If you are looking for an auto transportation service, you must compare quotes before committing to any company to ensure you’re getting the best rate.

But to effectively compare car shipping quotes, you need to understand how different variables, such as service types and shipping locations, affect auto transport pricing. Otherwise, it will be hard to make a true apples-to-apples comparison when you receive multiple quotes from different car transporters. Fortunately, in this article, we’ll review the factors you need to know to accurately compare shipping quotes.

Before we start, it’s important to note that your car shipping quote is not necessarily the rate you will pay—but we'll expand on that later.

Factors That Affect Car Shipping Quotes

As mentioned above, different factors affect the quotes you’ll receive from car shipping companies. In the sections that follow, we’ll introduce and explain each one of these factors.

Shipping Location & Distance Traveled

When shipping a car, the average cost is roughly $2.50 per mile for distances under 200 miles. For longer distances, most companies tend to charge around $0.78 per mile. It's wise to compare car shipping quotes to secure the best rate based on the distance traveled.

Also, keep in mind the following distance-related factors that can affect your per-mile pricing independent of distance.

Shipping location: As the shipping distance increases, the per-mile costs generally decrease. This means that longer trips often come with a lower cost per mile. However, there are factors related to distance that can influence your per-mile pricing independently. For instance, the location of where you ship the vehicle from or to can affect the price. For example, if you need to transport your vehicle to an outlying rural area, it can cost more than shipping to a metropolitan area.

Route: Even on a long-distance route, your per-mile cost might be relatively high if the shipping locations or chosen route are particularly inconvenient or time-consuming for the car transporter. This could include factors such as difficult terrain, remote locations, toll roads, or areas with limited accessibility. Always consider these location and route-related variables when assessing the overall cost of shipping your vehicle, as they can significantly impact the final price.

Service Type

When obtaining quotes for auto transport, you should consider how different service types impact pricing. Enclosed transport ensures higher security and protection but comes at a premium price compared to open carriers. Expedited services expedite delivery but at a higher cost than standard shipping. Door-to-door convenience also includes added charges compared to terminal-to-terminal options. Be aware of these prices to accurately compare quotes.

Enclosed Trailer vs. Open Trailer

Enclosed trailers provide your vehicle with more protection during the transportation process. If you own a luxury vehicle or want to protect your vehicle from the elements during transport, you may opt for an enclosed trailer.

Have you ever seen those trailers on the highway with vehicles piled behind each other? That is an open trailer. Most car dealerships have their cars transported on open trailers to cut their transportation costs. Although the vehicle is more exposed to the elements of dirt, debris, and other weather, this mode of transportation is much cheaper than an enclosed trailer.

Expedited Shipping vs. Standard Shipping

Expedited delivery gets your vehicle to where it needs to go as quickly as possible. Not all auto shipping companies can offer you this type of service because not every company has drivers readily available. So you might want to ask your chosen auto transport company in advance whether they provide expedited shipping.

The level of speed and guarantee of delivery time also influence the cost. If you require a guaranteed and swift delivery, you can expect to pay a premium. On the other hand, if speed is less critical and flexibility is an option, you may find a less expensive option with a more flexible delivery timeline.

Nexus Auto Transport has an extensive fleet of trailers and experienced drivers who can pick up and deliver your vehicle at any time of the year. Whether you need a guaranteed speedy delivery or a more flexible option, Nexus Auto Transport aims to provide reliable services tailored to your needs and budget.

Door-to-Door Delivery vs. Terminal-to-Terminal

Door-to-door delivery services provided by the company make auto transport much more convenient for customers. However, this added convenience comes with increased quotes. Truckers incur higher expenses when navigating directly to specific locations rather than centralized transportation hubs. This personalized service requires extra time and resources, resulting in increased costs compared to terminal-to-terminal options.

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Terms and Conditions to Look for in Your Auto Transport Quote

Before signing your contract with an auto transport company, it is important to understand the terms and conditions to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. Some of these include:

Cancellation and Refund Policy

It is important to be aware of the cancellation and refund policy of the auto transport company in case you need to cancel your order after booking. Most reputable companies allow cancellations within a certain timeframe, often even after a deposit has been made. However, each company's policies differ, so it's essential to know the specifics of your contract. Note that while cancellations are possible, refunds may take a few days to process.

Pickup and Delivery Terms

When it comes to pickup and delivery, auto transport companies typically provide estimated dates due to the unpredictable nature of the industry. Factors like weather, traffic, or unforeseen delays can affect the timeline. Generally, these companies are not liable for costs such as rental fees or lodging due to delays. Familiarize yourself with the pickup and dropoff locations for a smoother experience.

Liability Information

It is crucial to understand liability terms. A lot of companies require customers to prepare their vehicles for shipment. This includes removing any loose accessories, loose parts, or external racks. Moreover, most companies require the vehicles to be transported to have no more than half a tank of fuel and be in good running condition. Additionally, personal belongings are generally not allowed during transport, and the company is not held liable for any losses.

Insurance Coverage, Claims, and Damage Reports

Reliable transport companies usually offer liability insurance during transit. This covers any damages that might occur due to their negligence. However, the insurance coverage may exclude thefts or circumstances beyond their control. The level of coverage provided may vary. Therefore, you need to inquire beforehand about what your vehicle is insured for.

In case of any damage, prompt reporting is essential. Damage claims should be noted on the bill of lading and reported immediately, usually within 24 hours of delivery.

Understanding these key terms and conditions ensures you make an informed decision when selecting an auto transport service. They not only impact the service and protection of your vehicle but also provide peace of mind throughout the process. Taking the time to read and comprehend your contract can save you from surprises and make your auto transport experience seamless.

Other Factors to Consider When Comparing Auto Transport Prices

When comparing auto transport prices, there are more factors at play than what you see in the quote. This includes the following:

Time of the Year

Seasonal changes, like peak moving times, can cause rates to go up due to higher demand. January sees high demand from retirees, raising rates. February has lower rates post-holidays. Late March to May sees prices rise as retirees head North, while June to August sees a peak with summer relocations.

Around 60% of people move during the summertime because it is more convenient for them. This means that during this time, there is a much higher demand. If you want to save money on your move, you will want to move during the fall or winter months when there is not as much activity. Drivers are also more readily available during that time, which means lower rates.

Vehicle Size

The size of your vehicle dramatically impacts the price of your transport. Larger vehicles take up more space on the trailer, which leaves little room for other vehicles to ride along. Large SUVs, recreational cars, or trucks will cost more than smaller compact vehicles.

How Auto Transport Quotes Work: Quotes vs. Final Price

A car shipping quote refers to the initial estimate of the cost of transporting your vehicle based on the information provided about your needs and selected services. However, since the auto transport company has a lot of companies acting as brokers, the final price is usually not fixed until they get a carrier for the shipment.

You must be ready to pay some extra charges that might be included by the companies once a carrier is assigned to your car transport. These estimates may not be inclusive of the insurance charges. Hence, it is crucial to inquire about any hidden costs to ensure you are aware of the exact price before booking.

Estimate vs. Guaranteed Price

The key aspect to understand about car shipping pricing is that the quotes provided are not definitive, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Instead, quotes serve as initial estimates rather than final costs. This means that the final auto transport cost for your vehicle could end up costing you more than expected.

Estimated quotes, therefore, are typically non-binding estimates, subject to change due to a variety of factors. Several factors can contribute to a difference between the initial quote and the final price. These can include fluctuations in fuel costs, changes in the route or schedule, vehicle specifications, and unforeseen circumstances like road closures or weather delays.

Schedule Your Delivery Today

Nothing is worse than partnering with an auto transport company that does not want to answer any questions or concerns or who falls through on their end of the bargain. It is always best to reach out to a few different car transporters to receive quotes for their service.

If you are ready to skip the process of reaching out to several other companies to ship your vehicle, contact us now. We have a large fleet of trailers readily available to accommodate your auto shipping needs. There is no obligation when you request a shipping quote with Nexus Auto Transport, and it is completely free.

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