Shipping a car from one place to another is a service that is only growing in popularity. Of course, as something grows like that, more and more people start to ask questions. Is auto transport is my price range? Can I fit it in my budget? If you are wondering about car shipping rates and asking yourself how much to transport a car, then you’ve come to the right place. Searching for a car shipping company takes time, but you need to know from the start if it is something you should pursue. That’s why we’ve come up with  this concise car shipping rates comparison that will give you a good idea of just how much you should set aside to handle this specific task. Keep in mind, as you peruse this information, that the prices are ever changing, so getting your own auto transport quotes is the best thing that you can do if you want to send a vehicle somewhere without driving it, but armed with this information at least you will have an idea of just what you might be facing in way of budgetary concerns.

Cross Country Car Shipping

Perhaps the most popular type of car shipping is the kind where a vehicle is sent from one side of the country to another. Lots of vehicle shipping companies offer this kind of service, but their prices and services vary. For example, consider shipping a vehicle from the state of North Carolina to the state of California.

Open Car Shipping Rates and Considerations

The most common type of car shipping is on an open car transport trailer hauled by a semi-truck. To take a vehicle across the country on one of these transports, companies quote prices that range from $750 to $1100. While this may seem like quite a range, it is important to note that some companies offer more than others in the package you are paying for. Make sure to consider the following when reviewing your own quotes:

    • Higher end car transporters often offer insurance and liability to customers. For just under a thousand dollars, for example, a consumer looking to transport a family sized sedan from North Carolina to California on an open transport. This cost includes taxes, surcharge fees, and up to $100,000 in insurance coverage.


    • Overly low quotes may come from companies who do not include taxes, fees, and insurance costs in the quote, so be sure to contact any such companies for a ‘real’ quote if you are interested in them.


    • You can purchase what is known as expedited shipping, but you will have to pay an additional fee. This fee varies from one company to another, but will be somewhere about $250 on top of the basic shipping charges.
    • Consider the cost of your own insurance from your own car insurance company on top of the fees and insurance offered by the car transporters.


  • Don’t have a time frame when you need your vehicle delivered? You can save about $100 if you don’t care when in the next month or two your vehicle is picked up or delivered.

Enclosed Shipping Options and Thoughts

While less common and more expensive, enclosed car shipping is a service that is available to people who want to protect their vehicles better than they would be on an open transport truck. Enclosed shipping is basically the same in that a vehicle is transported on a semi-truck hauled trailer, but instead of being open to the air, the vehicles being shipped are placed in an enclosed trailer. Fewer vehicles can fit in such a trailer, which is why you should consider the extra costs associated with such a service before choosing it for your needs. Just keep the following in mind as you think about what the best options are for you and your situation.

    • You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $800 more than your basic car transport services when you opt for enclosed car shipping instead.


    • Enclosed shipping is generally also expedited and you can almost always expect service within one week, unlike budget shipping methods that may come with a disclaimer stating there is no guarantee on pick up or drop off dates.


    • If you are shipping a simple family vehicle from one side of the country to another, you can expect to pay around $1500. This service includes fuel surcharges, insurance, and taxes normally, but always ask the company you are interested to verify this.


    • Vehicles that are worth a lot of money or are collectible should be shipped via enclosed shipping methods as many insurance policies may not cover ‘acts of nature’ or ‘acts of god’ unless specifically stated in the policy and paid for in addition to the shipping fees.


  • Like open shipping methods, make sure to consider getting your own insurance policy on the vehicle even though most, but not all, car shippers include insurance liability up to $100,000 on every vehicle shipped.

Shipping Cars Over Shorter Distances

While shipping a vehicle across the country might be the most common form of auto transport, there still are plenty of people who simply want a vehicle taken across state lines to somewhere much closer than the other coast. For this example, let’s say you want to ship the same vehicle as above, a simple family sedan, from North Carolina to the center of American government, Washington DC.

Open Options and Things to Remember

As stated above, open shipping denotes any car transport that is done on an open trailer where cars are essentially outside. While this is usually on the same heavy transport truck as is used in cross country shipping, sometimes smaller trailer beds are used. Keep the following things in mind when you are looking at shipping a vehicle just a state or two away.

    • Shipping a vehicle over a short distance such as this is about half the cost of shipping the same vehicle from one side of the state to the other. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $450 for open shipping.


    • Like cross country shipping, everything is generally included in your quote of $300-400. This means you don’t have to pay extra for insurance, taxes, or fees.


  • If you want to set specific dates on when you want the vehicle picked up and delivered, expect to pay an extra $100 on top of your basic quote.
  • It’s a good idea to get extra insurance coverage, as the carrier’s insurance policy that is included may not always cover every eventuality.

Closed, Short-Distance Shipping

Much like the cross country comparison, there are car transporters who offer closed shipping options for people who only need a vehicle taken a short distance. You can choose closed shipping and you should if you have a vehicle that is expensive or collectible.

    • In regards to short distance transport, you can expect to pay just over double the cost for closed shipping over open shipping options. A good general idea is anywhere from $600 – $850 for the service including all fees and taxes.


    • Because the fees and taxes are included, you generally won’t have to pay anything beyond what you are quoted, however, always check with the company you are thinking of working with to verify this.


    • Like the cross country counterpart, closed shipping often comes with a guarantee of when the vehicle will be picked up and when it will be dropped off at its destination.


  • Closed shipping is a good idea for special vehicles, but always remember that most carriers only carry liability insurance. Even though the vehicle is well protected within the confines of the transport container, be sure you have the insurance you need in case something happens.

Armed with Knowledge

The best way to walk into any situation is to do so with as much knowledge as you can possibly gather. Now you know the generalized going car shipping rates, so it will be much easier for you to make a decision on what car transport services you will need. Always remember, however, that each company is different. Always get a contract and never pay a deposit up front. While some companies do still charge a deposit, almost all car shipping companies have turned to a ‘deposit on pickup’ business model that allows you to schedule pickup without having to put any money forward.