Cost to ship a car across country

The cost of shipping a car across the country depends on what type of car shipping method you choose. While there are two main auto transport options (the open-air carrier and the enclosed carrier), most vehicle shipments are completed in open-air carriers. According to Direct Express Auto Transport, “open-air auto transport carriers cost on average about 33 percent less than enclosed shipping.” Overall, CostHelper states that cross-country transportation for a four-door sedan runs anywhere from $600 to $1,000, depending on the time of year. The average cost range for shipping a small van, pick-up truck or SUV is $800 to $1,070. HomeAdvisor’s estimates are slightly higher, estimating that the average cost to ship a car is anywhere from $700 to $1,200.

We recommend erring on the higher side of these cost ranges when estimating your auto transport costs. Based on my own personal experience with shipping a car across the country (a small SUV shipped from Massachusetts to Florida), I would venture to say you’ll likely spend at least $1,000 for an open-air carrier when shipping a car across the country. You may have to pay up for door-to-door service as well. To get a better sense of how much it costs to ship a car across the country.

What factors affect the cost of shipping a car across the country?

The numbers above are only estimates – not exact figures. While we can roughly estimate the cost of shipping a car, there’s no way to give an exact number until you look at the whole picture. The cost of auto transport typically depends on these seven important factors below.

  • The time of year –Like moving company prices, you can expect to pay more for auto transport when demand is highest. This tends to be during the spring and summer months. So, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, expect to pay higher prices. Of course, keep in mind that location is also important. For instance, if you need to move your car from Massachusetts to Florida during the winter (or “Season,” as it’s called) when all the snowbirds move south, then expect to pay higher prices.
  • The size and weight of your car – Car carriers can only hold so many vehicles and so much weight. So, the larger your car is, the more expensive it will be to move your vehicle across the country. As you can see, moving a large SUV is more expensive than moving a sedan.
  • The distance traveled – No surprise here: the farther you need to move your car, the more expensive the car shipping service. After all, fuel charges, tolls and labor costs quickly add up when you’re traveling hundreds (or thousands) of miles. Those moving a shorter distance can expect to pay less than those moving long distance.
  • Any added insurance –While professional auto transport companies likely carry insurance, you may still want to purchase a separate policy just in case your car becomes damaged while on the car carrier.
  • The type of auto transport method –Do you plan to move your car via an open-air carrier or an enclosed carrier? The type of car shipping service you choose will have a big effect on the cost of your move. Open-air carriers tend to be less expensive, while enclosed carriers are typically quite pricey.
  • The type of car you’re moving – Your vehicle’s make and model may affect the price of a car shipping service – particularly if you’re moving a luxury or classic car. These high-end cars usually need special attention and services, which increases the cost of transportation.
  • The level of service needed – Expect to pay more for door-to-door service. While many auto transport companies require that customers pick up their cars at one location, many also provide alternative drop-off options. For those willing to pay up, the company may be able to deliver the car to their home personally.