Cross Country Car Shipping: Cost to Ship a Car Across Country featured image

Cross Country Car Shipping: Cost to Ship a Car Across Country

If you’ve got a big move coming up and need to get to your destination quickly, you might not have the option to drive your car there. Or maybe you’re spending winter vacation in the South and want to fly there but don’t want to have to drive a rental.

No matter the reason or how long your stay is, hiring an auto transport company to ship your car for you may be the most sensible option you can find. Especially when you consider how cheap it is to fly these days.

Perhaps the most important factor when it comes to deciding if you’re going to go through with it is the cost to ship a car. These costs can sometimes be difficult to figure out and if you don’t know what you’re doing or what to expect, you can easily end up getting ripped off.

Luckily, we’re here to help. Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

How Do You Move a Car Across the Country?

If you’re looking to transport your car across the country without driving it yourself, there are several options available. One of the most popular options is door-to-door shipping.

As you can guess from the name, if you choose this option to ship you’ll car, it’ll be picked up from your home or allocated address, and dropped wherever you decide! This is a really convenient option for those who are too busy to hang around at depots to drop off or pick up their car.

Within door-to-door shipping, you can choose from open and enclosed car haulers. The first option, an open car hauler, is the less expensive of the two. Open car haulers are readily available, but you do risk potential rain or snow damage to your car as it is not in an enclosed carrier.

However, this kind of damage is extremely rare.

The other choice is an enclosed car hauler. This is recommended for classic cars or expensive sports cars that are your prized possession. Although this is more expensive, it is well worth the price for the peace of mind and fully enclosed protection your car will have.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Car Across the Country?

The cheapest way to ship your car is via an open car hauler. As we’ll cover in greater depth later, choosing to ship your car between September and November is another way to save on costs.

When looking into vehicle transportation, you should also be aware of potential discounts offered. For example, at Nexus Auto Transport, we offer a military discount to show our gratitude to those who have served our country.

It is also worth remembering that as the distance you ship your car increases, the cost per mile of transport decreases. This point is worth factoring into your travel plans.

Finally, expedited car shipping is also an option when time is of the essence. But of course, a quicker turnaround comes with a bigger price tag. So if you’re looking for the cheapest way to transport your car, make sure you organize it with plenty of time to spare.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country?

You can generally expect it to cost you between $600 and $1,000 to ship a four-door sedan across the country. If you’re transporting an SUV, truck, or van from California to New York, it will likely cost you between $800 and $1,070.

Shipping an SUV from New York to Florida could cost you between $800 to $1,100 while a sedan will be around $650 to $850. Because classic and exotic cars need to be placed in special containers, you might have to pay an additional $800 to $3,000.

Of course, these prices are only estimates. There are many factors that are going to affect the cost of the shipment.

A great way to get a more accurate idea of how much it will cost you to ship your car is to use an online calculator. A calculator can help give you a price to ship your vehicle based on your budget, schedule, and route.

How Seasons Affect the Cost of Shipment

The season that you choose to ship your car can affect the cost of transportation due to how many people are on the road as well as weather conditions. Let’s go deeper into this below.


If you’re shipping your car in the winter, you can expect the shipment time to take longer than in other seasons. This is because there is less daylight and ice and snow can cause delays.

In December, many transport drivers are taking time off for the holidays. So you want to book around one month in advance to make sure that your car gets a spot.

January is a very popular time for car shipments because everyone is going south for this winter. Rates can increase and a backlog might occur. February is a fairly slow month for car shipment bookings, however, and rates here may be at their cheapest.


Spring might be the best season to ship your car. Rates in March are still low until it gets to the end of the month. As the months get warmer, people start going back up north and prices start to increase.

In April and May, the bookings can pile up and rates will get even higher.


Summer is the peak season for car shipments. Demand is very high at this time as people are going on vacations, employees are moving to new offices, and schools are letting out. Although you might expect rates to be very high during this time, the demand, as well as the competition, is so strong that prices may actually go down.

Throughout the summer months, the price to ship a car is more or less stable.


During the fall, the weather is pleasant and the number of people trying to ship their cars starts to go down. This causes some lowering of costs. Rates might increase in September as college students are shipping their cars to school.

However, things slow down in October and November and rates tend to go back down.

Other Factors that Affect the Cost of Shipment

When you’re looking to ship your car across the country, there are certain decisions that you can make that will affect how much your total cost ends up coming to. Let’s look at those factors below.


It might seem obvious, but the longer it takes to move your car from one location to another, the more it will end up costing you. Generally, it takes between 5-14 days to ship from the West Coast to the East Coast. It also takes 3-8 days to ship from the Midwest to either the West Coast or the East Coast.

And it takes about 3-8 days to ship from the North to the South.

If you need your car by a certain date, you will probably have to pay more. You’d end up paying more if you need faster shipping or if you need the shipping company to hold your car for you until you can come to pick it up. The more flexible you are, the more you’ll be able to find a better deal.


An open car transport truck is usually cheaper and also more popular. Of course, this method exposes your car to possible damage from weather and debris but these risks are fairly low.

An enclosed transport truck is recommended for cars that are highly valuable. Because these trucks can’t hold as many cars, they make up for the lost revenue by charging more for their services.

The Cheapest Way to Ship Your Car

Open auto transport that includes terminal-to-terminal delivery will be the cheapest way to transport your car. Typically, an open auto transporter can hold up to ten cars. This lets operators save on transportation, oil, and fuel costs.

If you want to save even more money, try to ship your car during the cheaper seasons which we listed above. Terminal-to-terminal service is usually more affordable than door-to-door service because less time is demanded of the driver and it’s less inconvenient for them too.

However, if there are storage fees, then door-to-door service might actually be the cheaper choice.


It’s fairly common for auto transport companies to offer a variety of discounts. Some common discounts that they may offer include:

  • Student discounts: Many auto transport companies will give discounts in the summer and fall if you’re a student who is taking their car to college.
  • First-time shippers: Some auto transport companies will give you a discount if this is your first time shipping a car with them.
  • Military discounts: To recognize your service and help you with frequent moves, a lot of auto transport companies will give discounts to members of the military.
  • Senior discounts: Many seniors live on a fixed income and need to stick to a strict budget, so auto transport companies will sometimes give big discounts to seniors.
  • Return customers: As opposed to the discount for first-time shippers, some auto transport companies will give you a discount if you’re shipping your vehicle with them for the second or third time.
  • First responders: Similar to the military discount, first responders may also be eligible for special discounts.
  • Vehicle fleets: If you run a cab company or other business that wants to ship a fleet of cars, then you may be able to receive a discount from your auto shipping company for transporting in bulk.
  • Early bird: Some auto transport companies will reward you with a discount if you book their service within 48 hours of getting your quote.

Even if you don’t qualify for any of the above, it’s still a good idea to ask the auto transport companies that you’re considering if you’d be eligible for any types of discounts or special rates.


While most transport companies will accept all forms of payment including credit and debit cards, check, and cash, some companies will charge you a fee if you pay with a card. Make sure that you find out what payment methods the company accepts and if they’ll charge you extra for the way that you choose to pay.

Many auto transport companies will charge you a deposit fee before they pick up your car. That fee will be applied to your total when the car is delivered. Most carriers offer a 100% refundable deposit.

The Importance of Knowing How Much It Costs to Ship a Car

While shipping a car may seem costly at first, it’s many times preferable to either driving the car yourself or paying for a rental. And by knowing how much it would generally cost to ship a car across the country, you can make more informed and confident purchasing decisions.

Are you looking to ship your car anywhere in the United States? Contact us today and see how we can help you!