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Freight Shipping From Florida to California – All You Need to Know

Published by Joe Webster.

Freight Shipping From Florida to California – All You Need to Know

Even if you're only moving your vehicle within a country, it's stressful. When ports are involved, there's bound to be a long list of rules and regulations. It isn't evident because there are so many documents involved.

But even if you're hiring a trustworthy shipping company, it's best to have a clear idea of the process yourself. If you're shipping your vehicle from Florida to Canada, then matters are much simpler than overseas transport.

So, here's a detailed rundown of what you need to know.

What is Freight Shipping?

Shipping Freight simply means shipping cargo from one place to another. In this case, said cargo is your vehicle.

If you want to know the process for shipping your vehicle from Florida to California, you're in luck. For one, it'll be much more straightforward than moving it overseas. Granted, the change of states means that some paperwork will still be involved.

But the upside is that there are no Customs or taxes to go through. It's straightforward because there are no international laws or regulations to tackle; it's as easy as hiring a trustworthy company like A1 Auto Transport and submitting a few documents.

You can then sit back and breathe while your car reaches you. It also won't take long.

Still, there are a few steps you should get a clear idea of, and the most significant part is choosing how you'll be shipping your car. This choice impacts cost the most, so keep your budget in mind when making a decision.

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Choosing Between Open and Enclosed Auto Transport

Unlike exporting a car overseas, the options for shipping a vehicle out of state are relatively simple. Your choice will affect the level of protection the vehicle has against natural elements and, in turn, the cost.

Open Auto Transport

This is the cheapest route, and naturally also the most popular. As the name implies, open auto transport means your vehicle will be transported on an open carrier.

The reason it's less costly is that the open carrier means your vehicle will be subject to wind and grime and be more susceptible to damage in the case of an accident.

The company will load your vehicle onto a carrier that holds a total of 10 and be transported to you. It's a suitable option for standard cars. However, it's still relatively safe or wouldn't be so widely used.

Enclosed Auto Transport

This method is generally more expensive because, as the name tells you, your car will be in a closed space rather than exposed to the elements. The extra security is what you're paying for with the additional costs.

Your car won't have a separate container, but it'll be loaded on racks inside a giant container pulled by the front truck.

Enclosed shipping costs around 30-40% more than open shipping, so it's less common for standard cars.

However, if you have a specialty car or one on the more expensive side, it's worth it to pay the extra cost in return for the peace of mind it gives you.

Hotshot Transport: the Quickest Way to Get Your Car to You

Although the primary process remains the same, some companies like A1 Auto Transport have started opting for hotshot transport to get your vehicle to you even quicker.

As mentioned earlier, your cars are usually loaded onto carriers that hold around ten cars. That means that even if all the vehicles are being shipped to Florida, it'll take a while before yours reaches you.

Florida is a large state, and the deliveries can take time, even if they're all close. Hotshot transport aims to increase efficiency, usually at no added cost to the shipping company or the customer.

Instead of a carrier that holds 8 or 10 cars, companies employ two that can keep 4 or 5 vehicles at a time. That means the routes become much shorter, and the destinations closest to each other can be lumped together.

That means that since fewer people are on the list of deliveries, your car will reach you faster. It's efficient, and the same standards apply. You'll still choose between open or enclosed transport; the only difference will be the car's time to get to you.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Transport

Although nowhere near as strict as international laws, you'll still need to prepare your car for transport.

You must ensure it's thoroughly cleaned on the inside and outside. Although there aren't many inspections, clean cars will make it easier for the transporter at interstate borders.

Next, you'll also need to ensure that the vehicle's gas tank is less than ¼ of its capacity. This step is necessary to ensure the weight limits for truck capacity aren't passed.

Some shipping companies might also ask you to remove your car batteries but only do that if they ask you to.

Some people don't realize its importance and might even get the tank filled before transport. Keep in mind that the shipping company will empty it anyway.

Other than that, it's usually not suggested to transport any different personal effects in the car too: usually, a limit of 100 pounds is placed. There will be many issues for the driver and company if the truckload exceeds capacity.


Documents Needed Before the Vehicle is Transported

Before you can get your car transported, your shipping company will ask you for the following documents:

  • Bill of Lading: the BoL is essential for transparency and lists all necessary information regarding your vehicle, including the make and model, any damage, and other terms and conditions.
  • Vehicle registration documents.
  • Insurance documents.
  • Original title: as evidence of ownership.
  • Bill of sale.
  • Valid identification: you can submit an unexpired driver's license or passport.

You might need other documents in case your car is leased or financed, though that takes other extra steps.

The BoL is significant in ensuring your vehicle's safety and proof for the shipping company. Once you prepare your car for transport by having it cleaned and emptied, you should take pictures of its condition.

This also helps the driver know its state and serves as insurance for both parties in case of damage.

Moving a Leased or Financed Car From Florida to California

While it shouldn't be too much of a problem, there'll be some extra steps if you want to move your vehicle across the states. This difficulty is mainly because states have different laws, which can affect taxes.

Some lease agreements might have a clause preventing you from transporting your car to another state for more than a limited time (usually 30 days).

If you're taking your car to California, you'll need to register it. You'll submit the address of the lienholder and leasing company, provide the original registration card, and get a smog check and a VIN.

You might also have to retitle the car, which will be difficult as it's not under your name. Any extra costs will be on you.

It's best if you can get your contract amended if the lienholder consents to it. For both leased and financed cars, it's a hassle to get the title and registration done.

How Long it Will Take to Ship Your Vehicle From Florida to California

The average transport time is a week.

There are around 2800 miles between Florida and California, and most carriers cover approximately 350 to 500 miles daily.

The time is also affected by weather conditions, traffic stops, detours, delivery locations, and the number of stops. That's why hotshot transport is generally faster.

It can take up to 10 days for your vehicle to reach you with standard delivery. Then there are 1 to 5 days for the pickup period.

Expedited pickup can mean less waiting time, but you'll need to pay extra. Usually, the earliest you can have your car transported without an emergency is by informing your shipping company 72 to 48 hours before pickup.

The Average Shipping Rates From Florida to California

The average cost is around $1100, but many factors affect the total cost. Most of these depend on natural elements and your vehicle and destination.

Factors Affecting the Costs

  • Car size: a larger car means more space and less capacity for others. This affects the company's profits, so you'll have to pay more.
  • Car weight: like the size, auto carriers have a weight limit. Again, a higher weight means less capacity for other vehicles, which will represent a higher price.
  • Destination: California's a large state. If your car is shipped to a major city like Los Angeles, it'll cost less (unless other factors come into play). On the other hand, a remote location means a higher price because the carrier needs to go out of its way.
  • Season: this has a more significant effect than one would think. The Winter months are hectic because many retirees drive South, which means a heavier traffic flow and higher rates.

Besides that, the timeframe will naturally have a significant effect. As mentioned, having your car picked up earlier means higher costs.


A Quick Overview

Now that you have everything you'll need to know to ship your car from Florida to California, here's a quick overview of the process:

  • First, choose a reliable shipping company like A1 Auto Transport.
  • Next, browse the shipping methods and select one according to your need and budget.
  • Have your vehicle thoroughly cleaned and emptied of all personal belongings or loose parts.
  • Get all your documents ready: you'll first need insurance papers, identification, and a title.
  • Look into the registration process in California if you have a leased or financed car.

Then, you can sit back and relax because your shipping company will handle the rest. They'll transport your car to you in 10 days at most.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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