9 Factors that Impact Your Auto Shipping Quote

October 10, 2019

For someone who’s buying a car from an out-of-city or out-of-state seller, car shipping cost is another investment on its own. That’s why you need to thoroughly research the average cost to ship a car and get an accurate auto shipping quote well ahead of time. This will help you prepare for additional expenses and shop around for the best car shipping company.

Even if you’re a seller or a car dealer, you’ll be able to give your buyers a better experience when you proactively provide them with a realistic car shipping quote. This helps you maintain full transparency so you don’t shock them with hidden costs or possibly end up losing a sale.

When getting a car transportation quote, however, you should have a realistic understanding of all the factors that can influence the rate. Car shipping costs cannot be uniform for all cities and states as well as transportation methods, so let’s take a look at some of the main factors that can affect your auto shipping quote to help you with your research and preparation:

#1: Car Size and Weight

One of the main factors that affects your quote for car shipping is the size and weight of your vehicle. Car carriers have limited space and a certain weight limit they can haul. A 40-foot carrier can transport around two to four cars at one time, for instance. If it’s transporting a bigger car, that leaves less space for other cars and this will affect the total number of cars it can transport at a time.

Additionally, bigger vehicles also weigh more and therefore, increase the fuel consumption of the carrier. This makes heavier and bigger cars cost more to transport, meaning you may not pay as much to transport a hatchback as you would a pickup.

When calculating the average cost to ship a car through a car shipping quote calculator, it will usually take the car make and model into consideration to calculate the size and weight.

#2: Make and Model

Knowing the make and model of your car will help you get a more accurate auto shipping quote because some specialty cars may cost more to transport. Luxury cars and classic cars typically cost more to ship because they need special services and attention. All the additional care that the transport company puts into shipping specialty cars tends to hike up the shipping cost.

 #3: Distance

Of course, distance is one of the most important factors that will influence your auto shipping quote. Naturally, the farther the car has to travel, the higher the cost will be. The car shipping company will have to factor in fuel charges, tolls, and labor costs involved in long-distance auto hauling.

With that said, distance isn’t the sole determining factor. The type of location also plays a role in the cost of transportation. If you’re shipping the car to a big city, for instance, it may be among the company’s most used routes. This might work in your favor and bring down the shipping cost to a significant extent.

If you’re shipping it to a rural area, however, the service provider might have to deviate from the usual route. This could result in a slightly more expensive car shipping quote even if it’s not too far from the source location.

#4: Transportation Method

Another important factor to consider is the transportation method. You have two standard shipping methods to choose from – open air carrier and enclosed carrier. It costs less to ship your car using an open air carrier because more cars can fit onto the truck and be transported at the same time.

However, it also means the car will be exposed to the elements and that might not be the best option during bad weather. Your car could be at risk of damage from road debris and weather elements.

You might want to go for an enclosed carrier especially if you’re shipping specialty vehicles. Although the auto shipping quote will be slightly higher, it’s a much safer option to protect your car from damage in transit.

#5: Insurance

Car transportation companies typically offer basic-level insurance coverage by default, but this may not always be enough to match the true value of your car. Get a clear idea of what type of damage is covered under the insurance, which parts of the car are covered, the limit of coverage, and whether or not there’s a deductible.

Based on this information, you might want to purchase additional coverage that will help you reclaim the full value of your car in case anything happens to it in transit. The cost of additional coverage will also affect your overall car shipping quote.

#6: Seasonality

Seasonality is another factor that will affect the cost of shipping your car. As with most industries, there are high and low seasons in the car shipping industry. It tends to be much more expensive to ship your car during winter than it is in the summer.  This is mainly because the regular trucking lane tends to get affected by snow and ice, resulting in more dangerous road conditions.

In addition, winter is snowbird season – when retirees flock to the southern states like Texas and Florida for warmer weather. So there’s an immense increase in traffic during this period, which hikes up your auto shipping quote. Even during the summer, you might find that it costs more to ship your car between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

#7: Delivery Time Frame

Of course, how quickly you want the car delivered is another factor that will influence your car shipping quote. Expedited shipping costs more, just as it does when you ship any other product. The car shipping company has to carefully plan its route to ensure quick pickup and delivery around your requested time frame, which tends to increase the cost.

If you have a more flexible time frame and you aren’t in too much of a hurry to get the car delivered, you won’t have to pay as much. The company can organize the delivery route for more efficiency rather than working around your time frame requirement, so this brings down the cost of shipping.

Car shipping companies typically provide two to three different delivery time frame options. So you’ll have the flexibility to choose an option that fits your budget and speed requirement.

#8: Modifications

Modified cars tend to require special handling and shipping, which can hike up the cost of shipping. Modifications like lifting or lowering the car changes the height, which means that it’s no longer a standard-height vehicle. Similarly, some car owners may replace their standard car tires with bigger ones that can take up more space in the shipping container. The additional work and attention put into transporting such cars will increase the shipping cost to a significant extent.

#9: Current Fuel Price

Fuel prices fluctuate constantly and this fluctuation can also affect your auto shipping quote. If the current fuel prices are high, the cost to ship your car will naturally go up a bit. You may get better deals when fuel prices are slightly lower. However, the difference may not be too drastic so this isn’t a major influencing factor.

Bottom Line

Car transport providers will take these factors into consideration to provide you with a realistic auto shipping quote. If possible, you should consider planning well ahead of time to understand the cost variations and prepare for the additional expenses. This means having to talk to multiple transport providers and collecting their rates to find out the best option.

It also means having to wait for them to call you with a quote. If you don’t like the wait, use the Nexus Auto Transport Cost Calculator for instant and accurate auto shipping quotes.