The Ultimate Guide to the Cost of Shipping Your Car Cross-Country

Shipping your car across the country is a convenient and, in most cases, cost-effective option when looking to relocate or buy from another state. Perhaps you’re moving to another state, buying from a seller out of state, or just shipping your vehicle for a long trip; whatever the case, knowing what drives the cost of car shipping will help you to plan accordingly for your move. This is the ultimate guide to explore all of the different aspects that make up the cost to ship car cross-country, helping you understand and make a well-informed decision on finding an affordable solution for your needs.

Car Shipping Options

For transporting your car, you have two major options: open transport and enclosed transport. Among these two, open transport is the cheapest, and it costs between 0.40 cents and $1.96 per mile. Your vehicle will be taken away on an open-air trailer with a few other vehicles. Of course, the cost is pocket-friendly, but open transport won’t provide protection to your vehicle like enclosed transport will.

Enclosed transport is a step above regular open transport; it provides extra protection to your vehicle. In this case, your car will be loaded into a fully enclosed trailer protecting it from the elements, road debris, or any damage that might be inflicted while in transit. It’s also more expensive, usually in the range of $1 to $2.50 per mile. But, for instance, it can give one peace of mind when one is shipping an expensive or highly valued classic car. There are also vehicle transport options other than the major two mentioned in this article.

What Affects the Cost of Transport

Several different things can influence just how much it will cost to ship your car across the country, and knowing what those variables are can help to better approximate and budget for the overall cost to ship car cross-country.


The distance of the cross-country move is one clear determinant of the cost of auto transportation. Generally, for longer transportations, the price per mile is lower. This happens because the fixed cost, basically fuel and driver costs, of transport is spread over a greater range. In the case of shorter moves, the cost per mile profit will be higher since the fixed cost is concentrated over a smaller area.

Vehicle Size and Weight

The size and weight go with the type of vehicle when calculating the overall cost to ship car cross-country. More oversized/heavier vehicles, like SUVs, trucks, and classic cars, will maintain higher shipping costs compared to a standard sedan or compact car. Again, this comes into play because larger vehicles take up more space on the transport trailer, with added weight reducing fuel efficiency and affecting handling, which in turn raises the rate of the shipment.

Time of Year

The demand for car shipping may prove seasonal, as peak seasons usually occur in the summer and holidays. This season could be characterized by increased shipment rates since there is a higher demand that pits owners against limited trucks for transport. On the other hand, off-season months, usually wintertime, will most likely have better pricing since the carriers are trying to fill volume. 

Pickup and Delivery Locations

The specific pickup and delivery locations can also affect the cost of shipping your car. For example, almost all remote or inaccessible locations attract extra charges since it will take more time and effort to get the vehicle there. At times, a carrier may need extra equipment or take a longer route to access certain areas, which increases the cost overall.

Type of Transport

As pointed out above, a decision on open transport versus enclosed transport will drastically alter the cost of shipping your car. Considering that enclosed transport provides extra care and safety, the pricing is usually higher compared to open transport. All factors are taken into consideration regarding the size and value of your vehicle and personal preference in determining what is most appropriate and cost-effective way to move your vehicle.

How to Choose the Right Car Shipping Company

Because you are moving across the country, you will need a car shipping company, so compare quotes of many different providers for the best value. Look for companies that have great reputations and solid customer reviews with transparent pricing policies such as Bold Auto Transport and many more.

Compare the quotes, considering the company’s experience, the kind of transport they offer, and additional services or insurance coverage they may have. It’s also good to ask if they have any kind of discount or promotion available at the time that would help save on the overall cost for the job of shipping your car.

Insurance Coverage on Car Shipping

Most authentic and licensed car transporters are required to have some form of basic liability insurance to cover the owner in case anything happens to the car during transportation. Still, be sure of the extent of coverage and the need for additional insurance if necessary. Make sure the company you hire has enough insurance coverage to protect your vehicle during any type of cross-country move.

Some companies may offer additional insurance options that can enhance the protection of your vehicle. These include cargo insurance or collision damage waivers. Be sure to go through the policies and select what will work for you within your budget.


To conclude, shipping your car cross-country can be wallet-friendly, but you need to know what affects the cost to ship car cross-country. You would derive a good rate from comparing the options wisely against the different quotes that various providers provide, understanding insurance coverage, and so on. Here comes an ultimate guide that will help in making an informed decision for smooth car shipping.