Editorial Note: This content was researched and produced by Motor1.com‘s expert review team. Links in this article may result in us earning a commission but do not impact our advice or recommendations. Learn More

Best Car Shipping Companies

Based on our research, the best car shipping companies in 2024 are Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, and SGT Auto Transport.

From our #1 rated provider,  

866-202-7823

By:
Brogan Woodburn
By: Brogan Woodburn Senior Writer

Brogan is a Motor1.com Senior Writer based in Central Oregon. He produces in-depth auto product guides on topics spanning from auto warranties and insurance to tips on how to sell a car.

Last Updated 01/16/2024

Motor1 Reviews Team Take:

  • The best car shipping company in 2024 is Montway Auto Transport, according to our research team’s analysis. 
  • With its guaranteed rates and streamlined customer experience, we recognize Sherpa Auto Transport for Locked-In Prices and place it as runner-up in the overall rankings.
  • SGT Auto Transport, which offers a unique price-match guarantee, is a reputable provider that offers a comprehensive array of car shipping services.

We get it, shipping your car can seem intimidating. Car shipping companies aren’t always transparent on how much services cost, and some guarantee perks like specific pickup windows, price matching, and insurance upgrade options, while others do not.

Our team has spent 300 hours evaluating data about the top car shipping companies, surveying consumers who have shipped a car, and taking a close look at customer reviews to see how they compare. In this article, we’ll explain our top picks, the types of transport options available, and how the car shipping process works so you’ll feel more at ease with making a decision for your shipping needs.


Top-Rated Car Shipping Companies

Each year, our expert review team collects data from a wide selection of the top car shipping companies in order to generate rankings of the best transporters. Our team shopped providers to compare pricing on hundreds of custom quotes, surveyed past customers, and evaluated the unique services offered by each business.

What Are The Best Car Shipping Companies?

After 300 hours of research, we found the best car shipping companies in 2024 are Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, American Auto Shipping, AmeriFreight, uShip, and Easy Auto Ship. (See how we rate companies here.)

ProviderMotor1 AwardOverall RatingBBB Rating
1. Montway Auto TransportBest Overall4.7 out of 5.0A+
2. Sherpa Auto TransportLocked-In Prices4.6 out of 5.0A+
3. SGT Auto TransportBest Price-Matching Guarantee4.6 out of 5.0B
4. American Auto ShippingBest Service Selection4.6 out of 5.0A+
5. AmeriFreightBest Discounts4.5 out of 5.0A+
6. uShipBest Car Shipping Marketplace4.5 out of 5.0A+
7. Easy Auto ShipBest Customer Service4.4 out of 5.0A+

*For context, the average overall rating for the 21 shipping companies we reviewed was 4.2 out of 5.0.


Car Shipping Company Reviews

After performing an in-depth industry review, our research team named Montway Auto Transport the best car shipping company in 2024. While the provider tops this year’s list for the best provider overall, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best auto transport company for everyone. 

Because rates with any provider can vary depending on your location, service preferences, and discount eligibility, we recommend researching a few leading providers and comparing quotes. To that end, the sections below contain in-depth reviews of the top auto transport companies on our list.

1. Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall
4.6
Overview

Founded: 2006
Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.6/5.0

Google review score: 4.7/5.0

For more information about this provider, read our full Montway Auto Transport Review.

Why We Chose Montway

Topping our list in 2024, Montway Auto Transport works with over 30,000 carriers across the nation and can ship a car to anywhere in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. We’re impressed by Montway’s contingent insurance policy offerings, which provide additional coverage on top of your hauler’s existing policy to give you extra peace of mind.

According to our latest consumer vehicle shipping survey conducted in August 2023, Montway Auto Transport had the highest satisfaction rating of any major provider, with 67 percent of customers very satisfied and 100 percent either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their experience.

Montway Pros And Cons
Pros Montway utilizes over 30,000 verified and insured carriers to ensure your vehicle makes it safely to its destination In our industry-wide cost analysis, we found that Montway offers competitive prices Military and return-customer discounts can help lower your total shipping costs Montway earned the highest customer satisfaction rating in our 2023 car shipping survey Cons No guaranteed pricing, which means your total costs could be higher than your initial quoted price Montway’s minimum $249 cancellation fee is higher than many competitors’ fees No shipping services are offered for specialty vehicles such as recreational vehicles (RVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
Car Shipping Services From Montway

Here are a few details about shipping with Montway:

  • Insurance: Provided through all Montway shippers, and contingent cargo insurance up to $250,000 is provided by Montway
  • Door-to-door delivery: Available
  • GPS tracking: Not available, but Montway has an extended live chat service that can provide updates and delivery statuses
  • Extras: Expedited pickup options (guaranteed within two days from the time of booking), and you can include 100.0 pounds of personal items inside the vehicle at no additional charge
How Montway Insurance Works

Montway requires all carriers to provide inland marine cargo insurance up to $100,000. This covers damage to your vehicle or theft while it is in transit. Specifically, inland marine insurance covers cargo on land, while marine insurance covers products transported over water.

If for some reason the carrier won’t cover your claim, Montway also provides contingent cargo insurance up to $250,000. This only applies if a carrier doesn’t fully cover a valid claim.

Montway Auto Transport Cost

Average cost per mile: $0.82

Montway offers competitive rates for a variety of shipping services, including open and enclosed auto transport. There are no listing fees, but there is a $249 cancellation fee. It’s good to note that enclosed shipping costs about $390 more than using open car shipping for a 1,500-mile shipment with Montway.

See the table below for quotes we received from Montway:

Shipping TypeRouteDistanceCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO503 miles$649
OpenLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$1,019
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$1,409
OpenNew York City to San Francisco3,036 miles$1,439
2. Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-In Prices
4.4
Overview

Founded: 2017
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.9/5.0
Trustpilot rating: Not available
Google review score: 4.7/5.0

You can read more about this provider in our in-depth Sherpa Auto Transport Review.

Why We Chose Sherpa Auto Transport

Sherpa Auto Transport’s mission is to provide a simple and reliable consumer shipping experience, enhanced by its Price Lock Promise.

What does the Price Lock Promise do? When you accept a quote from Sherpa, the company will try to secure a carrier within that price range. If demand for carriers is high, the price may not be good enough to bring in a carrier. In that case, Sherpa will contribute up to $300 of its own funds to get a carrier without raising your quote.

Our survey data shows customers are most concerned about cost and company reputation when looking for a carrier. With Sherpa’s Price Lock Promise, you know the rate won’t increase after you get a quote.

Sherpa Auto Transport Pros And Cons
Pros Sherpa has a strong reputation, with an A+ rating from the BBB and very few customer complaints An easy-to-use booking process and quick shipper matching make scheduling your shipment a breeze Sherpa’s Price Lock Promise on every quote ensures your accepted quote is what you pay Carriers are all thoroughly vetted before being included in Sherpa’s network Cons Sherpa’s prices are slightly more expensive than other providers on our list The company does not ship vehicles to Alaska Sherpa doesn’t offer guaranteed pickup dates, while some other competitors do
Car Shipping Services From Sherpa Auto Transport

Here are a few details about shipping with Sherpa Auto Transport:

  • Insurance: All Sherpa carriers have a minimum liability insurance policy of $1 million and $100,000 of cargo insurance coverage
  • Door-to-door delivery: Available
  • GPS tracking: Not available, but customers can contact Sherpa for a real-time update and estimated arrival time
  • Extras: Expedited pickup available (within two days from time of booking based on carrier availability), $20 car wash reimbursement included with all shipping, Price Lock Promise
Sherpa Auto Transport Cost

Average cost per mile: $0.88

While initial car shipping quotes may be a bit higher with Sherpa than with other providers, these are locked-in rates due to the Price Lock Promise. Other car shipping companies may provide estimated rates that are much lower than the actual cost after fees and surcharges are added on at the end.

We found adding the enclosed shipping option to a 1,500-mile shipment increased the cost by $600 even. Here are a few more quotes we received from Sherpa Auto Transport:

Shipping TypeRouteDistanceCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO503 miles$650
OpenLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$1,025
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$1,625
OpenNew York City to San Francisco3,036 miles$1,550
3. SGT Auto Transport: Best Price-Matching Guarantee
4.6
Overview

Founded: 2014
BBB rating: B
BBB customer review score: 4.5/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 4.6/5.0
Google review score: 4.7/5.0

To learn more about this company, check out our SGT Auto Transport Review.

Why We Chose SGT Auto Transport

SGT Auto Transport has many strengths as a car transporter, but one of the main reasons it made our list of the best car shipping companies is its price-match guarantee. Under this guarantee, SGT Auto Transport will match a written quote from a direct competitor if you find a better rate elsewhere.

SGT Auto Transport offers and fulfills everything from shipping for online car purchases to transporting vehicle inventories for car dealerships. In addition, SGT tied with Montway Auto Transport in our 2023 car shipping survey for the highest percentage of customers very satisfied with their shipment, which is 67 percent. This, along with high ratings from customers, helps to demonstrate the company’s level of credibility across the industry.

SGT Auto Transport Pros And Cons
Pros The company’s price-match guarantee can help secure a discount on SGT’s vehicle transport services Guaranteed pickup dates ensure your vehicle is picked up when you need it to be, which is not a common benefit in the industry Shipping is available in 49 states, including Hawaii 24/7 customer support helps to provide peace of mind at all times Cons No terminal-to-terminal shipping services are offered Sherpa doesn’t have real-time tracking or a mobile app to help assist you during transport Services are not available to ship a car to Alaska
Car Shipping Services From SGT Auto Transport

Here are a few of the services SGT Auto Transport offers:

  • Insurance: Carriers have cargo insurance policies of $100,000 or more
  • Door-to-door delivery: Available
  • GPS tracking: No GPS tracking but you can track via phone, email, or 24/7 live chat
  • Extras: Expedited pickup is available on a business day of your choice (within one to three days from the time of booking), and customers can ship up to 100 lbs. of personal items in the car
SGT Auto Transport Cost

Average cost per mile: $1.00

Compared to other providers, SGT Auto Transport offers average quotes. But since it will price-match its competitors, you may be able to find a cheaper rate than your initial quote.

According to quotes we received, rates with SGT Auto Transport come in at $200 more to ship a car from Los Angeles to Houston with enclosed shipping as compared to open shipping. This is the second-lowest price difference between open and enclosed shipping services we found from the top providers on our list, making the price difference an attractive upgrade if you’re looking for extra protection.

See below for the most recent quotes we received from SGT Auto Transport.

Shipping TypeRouteCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO (503 miles)$610
OpenLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,499
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,699
OpenNew York City to San Francisco (3,036 miles)$2,289
4. American Auto Shipping: Best Service Selection
4.6
Overview

Founded: 1999
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.7/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 3.2/5.0 (from only four reviews)
Google review score: 4.6/5.0

To learn more, read our comprehensive review of American Auto Shipping.

Why We Chose American Auto Shipping

American Auto Shipping is another great choice if you’re looking for a wide range of service options. The car transport company offers a diverse set of shipping services, such as car shipments to Hawaii, auto auction transport, and even heavy equipment shipping. You’re likely to find the service you need through American Auto Shipping.

In our experience, American Auto Shipping offers timely customer service with helpful agents. Our secret shoppers were able to get help with a quote quickly and have their questions answered. This is reflected in many American Auto Shipping customer reviews as well. Reviewers mention timely vehicle pickup, great communication, and professional drivers.

American Auto Shipping Pros And Cons
Pros American Auto Shipping offers a wide variety of shipping service options Our team had a great customer service experience with American Auto Shipping during our secret shopping Getting a quote is quick and easy with the company’s instant online quote form The company offers insurance deductible reimbursements in the event you need to file a claim Cons American Auto Shipping doesn’t offer car transport services to Alaska The company lacks GPS tracking to keep up to date with your shipment There are fewer customer reviews available on sites like the BBB and Trustpilot compared to other providers
Car Shipping Services From American Auto Shipping

Here are a few of the services American Auto Shipping provides:

  • Insurance: Carriers have $750,000 of public liability insurance and meet federal minimum cargo insurance requirements
  • Door-to-door delivery: Available
  • GPS tracking: No, but 24/7 chat support can give you the location of your car
  • Extras: Expedited pickup available (within one day from the time of booking), locked-in pricing, and a damage-free guarantee

Under American Auto Shipping’s damage-free guarantee, the company will pay up to $500 of your insurance deductible if your car was damaged and the carrier’s insurance won’t cover it.

American Auto Shipping Cost

Average cost per mile: $0.99

American Auto Shipping isn’t the cheapest company on our list, but it isn’t the most expensive, either. However, the enclosed shipping quote we recently received was $500 more expensive than the open shipping quote for the same route, which is on the higher end of enclosed shipping price increases when compared to other providers.

Shipping TypeRouteCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO (503 miles)$669
OpenLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,319
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,819
OpenNew York City to San Francisco (3,036 miles)$1,829
5. AmeriFreight: Best Discounts
4.5
Overview

Founded: 2004
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.8/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 4.8/5.0
Google review score: 4.7/5.0

Read our full AmeriFreight Review to learn more about the car shipping company.

Why We Chose Amerifreight

AmeriFreight partners with over 10,000 auto shipping companies to transport customer vehicles anywhere in the United States With an A+ rating with the BBB, this nationwide auto transporter stands out by dedicating extra attention to its carrier vetting process. Only fully insured truckers with consistently high customer ratings are used, and any shipper with a poor client history is dropped as a partner.

Amerifreight Auto Shipping Pros And Cons
Pros AmeriFreight has 20 years of experience and serves 50 states Open transport costs can be more affordable with this provider AmeriFreight has eight discounts (described in detail below) The car shipping company also ships alternative vehicles such as motorcycles, RVs, and ATVs Cons The company lacks GPS tracking to keep up to date with your shipment Enclosed shipping costs can be higher with this provider
Amerifreight Discounts

What sets AmeriFreight apart from many of its competitors is its list of discounts. AmeriFreight discounts are available to military members, first responders, students, and more. Here’s the full list:

  • Military: $35 off
  • First responders: $35 off
  • Medical personnel: $35 off
  • Students: $25 off
  • Senior citizens: $25 off
  • Return customers: $50 off
  • Multiple vehicles: $50 off every additional vehicle
  • Early Bird: $35 off if you sign up within 48 hours of getting a quote

Only one discount offer can be applied per order, except for the Early Bird discount.

Car Shipping Services From AmeriFreight

Here are a few details about using AmeriFreight:

  • Insurance: All auto carriers insured, with additional guaranteed asset protection insurance, or gap coverage, available for a fee
  • Door-to-door delivery: Available
  • GPS tracking: Not available, but you can track by calling the company for updated location information or via online chat
  • Extras: Expedited pickup is available (within two days from the time of booking)

AmeriFreight is the only car shipping company on our list that offers gap coverage. This is not the same as gap insurance for an auto loan. AmeriFreight’s plan is called the Allied Fidelity Total Assurance Plan, or AFta for short. The plan can cover up to $2,000 of your insurance deductible if you file a claim with your own company. It can also cover a range of situations with different plan levels. Here are the basics:

  • Standard Coverage: This option covers major damage should the carrier’s insurance fail to cover it, minor damage if it’s detected within 48 hours of delivery, rental car coverage after extreme delays in the shipping process, and lost or stolen keys.
  • Basic Coverage: This option only covers minor damage detected within 48 hours of delivery.
  • Payment Cancellation Coverage: With this option, you can get your deposit back after dispatch but prior to vehicle pickup. Normally, brokers won’t refund your deposit once they’ve dispatched a driver.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: This option includes all of the above.

Pricing depends on the vehicle value and coverage.

AmeriFreight Cost

Average cost per mile: $0.83

One downside to AmeriFreight is that it can cost much more to ship enclosed than open. In a quote we received for shipping a car from Los Angeles to Houston, enclosed car shipping was $681 more than open car shipping. Looked at another way, it was 70 percent more expensive to ship enclosed than open in this instance. Below are a few quotes from AmeriFreight.

Shipping TypeRouteDistanceCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO503 miles$597
OpenLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$973
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$1,654
OpenNew York City to San Francisco3,036 miles$1,349
6. uShip: Best Car Shipping Marketplace
4.5
Overview

Founded: 2003
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.6/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 4.4/5.0

Google review score: 4.8/5.0

Check out our uShip Review for more information.

Why We Chose uShip

uShip is a different kind of car shipping company. It’s an online marketplace that connects customers directly to car carriers. The advantage of this is that you can find affordable rates straight from car carriers. However, the downside is that uShip doesn’t guarantee the service or insurance that carriers offer. So, it’s up to you to do your due diligence and research any carrier you come across on uShip’s site.

uShip Pros And Cons
Pros uShip has a strong industry reputation, with an A+ rating from the BBB Its marketplace platform makes it easy to compare offers from a wide range of shippers and brokers Getting a quote on uShip’s website is quick and easy uShip’s prices are competitive compared to other shipping companies on the market Cons uShip doesn’t verify the insurance coverage of the shippers on its site The provider doesn’t have the best process for resolving issues with drivers uShip doesn’t offer a price guarantee, so quoted prices may fluctuate
Car Shipping Services From uShip
  • Insurance: Carrier insurance not verified, uShip offers cargo insurance for a fee
  • Door-to-door delivery: Available
  • GPS tracking: Yes, if the carrier has location sharing enabled on their mobile device
  • Extras: Get competing quotes from carriers with a marketplace listing

Many car shipping companies can ship across the country but not necessarily overseas. uShip can coordinate your shipment from a port in the U.S. to an international port city, which makes it somewhat unique on our list of car shipping providers. Additionally, uShip can transport vehicles that other shippers may not, such as ATVs, boats, and heavy equipment.

How Insurance Works On uShip

Since uShip doesn’t verify insurance from participating carriers, it offers cargo insurance to its customers. You can add uShip cargo insurance for a small fee depending on the value of your car. uShip insurance covers direct physical loss or damage to your vehicle.

uShip also offers a $500 Ship with Confidence Guarantee. uShip will compensate you $500 if you made a payment to a carrier who didn’t complete the service. The guarantee also applies if you are unable to collect on an insurance claim filed through the carrier’s insurance or uShip cargo insurance.

uShip Cost

Average cost per mile: $0.97

It’s free to create an account on uShip. After that, you can get a quote either by using the instant quote form or by making a marketplace listing. The instant quote form will show you quotes from top car shipping companies.

If you make a marketplace listing, you can watch as different companies bid lower and lower to get your job. You can get prices from more companies in this way, and you may get the lowest prices out there, too.

When we most recently reached out for quotes from uShip, we found that shipping a car using enclosed transport was $280 more than shipping it open from Los Angeles to Houston, which was cheaper than other providers on our list.

Below are the instant quotes our team received from uShip.

Shipping TypeRouteCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO (503 miles)$689
OpenLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,249
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,529
OpenNew York City to San Francisco (3,036 miles)$2,177
7. Easy Auto Ship: Best Customer Service
4.5
Overview

Founded: 2013
BBB rating: A+
BBB customer review score: 4.6/5.0
Trustpilot rating: 2.8/5.0 (from only 11 reviews)
Google review score: 4.6/5.0

Read our Easy Auto Ship Review for a more in-depth take on the motor carrier.

Why We Chose Easy Auto Ship

Easy Auto Ship has made a name for itself with its versatile services, excellent customer satisfaction, and relatively affordable prices. This low-cost broker transports many types of vehicles, including classic cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles (RVs), and heavy equipment. With 10 years of experience, Easy Auto Ship offers service to all 50 states plus international shipping. It even offers moving and relocation services.

Having compared quotes from Easy Auto Ship, we noted it offered a standard pickup window of one to five days, which was the best among all the companies we researched. It also offers expedited service, and can even pick your car up in as little as a few hours depending on carrier availability.

According to our latest consumer vehicle shipping survey conducted in August 2023, 97 percent of customers were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their shipping experience through Easy Auto Ship.

Easy Auto Ship Pros And Cons
Pros Easy Auto Ship has a positive industry reputation, with an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB The company will cover the cost of a rental car if your shipment takes more than 14 days – a unique benefit in the industry Getting a quote with the provider is quick and easy due to its instant online quote tool The company ships specialty vehicles such as RVs, ATVs, and even heavy machinery Cons The company lacks GPS tracking to keep up to date with your shipment Its enclosed shipping prices are higher than many other top providers
Car Shipping Services From Easy Auto Ship

Here are a few details about transporting a vehicle with Easy Auto Ship:

  • Insurance: All carriers are insured, and Easy Auto Ship provides an additional $100,000 of coverage with all contracts at no charge
  • Door-to-door delivery*: Available
  • GPS tracking: Not available, but agents will provide updates and can be contacted regarding car shipment status at any time
  • Extras: Expedited pickup available (can pick up same-day based on carrier availability), special shipment services for RVs, ATVs, farm machinery, and more

If your shipment takes longer than two weeks after pickup, Easy Auto Ship will provide a free rental car for you to use. The company also provides a Clean Car Guarantee, which will pay for a wash if your car arrives dirty.

*With door-to-door delivery, your vehicle will be picked up and dropped off as closely to your desired location as possible. This is in contrast to terminal-to-terminal delivery, in which you must visit a shipping carrier terminal to drop off and collect your car.

Easy Auto Ship Cost

Average cost per mile: $0.86

In our research, we found Easy Auto Ship’s rates were slightly higher than the average cost in the car shipping industry. Open transport quotes ranged from $723 for a 500-mile shipment to $1,378 for a cross-country move.

Unfortunately, enclosed shipping tends to be expensive through Easy Auto Ship. Sending a car from Los Angeles to Houston with an enclosed carrier was exactly $500 more expensive than sending it on an open carrier, which was the highest price increase among the providers in this review.

You can get a rough idea of how much your shipment will cost with Easy Auto Ship by using the company’s domestic and international car shipping cost calculator on its website. The provider offers discounts for active-duty military members and veterans.

Shipping TypeRouteDistanceCost
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO503 miles$723
OpenLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$956
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston1,556 miles$1,456
OpenNew York City to San Francisco3,036 miles$1,378

*Sample shipping costs throughout this article are to ship an operable 2019 Toyota RAV4 (SUV) on an open-carrier transport unless otherwise stated. Costs are estimates and may be subject to change by the time the final shipping is booked.


How Car Shipping Works

If this is your first time shipping a car, take a few minutes to get the lay of the land. Shipping a car isn’t like sending a box through the mail.

Car Shipping Companies: Brokers Vs. Carriers

Shipping a car involves three components: the customer, a car shipping broker, and a carrier. In a nutshell, a customer gets a quote from a broker to ship their car. The broker then posts the job to their network of carriers. Once a carrier is dispatched to pick up the car, the broker has rendered their services.

Most of the time, a carrier picks up the job for the agreed price. In some cases, the quote is not high enough to secure a carrier. This may happen if there is high demand for car shipping at the time the customer requests a quote. The broker may go back to the customer and ask to raise the quote to secure a carrier.

You might wonder, why not just book directly with a carrier over a broker? Well, carriers rarely advertise to customers. Most prefer to work with brokers to keep their schedules full and to avoid worrying about marketing costs.

Car Shipping Services

If you’re considering shipping a car, it’s important to understand the services that are available to you. Three crucial components to consider within the auto transport industry are:

  1. Shipping methods
  2. Whether or not your vehicle is protected by a sufficient level of insurance coverage 
  3. Common issues that customers face when shipping a car 

We’ll cover each of these components in the sections below.

Open Vs. Enclosed Car Shipping Services

There are two main kinds of auto shipping: open and enclosed. With open shipping, the carrier loads your car onto an open-air trailer that can accommodate 10 or more vehicles depending on their sizes. Since more cars fit on an open trailer, transportation costs are lower with this shipping method.

However, open shipping leaves your car vulnerable to debris from the road and damage from the elements. Not to mention, cars on the upper deck can leak oil and other fluids onto the lower cars.

If these potential risks set off a lot of alarm bells for you, you’ll want to use enclosed shipping. SGT Auto Transport CEO Tsvetelin (Jack) Savov shared some expert tips for those who are deciding between the two shipping methods.

“Enclosed shipping is worth the extra cost in certain situations. If the vehicle is expensive, classic, or a sports car, enclosed shipping is highly recommended to ensure that it is protected from any climate impacts during transport.”

Depending on the distance and company, enclosed shipping can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000 more than open shipping. But the cost may be worth it to keep a new or valuable car safe from the elements.

“Customers should weigh the benefits of enclosed transport against their budget and shipping needs to determine if it is the best option for their specific situation,” said Savov. “Overall, while enclosed shipping is not always necessary, it can provide added peace of mind and security for certain types of vehicles during transport.”

Venn diagram marking the major differences and similarities between open and enclosed auto shipping options

Car Transport Insurance

The car shipping companies on our list all require the carriers in their networks to have minimum levels of cargo insurance, which usually start at $100,000. This insurance covers both theft and damage to your vehicle while it’s in transit. However, some situations may be excluded. For example, Easy Auto Ship and its carriers aren’t liable for damage from objects flying from the road or sky during transport. AmeriFreight can cover these damages through its Allied Fidelity Total Assurance Plan (AFta) for a price.

“Most companies provide bumper-to-bumper insurance, which covers external damage to the vehicle, but it’s always advisable to check the coverage of the insurance to make sure it includes the cost of the vehicle,” explained Savov. “If the insurance coverage provided by the shipping company meets the customer’s needs, it may not be necessary to purchase additional insurance. Customers should take time to review the terms and conditions of any additional insurance policy, including any exclusions, limitations, and deductibles.”

Damage to your vehicle during the loading and unloading process may be excluded from cargo insurance. If something happens to your car and the carrier denies the claim, you can file a claim with your insurance company – but only if you already have comprehensive coverage.

Some companies provide extra insurance coverage for a fee, and others offer compensation if certain claims are denied by the carrier’s insurance. This is why it’s important to read the fine print as you shop around for car shipping quotes.

Customer Satisfaction

Our team surveyed 1,000 people in 2023 who shipped a car in the past. A total of 59 percent of respondents said they were “very satisfied,” and 34 percent were “somewhat satisfied.” This means that 93 percent of those who took our survey were satisfied with their shipping experience. About 2 percent were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their experience with the auto moving company. 

Some common problems included:

  • The vehicle being damaged upon delivery
  • The truck driver’s insurance not covering the damage
  • The final price being more than the auto transport quote

We found that open car transport is the most popular way to ship a car, which makes sense since it’s usually the most economical shipping option. In our 2023 survey, 65 percent of respondents selected open transport and 29 percent of people chose enclosed carrier transport. Some customers also used single-car transport services such as a flatbed truck.

Our Team’s Shipping Experience

To test out the auto transport industry for ourselves, three members of our product review team shipped their own vehicles with some of the industry’s leading providers. Product Analyst Sonia Chrostowski selected a cross-country route from Carlsbad, CA to Raleigh, NC.

Overall, she was very satisfied with her experience and found that there was some flexibility among what is permitted with shipping carriers. She was able to pack her entire vehicle with belongings for an additional fee, which is not common in the shipping industry. The carrier assigned to her by her shipping broker was Skyline Auto Relocation Inc.

“I was given the phone number of the dispatcher and the actual driver himself, so I could call the driver whenever I wanted an update on the status of my car shipment,” said Chrostowski. “Being able to speak with the driver was a great plus since I was very anxious about shipping my car. My car arrived with no damage and all of my things still packed in my car.”

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

Shipping a car can cost up to $1.29 per mile for short trips of about 500 miles but as low as $0.50 per mile for distances over 2,000 miles, according to our secret shopper analysis.

Our team received quotes from over 15 companies in 2021, 2022, and 2023. We saw an increase in costs across the board in 2022. Notably, we received our 2022 quotes while inflation and gas prices were on the rise.

The average 1,500-mile open-car shipment cost was $1,056 in 2021 and $1,425 in 2022. Luckily, in 2023, the average price fell to $1,077. That’s a decrease of about 24 percent. Our company rankings in this article take the updated cost data into account.

What Affects Car Shipping Prices?

In general, car shipping costs are most affected by the following factors:

  • Shipping distance: The farther your move, the more vehicle shipping will cost. Shorter trips will typically cost less overall, but do tend to cost more per mile.
  • Type of vehicle: Your car’s length, height, clearance, and weight can all impact shipping costs. Inoperable vehicles cost more to ship as well.
  • Transport type: Enclosed car transport costs more than open auto transport.
  • Pickup location: Door-to-door delivery is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal delivery. Shipping to and from rural areas is also more expensive than shipping to and from urban areas.
  • Delivery and pickup dates: You’ll save more money by ordering shipments that are at least two or more weeks away. Expedited shipping is more expensive.
  • Time of year: Prices peak in the summer and in January, when auto shippers are at their busiest.
  • Cost of fuel: When fuel prices rise for carriers, expect them to factor that into their own prices for shipping your car.

Car Shipping Quotes

It’s important to note that the price that you’re quoted may not be the same as the price you’ll pay. Unless you work with a company that explicitly offers a locked-in rate or price guarantee, assume that quoted rates can change. Car carriers are independent businesses, and they can choose whether a particular job offers enough compensation or not.

However, once a carrier is dispatched or assigned to pick up your car, your price should not change. If the driver asks for more money when they drop off the vehicle, that’s not OK, and you should report them to the shipping company.

In our 2023 shipping survey, 14 percent of respondents did say the driver asked for more money or a larger tip upon delivery. It’s a good idea to print out your original shipping agreement and have it with you when you meet the driver.

Auto Transport Payments

After you get a quote, there are four main steps in the car shipping process:

  1. Quote acceptance (booking)
  2. Dispatch
  3. Pickup
  4. Delivery

When a company assigns your car shipment to a specific carrier, the car has been dispatched. Depending on the broker, you will get charged for the shipping service either at the time of booking or dispatch. In both cases, you pay online by credit card and the broker then pays the carrier its share later on.

Many brokers also give the option for a cash-on-delivery (COD) payment, which can be cheaper than prepaying in full online. Car shipping companies like COD payments because it saves them an administrative task, while drivers like them because they get their money faster. The upside for you is that you can pay a small deposit at the time of booking or dispatch and then pay the rest when you receive the car.

Be aware that cash-on-delivery means no debit cards, credit cards, or checks. Drivers will accept cash-equivalent payments like money orders or cashier’s checks, though. Some may accept payments through Venmo or Cash App, but don’t count on this being the case.

Car Shipping Tips

When shipping a car, there are a few things you should know to avoid unnecessary headaches and hassle during your move. Below are a few helpful tips for those who are considering or are in the process of transporting a vehicle.

1. Do Your Research

It’s important to do your research. Savov recommends the following for first-time shippers:

“For a first-time car shipper, I recommend investing sufficient time into the research phase to determine the type of service needed. Whether it’s for relocating or for a guaranteed pickup service, comparing prices and evaluating the pros and cons of at least two to three companies is highly recommended.”

2. Be Flexible

It’s important to be flexible when shipping a car, especially for long-distance moving. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll pay more upfront for expedited car delivery. Shipping timelines can change depending on weather and traffic, too. Keep in mind that delivery dates are very rarely guaranteed.

Auto movers may not be able to meet you at your exact delivery location. Remember, an open or enclosed trailer needs to make it to the dropoff spot. This isn’t always possible on smaller neighborhood streets.

3. Prepare Your Vehicle Correctly

Here’s how to prepare your car for shipping:

  • Make sure your vehicle has no more than a quarter tank of gas.
  • Remove all your personal items.
  • Make sure your car isn’t leaking any fluids.
  • Clean your car inside and out.
  • Note your car’s exact condition and take photos before signing the bill of lading.
  • Take very clear photos of the car.

4. Keep A Copy Of The Bill Of Lading

The bill of lading has many purposes. Carriers use the bill of lading to record any pre-existing marks, dents, or mechanical issues on the vehicle before loading it up. The bill of lading also acts as an official report and receipt for the shipping transaction. You and the carrier will both sign it before the car gets lifted onto the trailer and after the car arrives at its destination.

If you notice any new damages or mechanical issues with your vehicle after arrival, you can use your bill of lading copy to file a claim with the auto transport broker. The broker may ensure that repairs are covered by the carrier’s cargo insurance, if the claim is found to be valid. This is also why it’s important to take clear photos of the vehicle before and after delivery.


Best Auto Transport Companies: Bottom Line

We rated Montway Auto Transport as the best overall car shipping company, but each of the other providers on this list is worthy of your attention. Sherpa Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, and American Auto Shipping all scored almost as high in our study and offer reliable service and competitive pricing.

You can and should get free quotes from several providers to compare before making a decision. The car shipper that offers the best rates for your neighbor may not be the one with the cheapest rates for you.


Car Shipping Companies: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about car shipping companies:

Is it cheaper to ship a car or drive?

You may save money by driving your car rather than shipping it depending on the distance. However, shipping your vehicle comes with extra security and is much more convenient. You need to consider how far you’re moving your car and how fast you need it to be relocated before making your decision.

Can you ship a fully packed car?

Most car shipping companies require you to remove all items from your vehicle before shipment. But some companies like Montway Auto Transport will allow you to ship up to 100 pounds of additional cargo in your trunk at no extra cost. If you aren’t sure, check with your auto shipping provider.

What is the most reliable car shipping company?

After researching every major auto shipping provider, our team found Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, and AmeriFreight to be among the best and most reliable car shipping companies in the industry. These car transporters have competitive rates and excellent customer service reputations.

What is the cheapest company to ship your car?

We found that Mercury Auto Transport and uShip offer cheap shipping quotes for open car shipment between Los Angeles and Houston at $815 and $895, respectively. Be aware that quotes are variable and can change at any time until car shipping companies actually dispatch a carrier.

How much does it cost to transport a car?

The cost to transport a car can range from $500 to $2,000 and higher. Average costs for auto shipping are dependent on factors such as vehicle size and condition, shipment distance, open transport or enclosed transport, and season.

What’s the cheapest way to ship my car?

The most cost-effective way to ship a car is to use open car transport. This way, the cost is divided among up to 10 vehicles. If you are moving between Florida and Washington, D.C., you can also use Amtrak’s car transport service for cheap rates.

Can I pay someone to drive my car across the country?

You can pay to have someone else drive your car across the country. This could end up costing more than it would be to have your car shipped with an auto shipping service, as you’ll incur the extra miles on your vehicle.

How do I get a car shipping estimate?

It’s easy to get a car shipping estimate from top brokers such as Montway Auto Transport. Once you provide your shipment details and preferred method of transport, you’ll receive a free shipping estimate and be connected with a carrier.

What is an auto transport broker?

An auto transport broker is a company that connects car owners with shipping carriers. A broker that works with a variety of reputable carriers should be able to find you a competitive rate, and the carrier is the company that takes over the actual transportation of your vehicle.

Are there discounts for auto transport?

Yes, there are discounts for auto transport. We recognized AmeriFreight for having the best auto shipping discounts. You can get lower rates with the provider if you are a military service member, first responder, medical personnel, student, senior citizen, or returning customer. Those who sign up early and those with multiple vehicles can also find savings.

Can you ship a car to another state?

You can ship a car to another state or, with some providers, even to another country. The best car shipping companies provide a number of options to ship your car within the U.S. and internationally.

How do you ship a car?

To ship a car, you first need to get a quote – we recommend getting several – either over the phone or online from an auto shipping company. Then, you’ll need to arrange details such as pickup and drop-off time and location when you book your shipment. You’ll meet your driver at the pickup and drop-off locations when your vehicle is picked up and delivered.

How do I choose a car shipping company?

To choose an auto transport company, compare customer reviews to see how different companies handle problems that come up. Look for an auto transport company that is honest about how rates may change or how shipment windows aren’t set in stone. Then, compare quotes to find one that fits within your budget.


Car Shipping Company Ratings: Our Process

In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team has collected over 500 data points from dozens of car shipping companies to formulate rankings of the best transporters. Providers receive a score in the categories of reputation, cost, services, and customer experience, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

However, our ratings are not static. Throughout the year, we periodically review company data and quotes and make adjustments accordingly. You can learn more about how ratings are determined in each methodology category in the sections below:

Industry Standing

Shippers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category. Our team evaluates Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, the nature of customer complaints, the number of years in business, and overall shipping availability within the U.S. and beyond.

Our goal is to provide an overall reputation score that can indicate the trustworthiness of a business. While we’ve reviewed over 25 providers, we only recommend the most reliable companies.

Cost

To compare car shipping costs between companies, we’ve reviewed over 400 sample quotes for a variety of shipping routes, distances, and vehicles. Companies with lower shipping prices and many discount opportunities receive the best scores.

All of the quotes in this article apply to shipping an operable 2019 Toyota RAV4. You may find different quotes depending on the size of your vehicle and whether or not it drives. If a vehicle is inoperable, the truck driver will need to winch it onto the truck, and this adds to the cost.

Services

It’s good to have choices. Our rating for this category is based on the types of auto transport services available (open, enclosed, door-to-door, etc.), insurance coverage, average transit time, and the ability to guarantee pickup or delivery dates. We award extra points to providers if they offer insurance with no deductible or additional insurance upgrades.

Customer Service Ratings

We use a variety of techniques to determine how companies serve customers:

  • Secret shopping: We shop for quotes from all the companies we review, and make notes on our experiences with service agents.
  • Customer surveys: To date, we’ve surveyed over 2,000 people who have shipped their cars through many different companies. Survey questions focus on customer experiences and the process of shipping a car from start to finish.
  • Customer reviews: We comb through hundreds of online customer reviews from sites like the BBB, Trustpilot, and Google, and include customer ratings in our overall customer experience score.

*Data accurate at time of publication.