How To Get The Best Rates (2022)

Shipping your car can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but getting car shipping quotes online from reputable companies can save you money and time. Doing this will also give you at least a general idea of how much you can expect to pay for auto transport so you’re not taken by surprise.

This article will discuss how to get car shipping quotes online, the factors that influence costs and the car shipping companies worth considering for your car transport needs.

Our first choice for car shipping with great rates and service.


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Car Shipping Quotes Overview

An auto shipping quote is a vehicle transport company’s estimate of what you can expect to pay when you ship your car. Some vehicle shipping companies offer instant car shipping quotes online, while others require you to contact them by phone or email.

With most auto shippers, the estimate you receive will not be your final price. Most original auto transport quotes do not include service fees, carrier charges or insurance costs.

Types of Car Shipping Companies

Not all car shipping companies have the same business model. These different approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages. You may find that one model works better for you than others.

  • Direct provider: These companies handle every step in the shipping process. In addition to booking your shipment and doing your paperwork, they also directly employ the carriers themselves. While this usually results in a smoother, simpler process, it also usually means fewer shipping options.
  • Auto transport broker: Rather than provide shipping services directly, car shipping brokers handle the booking and some of the paperwork and instead contract jobs out to individual carriers or companies. This usually means more options for people shipping cars but can also be more difficult or time-consuming to deal with.
  • Car shipping marketplace: Instead of lining up providers and customers, a shipping marketplace lets customers shop for themselves. These providers let you post your information online and then wait for offers to come in. Marketplaces are a great place to find the best price and have a huge range of options but may not offer the same level of vetting and accountability when it comes to the carriers themselves.

How to Get Car Shipping Quotes Online

Some auto shipping companies provide instant car shipping quotes online. However, most car transport companies don’t give you an instant quote once you submit your information through the company’s website or app. Instead, someone from the shipping provider reviews your information and reaches out by phone or email with a quote. The whole process usually takes no more than a day or two.

To receive the right car transport services for your needs, you’ll have to share details about your shipment. You should have the following information handy when seeking a car shipping quote:

  • Your vehicle’s make, model, age and operability
  • Your pickup location and destination
  • Your preferred time frame for shipment
  • Your choice of open or enclosed auto transport
  • Your name, email address and phone number

Car Shipping Calculator

If a vehicle transport company offers instant shipping quotes online, the quotes often come through a car shipping quote calculator on the company’s website. These calculators usually only ask for a few details, and you can typically be as generic as you wish in your answers, such as listing your vehicle type as simply an SUV or sedan. The estimate from a quote calculator may be less than accurate, but it can give you a general idea of your car shipping costs.

Calculating Car Shipping Costs

We reached out to the top companies in the auto transport industry for shipping quotes. Here are some of the online car shipping estimates we received for open vehicle shipments:

Auto Transport Company Distance Vehicle Type Car Shipping Quote
Montway Auto Transport 530 miles Car $609
Sherpa Auto Transport 227 miles Car $650
AmeriFreight 530 miles Car $799
Montway Auto Transport 1,500 miles Car $909
uShip 1,500 miles Car $1,529

You should only use these car transport quotes as a starting point for what you can expect to pay for car shipping services since so many variables come into play.

Car Shipping Cost Factors

Several factors can affect the car shipping quote you receive online. Knowing what will increase or decrease your transport price can help you decide what factors are important to you for the shipping process.

Here are some factors that can affect your car transport costs:

  • Distance: Cross-country shipments cost more overall than shorter-distance trips, but these long-distance trips come with lower car shipping rates per mile.
  • Transport type: Open carrier transport is cheaper than enclosed auto transport. However, enclosed shipping may be worth the extra fees if you have a luxury or classic car you want protected.
  • Delivery type: Door-to-door delivery is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping since your carrier delivers your vehicle as close to your front door as possible rather than to a more centralized car delivery location.
  • Time of year: Car shipping services are more expensive in January and summer because this is when most people move. It’s more cost-effective to ship other times of the year.
  • Carrier competition: If you choose a car shipping marketplace such as uShip, bids from competing car carriers could lower your shipping expenses.
  • Vehicle condition: Inoperable vehicles cost more to ship because they require more resources to move than vehicles that are operable.
  • Type of vehicle: Larger vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, cost more to ship than compact cars. Specialty vehicles such as motorcycles, RVs and ATVs are also more expensive to ship.

Car Shipping Options

When you ship a car, you’ll have a few options on how you’d like to do that. While the availability of these options varies by provider, there are a few that are common among most auto transport companies.

  • Open transport: Shipping your car in an open car carrier is a cheaper option but it leaves your car exposed to road debris, weather conditions and other hazards.
  • Enclosed transport: You can opt to ship your car in an enclosed trailer to protect it from damage. However, this car shipment method is usually significantly more expensive.
  • Door-to-door shipping: Many companies give you the option to choose your pickup and drop-off locations for a more hassle-free shipping process. However, that extra convenience usually comes at an additional cost.
  • Terminal-to-terminal shipping: Some moving companies offer the option to have your car shipped between two pre-determined points. While this option can save you money, it also requires you to travel to drop off and pick up your vehicle.
  • Expedited shipping: Many car shippers offer expedited shipping if you need to transport your vehicle right away. This option usually adds considerable cost to your shipment.
  • International shipping: Some companies offer the option to ship your car to or from locations outside the country. Because this typically requires additional logistics, it costs more than domestic shipping.

Should You Buy Car Shipping Insurance?

Most car carriers have cargo insurance policies that cover damages that occur during shipment. However, the coverage amounts of these policies may not cover the full cost of damages if your car is totaled during shipment.

Furthermore, many of them only cover the vehicle while it is in transit and not when it is being loaded or unloaded from the carrier—two instances where the car is more likely to be damaged. Most auto insurance policies won’t cover these periods either, since you’re not driving the vehicle.

You can buy additional cargo insurance and other insurance products to cover what the carrier’s insurance doesn’t. While these do add cost to your shipment, they could be worth it. And even if you don’t end up needing the coverage, it can still offer you peace of mind while your vehicle is being transported.

Customer Experience With Car Shipping Companies

To get a sense of customer experience within the car shipping industry, we polled 1,000 consumers that had previously used an auto transport company. Our team asked customers about prices, issues they experienced and overall satisfaction with the company. 

Car Shipping Prices

As we mentioned above, many factors determine the cost of shipping like transport type, season and distance. Around 41% of respondents said they paid between $1,000 to $2,000 for vehicle shipping. Here is a closer look at our survey data:

  • 22% of respondents paid between $1,000 and $1,500 for auto shipping
  • 19% of respondents paid between $1,500 and $2,000 for auto shipping
  • 17% of respondents paid between $500 to $1,000 for auto shipping
  • 16% of respondents paid over $2,000 for auto shipping

Car Shipping Customer Issues 

The auto transport industry is not without its flaws. Around 41% of respondents said their vehicle was damaged during the delivery process, and another 37% said the carrier’s insurance failed to cover damages. 

One common gripe we saw in our survey data was 35% of respondents said their shipping price increased after booking transport services. The same issue was also reported among transporters that claim to offer guaranteed pricing. 

Car Shipping Customer Satisfaction 

Customer complaints aside, we found that many auto haulers have strong, at the very least acceptable, customer satisfaction scores. 

Approximately 69% of survey respondents said they were satisfied with the provider’s performance. In addition to that metric, 56% said they would recommend the company to another person.  

Below are some of the average satisfaction numbers by auto transport provider: 

  • 84% of Montway Auto Transport customers were satisfied.
  • 67% of AmeriFreight customers were satisfied.
  • 65% of Easy Auto Ship customers were satisfied
  • 60% of Sherpa Auto Transport customers were satisfied.
  • 59% of uShip customers were satisfied.

How to Get The Lowest Car Shipping Quotes

Much of your rate depends on things you can’t change, such as what kind of vehicle you want to ship and where you need to ship it. However, there are a few things you can do to have a better chance at finding lower rates.

  • Be flexible: Having some flexibility around your shipping options and pickup and delivery times will allow you to find a wider range of providers to compare. You may also be able to save on shipping by offering a range of dates rather than just one specific date.
  • Opt for open transport: Open transport is often significantly cheaper than the enclosed option. But while it does come with more risk for damage during transit, most of these damages will be covered by the carrier’s insurance.
  • Try terminal-to-terminal: Choosing a terminal-to-terminal shipping option, when available, can get you much lower rates. This will require additional coordination, time, and travel on your part (and likely, another person to drive), but the savings may be worth the pair of road trips.
  • Avoid shipping during summer: Car shipping rates are seasonal, with summer months usually commanding the highest rates. January also tends to be an expensive time to ship your car. If you can wait to ship your vehicle until rates go down, you could pay much less to do so.

Car Shipping Quotes Online: Final Thoughts

As you can see, you have plenty of options for auto transport. And there is a huge amount of variation when it comes to the cost of these services. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to get car shipping quotes online so you can compare and find the best price for you.

Our Recommendations for Auto Shipping

If you’re ready to get car shipping quotes online, two companies that stand out are Montway Auto Transport and Sherpa Auto Transport. We rated both providers highly in our review of the best car shipping companies.

Montway Auto Transport: Best Provider

Montway Auto Transport is a reputable shipping company that provides auto transport services in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. The auto transporter, which also ships internationally, typically moves over 140,000 vehicles annually through its network of vetted auto transport carriers.

Montway offers no-hassle online car shipping quotes for open transport, enclosed carrier transport, door-to-door delivery and expedited car shipping. The Schaumburg, Illinois-based car transporter also provides guaranteed pickup dates for an additional fee and free insurance coverage. Montway doesn’t do terminal-to-terminal shipping.

Unlike some car shipping companies, Montway Auto Transport has a strong reputation in the industry. Positive customer feedback for Montway often notes reasonable prices, superb customer service and on-time shipments. Montway has accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), along with an A+ rating from the company. Customers give the transport broker an average of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on the BBB website. Similarly, Montway gets 4.4 out of 5.0 stars based on customer reviews submitted through Trustpilot.

Read more about the vehicle shipping company in our Montway Auto Transport review.

Our first choice for car shipping with great rates and service.


Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-In Pricing

Unlike most of its competitors in the car shipping industry, Sherpa Auto Transport provides final cost information with your initial quote. This feature, known as the Price Lock Promise, guarantees your final bill won’t exceed the price you’re quoted up front. Another perk is Sherpa’s Clean Car Guarantee, which gets you a reimbursement of up to $20 for a car wash after your vehicle arrives.

Sherpa’s transport options include expedited shipping, open and enclosed car shipping, and door-to-door deliveries. The Charlotte, North Carolina, shipper does not transport outside the continental U.S., internationally or terminal-to-terminal.

Like Montway, Sherpa Auto Transport has better reviews than many competitors. The company holds accreditation and an A+ rating from the BBB, where customers give Sherpa an impressive 4.9 out of 5.0 stars. Customer reviews often praise Sherpa for fast car shipping and excellent customer service.

Read more in our Sherpa Auto Transport review.

This shipping company won’t raise your rates after you are quoted a price.


FAQ: Car Shipping Quotes Online

What is the cheapest way to ship my car?

The cheapest way to ship your car is by train. However, your drop-off and pickup dates will be less flexible, fewer shipping routes are available, and you will likely end up waiting longer for your car to arrive. Transporting terminal-to-terminal in an open carrier can be a better option for cheap car shipping.

What is the best car transport company?

How much does it cost to ship a car?

Auto shipping companies rarely list prices because costs are customized to each customer. Factors that tend to affect final prices include shipping distance, transport type and the time of year for the car shipment. Also, longer distances like New York to Miami will also incur a higher price.

Does AAA offer car shipping?

The American Automobile Association (AAA) provides roadside assistance and towing services but does not offer car shipping.

What is the cheapest company to ship my car? 

Our research team has identified uShip and Montway Auto Transport as having affordable auto transport rates. If those shipping options don’t work, we also found that AmeriFreight has an extensive list of discounts. 


The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car shipping provider to formulate rankings of the best auto transport companies. Our in-depth rating system takes into account pricing, services, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each provider is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.

We recommend car shipping companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best service.