Shipping Car From California To Virginia

March 5, 2020

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Whether you’re a Virginia native who’s found your dream car online and hanging out in California, or you’re moving from the Golden State to Old Dominion for a career change, shipping a car from California to Virginia isn’t as hard as you might think!

The average total drive time from California to Virginia is over 39 hours, which means you’d likely have to break up a one-way trip into four or five days. That means added expenses for food, lodging, not to mention the exorbitant gas prices and potential wear and tear on your vehicle or vehicles.

This is where a top-flight auto transport company like Nexus Auto Transport can step in to save your day! For an extremely fair rate, you can have your car shipped from pretty much anywhere in California to anywhere in Virginia. Want your car delivered to your door in Richmond or a friend’s house in Norfolk?

We’ve got you covered!

While picking a reputable provider is a massive step towards a successful shipping experience, customers who are well-informed about the ins and outs of the vehicle shipping industry are in a much better position to save money and reduce overall wait times for service.

We’re here to help you with that. This in-depth guide will tell you everything you need to know about shipping your car from California to Virginia, starting with the factors that go into determining the amount of your bill.


How Much Will Shipping A Car From California To Virginia Cost?

The average road distance between the states of California and Virginia is about 2,650 miles. That makes it one of the longer regular vehicle shipping routes in the entire continental United States.

While mileage plays a pivotal role in calculating your overall cost for shipping service, there are several other things to consider which could add or subtract from your total due.

Shipments from West to East are usually cheaper overall than shipments from East to West, so you might be able to mitigate some of the costs related to distance by direction alone.

Is your car located in a city like San Jose or an adjacent thoroughfare right off the main highway? Or is it parked 30 minutes out of Lake Tahoe off a one-way road which has no immediate highway access?

Pickup and drop-off locations in rural areas with limited main road access cost more to ship to and from than major cities and thoroughfares on the main highway grid.

The easier you make it for your driver, the easier a shipping company tends to make things on your wallet. You’ll also limit the chances that you’ll face an extended delay by simplifying your route.

Those shipping a 1989 Oldsmobile with 160,000 miles on it will likely pay a significant amount less than someone shipping a brand new Toyota Camry. The make and mileage of your car affect how much it will cost your shipping provider to insure it for the duration of the trip. The more it costs them, the more it costs you.

While most auto transport companies have no problems accepting an order for a car that’s not in working condition, there’s usually an added premium for the labor required to haul it onto a shipment truck and off of it at your drop-off point.

There are other special considerations which could increase your total expenditure such as enclosed shipping, so be sure to work with a company who will lay everything out for you in plain language when assessing a quote for your order.

There’s one factor we’ve yet to cover which may be the most important of all in calculating your shipment costs. In short, you can save or lose a lot of money based solely on what time of year you need to ship your car or truck.


What Time Of Year Is Best To Ship My Car From California To Virginia?

The route from California to Virginia is not the most sought-after shipment route for customers, but it’s definitely a well-trafficked route in conjunction with other nearby destinations such as Georgia and Florida.

If you get your car on the road with an auto transport company at the right time of year, you may be able to catch the last spot on an open transport truck headed that way and get a great rate in the process!

That may not be the case during the first few months of the year, though.

The period from January to March is a down time for the auto shipping industry. Driver availability for cross-country routes like the one from California to Virginia is at or near its lowest level. Demand for such routes is lower than usual too, but that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t pick up randomly.

If you’re stuck working with the wrong shipment provider, you could be in for some trouble. Some companies will charge you an arm and a leg for rudimentary shipment service. Others may try to “cut you a deal” knowing full well that your shipment is unlikely to hit the road for weeks.

In contrast, the months of April and May are better times for both vehicle shipping companies and customers.

Career drivers are on the road in greater numbers and are taking more loads across the country both ways. In addition, semi-retirees known as “snowbirds” are taking some of the North-to-South loads from cold-weather areas to warm-weather locales.

This leaves other drivers open for West-to-East and East-to-West shipments, but there’s a catch. If you work with a provider who’s still backlogged from the winter months, you could be in for a rude awakening with significant delays or inflated pricing.

Potential for delays is reduced during the peak summer months of June through August. Demand for the California-to-Virginia shipping route is at its highest with people relocating for everything from college to a simple change of pace.

Driver availability is also at its apex during this time frame, so there’s a good chance you can swing a good deal and a quick shipment turnaround. On the flip side, the wrong service provider could whiff on scheduling and offer you a cheap rate for a shipping process full of irritating delays.

You want a steal of a shipment deal? The period from September to early November might be your best bet!

Demand is down a bit but driver supply is still pretty high. Things are as balanced as they’re going to get in the vehicle shipment industry, and that kind of equilibrium translates to savings for discerning customers.

As for the holidays, it’s a troublesome time as you might expect. Demand for shipments from California to Virginia is spotty if not outright low, and there’s just not a lot of regular drivers out there taking car shipments from coast to coast.

If you have to ship during the holidays, stay away from rates that seem too low. Try to get a shipping ETA in writing even if you may have to pay more for your trouble.


Should I Ship My Car With Closed Or Open Transport?

What you’re shipping goes a long way in determining whether closed or open transport is the best option for you.

For those shipping normal passenger and family cars or trucks, open transport is a budget-friendly option which could come with much shorter wait times than enclosed shipping.

Open transport trucks can carry several vehicles at once, cutting into costs for driver and company alike. This reduction in overhead is translated to a better rate for customers.

Enclosed transport is still a fantastic choice for those who need it. This includes those who are shipping cars of unique significance or value like vintage roadsters and luxury SUVs. Some customers may want to take extra precautions with such vehicles, safeguarding their cars from the elements with a closed shipping option.

It may cost a bit more and sometimes leads to extended wait times for service, but it’s still a great decision for those who want a less stressful shipping experience.


Is My Car Insured For The Duration Of The Shipment?

It should be!

In accordance with the law, vehicle shipping companies are required to maintain active cargo insurance policies on trucks which are currently being used to service shipment orders.

If a company you contact wavers even in the slightest on this basic insurance question, hang up the phone right away. Don’t risk your vehicle with any company who hesitates about doing things by the book!

One thing to note – personal items are not covered by normal cargo insurance policies. While your vehicle is fully covered for any potential damages it may suffer on the route from California to Virginia, belongings left within the car are not part of that.


What Documents Will I Need To Ship To My Car?

While you don’t need any particular documents on your part to initiate a shipment or finalize one, you will receive a crucial document that you’ll need to keep safe!

Either you or someone you designate will need to sign a Bill of Lading at both your pickup and drop-off locales.

This is more that just a receipt. It’s also a record of inspections conducted by your driver prior to hauling and right after. The pickup inspection will list any preexisting damages and other potential worries regarding your vehicle.

If an added damage shows up in the final inspection at drop-off, you’ve got written proof of liability and have a concrete insurance claim for compensation.

Make sure your driver gives you or your representative a copy of the Bill of Lading at both points. Also, double check that all fields have been filled in on the paperwork so that there’s no confusion between preexisting and incurred damages.


What Should I Know If I’m Moving From California To Virginia?

California is definitely a state rich in historical significance, but the state of Virginia sits right at the pinnacle of American history and has for centuries!

Virginia was the center of the New World and a pivotal place in the timeline of the Civil War. There are a litany of great museums and other historical sites for you to check out on your move to Old Dominion, and it’s simply an experience that can’t be duplicated.

While traffic isn’t the greatest in the areas near Washington D.C. and around bigger cities like Richmond and Virginia Beach, those who move from the traffic crush of Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area may see it as a break!

Virginia is currently listed as the 32nd cheapest state to live in the United States cost of living index out of 50, which isn’t exactly great.

However, it’s much cheaper than California which is currently ranked 49th and may be 50th within the next few years.

And if you’re headed to Virginia for school, congratulations! Virginia’s higher educational institutions are regularly listed among the most affordable and respected in the nation.

Whatever takes you from California to Virginia, get a quote as soon as you can from Nexus Auto Transport to ensure you’ve got the wheels to experience the Mother of States in full!