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Car Moving Companies: Compare Shipping Costs

Transporting your Vehicle – The Basics

The question is obvious, why would you have your vehicle transported when you can drive it yourself? And while there is a certain logic to that, there are actually a lot of reasons why you might benefit more from hiring a professional. For example:

  • You’re moving homes and have more cars than drivers.
  • You are moving internationally.
  • You have a luxury car that you don’t want to add mileage too.
  • You own a vintage or classic car that you don’t want to drive across country.

Either way, you always have the option of hiring a specialized service.

Make sure the Service is Licensed

All shipping companies in the United States are required to file for an Operating Authority number with the federal government. If a service you are considering doesn’t have this license, they are not legally able to provide you with service and you should steer clear. You can ask your moving company to show you their license, or you can check with your state Department of Transportation to make sure they are registered and licensed.


Auto transport services have to carry minimum liability insurance for their cargo. Ask your movers how much your vehicle is covered for, and if it isn’t enough, ask if you can purchase additional insurance to fully cover your car. You can also check with your personal vehicle insurance agent to see if your car is covered during transport under your current policy.

Types of Shipping Available

Cars can be shipped on large tractor-trailers, which move multiple cars at a time, or by pick-up style trucks that transport one vehicle at a time. Having your car transported with others on a multi-vehicle trailer can be very cost effective.

Most vehicles are shipped on open-carrier trailers. Although most shipments are completed without any incidents, your car will be exposed to road and the elements along the route.

Another option is to use an enclosed carrier. Enclosed carriers will offer more protection for your vehicle and offers more flexibility with scheduling, but it also increases your cost.

Delivery Options

Most likely you will have your choice of two different delivery options: door-to-door delivery or terminal-to-terminal delivery.

Door-to-door is what it sounds like. The shipping company will load your car at your current location and unload it at your final destination. Naturally, this is the most convenient option.

Terminal-to-terminal shipping reduces costs by having you drop off your vehicle at the mover’s closest terminal. You will need to find transportation from the terminal after you drop it off. It will then be delivered to a terminal near your final destination, where you will need to pick it up, this type of service, though less convenient, is more cost efficient if you are on a tight budget.

Gathering Estimates

You will want to gather quotes from several different companies to make sure you are being offered a fair price. But keep in mind that cost isn’t the only factor. You will want to check your mover’s bid carefully to see exactly what you are paying for. Some bids might be low because they offer fewer services.

You will also want to make sure any service you hire is one you can trust. It’s fairly easy to check on a business’s reputation. Just enter the mover’s name into your Internet search engine browser and do a check for any reviews from previous customers. If a company gets mostly positive reviews, you can probably trust them to ship your car safely and efficiently.

Keep in Mind

When preparing your vehicle for transport remember to:

  • Take photos of your vehicle from different angles so that you have a record of its condition before shipment. You will complete a pre-shipping inspection with the mover, but it is always wise to have additional evidence.
  • Remove all items from your car. This includes garage door openers, CDs, ice scrapers, etc. Your transport company should provide you with a complete list of pre-shipment instructions.
  • Disable your car alarm.

Let Us Help

To help you narrow your search for the right car shipping service, Movers.net has created our free Moving Quotes tool. Just enter the information requested, and you’ll receive personalized quotes from up to six different movers. The tool is free to use and you are under no obligation to buy.

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