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The process of moving to a new home is always exhilarating, albeit stressful. This is especially true if you’re moving thousands of miles away. Nowadays, moving services have made the process more accessible, and you can now easily take your personal items and home furniture with you without worrying too much about it.
Although home relocations are now a regular part of people’s lives, shipping a car across the country is something people are not familiar with. While the goal is the same, the process is a little bit different.
Let’s go over the many ways you can ship your car across long distances and how you can go about the process without much hassle.
Cross country car shipping takes on many forms, and each one has its own pros and cons. If you’re shipping your car across the country for the first time, follow these steps to make sure your car shipping experience is a good one.
Let’s break down each of the steps to show you the different options available to you as a car owner so you can decide for yourself which is the best one.
Most people are familiar with car trucks/trailers, but most car owners don’t know that there are more options available if they want to ship their car cross country.
You can ship your car across the country through these methods:
You may not know this, but you can actually ship your car across the country through Amtrak. Although there are several other railroad systems in the US, most of them only cater to commercial car shipping.
How to ship your car via Train
Advantages of shipping cars via Train
Disadvantages of shipping cars via Train
How much does it cost to ship a car via train?
Depending on the month and the total mileage, the cost can go anywhere from $500 to $900.
Transporting a car across the country takes time, which is why some car owners consider flying their car cross country instead. Planes are more commonly used to fly exotic and sports cars.
Advantages of shipping cars via a plane
Disadvantages of shipping cars via a plane
How much does it cost to ship a car using a plane?
The average cost of shipping a car with a plane is around $2,000 to $4,000. This doesn’t include your ticket as a passenger should you choose to ride the same plane.
Shipping a car cross country using a truck or trailer is the most common method car owners use everywhere. A truck usually tows a trailer that is either enclosed or open to transport several cars simultaneously.
For the purpose of this guide, we will delve more into cross-country car shipping via truck as it is the most common mode of car shipping available.
Open versus Enclosed Trailers
If you want to ship your car using a truck, you have to choose if you want an open trailer or an enclosed one. Let’s compare the two options:
Overall, the choice between open and enclosed trailers will depend on your budget. If you have money to spare, go for enclosed trailers as it offers more protection for your car.
Once you’ve decided to go for a car shipping company, it’s time to collect quotes from several companies. Shipping companies offer consultations for free, so make the most of it. During the call, they will ask you questions to get a better idea of what your needs are. They will then give you a general estimate of costs. Use this chance to ask your own questions to determine if they are the best fit for you. Remember, it’s not just about the price, but the quality of service delivered.
Things to consider when scouting for car shipping companies:
All car shipping companies that deal with long-distance shipping must be registered with the FMCSA.
If not, this means that the final bill won’t be the same as your initial estimate.
The FMCSA can give you a safety report, as well as a list of complaints against a company.
Do they offer door-to-door car shipping? After-hours customer support? Pre-shipping car evaluation?
The standard cost for shipping a car across the country is $2.00 per mile. The cost per mile does go down the greater the total mileage. For example, if you go beyond 1,500 miles, the price goes down to $0.58 per mile. The average cost of east-to-west (or vice versa) car transport would be around $1,600 to $1,800.
Factors that may affect your car shipping cost
Once you find a suitable car shipping company, it’s now time to book the date of the actual move. If you want to save money on your car shipping, or if you want the process to go smoothly, here are some tips for you when booking your shipping date:
We recommend being there on the day when the car needs to be picked up by the shipping company. To prevent delays, you can start to prepare for the process a couple of days before the big day.
How to prepare your car for shipping:
Once the car shipping crew arrives, they will ask you to sign the bill of lading plus any other documents related to the process.
On average, cross-country car shipping takes around 5-7 days, barring delays and other unforeseen circumstances. Once your car has reached its destination, these are the two ways by which you can retrieve your car.
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.
And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.
The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.
When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.
The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.
They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?
So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.
I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!
The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!
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.
After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.
Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.
By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.
We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!
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