price

So, you’ve compared carriers on your own and found there’s one operator who costs way less than the others. Resist the instinct to hire the cheapest team! Early low-balling on price is the oldest trick in the book to snare customers into a contract that may see prices creep up as the situation progresses.

Similar thinking applies to the most expensive carrier. Try not to be immediately turned off by their rates because they may be worth every penny and save you money in the long run. Conversely, they could be charging too much for a service that doesn’t match the cost.

Remember: Take your time to compare carriers if you have that luxury, or, better yet, contact an experienced auto transport broker who’ll do that work for you.

5. Leverage your personal status for savings

Some auto carriers will automatically lower prices if the customer belongs to a particular group. For example, first responders and military personnel, past or present, often receive more favorable rates, as do groups like seniors, students, and first-time or returning customers. Ask a broker or carrier if your personal status has any bearing on the costs of car shipping.

Speak to the Mercury Auto Transport team for maximum savings

These are some of the primary cost-cutting measures every owner should know when considering car shipping. Connect with our team to learn more about how we calculate every metric of your transportation needs to find the best possible carrier price. We’re ready to help!

Mercury Auto Transport finds quotes in minutes for open, enclosed, and flatbed auto transportation. We’ve arranged safe delivery for over 186,000 vehicles by road, rail, and air while working with the most trusted shipping partners in our industry. Email info@mercuryautotransport.com or call us free at (800) 553-1828 for a quote.


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What Our Customrs Are Saying


We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.