Cost to Ship A Car Across Country

How much does it cost to ship a car across country? Get free quotes from top auto transport companies

Shipping a car across country basics

Updated: 07/17/2022

Car shipping service is the type of options you can use when you need to transport your car across the country from one state to another. There are a lot of options and possible ways to ship your car, so we will cover pretty much every singe aspect of such services, describe companies that will be able to help you, cost, type of trailers you can use and most common questions and concerns you can face during the shipping process.

Let’s start with companies that can help you with your shipping needs.

The best across country car shipping carriers

Carrier name



ABS Chicago Inc



Tech Transport LLC



IDelivery Inc


$1880 (Enclosed)




GLZ Transport Inc



Across country car shipping process

You might think that car shipping process is hard and can be overwhelming But good news are that it’s not that hard and won’t take lots of time to prepare. Here is a simple auto transport guide to prep your vehicle for car shipping and steps you need to take to ship your vehicle.

  • Get quotes from auto transport companies.

You will need to indicate your pickup and delivery locations (it’s ok if you don’t have the exact delivery address yet, simply indicate approximate zip code of the area), year/make/model of your vehicle, desired shipping date, type of the trailer.

  • Compare shipping quotes

Make no mistake – prices you are getting are just quotes (estimates). All prices are a subject of drivers confirmation. While some companies will claim prices are total and final – most probably they will change. Simply because the market is fluctuating and drivers can ask for more/less depending on the current marketplace situation.

  • Research your top picks and check their reviews

Make your own research. Google “company name” reviews to check online feedback about the companies you are thinking to hire. Check BBB, Google reviews and Transportreviews. DO NOT place orders with companies that have a lot of negative feedbacks and bait and switch alerts on their online accounts. Most probably these companies will offer the lowest prices.

  • Read the contract

Yes, you have to read the contract to be prepared for things that might happen during the transportation process. Things like damage, delays, extra charges, wrong delivery locations do occur – it’s better to be prepared.

  • Request drivers insurance once the carrier is assigned.

Your vehicle is insured by the carriers insurance, not by the company you signed the contract with. You have to request the insurance of the company that will actually pickup your vehicle. Take a closer look at cargo insurance and insurance deductibles.

  • Set up pickup date for Friday and get a day off from the job if necessary

Driver might be late because he needs to pickup 7-8 more cars within one day. It’s better to have some free time to realise your car whenever the driver is nearby. DO NOT FORGET to sign and get the copy of the Bill of Lading from the driver on pickup and delivery locations.

Types of trailers to ship a car across country

There are two main types of trailer that car shipping companies use to ship cars across the country: open trailer and enclosed trailer. Let’s discuss what is the main difference between them and when do you need to choose one or another.

Open trailers

Open trailers used in 90% of all times when shipping a vehicle across the country. It’s widely common and pretty much safe way to ship vehicles, not only used, but new ones too. It won’t be. mistake to say that majority of new vehicles for dealerships are shipped used open trailers.

Drivers can ship sedans, SUVs, Pick up trucks, ATV/UTVs, Golf carts and many other types of cars on open trailer.

The main advantages of an open trailer are: cost and accessibility. Most probably you won’t have any problems in finding the driver with open trailer on all major routes in the USA.

Enclosed trailers

While open trailers used for the majority of transportation needs, enclosed trailer mostly used to ship classic, exotic and valuably cars. Vehicles are protected from weather and road debris, the insurance per vehicle is higher. But you have to pay for that – sometimes up to 50%-75% higher price, than for the open trailer.

One more advantage of enclosed trailer is the ability to use lift gate in order to pickup low clearance vehicles.


Lets compare prices for sedans on major cross country routes for open and enclosed trailers:


Open trailer

Enclosed trailer






















Best across country car shipping brokers

There are two types of companies in car shipping industry: brokers and carriers. And there’s a huge difference between them!

Brokers do no own the trucks and do not actually perform the transportation. Brokers also don’t carry insurance and in most times not responsible for the damage (they can be responsible in case they assigned the driver without active authority and insurance, aka because of their negligence).

Brokers work with customers, inform them about car shipping process, gather all information and prep all paperwork.  Then sub-contract your vehicle delivery to the actual carrier.

Carriers on the other hand are the ones who actually ship your car. They carry insurance, they are responsible for the damage and they own the trucks and trailers to ship curs. It’s worth saying that it’s nearly to impossible – they do not market themselves and usually work only with completed orders.

Carriers are typically using load boards like CentralDispatch or DAT to find their loads, bit unless you have active broker license you won’t be able to access such loadbords and post your vehicle yourself.


Here is the list of the most trusted broker car shipping companies according to TransportReviews: 

Company name


Number of reviews

AmeriFreight Car Shipping

5 stars

5671 reviews

Ship a Car Direct

5 stars

5667 reviews

Ultimate Transport 123

5 stars

3821 reviews

Mercury Auto Transport

5 stars

2675 reviews

Montway Auto Transport

5 stars

1779 reviews

Across country car shipping TIPS

There are a couple of things you can do to make your car shipping experience better and easier. Here are the top 10 tips you an use in order not to lose your sleep because of the car shipping tasks:


  1. Do not place your order with car shipping company without checking their reviews on Google, BBB and TransportReviews;
  2. Be careful with bait and switch tactics some companies use. Don’t deal with lowballers;
  3. Read the contract before signing. Yes, fine print too;
  4. When driver is assigned to the order ask for his insurance PDF file. Check cargo insurance limits and deductibles;
  5. Make sure your street can fit big truck with the trailer. In case there is not enough room on the street meet the driver at the nearest parking lot;
  6. Install GPS tracker on your car to see where your vehicle is during the transportation;
  7. Get the copy of the BOL (Bill of Lading) on pickup and delivery with drivers signature (you can simply make a photo;
  8. Get the cash to pay the driver on delivery (the remaining balance after the initial charge on your credit card);
  9. In case of the damage inform the company you signed the contract with (your broker) within 24 hours of delivery, get repair estimate from your local repair shop and file insurance claim within 1-2 weeks.
  10. Make photos and videos on pickup and delivery locations.


Once your car is delivered don’t forget to share your experience with others!

Across country car shipping FAQ

Q. Will my vehicle be insured?

A. Yes the insurance covers all the expenses in case of any accident up to $100,0000. The cargo is included in the insurance policy as well, so you can put up to 100lbs of personal items;


Q. My car is inoperable. Can it be shipped?

A. Yes, we will have to load it by winch. You will need to indicate if it’s going from residence to residence or maybe from the auction.


Q. What do I do in case of the damage?

A. You should get in touch with the driver’s insurance company in case of any damage;


Q. What is the difference between open and enclosed trailer?

A. The insurance coverage is $100, 0000 for the opened car hauler & $250,0000 for the enclosed trailer. Your car will come safe and clean, but the transportation will cost 50% more.


Q. What are the typical payment terms?

A. The shipping company will charge the deposit from your credit card, once the car is picked up & the rest of the balance you should pay upon the delivery by cash or money order.

Related articles: 

Cheap car shipping