How to Ship A Car Across The Country

April 14, 2020 Rear-side view of a luxury car on sunset

If you’ve purchased a new car and need to ship a car across the country, it’s important to examine all the options for getting your car from Point A to Point B and choose the one that best suits your needs and your budget.


You have two main options for getting your car from Point A to Point B. You can either drive the vehicle yourself, or you can have the vehicle shipped to you. Either way, there are several factors to consider in order to make an informed decision.


We have covered some of the main issues and questions involved in driving your vehicle across the country as compared to hiring a transport company to ship your car for you.


Should I Ship A Car Across The Country Or Drive It?


You may be wondering, “Can I drive my car instead of shipping it?”.


While this could be a fun and scenic idea, the cost might be higher than expected, and when you’re traveling a long distance, the fuel cost could be more than you desire. Additionally, there is the risk of accidents, which can result in damage, higher insurance rates, and a ruined car (which could also leave you stranded).


When considering the cost of driving your vehicle across the country, you need to calculate the mileage between the pick-up location and the drop-off location that you will be driving. Once you have the exact route that you will be driving, you can estimate:


  • The amount of fuel you will need by calculating the vehicle’s miles per gallon and the number of miles you will be driving.
  • The price of gas and toll roads, which can vary from region to region.
  • Driving time, you can estimate how long it will take to drive to the new location using an average highway driving speed of 60 miles an hour.


Your results will better help you make an educated decision concerning the method of transporting your vehicle across the country.


With that said, you should research auto shipping quotes and compare the overall cost of each option. Check into the cost of fuel along the route you plan to take, and factor in the cost of food, hotel rooms, and an additional $500 for emergencies. You may be surprised. The total will probably be higher than the cost to ship a car across the country.


What Do I Need to Ask Before I Ship A Car Across The Country?


It’s important to ask the right questions when you speak to a car transport service. Doing so will help you to determine whether the shipping company can provide the service you need within your budget. Keep reading to get an idea of the most important questions you should ask potential car transport companies.


     1. Will you be using an independent carrier?


If they are using an independent carrier, they cannot guarantee your dates until they speak to the carrier. Avoid companies that offer a guarantee without confirmation from the independent carrier. Most truckers are owner-operators or work for a small trucking company consisting of 1-10 trucks and a dispatcher.


     2. Do you offer cargo insurance?


Cargo insurance is optional. While all carriers are required to carry liability coverage, it does not provide the same coverage as cargo insurance. It is important to ask for the carrier’s cargo insurance. For full value protection, you should request a copy or proof of the cargo insurance coverage for the carrier company assigned to ship your car.


     3. Will my car be shipped with other cars?


Some carriers provide single-car shipping, and the insurance coverage may be different. Knowing how your car will be shipped will help you decide if you need additional coverage. Standard open carrier transport services ship anywhere from two to eight other vehicles along with yours in most cases. For enclosed transport, your vehicle will ship in a two-car enclosed trailer, up to a six-car enclosed trailer.


Will My Answers Affect My Quote?


When the shipping company asks questions, be honest and specific. Otherwise, the company cannot give you an accurate estimate. They will ask you questions about pick-up, drop-off, insurance, dates, and various other questions that are vital to providing you with an accurate quote.


Inform the shipping company of any leaks your vehicle may have. If your vehicle does have leaks, it will affect the placement on the trailer. Your vehicle will most likely be placed on the bottom of the trailer to avoid the leakage damaging any other vehicles on the trailer.


Also, let the transport company know if your vehicle is not running. A nonworking vehicle will need to be loaded on the trailer differently than a running vehicle. Plus, it will take more time to get the vehicle loaded.

If you’re ready to secure a car shipping quote, head over to our online instant vehicle shipping calculator for a free assessment!


What Should I Do to Prepare My Vehicle?


Weight is one of the more pressing issues, as a stop at the scales with improper weight distribution can cost precious time on the road. You certainly don’t want to be the reason that your car is delivered late, so be sure to prepare your vehicle for shipping with this in mind.


Leave only enough gas in the tank for loading and unloading. Check all of your fluids, taking care to add adequate antifreeze during cold weather months. Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle to limit liability and overall weight.


You should also consider washing and waxing your vehicle. The wax will help to deflect some dirt and road debris, as well as protecting your car from nature’s elements.


In Conclusion


Additionally, remember that inclement weather conditions, truck availability, and road conditions can affect the length of time it takes to ship your vehicle across the country. The shipping company should mention this to you rather than guaranteeing dates when you ship a car across the country.


Finally, don’t be afraid to check with several shipping companies to compare services. While one company may offer a bargain-basement rate, their reputation may not be worth the risk. It’s best to check with a few companies and determine which one is the right fit for you, your car, and your budget.