Top 5 Car Shipping Companies In 2022

108
Credit: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Although they can be enjoyable, long road journeys are really hard on your car. You might not want to drive a long distance if you have to transport your car somewhere distant, whether you’re relocating or attending a particular event, as reported by Money.

Car shipping company

Companies that ship cars can assist in getting your vehicle where it needs to go without causing additional wear and tear. The best vehicle shipping firms provide services that can transport your car from point A to point B safely, whether you’re a snowbird moving for the season or a car collector travelling for an auto show.

Read on to find the car shipping company that best fits your needs.

Our Top Picks for Best Car Shipping Companies

Best Car Shipping Companies Reviews

Best for Multiple Discounts: Amerifreight

PROS

  • Most discounts out of any car shipping company we reviewed
  • RV shipping
  • Boat shipping

CONS

  • No international shipping
  • No additional insurance options offered
  • No 24/7 customer service available

Why we chose it: Amerifreight’s discounts for military personnel, medical personnel and first responders, as well as students and senior citizens, make it our pick for the best car shipping company with multiple discounts.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Insurance Coverage
  • None offered, varies by carrier
  • Service Area
  • All 50 US states
  • Special offers/discounts
  • Military discount/ First responders / Medical personnel / Student / Senior citizens

Amerifreight stands out for its multiple discounts, which can help make your overall car shipping costs just a little more affordable than its competitors. Not only that, but Amerifreight also offers boat and RV shipping, unlike other auto transport companies.

Amerifreight offers car shipping services for specific clients, such as anyone purchasing a car online, seasonal movers and even golfers. The company’s rates are competitive, with a sample rate from California to Florida coming out at around $900.

Although the company covers more vehicle options than its competitors, it doesn’t offer international shipping. Amerifreight also doesn’t offer supplementary insurance options. Instead, it offers the Total Assurance plan, which covers up to $2000 of your personal insurance deductible.

Best for High Insurance Coverage Limits: Sherpa Auto Transport

PROS

  • $1 million liability insurance
  • Discount for multiple vehicles
  • “Price lock” guarantee

CONS

  • No shipping to Hawaii, Alaska or DC
  • No RV transport
  • “Clean Car Guarantee” only reimburses up to $20 for out-of-pocket car wash expenses

Why we chose it: With a liability insurance policy that is ten times what other car shipping companies offer, Sherpa Auto Transport is our pick for the best car shipping company with high insurance limits.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Insurance Coverage
  • $1,000,000 liability / $100,000 cargo
  • Service Area
  • 48 contiguous states (DC not included)
  • Special offers/discounts
  • “Price Lock Promise” / “Clean Car Guarantee” / Military discount / Returning customer discount / Multiple vehicle discount

Shipping a car is generally safe, but all carriers (the people actually moving your car) are required to have liability insurance in case the unexpected happens. Most carriers only carry the bare minimum required by law ($100,000), but Sherpa goes above and beyond by having a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy and an additional $100,000 in cargo insurance.

Having the bare minimum isn’t necessarily bad, since it’s usually enough to cover most cars, but it becomes an issue when shipping luxury cars or collector’s pieces. So, if you’re a car enthusiast or a frequent exhibitor at auto shows, Sherpa is a great choice for protecting your investment during transit.

Sherpa’s main shortcoming is that it does not transport RVs and only ships to the 48 contiguous states. The company also does not ship to the District of Columbia for regulatory reasons.

Best for 24/7 Customer Support: American Auto Shipping

PROS

  • 24/7 phone and web chat customer support
  • Motorcycle shipping
  • Ships to all US states

CONS

  • No international shipping
  • No secondary insurance
  • “Free” car wash after delivery is a reimbursement up to $20

Why we chose it: American Auto Shipping‘s customer service is available at all times of day, both on the phone and through web chat, making it our pick for the best car shipping company with 24/7 customer service.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Insurance Coverage
  • None, varies by carrier
  • Service Area
  • All 50 US states
  • Special offers/discounts
  • Free rental car for delayed deliveries (over 14 days) / “free” car wash (up to $20 reimbursed) / Military discount

American Auto Shipping is an auto transport broker that can ship your car (or motorcycle) to any of the 50 states. While American Auto Shipping’s services aren’t unique in the industry, the company stands out for its 24/7 phone and live chat customer service.

American Auto shipping features a mobile app and a free car rental if deliveries are delayed over 14 days. The company also offers a “free” car wash upon delivery, though it’s actually up to $20 in reimbursement if you pay for a car wash out of pocket.

The average cost of transporting a midsize car with American Auto Shipping is approximately $1,050 for 2,750 miles — a little more than the distance from Florida to California — which is around the same range as its competitors. Keep in mind that the final price depends on various factors, so use these numbers only for reference.

Best Customer Service: Montway Auto Transport

PROS

  • Ships to all 50 U.S. states and internationally
  • Military discount available
  • Competitive pricing

CONS

  • No shipping for motorcycles, RVs or boats
  • $199 cancellation fee after booking transport
  • No real-time tracking available, must call Montway to check on car’s location

Why we chose it: A combination of competitive pricing, positive reviews focusing on customer service interactions and high customer satisfaction make Montway Auto Transport the auto shipper with the best customer service.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Insurance Coverage
  • $250,000 (Montway) / $100,000 (Inland Marine Cargo Insurance)
  • Service Area
  • All 50 US states / International
  • Special offers/discounts
  • Military Discount

Montway Auto Transport is one of the more popular auto shipping services around. It can ship any type of vehicle except for RVs and heavy equipment. Of all the major auto transport brokers we reviewed, Montway is one of three that offer international shipping services.

Montway also stands out for its low prices and quality customer service. The quotes we requested were lower than its competitors and customers praised the company’s customer service, even when discussing issues during shipping.

That said, many customers pointed out that the final price of their car shipping was higher than the quote they received. Although this isn’t uncommon with car shipping services in general, Montway has a large number of reviews that refer to this issue.

Best Auto Transport Marketplace: uShip

PROS

  • Offers all types of shipping services (furniture, pets, seasonal moves, and more)
  • Supplementary insurance to cover any shortfalls in carrier liability insurance
  • Ships to all 50 U.S. states

CONS

  • No international shipping
  • Carrier insurance policies are not vetted by uShip
  • Quotes are not guaranteed, so final pricing may be higher than quoted

Why we chose it: uShip connects you with shippers for anything from cars to pets, which makes the company our top pick for the best car shipping marketplace.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Insurance Coverage
  • Up to $75,000 per automobile, motorcycle or boat + carrier insurance
  • Service Area
  • All 50 US states
  • Special offers/discounts
  • None stated

Unlike most of its competitors, uShip offers more than just auto transport services. Anyone looking to transport anything from household appliances such as washing machines to more oversized items such as jacuzzis or swimming pools can make use of uShip’s extensive network of carriers. They even offer pet shipping services!

Given that uShip is a marketplace and not a transportation broker, the company doesn’t thoroughly check its carriers’ insurance information as closely as a broker might.

To compensate for this reduced level of vetting, uShip offers its own supplementary insurance options to ensure that your goods are adequately covered in the event of damages during transit. This supplementary insurance covers up to $75,000 per vehicle and has a $750 deductible.

Other car shipping companies we considered

Some of the companies reviewed below offer terms and services similar to our top picks, but lack one or more key features that kept them out of the list. The following companies are still notable in their own way and may be a good alternative for you.

Easy Auto Ship

PROS

  • International shipping
  • Expedited shipping
  • Shipping for motorcycles, RVs, boats and heavy equipment

CONS

  • No real-time tracking available
  • High number of negative customer reviews
  • Enclosed shipping is expensive

Easy Auto Ship is a relatively new car shipping company that stands out for its large number of shipping services. The company offers international shipping, motorcycle, RV and boat shipping, heavy equipment shipping and more.

Although real-time GPS tracking is unavailable, Easy Auto Ship has a dedicated tracking portal to provide periodic updates on your car’s location. Likewise, Easy Auto Ship has slightly lower prices for open transport, but its enclosed transport services are more expensive than average.

SGT Auto Transport

PROS

  • Price match guarantee
  • Guaranteed pickup date
  • Instant online quotes

CONS

  • No shipping to Alaska
  • No real-time tracking
  • Many user reviews mention carriers arrive late for pickup

SGT Auto Transport is a car shipping broker that services all U.S. states except Alaska. Although SGT’s prices are about average for the industry, it offers a price match guarantee if you can provide a written invoice from a competitor showing lower prices.

While SGT is generally well-regarded based on customer reviews, many of these reviews mention issues with the carrier arriving later than the scheduled pickup time. Although this isn’t uncommon for car shipping services, it does present a problem for their guaranteed pickup date services.

Car Shipping Guide

Car shipping is typically used when someone needs to move their vehicle a longer distance than they would normally drive, such as when moving cross-country. Corporate relocations or individuals transporting exotic and classic cars for auto shows can also take advantage of car shipping services.

While car transport services have some overlap with moving companies, auto shippers tend to focus exclusively on vehicle transportation.

If you’re planning on moving your car as part of a move to a new home, you can also look through our list of the best moving companies for a complete range of services.

How does car shipping work?

There are many ways to ship a car — trailer trucks, cargo boats, trains, planes — but they all involve loading your vehicle onto a dedicated transport so you don’t have to drive it yourself (and add to its wear and tear).

Car transport companies can be either carriers or brokers. An auto carrier is a company that directly handles the transportation for you, while brokers contact different carriers on your behalf to secure the best possible deal.

It’s usually best to work with auto transport brokers, since they do the shopping for you. You can get a good deal directly from a carrier if you’re a good negotiator. You also need to make sure that the company you choose offers several different shipping options — like boat transport if you’re moving to Hawaii or Alaska.

International car shipping

The overall process remains the same for international car shipments, but with added paperwork. Since you’ll be shipping to a different country with its own laws, you’ll generally be asked to provide the following documents:

  • At least two copies of government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Personal information, such as name, phone number, address and email for both the shipper and receiver
  • Your vehicle’s year, make and model, as well as your vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Proof of vehicle ownership, such as the original title, copies of the title, bill of sale or notarized lien authorization
  • Some form of payment information, such as banking or credit card details

You should also be aware of additional costs and considerations that don’t necessarily apply in domestic shipping. For example, where domestic shipping may take up to 14 days at most, international shipping can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days.

There are also destination port charges, which is essentially the cost of getting your car through customs once it arrives. These charges typically involve hiring an agent to sort out all the paperwork for you and could cost up to $500 extra in many cases.

Types of auto transport

The auto transport industry offers different ways of shipping a car, from land transportation via trailer trucks to overseas shipping via cargo boat or plane. However, the most common type of auto transport in the U.S. is via trailer truck. There are two types of land-based vehicle transport: open transport and enclosed transport.

Open auto transport

Open auto transport, sometimes referred to as open carrier shipping, is the cheapest option. This is the same type of transport that car dealerships use to ship their new cars, so if you’ve ever seen a trailer loaded with multiple cars on the highway, you’ve spotted how open auto transports work.

The main benefit of open auto transport is its relatively low cost. Since your car shares space with other vehicles, the carrier can afford to charge you a lower price, making it a good option for long-distance auto shipping.

On the downside, open carrier shipping exposes your car to the elements. If you would rather avoid your car accumulating dirt along the way or have it exposed to debris, this may not be the best option for you.

Enclosed auto transport

Enclosed auto transport means the company will ship your car in an enclosed trailer, protected from the elements and any potential debris on the road. Although you’ll still be sharing space with other cars, an enclosed trailer usually only fits seven cars at most.

This option is considerably more expensive — adding upwards of $400 to your transport costs — but it also provides greater peace of mind during the car shipping process. Enclosed transport is more commonly used for exotic, luxury or collectible vehicles.

How much does it cost to ship a car?

Due to the many factors that affect the cost of car transportation, even an in-state trip of under 500 miles using the most affordable option can cost over $700. However, the cost-per-mile of car transportation goes down the longer the distance traveled (from around $3 per mile to $0.35 per mile if you travel over 1,500 miles).

Here are some of the main factors that affect the final cost of transporting your car:

  • Distance travelled. How far your car needs to go has the most impact on the final cost of transportation. Because the cost per mile is higher at shorter distances — sometimes as high as $3 per mile for trips under 500 miles — it’s often a better idea to drive your car yourself if you’re moving locally.
  • Pickup and drop-off location. Where the car is being picked up and where it’s going. If the pickup or delivery location is in a major urban center with accessible routes, you’re likely to get charged less than if you’re in (or headed to) a rural area that’s difficult to access.
  • Delivery method. How do you want the pickup and delivery to be performed? A door-to-door delivery will attempt to deliver your car from your home location to a different address, but it will usually be more expensive. A terminal-to-terminal delivery instead requires driving to a centralized location that is easier for the truck driver to access. Although this second option is a bit more of a hassle, it’s often the cheaper alternative.
  • Vehicle type. Car shipping companies ask for your vehicle’s make and model to estimate how much it weighs. Vehicle weight impacts gas usage, affecting your estimate’s price.
  • Vehicle condition. If you have an inoperable vehicle or one in a condition that makes it difficult to move, you will be charged extra for any additional work and equipment needed to load and unload it.
  • Transport type. Whether you choose an open or enclosed transport can significantly affect the total price of the service. In many cases, choosing an enclosed transport can increase the final price by as much as $600.
  • Time of year. Depending on the season you choose for your car’s transportation, the overall cost of the service may be higher. This is especially true during winter when road conditions are more difficult and dangerous.
  • Pickup and delivery schedule. Booking a last-minute car shipping service will cost you significantly more than if you do so in advance. This is because many carriers plan their routes months in advance, and they will charge you a premium for the convenience of making last-minute adjustments.

What is the cheapest way to ship a car?

Generally, using open auto transport is the cheapest way to ship a car. This is because an open transport (like the ones used to transport new cars to dealerships) can hold multiple vehicles at once.

While this means that your car will take longer to arrive at its destination, this allows the carrier to charge a lower rate since you’re sharing the transport with other vehicles that need to get dropped off along the way.

Should I ship my car or drive it?

This will depend on your car’s age and condition and the distance you plan to move it. A short move of under 500 miles is generally safe for any car to drive, but if your car requires constant maintenance and doesn’t handle long trips well, it may be cheaper overall to have it shipped.

Car shipping insurance

Although it doesn’t happen very often, cars can and do get damaged in transit. If your car suffers some damage during the shipping experience, the carrier (the company moving your car) is required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to carry liability insurance.

It’s very important to confirm how much liability coverage your carrier has. If you feel like your carrier’s mandatory insurance is not enough to cover damages to your car, you may have to pay extra to ensure it does.

Your car insurance company may be able to cover the difference in some cases, but not every insurer offers this option, so be sure to check your policy’s details.

If your current insurer doesn’t offer these add-on coverages, consider reading through our list of the best car insurance companies to find one that can provide the extra insurance you need. You can also read through our guide on how to switch car insurance providers to make the process as quick and simple as possible.

Lastly, the DOT’s liability insurance mandate does not apply to cargo boats. Maritime vessels are outside the DOT’s purview, so they follow a different set of minimum insurance guidelines. Cargo boats are only required to reimburse shippers up to $500 in damages to the container that will transport your car.

If you have to ship your car overseas, such as in the case of Hawaii and Alaska, make sure that the company you choose has specific provisions that cover damages during boat trips.

Is it better to ship a car or buy a new one?

Most of the time, it comes down to personal preference. If your car is relatively new or has sentimental value (and is in proper working condition), shipping it may make the most sense. However, if your car is on its last legs, it may be cheaper to sell it and buy a new one at your new location.

How to choose an auto transport company

The car shipping industry is full of companies offering similar or identical services, making it hard to find the best one to suit your needs. The following tips can help you make a sound choice:

  • Think about your car shipping needs. Do you want to use open or enclosed transport? Are you shipping to Hawaii or Alaska? You need to make sure that the auto transport company you choose offers the services you need and ships to the location of your choice.
  • Compare car shipping quotes. Just because most auto transport companies offer similar services doesn’t mean they all charge the same. Most companies will offer a free quote before you officially contract their services, so take advantage of this and find the best price possible. Keep in mind that not all companies offer instant quotes online, so you may have to call a representative for that information.
  • Ask about the company’s liability insurance coverage. Auto transport companies are legally required to carry liability insurance in case your car suffers damages along the way. Be sure to ask what each company’s coverage limit is so you can pick a company that can cover the full cost of repairs in case of an accident.
  • Ask about payment options. A good auto transport company will offer several ways of paying for their service upfront. In many cases, the initial payment can only be made with a credit card or through a third-party payment system such as PayPal. If you choose to make a partial payment upfront, you’ll most likely have to pay cash or with a money order/manager’s check upon delivery of your vehicle.
  • Make sure they offer a shipping contract/bill of lading. A shipping contract serves as proof of payment and details the services you paid for. Likewise, a bill of lading details the condition of your vehicle upon pickup, which allows you to point out any damages suffered during transit once it’s delivered.

 

Did you subscribe to our newsletter?

It’s free! Click here to subscribe!

Source: Money

 

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.