Your car is probably one of your greatest assets, but can also be one of your most significant burdens, especially when relocating cross country. So, you might be looking for the cheapest way to ship a car. Shipping your vehicle is a pretty complicated process. First, you have to find a proper transport service; then you have to make sure it’s covered by insurance in case of any damage, then you have to schedule it for pick up while having to manage your long-distance move. It’s a tough job on you, and even tougher on your wallet. But, not to worry, some ways to get your car to your destination are less expensive than others.
Finding Good Shipping Rates Is a Start
Before you get started preparing your car for transport, you’re going to want to find a reliable auto transport service for a decent rate. Generally speaking, auto shipping can cost anywhere between $500 to $1,500 depending on size, models, and distance. This rate should be included in your moving expenses checklist, and it will undoubtedly take a significant portion of your moving budget. You have to know what you’re getting into before deciding on a shipper.
What to Expect From an Auto Shipping Service
You’re probably wondering at this point how does transporting cars from state to state work, but also about finding cheap ways to do it. When choosing an auto transport service, you must know what you’re getting for your money. Learn all about the company’s policies and what you get with the chosen offer. You can look up reviews from different customers, to help you decide. To further help you make the best decision, here are some general things to expect when hiring movers to relocate your car:
- Booking Information Request – The movers should give you a form to fill out where you’ll provide the necessary information about you, your car, and the destination. You should have a call with a representative asking you these questions.
- A Binding Price Quote – In short, a binding price quote is a set estimate which you are bound to pay with notice of any hike in cost. If there are no other extra factors or anything that would require more from the movers, then the estimate should remain the same. Otherwise, they will notify you before or during the move should you have to pay extra.
- Pre-shipment inspection – Most companies require this to ensure that the car is in good shape to transport. This means that your car should be clean and in good working order. If there are any dents and scratches on the car, you should point them out to the inspector. If the car looks or seems like it’s too damaged or has problems, they can reject it so that nothing happens to it while in their possession. Also, transporting a vehicle with mechanical problems always costs more, because of additional safety measures. An inspection is done after the delivery of your vehicle as well.
- Vehicle collection – Upon approval for shipment, you should be given an address to drop your car off at a terminal, or you can schedule to have your vehicle picked up by a designated driver. They should do a thorough inspection of the vehicle and ask you for any information they should know regarding your car.
Get Multiple Shipping Quotes
Now that you know what to expect when having your car relocated, you can choose from several different companies for quotes. Be sure to do the necessary research on each relocator if you want to find which is best. Most of the services you choose should cost around the same amount depending on where you’re going. Try and avoid anyone charging a larger than average rate.
How to Ship A Car
Learn how to properly prepare your car and get it shipped to your destination
Transport Options: Open Carrier and Closed Carrier
You have two options for transportation when shipping your car: open carrier, or open trailer transport, and closed carrier, or closed trailer transport. By the names alone you should have some kind of idea of what they look like. What’s most important to you is the cheaper option and how to reduce costs that are high when moving last-minute. For your further understanding, we’ll briefly cover both options.
Open Carrier Transportation
Open carrier transportation is the shipping method when your car is loaded onto a trailer that isn’t covered by any metal walls. You’ll often see these open trailers on the freeway with many other cars loaded onto it. It’s typical to see all types of cars on an open trailer because it’s the cheaper option.
Closed Carrier Transportation
With enclosed carrier transportation, your vehicle is transported to the destination in a trailer enclosed by metal walls. This is typically meant for luxury and high-end sports cars and can cost quite a lot of money depending on the details of the shipment. We recommend against this option if you’re looking for cheap ways to ship your car.
Cheapest Way to Deliver A Car
Relocating long-distance, in general, is not cheap. You have to buy packing materials for your relocation and pack all of your belongings, or hire professionals for packing services, etc. We get it, $1,500 to have your car shipped is a lot of money, and you want to save more instead of spend more. Fortunately, you have a few different options to get your vehicle moved and for a reasonable price. You have many different options to have your vehicle shipped, but the cheapest option you’re looking for is terminal to terminal delivery.
Using Door-to-Door Delivery
Door-to-door delivery is extremely convenient and can save you loads of time. You simply provide your address and when your car arrives at a nearby terminal it will be delivered right to you. It’s easily the most popular option, but it’s also the more expensive one, and not very practical if you’re trying to save money. That way you’ll be able to get the service while hopefully being able to save money.
Ship Your Vehicle With Terminal to Terminal Delivery Service
Aside from the time it takes, having your car shipped terminal to terminal is easy on your wallet for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that you won’t have to pay extra for someone coming to pick your car up. Another reason is that you aren’t bound by schedule to have vehicles stored in a terminal. The process is smooth and easy for both you and the movers. A big plus is that you will find terminals in all major cities. The most significant advantage you have is how low the cost is, and most terminals only charge $15 to $35 a day for car storage, not including travel. So if you plan on picking it up the day you move in, or the day after, you won’t have to worry about high prices so much. You’ll also have the option to have your car enclosed in a large truck trailer or open carriers. If you decide to have your car enclosed be prepared to pay extra.
DIY Auto Transport
A DIY move, at first glance, seems to be the cheapest option when relocating. This is especially true for moving your car. However, there are some things that you will have to pay for on your own that would be less trouble for you if you hired a moving company for their auto transport service. You’ll have to pay for gas, food, a moving truck, and possibly other unforeseeable expenses. Your best bet when moving your car on your own is researching the cheapest way to move out of state and a fast route to your destination.
When to Schedule Auto Transport Before Moving
Juggling everything you have to do when relocating cross country is a difficult job. It’s even harder figuring out a schedule for your entire relocation process. With everything you have to schedule, when on Earth should you book your car to be transported? We recommend that you get in contact with an auto shipping company to iron out details and discuss dates. Depending on your vehicle shipment details delivery could take anywhere from three days to two weeks. Delivery dates depend on how far your destination is, the type of transportation your car is getting, the time it takes for inspection, etc. You’ll also have to factor in traffic and weather conditions as well.
Book Early Before You Travel
A significant rule of thumb to follow is whenever you hire a relocation company, always call an auto shipping company early enough ahead of time so that you’ll be able to book a date that’s convenient for you. Another good tip is to contact a few different companies to look at what dates they have available. An advantage of getting multiple quotes is that they will bid on your specific job. So if movers offer you a relocation price set at $800 one day, the next day, another company might give you an offer for $715. Either way, when you book early, you boost your chances of saving hundreds of dollars on relocation. You know what they always say – the early bird gets the worm.
Shipping Your Car During Slow Months
Most people ship their cars during the months of June through August; it’s the busiest time of the year for moving and auto shipping companies. The weather makes for great shipping conditions for the drivers and the cargo – a big reason why people opt for moving in the summer. However, the high demand during this time of the year can cause companies to hike up the price for delivery. The cheaper option is to move during the winter and the slower months of the year such as December through February since there isn’t much demand for shipping, other than online holiday shopping. You’re more likely to get a lower price on shipping, however you might have to wait longer for the delivery date as weather conditions aren’t ideal for shipping a car.
Ways to Save on Insurance
Aside from your house, your car is a huge commodity and requires a lot of care, so you need to make sure that it’s adequately covered, and insurance is not at all cheap. Fortunately, all relocation companies are required to have a valid insurance certificate and offer mandatory coverage depending on the factors of your shipment. Though it is often suggested that you pay for additional third-party coverage, you don’t have to if you’re looking to save as much money as you can.
Things to Avoid for Out-of-State Transport
Today, in 2020, you should be cautious when looking for cheap options and offers to ship your car and know what to avoid so that you don’t get tricked out of your money. America has so many long distance movers and many auto shipping services that promise the “best deals” or “cheap prices,” and they can seem pretty good. Since you’re looking for the cheapest ways to relocate your ride, here are some typical signs to watch out for to avoid scams:
- “We offer the lowest prices” – Most professional moving companies usually don’t advertise their pricing so much because they want to learn what you need specifically. All that so they can give you a fair price for the work required. Any company offering you the lowest price is usually a scam, or they have a history of low-quality service.
- Make sure the company is federally licensed – Movers are required by law to have a license or certificate issued by the US Department of Transportation. They should also have a website where you can see all their offers and request a quote. Any relocation company without either is a big red flag, and you should drop them immediately from your list of possible hires.
- Cash upfront – Never do business with anybody who asks for money upfront to ship your car. Legitimate professional movers are all about having a paper trail. You’ll have application forms, car inspection forms, invoices, and receipts. Everything to detail the services and jobs included in the chosen offer. Nothing left for speculation, and if you have any questions, they will be quick to respond. The issue with cash upfront payment is that you’re likely not to get an invoice detailing the labor that went into a shipment, nor will you get a receipt for your payment. The movers can also decide the cost on the spot or charge you an absurd price.
- Damage-free guarantee – Accidents happen all the time, and your relocators know this well. It’s why they take the extra step of ensuring that you’re all covered and that if there happen to be problems, they will compensate. Most, if not all, professionals have a damage-free guarantee or a clause in their policy or contract that they will cover for damages done to vehicles during travel. If you can’t find such a provision or information regarding accidents, you should take your chances elsewhere.
Looking for cheap options to ship a car is tough, but doable. No matter, you should always be cautious of those pitching you prices that seem too good to be true. Given this knowledge, you should contact a long distance moving company and ask about their auto shipping service or any other moving services they have available.