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What Matters Most To Consumers When Shipping A Car?
Learn what factors are most important to car owners when it comes to auto transport.
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.
10/08/2023 11:27 am
Whether you’re moving across state lines or across the country, the process of shipping a car can be a bit overwhelming. However, knowing what factors you should consider before choosing a car shipping service can make your decision much easier.
Our team has researched what matters most to consumers when shipping a car, as well as the best car shipping companies to consider for your vehicle shipment. Before you make a decision on how to ship your car, we recommend getting price estimates from top-rated providers to ensure you’re getting the best shipping deal for your vehicle.
At Motor1.com, we’re dedicated to supplying car owners with the well-researched information they need to make sound decisions about auto shipping. Our editorial team consists of experienced automotive researchers, writers, and editors that follow strict guidelines to ensure that our articles are unbiased and fact checked.
To compile our product reviews and rankings, our team continuously evaluates over 25 car shipping companies to compare costs, services, customer experience, and reliability. We verify each provider’s quality through our hands-on research process. We've spent hundreds of hours analyzing past customer reviews and mystery shopping top providers to gather 400 pricing quotes for various shipping routes. To learn what matters most to consumers when shipping a car, we sent surveys to 2,000 shipping customers to get their feedback. Lastly, to obtain first-hand product knowledge our team shipped three cars across the country to gather insight into the overall process.
Overview: What Matters To Consumers When Shipping A Car?
There are many factors to consider when shipping a car, but which are the most important? It can be difficult to determine what should matter most, especially if you’re a first-time car shipper. While everyone’s shipping needs are different, it’s helpful to understand what car owners value most when shipping a vehicle to help guide your decision.
Our team conducted a study to learn what matters most to consumers when shipping a car. This study polled 1,000 respondents and found that these are the top six factors drivers consider when choosing the best car shipping service for their needs:
#1 Cost: Cost is the biggest factor when choosing a car shipping service. Shipping costs can vary due to a number of factors, such as the type of vehicle you own, the auto transporter, the time of year, the shipping distance, and the shipping method you choose.
#2 Company Reputation: Car owners want to book their vehicle transport with a company that has a great reputation among customers and the industry as a whole. The most reputable auto shipping companies have an A rating and 4.0-star rating or above from the BBB.
#3 Guaranteed Pickup Date and Drop-Off Date: Car shippers usually provide pickup and drop-off windows of 1 to 4 days, but some auto shipping companies offer guaranteed car transport services. This means the company will prioritize finding a carrier in your area to pick up and drop off your vehicle on specific dates.
#4 Insurance: If you’re moving a car cross country, we recommend choosing a car shipping company that offers full coverage insurance protection during transport. Accidents do happen, so consumers should be aware of a car shipping company’s insurance policies before making a decision.
#5 Customer Service: Exceptional customer service is important for a successful shipping process. Most car shipping companies with great customer service have high customer ratings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), TrustPilot, ConsumerAffairs, Google Reviews, and more. Look for companies with customer service ratings of 4.0 stars and above.
#6 Option for Door-to-Door Transport: With door-to-door transport, your car is picked up and dropped off as close to your destination as possible. This option is preferred among consumers as it is the most convenient method of car shipping.
Our Research On Car Shipping
Through our survey, our team learned that what matters most to consumers when shipping a car is cost. From 1,000 respondents, 806 want to know the average cost of vehicle shipping up front, as well as any additional fees or charges they might have to pay.
Customer service is the second biggest factor that matters to consumers in our study, as good service brings the best possible shipping experience. It’s recommended for first-time auto shippers to consider car shipping companies that offer the following so they don’t have to worry about any potential problems during transport:
24/7 customer service
Constant and consistent communication during the shipping process
Real-time shipment tracking updates during transport
According to our survey, 66 percent of respondents stated that one of their biggest concerns is the possibility of their car being damaged during shipment. Car shipping companies that offer cargo insurance for every transport help eliminate that fear, as 51 percent of consumers consider insurance an important factor when shipping a car.
The data in the chart below shows the percentage and number of respondents from our study that believe cost, customer service, guaranteed pickup and drop-off dates, insurance, company reputation, and door-to-door transport matter most when shipping a car.
Count (# of respondents)
Guaranteed Pickup and Drop-Off Dates
Option for Door-to-Door Transport
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?
The cost of shipping a car varies based on a number of factors, but the average cost ranges between $500 and $1,500. One of the factors that highly impacts cost is shipping distance. According to uShip, a top-rated car shipper, the average per-mile cost to ship a car is $2.92 per mile for shipments under 200 miles and $0.78 per mile for shipments of over 1,000 miles.
Your shipping preferences also play a role in determining your car shipping cost. Enclosed transport and door-to-door delivery tend to be much more expensive than using an open carrier or selecting terminal-to-terminal shipping.
It’s important to note that there are a several key factors that affect car shipping prices, such as:
Vehicle type, size, operability, and value
Pickup and drop-off location
Shipping method (enclosed or open transport)
Type of shipping service (such as door-to-door transport)
Time of year (peak season is during summer months and January)
Distance between locations
What Should I Look For When Shipping A Car?
In our survey about what matters most to consumers when shipping a car, respondents highlighted factors to consider that align with the categories our team uses to evaluate the best car shipping companies. When deciding which auto transport company best fits your needs, we recommend that you consider how much it will cost, what services and shipping methods are available, and the provider’s overall reputation and customer experience:
Cost: You want to be sure that the shipping company you choose offers the best value for your shipment. We recommend getting quotes from several providers to compare costs.
Services: Look for a company that offers the specific shipping services you need, such as guaranteed pickup and drop-off dates.
Reputation: Knowing that your car is in the hands of a reputable car shipper can offer peace of mind during transport. Seek out car shipping companies that are respected by automotive experts and have high ratings from organizations like the BBB.
Customer Experience: Take a close look at a provider’s reviews to get a sense of what you can expect in terms of customer service.
How Do I Get A Car Shipping Quote?
The best way to get a car shipping quote online is by using a car shipping calculator from a top-rated company. All you need to do is provide information about your vehicle – such as it’s year, make, model, and vehicle information number (VIN) – as well as some personal details and your shipping preferences. You can also use the quote tool at the top of this page to get quotes from several top-rated providers.
Many car shipping companies provide instant online quotes, which is an easy way to see how much you’ll pay for car shipping services. Be aware, however, that some auto transport companies don’t offer guaranteed pricing, so the price you’re quoted may not be the final price you pay.
Best Car Shipping Companies
There are many auto shipping companies to choose from, but the best choice for you comes down to your specific needs.
For example, if you’re looking for quality car shipping at a low cost, choosing an auto transport broker like Easy Auto Ship may make the most sense for you. However, if company reputation or customer service is the factor that matters most to you, a car shipper like Sherpa Auto Transport might be the best choice.
Taking the time to research car shipping companies is your safest bet to having the best car transport experience.
5 Best Companies For Shipping A Car
We have reviewed the best car shipping companies and ranked them based on cost, services, reputation, and overall customer experience. We chose Montway Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Sherpa Auto Transport, Easy Auto Ship, and uShip as the top five companies you should consider when shipping a car.
Get free, no-obligation quotes from a few of these top-rated companies to see which ones would be a great fit for you.
Montway Auto Transport is a reputable car shipping company that specializes in negotiating shipping deals between customers and its vast network of car carriers nationwide. The company offers door-to-door delivery, expedited shipping, international transport, and more.
Montway holds an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB and an average 4.5-star rating from customers on Trustpilot. Since it’s regarded as one of the best car shipping companies in the industry, we rated Montway Auto Transport 4.7 out of 5.0 stars and recommend it as the Best Overall company for shipping a car.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sherpa Auto Transport provides door-to-door shipping, open and enclosed shipping, and expedited shipping in certain locations. The company also has a “Price Lock Guarantee,” which means that your quoted rate won’t increase or change.
We rated the company 4.6 out of 5.0 stars for its locked-in prices. Even though it has a great cost rating, quotes tend to be more expensive in comparison to other shipping companies, though you get the benefit of knowing exactly what you’ll pay up front.
Sherpa Auto Transport Pros & Cons
Sherpa Auto Transport Pros
Sherpa Auto Transport Cons
A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Quotes are slightly more expensive
than most of competitor pricing
Easy booking process and quick matching
with a vetted network of insured carriers
AmerFreight provides a wide range of benefits that includes great cargo insurance coverage, transport for specialty vehicles such as RVs and ATVs, and access to student, medical worker, and military discounts. The company works with nearly 10,000 transport carriers nationwide for open and enclosed shipping.
AmeriFreight has an accredited A+ rating from the BBB and is considered one of the best choices for car shipping. We rated the company 4.5 out of 5.0 stars based on its great service options and excellent customer service and recommend it as the best company for discounts.
Amerifreight Pros & Cons
A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB
No instant quotes; the online process is slow
and inconvenient for many consumers
Works with vetted car shippers that are licensed
with the Department of Transportation (DOT)
Customers have access to many discount opportunities
uShip is based in Austin, Texas, and is the best online platform for receiving shipping quotes for open and enclosed transport. Its worry-free shipping process and competitive marketplace pricing make shipping a car long-distance much easier.
The company has great low-cost shipping options and reliable service, so we rated uShip 4.5 out of 5.0-stars for its easy-to-navigate shipping platform, affordable shipping rates, and wide network of auto transporters.
uShip Pros & Cons
Strong industry reputation
Does not verify insurance coverages of shippers
Customers often complain of issues with drivers
Quoted prices tend to fluctuate
Provides access to a wide range of shippers and brokers
For more information about the provider, read our complete uShip review.
Easy Auto Ship: Best For A Quick Pickup
Easy Auto Ship was founded in 2013 and has expanded to provide car shipping services across the entire U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska. The company offers cheap shipping rates and options for enclosed transport, door-to-door delivery, expedited shipping, single-car shipping, and more.
Like most top-rated car transport companies, Easy Auto Ship has an A + rating from the BBB and is well respected in the industry for its guaranteed pricing and discounts. We rated the company 4.4 out of 5.0 stars and recommend it for customers who want great discounts in addition to cheap rates.
Easy Auto Ship Pros & Cons
Easy Auto Ship Pros
Easy Auto Ship Cons
Low car shipping rates compared to competitors
Doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service or shipment tracking
Driving your car can be cheaper than shipping it, especially if it’s a shorter distance. For long-distance or cross-country moves, having your car shipped is a more convenient option. Car transport companies typically provide great rates per mile for car shipments over 1,000 miles. According to uShip, the average cost is $2.92 per mile for shipments under 200 miles but $0.78 per mile for longer-distance shipments of over 1,000 miles.
This depends on the shipping company you choose. While some allow you to store personal items in your vehicle during shipment, it is not recommended by most car shipping companies due to risk of theft or damage during transit. Items in your car that are damaged, lost, or stolen during transport will not be covered by auto transport companies.
The cheapest option for shipping a car is open transport. This shipping option is much cheaper and faster than enclosed transport, and more brokers and carriers offer open transport services.
To prepare your car for shipment, you should take advantage of a few safety measures for stress-free transport. Enclosed trailers offer a higher level of protection against the element and road debris, which is especially helpful if you have a luxury, exotic, or classic car. It’s also recommended that you look into providers’ insurance coverage in case your car experiences damage during transport.