Relocating? Here’s What Determines Your Auto Transportation Costs

The trailer transports cars on highway

If you’re relocating cross-country, using a door-to-door auto transport company to ship your car can save you plenty of time, stress, and cash. However, not all shipping services offer the same value for money, and there are many factors which count towards the final cost you’ll pay. What should you consider when shopping for auto transportation quotes?

Shipping Distance

The most obvious factor that affects shipping costs is the distance your auto needs to be transported. Longer distances mean higher fuel costs and more driver hours, raising the price significantly.

Transport Location

However, the collection and delivery locations play an important role as well. If you’re shipping between major cities, the transport company can often fill their transporter slots fairly easily, and so you’ll pay far less than for remote, rural locations which require detours from more popular routes.

Vehicle Size and Type

Most car shipping quotes will be based around a standard size and weight of vehicle, but larger, heavier SUVs and trucks will usually have an ‘oversize’ fee applied. Transporter trucks have a maximum legal weight limit, and heavier vehicles may effectively take up two slots, and so will be more expensive to ship.

Type of Transport

Most car shippers use open transporters, of the kind commonly seen on highways across the country. While these are perfectly safe and reliable, the cars are left open to the elements. If you have a particularly valuable vehicle you may wish to have it shipped in a closed container for greater protection, and this can increase the price dramatically.

Value of Vehicle

More valuable vehicles will also increase the insurance costs of the transporter, and this will be reflected in the quote.

Car Condition

In most cases, cars are driven on and off the transporter under their own power, but if your car isn’t in drivable condition, special loading and unloading equipment will be needed, which will cost you more.

Delivery Time

At the basic price level, a shipping company will hold your vehicle until they have enough slots filled to make their journey profitable. Depending on the route, this could take several days or even longer. If you need a guaranteed delivery date, you can pay a premium for expedited transport.

Time of Year

The same route will often cost different amounts at different times of year. In most cases, summer and early fall are peak transport times, and so you’ll pay extra compared to the quieter winter months. However, in some locations, winter weather conditions can make delivery more difficult, and so the cost will increase.

Insurance Coverage

Lastly, not all transport companies offer the same level of insurance protection. Although taking less insurance coverage can lower the cost, this could turn out to be an expensive mistake if your car is damaged during the journey. Always make sure the service offers comprehensive coverage, especially as your own auto insurance is unlikely to cover problems caused during transportation.

Auto shipping services offer a convenient and cost-effective way of relocating your vehicle over long distances. However, you shouldn’t just accept the first quote you get – knowing how the various factors are taken into account could lower the price considerably.