Shipping Car From New York To California

March 5, 2020

April 26, 2019 Redwood City / CA / USA - Car transporter carries Tesla Model 3 new vehicles along a highway in San Francisco bay area, back view of the trailer;

If you’re one of the countless transplants making the move from the snowstorms of New York to the sunny skies of California, or you’ve a Californian who’s found an unbeatable online deal on a car from a seller in the Empire State, shipping your car from New York to California is an option you definitely need to consider!

Rather than making the cross-country drive yourself and incurring all of the extra expenses and wear on your vehicle, working with a reputable auto shipment service such as Nexus Auto Transport will save you time and trouble for less money than you’d probably expect!

What you do need, though, is knowledge on your side. The auto shipment industry is a volatile one when it comes to customer costs. If you approach the wrong provider at the wrong time, you’re going to pay an exorbitant amount and/or face significant delays due to reduced trucker availability or other extenuating factors.

In hopes of helping you save precious money and time, we’ve decided to publish this definitive guide on everything you need to know for shipping your vehicle from New York to California.

Let’s start with a look at all the factors which go into determining your total bill for shipping a vehicle across the country from the Empire State to the Golden State.


How Much Will Shipping A Car From New York To California Cost?

Let’s be real. Shipping a car an average road distance of 2,900 miles or so isn’t going to be super cheap. You’re looking at a four-figure bill in all likelihood, but how high it goes into the four figures depends on several extenuating factors.

In truth, shipments from East to West are usually more expensive than shipments from West to East due to such factors as driver availability and customer demand. You can mitigate these added costs by ensuring your pickup and drop-off locations are easily accessible and close to a major highway.

Shipping your car from metro area to metro area offers a solid discount over shipping from rural area to rural area. Your bill takes trucker labor into account. Added time spent going off the main grid and navigating through tricky back roads will end up impacting both their schedules and your wallet. It could also translate to delays in service.

The make and mileage of your car also plays a role in determining your total cost. Cars with less intrinsic value cost less to insure for the duration of a shipment, and those savings are usually translated to a lower quote for you. However, cars that are not currently operational will cost you extra for the labor required to get them onto and off a shipment truck bed.

The thing that will have the biggest impact on your bill, however, is the timing of your shipment during the calendar year. Knowing when to ship your car from New York to California is just as important (if not more so) than what you’re shipping.


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

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of driving on the roads during a snowstorm in the Northeast, you’ll understand why truckers aren’t usually the biggest fans of hauling large vehicle shipments to and from the area at such a time.

That’s just one reason why the auto transport industry is prone to distinct seasonal fluctuations which lead to a wild variance in costs for vehicle shipping customers. Supply and demand both have a massive effect on your bill and the amount of time you’ll wait for a shipment to reach your home in the Golden State.

The beginning of the year is a strange time for auto transport companies and customers. The first few weeks of the year see guest appearances by “snowbirds” on the road – semi-retired shipment truckers who return for a handful of weeks at a time to ship cars from colder locales to warm-weather states for a premium.

Snowbirds usually make their runs from the Northeast down to states in the South, but there’s also some which end up making the trek to California for some extra cash. The problem is that you’re unlikely to be on one of those trucks unless you pay a bit more. Higher-priced loads are usually what snowbirds are aiming for.

If you somehow get a lower quote during the first few months of the year, be wary. You could be in for an extremely lengthy delay between payment and shipment with the wrong shipping company.

Driving to and from New York gets a bit easier as the weather clears in April and May. This coincides with more regular truckers returning to the road and doing cross-country routes. However, delays are still the norm for some companies at this time despite snowbirds making a reappearance for some higher-priced hauls.

The peak season for auto transport companies runs from June through August. More customers are looking to haul cars for everything from job relocation to online vehicle sales, and there’s a glut of truckers on the road to meet demand. Costs still vary from company to company, though, based on how well that company is equipped to handle increased demand.

You could run into delays and/or added costs just like in the beginning of the year if you ship with the wrong company at the wrong time.

If you really want to get the most for your money and avoid irritating delays, the best time to ship your car from New York to California is the period from September to early November. Supply and demand are more balanced than at any other point of the auto transport industry calendar. That leads to reduced rates for shipments of all lengths, along with reduced wait times overall.

The holidays see an increase in customer costs due to a reduction in the overall trucker work force. With many haulers off the roads to spend time with their families, snowbirds start to trickle back in and take some of the more desirable orders off of companies’ hands.

However, prices can end up reflecting this and delays in service are the norm.


Should I Ship My Car With Closed Or Open Transport?

The most popular service option for shipping cars from New York to California is open transport as it’s the cheapest and most readily available option of the two.

Open shipment trucks can haul multiple vehicles at one time, cutting into the overhead for the company and passing savings down to the consumer. If you’re shipping a normal family or passenger vehicle and aren’t worried about potential nicks and scratches from a cross-country trip uncovered, open transport is a fantastic choice.

We recommend closed transport for those customers shipping loads of extra importance both personal and monetary. If you’re shipping a one-of-a-kind sports car or a luxury vehicle, closed transport offers extra protection from the elements and keeps your investment safeguarded.

The trade-off here is that you’ll end up paying more for enclosed transport, especially for such a long drive from New York to California.

In addition, closed transport trucks carry less per load and thus run into delays at times due to backlogged orders.


Is My Car Insured For The Duration Of The Shipment?

All auto transport companies are required by law to maintain active cargo insurance policies for their shipment trucks. As soon as your car is picked up, it should be insured under said policy.

Don’t attempt to pack personal items as a means of shipping them across the country, though. Any belongings within the car are not covered by a transport company’s cargo insurance policy.

In short, you are liable for any damaged or lost items within your vehicle. Some companies may even refuse your car at pickup to avoid potential liability issues attached to items within the vehicle.

Do the smart thing and make separate arrangements for moving personal items from New York to California. You’ll get added peace of mind and will save yourself a lot of trouble!


What Documents Will I Need To Ship To My Car?

The only important document for shipping and receiving your car is the Bill of Lading presented by the driver at pickup and drop-off.

While the Bill of Lading is essentially a receipt, it also functions as an inspection report conducted on your vehicle by the driver of the shipment truck.

During this inspection, your driver will note any preexisting damages and other prurient information about your vehicle. Therefore, you won’t be held liable for other damages which occur on the road and weren’t listed during the initial inspection report at pickup.

Make sure the company you work with provides a complete Bill of Lading and gives you a copy at both points. Any skipped steps are a major red flag and could be the work of an unethical company trying to reduce their potential liability in case of an accident.


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

You may need a completely different wardrobe! Depending on where you’re moving in California, you could be looking at average temperatures in the 70s and 80s most of the year!

Compared to the majority of New York where temperatures can dip below 20 degrees regularly during the winter, you’ll be living in a veritable tropical paradise!

That means you’ll be able to ditch your parkas and scarves for shorts and sunscreen. A few trips to the mall might be in order.

New York and California boast similar tax situations and similar costs of living in certain areas, so there may not be too much of a shock on that front.

Both states are also cultural epicenters with tons of things to do around the clock, so trading the hustle and bustle of New York City for the relatively laid-back environs of the San Francisco Bay Area may not be that big of shock.

However, California just feels different. There’s something about the West Coast lifestyle which brings transplants to the Golden State in droves. It could be the picturesque beaches. It could be the wide swath of cultures bringing amazing cuisine into its borders.

It could be a lot of things. The cost of living in California is prohibitive for some, but that hasn’t stopped thousands and thousands of people from emigrating there for a taste of the West Coast lifestyle!

Shipping your car from New York to California is the perfect first step to exploring everything the Golden State has to offer. Contact Nexus Auto Transport right away and get a quote. You’ll be so glad you did!