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Car Shipping Companies for your Auto Shipping Needs

August 5th, 2015 - 2:48 PM

Need to ship your car?

Whether you’re completing a household move or just need to move your car from point A to point B, there are plenty of car shipping options to choose from. But first, let’s walk through the basics about auto shipping, including the types of auto shippers, cost, transit time, and more.

auto shipping

Car Shipping 101

Note: U-Pack® specializes in moving household goods, and we’re not equipped to ship automobiles. Even so, we often have customers who need to ship a vehicle with their move. The information below is designed to help answer your auto shipping-related questions.

Vehicle shipping - broker and carrier?

In the car shipping world, there are two types of shippers: brokers and carriers. Carriers own their own equipment, employ their own drivers, and work directly with the customer. Brokers don’t own their equipment or employ their own drivers – they operate as the middle man, arranging vehicle transportation between the customer and the carrier.

Whether you choose to go directly through the carrier or use a broker, it’s a good idea to ensure you’re dealing with the right people. That means looking at reviews from other customers (check the BBB or transportreviews.com), reviewing the “fine print” of the terms and conditions, talking with the broker or carrier directly for shipping quotes and information, and ensuring the carrier transporting your vehicle operates with a valid Motor Carrier Number (MC Number), is bonded, and insured.

How much does auto shipping cost?

It depends on a few different factors, such as:

  • The carrier you choose. Not all carriers will cost the same price for your locations.
  • Delivery time. Some companies might offer expedited delivery for an extra cost.
  • Delivery type. The typical delivery types are door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal.
  • Fuel costs. If the current cost of fuel is high, you may have a higher shipping cost.
  • Vehicle type. It may cost more to ship a more expensive, antique, or custom vehicle.
  • Ease of access. If your locations are difficult to access, delivery may cost more.
  • Operable. If your vehicle doesn’t start, you may have to pay more for special handling.
  • Trailer type. Select an enclosed trailer over an open-air if bad weather is a concern.
  • Location. The top load spot on an open-air trailer may cost extra.

We recommend getting quotes from as many car shipping companies as you can, and comparing them side by side.

Is auto shipping insurance included in the cost?

It depends on the carrier. In most cases, insurance is included to cover any damage the carrier makes during transit. However, we recommend not only comparing the insurance provided by each carrier (verify their insurance certificate with the DOT at safersys.org), but checking with your own vehicle insurance provider to see what’s covered while your vehicle ships to your new location.

How far in advance should I book my vehicle shipping?

Typically, the earlier you can book your shipment, the better. By booking in advance, you can help ensure you get the best scheduling possible.

How long will it take to ship my car?

Most auto shippers provide an estimated transit time that depends on the distance between your locations. If you opt for guaranteed delivery (if available and usually it’s an extra cost), they’ll make sure your vehicle arrives exactly when you need it.

I need to ship my motorcycle, too.

If you also own a motorcycle, dirt bike, or ATV, you can move those items with U-Pack, along with the rest of your household goods. All you have to do is drain the fluids (flammable liquids are on the Do Not Ship list). Read more about how to move a motorcycle with U-Pack, or get a free quote to see how much it’ll cost to ship your household goods, including your motorcycle.

Tips for a successful auto shipping experience

  • Take pictures of your vehicle before you ship it – inside and out – in case there’s damage (major or minor) upon delivery.
  • Clean out your vehicle before shipping (your carrier may have more specific instructions). Remove valuables, trash, etc.
  • The BBB advises to avoid any company that asks for payment through a wire transfer. Legitimate companies will ask for a check or credit card.
  • Ask each company how they handle disputes and claims so you’ll know exactly what will happen if damage occurs. Also, ask if you can track your car as it moves to the destination.
  • Before you book, get all agreements in writing.


If you have questions about auto shipping, leave a comment below! We’re here to help. We also can help if you’re moving long distance. Get an instant quote online, or call 800-413-4799