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The Best Car Shipping Companies of 2022

Bob Vila logo Bob Vila 1/19/2022 Brie Greenhalgh

The Best Car Shipping Companies Options The Best Car Shipping Companies Options Photo: istockphoto.com

So, you’ve planned how to get your household from point A to point B, but what about your car (or cars)? Planning a road trip is possible, but a long car ride can be exhausting for the driver and passengers, and it puts unnecessary mileage on a vehicle. Fortunately, car transport companies specialize in safely transporting a car anywhere across the country.

The best car shipping company will provide a reasonable quote and delivery options. Companies will ideally offer an easy way to track a car’s progress, and customers should also feel comfortable with the insurance and payment options. The final price is determined by the car size, the distance it’s traveling, and the type of transport. This guide will outline everything there is to know about the best car shipping companies.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Montway Auto Transport
  2. RUNNER-UP: Easy Auto Ship
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: AmeriFreight
  4. BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE: American Auto Shipping
  5. BEST MARKETPLACE: uShip

The Best Car Shipping Companies Options © Provided by Bob Vila The Best Car Shipping Companies Options Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Car Shipping Companies

Choosing the best car shipping company is more straightforward than choosing a moving company to transport all of a homeowner’s belongings, but there are still a few crucial factors to consider.

Type of Shipping

Customers need to decide what kind of auto transport service they need, which is based mainly on the distance the car will travel. Types of car shipping include:

Open transport: This is the most common kind of vehicle transport that many dealerships also take advantage of. Open-carrier trucks transport cars over the road, and it’s considered the cheapest method.

  • Enclosed transport: Classic or luxury cars are usually shipped in enclosed trucks over the road. This protects them from weather and road debris, but it’s a little more costly.
  • Rail freight: Cars are transported by train (or rail), which is much faster than over the road, but many companies may not offer this service. This method can cost more and require additional insurance.
  • Door-to-door: Most open transport methods are done using the door-to-door option, which means the car shippers will pick it up from a customer’s house and deliver it to the customer’s final destination.
  • Terminal-to-terminal: Another option for truck transport is to use terminal-to-terminal delivery. Car owners will drop off the car at the transport terminal and pick it up from the terminal nearest their destination. This can be cheaper than door-to-door, but customers will need to ensure there is a terminal near the final destination.
  • Expedited: Customers who need their car transported in a hurry can ask about expedited options. The car transportation service could offer air freight (the most expensive and fastest option), or it could prioritize the shipment for a team of drivers to haul quickly. The latter might only cost a little more than standard shipping.
  • International: Shipping a car overseas is a costly option and might not be legally possible if the vehicle doesn’t meet foreign standards. Transporting a vehicle by ocean can take several weeks. Customers can speak with an international export company about the situation to see if it’s worth shipping overseas.

Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle a customer needs to ship will affect transport and the total shipping cost. Smaller cars are the cheapest to ship, SUVs are the next most expensive, and trucks cost the most. Vehicles’ size and weight affect how many vehicles can be loaded onto a semitruck and how much fuel the transport truck will use to compensate for the weight.

Many car transporters can also haul motorcycles, four-wheelers, inoperable cars, boats, jet skis, and other heavy equipment. However, a customer should check with a company before transporting an inoperable vehicle; some companies require a car to be able to turn on to transport it. It can take extra time and work to get a car onto a truck if it can’t start.

Quote Process

Delivering a quote involves several calculations on the company’s side. The more information a customer provides up front (type of car, type of transport preferred, the distance needed), the more accurate the quote is. If a customer uses an auto transport broker or marketplace, the company will send out bids to trucking companies.

Transport companies usually use their own fleet of drivers, which means they can provide guaranteed quotes sometimes. It’s important to note that some companies might end up raising or lowering the final price based on extenuating circumstances. A fluctuation of 25 percent is not uncommon since fuel surcharges could occur between booking and final delivery.

Insurance and Licensing

Legally, all car transporters must carry basic liability insurance, and some will carry additional coverage, which provides more reimbursement should the worst happen. Liability insurance should cover loading, transport, and unloading, but not if something happens due to a car’s poor condition (like leaking oil or worn parts). Customers will need to ask about coverage for circumstances out of their control (considered “acts of God”), such as hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, or tornadoes. A customer’s auto insurance usually doesn’t cover auto transport, but customers can check with their providers.

The carrier must be licensed to transport goods across state lines if the car is heading to a new state. Customers can verify a company’s license with the Department of Transportation.

Payment Method and Deposit

Payment to a car transport service happens much like any other service: Customers can pay with a credit card online or over the phone, or the customer may be able to pay the driver with a cashier’s check or cash when they arrive to pick up the vehicle. Some companies offer customers a discount if they pay the driver in cash.

Unlike moving a household, it’s less common to pay a deposit to transport a car, but this varies by company. Deposits are often refundable if a customer cancels before a truck has been dispatched, but customers should read the terms and conditions before handing over their money. Customers should generally be wary of companies that ask for a large deposit up front.

Cancellation Policy

Customers may face only a nominal cancellation fee if the car shipping company doesn’t require a deposit up front. This typically depends on whether the customer cancels before or after a truck has been dispatched.

Some companies that require a deposit might keep a portion of the deposit if the company has already scheduled a carrier pickup. These cancellation fees shouldn’t be exorbitant, but customers should check the policy before booking the service.

Customer Support

Customer service can make or break a company’s reputation, and car shipping companies are no exception. Since customers entrust a transport company with a costly valuable, they need to feel confident that customer service will be available when needed. When customers call to discuss a quote, they should consider how attentive the representatives are, how well they explain things, and whether they’re helpful and proactive. Customers also need to make sure the company has more than one method of contact and a way to reach representatives after hours.

Our Top Picks

Customers want to feel confident in selecting the best car shipping company. That’s why we carefully researched the best car transport companies by reviewing their services, quote process, prices for coast-to-coast transport, customer service, and other important features. Here are our top picks for the best car shipping companies.

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Why It Made the Cut: Montway Auto Transport offers a full range of transport methods to all 50 states (and internationally), instant quotes with no deposits, excellent customer service, and live shipment tracking.

Montway Auto Transports provides an all-around solid, dependable car shipping experience. Customers can obtain an instant quote online. Montway’s online live chat is easy to use, and representatives are responsive and friendly. To date, Montway has shipped more than 747,000 vehicles nationwide and internationally, so customers can feel confident that the company knows how to handle each unique situation. While Montway advertises international shipping, customers will have to reach out to a customer service representative to learn more about the company’s processes and capabilities.

Montway does not require any kind of deposit, and customers can track their shipments online, unlike other companies that need customers to keep in touch with the drivers. And as a bonus, Montway allows customers to stash up to 100 pounds of personal items in the trunk during transport.

Specs

  • Type of shipping: Open, enclosed, door-to-door, expedited
  • Service area: 50 states and international
  • Quote process: Online instant quote
  • Deposit: No deposit required
  • Cancellation policy: No fee if canceled before order is accepted; $199 fee if order has been accepted
  • Customer service: Live chat, phone, email

Pros

  • Shipment progress can be tracked online
  • Additional 100 pounds of personal items can be shipped in vehicle
  • No deposit required
  • User-friendly customer service live chat

Cons

  • International shipping processes are unclear

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Why It Made the Cut: Easy Auto Ship offers service nationwide and internationally, and its perks include a free car wash upon delivery.

Easy Auto Ship is another top contender for car shipping companies. Customers can get an online instant quote, and they don’t have to pay a deposit until a driver is assigned to the shipment. Its prices are higher than some other companies, but one perk it provides is a free car wash upon delivery. This is great if cars have traveled in open transport through inclement weather or dry, dusty conditions.

Easy Auto Ship can transport motorcycles and other heavy equipment. Customers can cancel their shipments within 24 hours with no penalty. Easy Auto Ship also allows customers to store up to 100 pounds of personal items in the trunk at no extra cost.

Specs

  • Type of shipping: Open, enclosed, door-to-door, expedited
  • Service area: 50 states and international
  • Quote process: Online instant quote
  • Deposit: Deposit required upon truck assignment
  • Cancellation policy: No fee if canceled within 24 hours; $75 fee after 24 hours
  • Customer service: Live chat, phone, email

Pros


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  • Free car wash upon delivery
  • Additional 100 pounds of personal items can be shipped in vehicle
  • Motorcycles and other heavy equipment can be shipped

Cons

  • Relatively high prices

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Why It Made the Cut: AmeriFreight offers competitive pricing and a guaranteed quote price without compromising service quality.

AmeriFreight offers excellent value for the price customers pay. AmeriFreight has a shipping option that guarantees its quote prices, meaning that customers don’t have to worry about the actual price spiking, and it also offers price matching. The company has competitive rates, which can be a boon, especially for customers trying to be careful with their moving budgets.

AmeriFreight’s website isn’t as user-friendly as it could be, and customer service representatives are only available Monday through Saturday. But one additional bonus AmeriFreight offers is that the company gives customers 2 days to inspect a vehicle for any damage and file a claim. Many companies require an inspection to be performed upon delivery, so this extra time can help customers who need more flexibility or want to be thorough in their examinations.

Specs

  • Type of shipping: Open, enclosed, door-to-door
  • Service area: 50 states
  • Quote process: Online instant quote
  • Deposit: Deposit required at scheduling
  • Cancellation policy: No fee if canceled before order is accepted; loss of deposit if order has been accepted
  • Customer service: Live chat, phone, email

Pros

  • Guaranteed quote price
  • Relatively low prices
  • Customers have 2 days to inspect for damage and file a claim

Cons

  • Website is somewhat user-unfriendly
  • Customer service is only available Monday through Saturday

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Why It Made the Cut: American Auto Shipping’s personal concierge service and $500 no-damage guarantee make it stand out when it comes to pleasing its customers.

Making guarantees in a service business doesn’t happen often, but American Auto Shipping strives to make customers happy by ensuring top-quality service. Most companies don’t offer guaranteed pricing, but American Auto Shipping locks in a customer’s quoted price. Since actual prices can jump up to 25 percent higher than the quote, this guarantee can help customers budget appropriately.

This company also stands out in terms of customer service since it offers a personal concierge for every reservation. Customers speak with only one representative throughout the entire process, which can help smooth any interactions since the representative will be familiar with the reservation. American Auto Shipping can’t guarantee pickup and drop-off dates, so customers will need to be flexible. Additionally, the company’s website isn’t the most streamlined; however, its positives make up for these drawbacks. Another standout perk American Auto Shipping offers is that it’ll put $500 toward a deductible if insurance doesn’t cover any potential damage that might occur. It’s a thoughtful addition to reassure any common concerns.

Specs

  • Type of shipping: Open, enclosed, door-to-door
  • Service area: 50 states
  • Quote process: Online instant quote or phone
  • Deposit: No deposit required
  • Cancellation policy: No fee if canceled before order is dispatched; $200 fee if order has been dispatched
  • Customer service: Live chat, phone, email

Pros

  • $500 no-damage guarantee
  • Personal concierge handles every step of shipping
  • Relatively low prices

Cons

  • Website is somewhat user-unfriendly
  • Pickup and drop-off dates are not guaranteed

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Why It Made the Cut: uShip lets drivers and customers interact directly to compare prices, ship heavy equipment, and schedule loads.

Many online services have turned to a marketplace model, including car shipping. uShip allows customers to enter their vehicle and itinerary, and truck drivers can offer quotes and estimated time frames for hauling the car. It’s a great way to get instant quotes from multiple drivers and compare them with other major companies.

Every driver has their own deposit and cancellation policies, and they often leave an option to cancel at the last minute. Fortunately, customers can view a driver’s history, including customer ratings, how long they’ve shipped on uShip, and how many loads they’ve taken. This is especially helpful since uShip also does not vet these drivers’ licenses or insurance policies—customers will need to ask for and verify the information independently.

Since uShip doesn’t make the booking, they also don’t handle any complaints and will work to have the driver and customer resolve any issues. However, uShip continues to attract customers so that with a bit of effort, car owners can find an affordable driver with a great track record.

Specs

  • Type of shipping: Open, enclosed, door-to-door, expedited
  • Service area: 50 states and international
  • Quote process: Online instant quote
  • Deposit: Varies by shipment
  • Cancellation policy: Varies by shipment
  • Customer service: Phone, email

Pros

  • Shipment can be scheduled and managed from mobile app
  • Customers can compare prices and choose from multiple drivers
  • Wide variety of vehicles and other heavy freight can be shipped

Cons

  • Drivers are not vetted
  • Customer service can be slow to respond
  • Will not directly handle any claims or complaints
  • Can cancel shipments with little notice

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Our Verdict

The top factors for choosing the best car shipping company are a wide service area, multiple transport options, instant online quotes, low or no deposits, vehicle tracking, and excellent customer service. That’s why we decided Montway Auto Transport is the best overall. But customers looking for a solid choice at a lower price may want to consider AmeriFreight.

How We Chose the Best Car Shipping Companies

We evaluated dozens of companies with local, statewide, nationwide, and international moving options to provide the coverage needed for any customer. We looked at each company’s website and tested its quote process and customer service. We also reviewed factors such as cancellation policies and deposits, as well as the ability to track and monitor a vehicle during transit. All the companies on our list are nationally known and have been in business for several years with overall reliable reputations.

Before You Use One of the Best Car Shipping Companies

Customers want to make sure they choose the right service to ship a vehicle using their preferred method and timing. Customers should consider that they’ll likely be without a car for a day or two, and possibly longer. Customers also need to choose the right company if they need to have the car stored for a while, as not every company can handle keeping a vehicle for long periods.

When choosing a car shipping company, customers should factor in more than the lowest price. A lowball price is a red flag. As so many companies offer instant online quotes, it makes sense to get a few quotes from different companies to ensure that the prices are in the same ballpark. Customers should also read reviews and check the company’s Better Business Bureau rating. It’s also in a customer’s best interest to make sure their car is clean before it’s loaded and to take pictures so that they can compare when they inspect the vehicle upon delivery.

Cost of Using One of the Best Car Shipping Companies

To get a quote, customers will need to provide basic details like their car’s information, pickup and drop-off locations, and preferred transport method. With this information, car shipping companies estimate the cost based on fuel prices, distance, size of the vehicle, type of shipping, route, time of year, and overall demand. Shipping via open carrier over the road is the cheapest and most common method, but classic or exotic cars usually ship enclosed, which costs an average of $400 more.

On average, shipping a car costs $1,290, but it can range from $630 to $1,810 for most average vehicles and circumstances. International shipments average $1,000 to $5,000, but that can increase to $40,000 for SUVs shipped by plane. Customers must speak with a qualified shipping broker for international shipments since some countries levy taxes that cost more than the car’s value.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Car Shipping Companies

Customers probably wonder if it’s worth using a car shipping company instead of driving the vehicle. If someone is moving states away or cross-country, it may seem like driving a car would save money. However, while it’s easy to estimate the cost of fuel, food, and lodging, it’s harder to put a value on time and safety; not to mention that a cross-country drive can put lots of wear and tear on a vehicle. Here are several advantages of using the best car shipping companies instead of driving.

  • Safety first. Driving across the country, especially in bad weather, can be dangerous and exhausting. Leave this to the expert drivers who follow federal regulations for taking breaks.
  • The cost is comparable. Unless someone is shipping the car only a couple hundred miles, they likely won’t save as much money as they think by driving. Car owners need to factor in fuel, food, lodging, maintenance, wear and tear, and time value.
  • It’s more convenient. Not everyone is accustomed to sitting for long periods while doing something monotonous like driving. If a car owner is not a fan of road trips, it’s handy to leave the long driving time to the pros.
  • Car owners get peace of mind. When car owners book with a reputable and reliable company, they can rest assured that their car will arrive safely and in the same condition they last saw it.
  • Car owners save time. Driving across the country is no joke. Even if a car owner doesn’t drive from coast-to-coast, they’re looking at several 8-hour (or more) days in the car. Car owners can save time by flying to their destinations instead.
  • It saves the car. Most Americans put around 10,000 miles on their cars each year. If a car owner drives it down the coast, they’ve put on nearly a month’s worth of wear on the tires and engine in a couple of days.

FAQs

A lack of information shouldn’t prevent a customer from finding the best car shipping company. With the information above, customers are in an excellent position to start getting quotes from companies that can handle any situation. However, there are a few other frequently asked questions that we have answered below to aid with the decision-making process.

Q. How do I ship my car?

You can get quotes from car shipping companies. Choose a company that offers a price you’re comfortable with and that can accommodate your shipping needs and any other preferences. You’ll schedule your pickup and delivery dates. Before shipping a car, you’ll want to clean out any personal items and take photos of the interior and exterior. The car shipping company will pick up your vehicle, and you should receive it by your scheduled delivery date.

Q. How much does it cost to ship a car?

The cost to ship a car varies based on the type of car, the distance, and the method of transport. On average, you can expect to pay $1,290, but it can range from $630 to $1,810 for most circumstances.

Q. How much does it cost to ship a vehicle overseas?

Shipping a vehicle overseas is much costlier and might be more than the car is worth. Speak with a licensed auto broker to make sure your car can legally be shipped to another country and what the estimated taxes, customs, and duties would be. International shipments average $1,000 to $5,000, but that can increase to $40,000 for SUVs shipped by plane.

Q. Do car shipping companies offer any discounts?

Yes. It’s always recommended to ask any company about discounts they might offer for students, seniors, military, and more.

Q. Is it cheaper to pay someone to drive my car cross-country?

In most cases, no. You’ll have to account for tangible costs like fuel, food, and lodging. However, it’s cost-effective to use a transport company since it saves wear and tear on your car, saves time, and prevents the risk of accidents.

Q. Do I need legal paperwork to ship my car to another state?

Yes. Legally, a transport company must be licensed by the Department of Transportation to haul goods across state lines. They are taking legal responsibility for the value of your car, so a record is kept that shows they have the right to transport it to another commerce zone. The car shipping company will provide you with the proper paperwork to sign. Still, you should also check to make sure that the company has a valid license registered on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website.

Q. How long does it take for car shipping companies to transport a vehicle?

While timing depends on the distance the car is being hauled, it’s widely accepted that your car should arrive in less than 2 weeks from pickup. In most cases, cars arrive in about 1 week, but coast-to-coast usually takes the longest—up to 10 days on average. In-state transport can take 1 to 3 days. Trucks drive slower than cars, and truck drivers have federal regulations that mandate how many hours they can drive before taking a certain number of hours off. Additionally, they usually have multiple stops along the way to pick up or drop off other cars. If you pay for expedited shipping, you should receive your car in a few days since they are being paid extra not to stop often along the route.

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