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Car Shipping Quotes

According to the car shipping quotes our team received, transport costs can range from about $653 for 500-mile shipments to over $1,505 for 3,000-mile shipments.

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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:

  • Based on the quotes our team received for a variety of shipping routes, the average cost of car shipping ranges from about $1,400 to $1,700. Costs vary significantly depending on the distance you need to ship your vehicle and the type of transport carrier you choose. 
  • You should always research and compare quotes from multiple providers before making your decision on a car shipping service.
  • Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, and AmeriFreight are great companies to start with when looking for affordable car shipping quotes.

Looking for cheap car shipping quotes online? Our team has compared over 400 quotes from 25 car shipping companies to determine average car shipping costs and the cheapest companies to use. The best way to get cheap car shipping quotes online is to compare offers from multiple providers. You can then easily find the best shipping company for your budget and needs.

In this article, we’ll explain how to get car shipping quotes and cover the factors that influence costs. To recommend the best car shipping companies, we’ve surveyed car shipping customers, analyzed services, interacted with companies through secret shopping, and collected industry ratings from top online review platforms.


What Is A Car Shipping Quote?

A car shipping quote is essentially an estimate of how much it will cost in total to ship your vehicle. When you get a quote, the shipping company gives you a price estimate. Then, it posts the shipment to its network of carriers. Carriers can take the job or pass it up for other opportunities depending on the market at that time.

Getting a quote to ship your car is slightly different from, say, getting a rate from the United States Postal Service to ship a large package. That’s because most car shipping companies are brokers that work with independent carriers, so they don’t have full control over the price.

Best Car Shipping Quotes

The table below highlights the cost ratings for each of our top-rated car shipping companies. With these companies, you can expect to receive cheap car shipping quotes, no matter how far you need to ship your vehicle or whether you choose an open or enclosed carrier.

To calculate the average cost per mile, our team mystery-shopped and got quotes for an operable 2019 Toyota RAV4 along the following routes from multiple companies:

  • Chicago to Kansas City, Missouri with open shipping (503 miles)
  • Los Angeles to Houston with open shipping (1,556 miles)
  • Los Angeles to Houston with enclosed shipping (1,556 miles)
  • New York to San Francisco with open shipping (3,036 miles)

Compare the average cost per mile and our cost ratings for our top-rated car shipping companies below:

Car Shipping CompanyAverage Cost per MileOur Cost Rating*
Mercury Auto Transport$0.524.8
Easy Auto Ship$0.614.8
AmeriFreight$0.634.3
Montway Auto Transport$0.654.1
Sherpa Auto Transport$0.664.1
SGT Auto Transport$0.713.8

*Cost ratings are out of 5.0 stars.


Methodology: How We Rate Car Shipping Companies

Each year, our team scores car shipping companies in the following categories: industry standing, cost, services, and customer service. We surveyed over 2,000 shipping customers to see what matters most to them and factored our collected data into the overall weighted average rating. Aside from the quotes we received, we’ve collected over 500 data points to further formulate our industry ratings and methodology.

Industry Standing

You might be looking for affordable shipping companies, but it’s valuable to know a company has a good reputation as well. This category takes into account how long the company has been in business, the shipping availability by state, and the industry ratings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is a trusted organization that studies and rates companies for their business practices, licensing information, and customer experiences.

Cost

Our team compared over 400 quotes from many popular car shipping companies. Our quotes include short and long-distance transport prices as well as estimates for open and enclosed shipping. We gave the best cost scores to companies with lower average prices and available discounts.

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 it drives. If a vehicle is inoperable, the truck driver will need to winch it onto the truck, which adds to the overall cost.

Services

It’s good to have choices, and we award higher scores to companies with plenty to offer. Most companies offer open car shipping and enclosed car shipping with door-to-door services. However, if a company offers add-on insurance coverage, fast average transit times, and guaranteed pickup dates, it’ll receive higher marks from our team.

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 to get the best sense of a customer’s experience. We also record our experiences with agents and see how they compare to experiences from other customers.
  • 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. We also ask about common issues people encounter when shipping cars.
  • Customer reviews: We comb through hundreds of online customer reviews from sites like the BBB, Trustpilot, and Google, and we include customer ratings in our overall customer experience score.

Customer Experience Survey

Our team polled customers on their overall satisfaction with the shipping process. About 93 percent of respondents in our 2023 car shipping survey were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their experience. Only 2 percent of respondents were dissatisfied, and 5 percent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. 
*Data accurate at time of publication.


Compare Car Shipping Quotes

We recommend reaching out to Mercury Auto Transport, uShip, Montway Auto Transport, Easy Auto Ship, AmeriFreight, SGT Auto Transport, and Sherpa Auto Transport for car shipping quotes. In the following sections, we’ll compare each company’s best quotes for short- and long-distance shipping using either open or enclosed carriers.

Car Shipping Company Quotes

Car shipping quotes can vary widely depending on the company you choose. Comparing the average quotes from car shipping companies gives you a good indication of which provider offers the best car shipping prices. Our team found that the cheapest company on average was Mercury Auto Transport.

Shipping CompanyAverage Quote
Mercury Auto Transport$918
Montway Auto Transport$1,122
Easy Auto Ship$1,128
AmeriFreight$1,143
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,213
SGT Auto Transport$1,252

Compare Car Shipping Quotes By Distance

Typically, short-distance quotes are lower overall compared to long-distance quotes. However, on a per-mile basis, longer shipments cost substantially less. 

Short-Distance Car Transport Quotes

We received the best short-distance quote to ship a 2019 Toyota RAV4 from Mercury Auto Transport, at only $465. You can compare our top-rated car shippers in the table below.

Shipping CompanyShort-Distance Quote
Mercury Auto Transport$465
SGT Auto Transport$585
AmeriFreight$597
Montway Auto Transport$649
Sherpa Auto Transport$650
uShip$709
Easy Auto Ship$723

Long-Distance Car Transport Quotes

SGT Auto Transport quoted our review team the best rate to ship a vehicle 3,000 miles or more, coming in at just $1,153.

Shipping CompanyLong-Distance Quote
SGT Auto Transport$1,153
Mercury Auto Transport$1,255
AmeriFreight$1,349
Easy Auto Ship$1,378
Montway Auto Transport$1,409
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,550
uShip$1,634

Compare Car Shipping Quotes By Carrier Type

After shipping distance, the type of carrier you choose has the second biggest impact on shipping quotes. Open carrier shipping quotes are almost always lower than enclosed quotes. This is because open-air carriers can transport several vehicles at a time and this type of shipping is more commonly available. Enclosed shipping is also more expensive because it protects the vehicle from the outside elements.

When asked about the advantages of choosing enclosed shipping, Jack Savov, SEO of SGT Auto Transport, said:

“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. Overall, while enclosed shipping is not always necessary, it can provide added peace of mind and security for certain types of vehicles during transport.”

In the following sections, we highlight how the type of auto carrier you choose affects your car shipping quotes.

Open Transport Quotes

According to our research, you can get an open carrier quote from Mercury Auto Transport for as low as $815 when shipping your vehicle roughly 1,556 miles. Compare the best quotes we received for a 2019 Toyota RAV4 with open car transport services in the table below

Shipping CompanyOpen Carrier Quote
Mercury Auto Transport$815
AmeriFreight$973
uShip$895
Easy Auto Ship$956
SGT Auto Transport$1,108
Montway Auto Transport$1,019
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,025

Enclosed Car Shipping Quotes

If you want the added protection of enclosed shipping, we once again recommend Mercury Auto Transport. The company has a good industry reputation and quoted us the best rate to ship a 2019 Toyota RAV4 1,556 miles with enclosed shipping, at only $1,135.

The table below contains the best enclosed trailer shipping quotes from the most reputable car shipping companies included in our industry-wide study.

Shipping CompanyEnclosed Carrier Quote
Mercury Auto Transport$1,135
Montway Auto Transport$1,409
Easy Auto Ship$1,456
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,625
AmeriFreight$1,654
SGT Auto Transport$1,762
Venn diagram marking the major differences and similarities between open and enclosed auto shipping options

Getting Car Shipping Quotes

With over 300 hours of research backing our team, we’ll provide an overview of the entire shipping process so you can best understand which services you need while you’re shopping around for quotes. Learn more about getting personalized auto shipping quotes below.

What Is The Best Way To Get A Car Shipping Quote?

The easiest way to get the best auto transport quotes is to find companies that offer car shipping calculators. We’ve confirmed that Montway Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Easy Auto Ship, and Mercury Auto Transport all provide instant car shipping quotes on their websites.

Car shipping quote calculators estimate shipping costs based on route information and carrier availability. Some companies may offer a car shipping quote calculator for domestic moves but not international ones. If this is the case and you’re looking to ship internationally, you’ll need to call the auto transport provider for a price.

Car Shipping Bidding Sites

Another way to get a car shipping quote online is through a marketplace such as uShip. Instead of acting as a liaison between carriers and customers, uShip offers a platform for customers to post jobs and carriers to directly accept them.

Similar to eBay, the uShip quote system allows you to post your shipment details to the marketplace. Then, you’ll wait for offers as car carriers bid on your shipment. uShip will notify you of each bid, and you can pick the one that works for you.

Since uShip is a marketplace, it doesn’t verify the insurance of carriers on the platform – it’s important that you research this yourself to ensure your shipment is adequately protected. However, uShip does offer an insurance add-on for extra coverage.

In addition to shipping costs, uShip charges a service fee that ranges from $25 to $150. Some shippers carry insurance, but if your carrier doesn’t have insurance, you can purchase it separately.

What You Need For A Car Shipping Quote

While many auto shippers allow you to use an instant car shipping cost calculator online, other providers need to manually check market conditions before giving you a free quote. In any case, you’ll need to provide some basic information to get accurate car shipping quotes. 

For a hassle-free experience, you should have the following information on hand, whether or not you plan to use a car shipping calculator:

  • Your vehicle’s make, model, and year
  • Vehicle operability status
  • Pickup and drop-off locations
  • Pickup and delivery dates
  • Shipping preferences, such as enclosed or open transport
  • Your contact information including email and phone number

What Affects Car Shipping Quotes?

When giving an estimate, car shipping brokers rely on several factors to determine your transport cost. Below we highlight the most important factors that affect car shipping quotes.

Display of icons that represent the factors that determine overall auto shipping costs
Cost FactorDetails
Shipping distanceA cross-country shipment will cost more overall than hauling your car a short distance, but it will cost less per mile.
Type of transportOpting for an open carrier is the cheapest way to go, while enclosed carrier transportation is pricier but safer for luxury or classic cars.
Drop-off and pickup locationsShipping right to your home/business is convenient, but will cost more than shipping to a terminal, which is a designated warehouse or location (usually near a highway) for a carrier to drop your vehicle off. Shipping to rural towns is more expensive than shipping between larger urban areas or cities, because rural towns are farther from main routes.
Type of vehicleFull-size SUVs and pickups often cost more to ship because of their size and weight. Anything that takes up more trailer space will be more expensive.
Vehicle conditionInoperable vehicles cost more to ship since drivers spend extra time and resources winching them onto the trailer.
Time of yearAuto transport rates are highest in January, when people are moving south to get out of the cold, and in the summer, when many people choose to move.
Fuel costsThe price of your transport will typically fluctuate as gas prices go up and down.
Payment typeCar shipping companies generally offer electronic payments or cash on delivery options. Generally, paying by cash costs slightly less than paying entirely online.

Our team gathered car shipping quotes in the fall of 2022 and 2023 to see how prices have changed. We found the average price for various mileages across all shipping companies we studied decreased by 26 percent in that time.


How To Get The Best Car Shipping Quotes

When you’re shopping for car shipping quotes online, you can be sure you’re getting the best price by following these tips to lower your car shipping costs:

  1. Choose terminal-to-terminal shipping: Although less convenient than door-to-door shipping, this option is often much less expensive.
  2. Book in advance: The earlier you book your car shipment, the better. You’ll avoid paying for expedited car shipping prices if you get a head start on scheduling.
  3. Choose a large delivery window: Your final vehicle shipping cost depends largely on carrier availability. If you have wiggle room with your drop-off and pickup dates, car transport companies can often find you better rates.
  4. Choose a reputable car shipping company: The best car shipping companies partner with thousands of truckers, so getting quotes from an auto transport broker is usually the most cost-effective way to book a shipment.
  5. Look for discounts: The top-rated car shipping companies offer multiple discounts that can lower the overall quote you receive. These generally include discounts for military, students, paying in cash, shipping multiple vehicles, and returning customers. Some companies don’t list discounts on their website, so you’ll need to call a representative and ask if they offer any deals.

How Car Shipping Quotes Work

If this is your first time shipping a car, it’s helpful to learn how things work. We will highlight everything you need to know about the car shipping industry to get the best quotes when shopping around.

Getting A Car Shipping Quote From A Broker

Most car shipping companies are brokers that coordinate with thousands of carriers across the country to move vehicles. When you get a quote, the broker attempts to secure a carrier to move your car for that price. In some cases, the price may increase if the broker can’t find a carrier. This could happen if the demand for shipping a car increases on your route or during a specific season.

Some companies, like Sherpa Auto Transport, guarantee your quote won’t rise even if demand is rising in the market. If a locked-in price is most important to you, you’ll need to get quotes from brokers that offer guaranteed pricing.

Booking A Car Shipment

After you find a quote that you like, you’ll continue with booking the shipment. This is when you’re committed to shipping your car with the company. However, the car shipping company hasn’t secured a carrier just yet. Once a carrier is found, the shipping company will dispatch your car to the carrier, which means the carrier is now committed to picking up your vehicle.

Auto Transport Insurance Protection

Auto transport carriers are required to have both liability insurance and cargo insurance. Liability insurance covers other people on the road and their property if the truck driver causes an accident. Cargo insurance covers theft and different types of damage to your vehicle while it’s in transit. 

Not everything is covered by cargo insurance, though. Most policies exclude environmental events or “acts of God.” Your car also isn’t covered during the loading and unloading process. Some brokers offer supplemental coverage that can provide additional protection in different situations.

When asked about car shipping insurance coverage, here’s what Savov had to say:

“Overall, it is important to carefully review the insurance coverage provided by the car shipping company and to make an informed decision about whether to purchase additional insurance based on individual needs and circumstances.”

“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.”

It’s always a good idea to have comprehensive insurance on a vehicle you’re shipping. This would cover damage during the shipping process that cargo insurance doesn’t.

Car Shipping Payments

Car shipping companies usually offer two ways to pay: 

  • Electronically: You can pay online using a debit or credit card. You may pay a deposit at booking and the rest upon dispatch, or you may pay the whole amount at booking.
  • Cash on delivery: If you choose this payment method, you’ll make an electronic deposit at booking. You’ll then pay the balance in cash or a cash equivalent, like a cashier’s check or money order, to the truck driver when they deliver your car.

Car Shipping Quotes: Bottom Line

In this review, we covered everything you need to know about car shipping quotes, from factors that affect your quoted price to how to save money and get a cheap quote. 

Savov left us with some final advice:

“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.”

Below are some companies that we recommend starting with when searching for a quote.

If you’re ready to look for car shipping quotes online, we recommend you start by reaching out to two of our top-rated providers: Montway Auto Transport and Sherpa Auto Transport. Both auto shipping companies scored highly in our comprehensive review of the auto transport industry.

Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall

Our team found Montway to be affordable for many different shipping distances and for both open and enclosed transport. Montway quotes came in at $1.01 per mile on average, but this varies depending on the distance and service.

See the quotes we received from Montway Auto Transport below.

Carrier typeShipping routeQuote
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO (503 miles)$719
OpenLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,369
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,739
OpenNew York City to San Francisco (3,036 miles)$1,809

For more on this provider, check out our full Montway Auto Transport Review.

AmeriFreight: Best Discounts

AmeriFreight quoted us $1,598 for a cross-country shipment, which was one of the cheapest prices for this distance of any company. AmeriFreight offers a streamlined shipping process and a simple pathway for car shipping quotes online. It also offers the most discounts of the top providers in our review.

The following discount opportunities are available when you choose to ship your car with AmeriFreight:

  • Active-duty military: $35 off
  • First responders: $35 off
  • Medical personnel: $35 off
  • Early bird: $35 off if you sign up no more than 48 hours after getting a quote
  • Students: $25 off
  • Senior citizens: $25 off
  • Return customers: $50 off
  • Multiple vehicles: $50 off each additional vehicle

Looking at quotes from AmeriFreight, we found it to cost slightly more than Montway on average, at $1.15 per mile. Find quotes we received from AmeriFreight in the table below.

Carrier typeShipping routeQuote
OpenChicago to Kansas City, MO (503 miles)$996
OpenLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$1,199
EnclosedLos Angeles to Houston (1,556 miles)$2,038
OpenNew York City to San Francisco (3,036 miles)$1,598

To learn more about auto transport services from this provider, see our AmeriFreight Review.


Car Shipping Quotes: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about car shipping quotes:

What is the cheapest service to ship a car?

Open auto transport is the cheapest car shipping service available. All our top-rated auto shipping companies offer this popular transport option. Having your car shipped from one centrally located terminal to another is another way to save some money, but not all companies offer this service.

Is it worth shipping a car?

Whether it’s worth it to ship a car depends on a few factors. If you’re moving cross-country and have an older vehicle, the cost to ship the car may be more than the vehicle’s value. Consider whether it’s better to sell your car and purchase a different one at your destination. Another alternative is driving your car to your destination. If you’re driving a short distance and don’t mind putting the miles on your vehicle, driving may be more economical.

Can I put stuff in my car when I ship it?

No, you usually can’t put things in your car when you ship it. Some companies may allow you to put something in your trunk, but this is an exception to the rule. It’s best to plan on clearing your car out completely before shipping it.

How much does it cost to ship a car 2,000 miles?

It can cost between $1,300 and $1,700 to ship a car 2,000 miles between metro areas. Keep in mind you’ll pay more if you are shipping to or from a rural location, or if you need to use an enclosed auto transporter.

What is the best company to ship a car?

We believe Montway Auto Transport is the best car transport company in 2024. Montway offers a simple car shipping quote calculator plus excellent customer service and affordable prices.

How much does it cost to FedEx a car?

FedEx doesn’t offer car shipping services to consumers. It can ship car parts or oversized machinery on flatbeds for the automotive industry, but you can’t simply FedEx a car from one place to another.

What is the average cost to ship a car?

Multiple factors contribute to the average cost to ship a car. Factors such as vehicle weight, transport type, and distance impact car shipping rates. We found the average rate for car delivery is $1,425 for transport on an open trailer, but the price varies by auto transport carrier.

How do you calculate shipping for a car?

You can calculate a car shipping cost by multiplying the mileage by a price-per-mile if available from the company. According to average prices calculated from our quote data for open trailer transport, shipments of around 500 miles cost $1.29 per mile, shipments around 1,500 miles cost $0.69 per mile, and shipments around 3,000 miles cost $0.50 per mile.

How do I get my car shipped?

The first step to getting your car shipped is to compare car shipping quotes online from a few auto transport companies. You’ll need to decide on your shipping dates and whether you want open or enclosed car shipping and door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal transport. After you choose a transporter, the company will handle logistics. You’ll simply need to remove personal items, drop your vehicle off at a designated site, and then pick it up at your destination.

How much does it cost to ship a truck?

Size is one of several factors that affects your car shipping quotes, so the cost to ship a truck is likely to be somewhat higher than the cost to ship a sedan or compact car.