Shipping a Car Cross Country (2024 Guide)
If you’re planning a cross-country move, getting your budget right is key. When deciding which transport options are best for your needs, it helps to know the cost to ship a car cross country as well as what to expect by working with a car shipping company.
Whether you’re a snowbird heading to a warmer climate during the winter or you’re moving from the East Coast to the West, our guide will help you figure out how to ship your car cross-country and what you can expect to pay for your shipment.
In This Review:
- Cross-country shipping is a service provided by auto transport companies, such as Sherpa, to help when you’re needing to move a vehicle hundreds to thousands of miles.
- While the specifics of your shipment and market conditions will impact the price, you can generally expect to pay $0.50 to $1.00 per mile for a cross-country transport.
- Opting for an open trailer for transport and having flexibility in your pickup window can help to lower your shipment cost.
What Is Car Shipping?
Auto Transport Process
Here are the six steps you’ll take when planning your vehicle shipment:
- Understand your shipment needs. Determine where you would like your vehicle picked up and delivered. You may also want to familiarize yourself with some auto transport basics, such as open vs enclosed shipping.
- Request a free quote. Sherpa offers free quotes to all customers. You can request an instant quote online or give our team a call to speak to an expert.
- Lock in your shipment. Once you receive your quote and review the details, simply lock in your shipment. Nothing is due to Sherpa at the time of booking.
- Prepare your car for shipping. Limit the personal items in your vehicle to 100 lbs or less and store them in the trunk area. When the truck driver arrives at your pickup location, you’ll both examine the vehicle for existing damage before your car is loaded up. Make sure you have a set of keys to give to the carrier.
- Sit back and relax. While your vehicle is in transit, sit back and relax knowing you are in good hands. We provide the contact information for your assigned carrier so that you can receive updates along the way. Our Sherpa team members are also here to assist.
- Prepare for delivery. Once the trucker delivers your vehicle, you’ll both examine the car for damage again. Next, you’ll sign a Bill of Lading to complete the shipment and pay the carrier the remaining balance via cash or certified check.
What Is Cross-Country Car Shipping?
Cross-country car shipping is a service offered by auto transport companies when you’re looking to move your vehicle a long distance, typically 1,000 miles or longer. Your vehicle will be loaded onto a trailer and transported to your selected location. Shipping your vehicle rather than driving it can save you both time and money, especially if you’re traveling across the country.
Who can benefit from shipping a car across the country?
Sherpa is here to help anyone in need of a cross-country shipment. Here are the most common groups of customers we service:
- Household movers
- Snowbirds and seasonal travelers
- Corporate and individual relocation
- Online car buyers and sellers
- Classic car enthusiasts
- College students
- Military families
- Car dealerships
Cost to Ship a Car Across the Country
The cost for cross-country car shipping essentially hinges on what type of transport you decide to use. The two main shipping options you’ll choose between are open and enclosed auto transport.
Open Auto Transport
This is the cheapest option, cutting down the cost of shipping by allowing car carriers to transport several vehicles at the same time. This allows the car hauler to deliver and add cargo throughout the shipping route.
Keep in mind, however, that open-air carriers leave your car exposed to the elements. Adverse weather conditions and road debris could damage your vehicle during transit.
Enclosed Auto Transport
If you want extra protection for your car, consider shipping it in an enclosed carrier. This option is especially useful for shipping a classic car or antique vehicle. However, shipping via enclosed transport carrier is much more expensive, sometimes costing over 50% more than open car transport.
Average Auto Transport Costs
Though vehicle shipping rates will vary based on the specifics of your shipment and market conditions, you can get an idea of what transport might cost. Long-distance auto transport will typically cost less on a per mile basis than shorter routes, but may be more expensive in total. As an example, shipments under 500 miles will typically cost between $1.50 and $2.50 per mile. If you are looking to ship your car across the country, you can expect to pay about $0.50 to $1.00 per mile for the trip.
If you are looking to ship a car from New York City to Los Angeles, you can expect to pay around $1,500, while shipping from Los Angeles to Miami will likely cost $1,350. These are estimates based on shipping an operable sedan using an open trailer. A number of factors including the vehicle size and operability as well as trailer type will impact your shipment price.
Things That Can Affect Cross Country Shipping
Besides the distance of your car transport, the cost to ship a car cross country fluctuates based on a number of factors. Those include:
- Gas prices: If the cost of fuel is high, your transport will be more expensive.
- Time frame: Having a flexible timeline for your car shipment can help save you money, as the sooner you book your transport, the cheaper it will be. Sherpa offers expedited pickup windows for our customers in a hurry, but it does come with an added cost.
- Vehicle condition: If your car is inoperable, it will require more time, labor, and equipment to load onto the car carrier truck.
- Vehicle size: Larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and modified vehicles cost more to transport.
- Type of transport: Open carrier shipping is generally the cheapest way to transport your vehicle, but enclosed transport offers more protection and is ideal for luxury and classic cars.
- Pickup and drop-off locations: Rural pickup and delivery locations take more fuel and travel time to reach, so they cost more than shipments to and from urban areas.
- Time of year: Demand for car shipping services rises significantly in January and the summer, so expect vehicle shipping to be more expensive during those times of year.
What’s The Best Way To Ship a Car Across the Country?
Working with an expert in the industry, like Sherpa, means you do not need to worry about anything after your shipment is booked. We take pride in servicing thousands of customers per year, providing them with a stress-free transport experience. With our industry knowledge and expertise, our team sets you up with a customized transport plan, taking into account both your budget and shipment needs.
Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport
Since 2017, we’ve built a great reputation in the auto transport industry by shipping vehicles all over the lower 48 states as well as Hawaii. We specialize in open auto transport and door-to-door delivery, making each car shipment as convenient as possible for our clients.
We hold accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well as an A+ rating from the organization. We are proud to have an industry-leading Total Review Score of 4.9 out of 5 stars from the thousands of customers who have rated our services.
Price Lock Promise
Our Price Lock Promise means you won’t pay more than the price of your car shipping quote. If the price we quoted you isn’t enough to secure a carrier, we’ll cover up to $300 of the difference to ensure your transport happens at your agreed upon rate.
Clean Car Guarantee
If your car arrives dirty, we’ll help get it cleaned up. Take your car to a car wash and email us a copy of your receipt and the bill of lading from your service and we’ll reimburse you up to $20 for the wash.
Shipping a Car Cross Country FAQs
Is it worth it to ship a car across the country?
To decide whether shipping a car across the country is worth it, consider what’s most important in your situation. If you want to avoid the hassle of a road trip or don’t want to add mileage to your vehicle, shipping your car across the country might make more sense than driving.
How much does it cost to ship a car from the East Coast to the West Coast?
Based on our estimates, when shipping a car from Florida to California, for instance, you can expect to pay between 45 and 70 cents per mile.
Is it worth it to ship a car?
When traveling long distances, it’s generally worth it to ship your car. For one thing, it’s less time consuming than driving across the country. Depending on gas prices, it may be cheaper as well. Additionally, driving will add miles and wear and tear to your vehicle, whereas shipping your car won’t.