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Updated: Nov 10, 2023
Written by:
Edited by:
Senior Editor

Choosing the right car shipping company is an important decision, whether you’re moving to a new city or out of state. So, who can you trust to offer great value while taking care of your vehicle? To help answer that question, we at the MarketWatch Guides team have researched nearly two dozen providers to find the best car shipping companies.

We’ll discuss each auto shipper in further detail below, along with costs and what you need to know before choosing a car shipping company.

Key Takeaways:

  • Montway Auto Transport is the leader in the car shipping industry. Our team rated them the highest overall, and we’re impressed by this company’s ability to offer several car shipping methods at an affordable price without sacrificing quality.
  • Sherpa Auto Transport offers locked-in pricing, and your vehicle is protected by the company’s $1 million commercial auto liability insurance.?
  • SGT Auto Transport may not be the cheapest car shipping option, but they do offer instant quotes and will match competitor estimates if you receive a more affordable quote.

Top 5 Car Shipping Companies

Below you can see how the top five car shipping companies stack up against each other:

Car Shipping Company Our Rating Better Business Bureau (BBB) Customer Rating 1,500-Mile Open Transport Cost* Visit Site
9.3 4.6/5.0 $980 Free Estimate
9.2 4.9/5.0 $1,300 Free Estimate
9.2 4.7/5.0 $1,299 Free Estimate
9.2 4.7/5.0 $1,319 Learn More
9.1 4.8/5.0 $750-$1,670 Free Estimate

*Based on our team’s secret shopper experiences.

Compare Car Shipping Companies

In our car shipping companies customer survey of 1,000 respondents, Montway Auto Transport was by far the most popular car shipping company. Around 24% of respondents reported using the company for their shipment. Easy Auto Ship (12%), AmeriFreight (11%), uShip (8%) and Sherpa Auto Transport (7%) followed.

Pie chart showing the six most popular auto shipping providers, according to our 2021 survey.

Most Reliable Car Shipping Companies

Reliable auto transport providers maintain a consistent track record of strong customer service. Here’s how our recommended providers scored for customer satisfaction in our survey:

  • 84% of Montway Auto Transport customers were satisfied
  • 67% of AmeriFreight customers were satisfied
  • 65% of Easy Auto Ship customers were satisfied
  • 60% of Sherpa Auto Transport customers were satisfied



What Are the Best Car Shipping Companies?

Our experts name Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, American Auto Shipping, Easy Auto Ship and uShip as the best car shipping companies based on customer satisfaction reports, reviews, costs and services.

Below, we discuss each provider in detail:


#1. Montway Auto Transport: Editor’s Choice


We rate Montway Auto Transport as the top shipping option overall. As one of the largest auto transport brokers on the market, Montway can provide some unique benefits while offering competitive prices — all without requiring an upfront payment.

Keep reading: Montway Auto Transport review

Why we picked Montway Auto Transport

Our review team was impressed by Montway’s customer service, the discounts the company offers and Montway’s reliable vetting and insurance policy. Below you will find what makes Montway stand out from its competitors.

  • Customer service: Montway has extended service hours, where representatives are available every day from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m Central Standard Time. Montway’s customer service has received some of the highest customer review ratings on websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot and Google.
  • Discounts and flexible payments: Montway offers plenty of discount options that lower the company’s below-average industry rates even further. For example, customers who are willing to pay some money up front can earn a discount for paying the remainder in cash.
  • Insurance: All carriers that work with Montway are licensed, thoroughly vetted and must carry a minimum of $100,000 in cargo insurance. In case there is a denial of the carrier’s policy, the standard carrier insurance is backed up by Montway’s $250,000 policy, which is included in your shipping price.?
Pros & Cons
Pros Competitive car shipping quotes Cash discounts Strong customer satisfaction and industry ratings Free vehicle shipping insurance with extra provider-backed protection 24/7 online chat feature Offers guaranteed pickup dates Positive customer reviews Cons No real-time tracking or mobile app Cancellation fee No shipping services for campers, recreational vehicles or personal watercraft No binding quotes

Montway has an online quote calculator that helps consumers determine their shipping costs quickly and easily. Here are a few sample quotes we received:

VehicleShipping TypeShipment MileageQuote
Honda CivicOpen549 miles$1,399
Honda CivicEnclosed1,588 miles$1,709
Honda CivicOpen2,877 miles$1,629

Although we often found Montway Auto Transport quotes to be cheaper than the industry average, it is important to keep in mind that your quoted rate can change with the provider because it doesn’t offer guaranteed rates. Another downside is that Montway charges a $249 fee to customers who cancel after their shipment is booked.?

Montway offers discounts for active-duty military personnel, veterans, students, cash payments and more. In order to receive the discount for cash payments, customers can pay some of their balance with a credit card when booking and the remaining balance later with cash.?


Montway offers a wide variety of car shipping services, including open and enclosed shipping, door-to-door transport, terminal-to-terminal shipping and shipping to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Below is a complete list of the vehicle transport services offered by Montway:

  • Instant car shipping quotes online
  • Open and enclosed transport
  • Shipment tracking
  • Multi-car transport
  • Door-to-door delivery
  • Expedited transport
  • Motorcycle shipping
  • Shipping to all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • International shipping

While Montway doesn’t transport boats and recreational vehicles, Montway can ship your car from any dealership or auction to your door. This makes it easy to buy a car online and avoid the hassle of arranging transportation.

Because drivers must agree to be tracked, Montway cannot guarantee that every shipment will include GPS tracking. However, the broker goes farther than most providers in working to ensure carrier compliance.

Unlike most car shipping companies, Montway offers expedited shipping and guaranteed pickup dates for a small additional fee. Customers who choose guaranteed shipping should be advised that Montway gives carriers a five-day window from the pickup date to deliver your vehicle.

Customer Reviews

Montway’s commitment to customer service is evident in reviews of the company, where customers give Montway a 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot and a 4.7-star rating on Google.

Additionally, Montway Auto Transport has a stellar reputation in the car shipping industry,? having moved over 140,000 vehicles in 2020 alone. The company has accreditation from the BBB, along with an A+ rating.

Montway’s innovative chat feature connects customers with a live support agent in less than a minute, to answer questions about existing orders or help you get a quote. Instead of dealing with the frustrating and impersonal back-and-forth of an automated bot, Montway customers can reach a live representative anytime.

#2. Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-in Pricing


If you’re looking for security that your rate won’t increase after booking, Sherpa Auto Transport may be the best car shipping company for you.?

Keep reading: Sherpa Auto Transport review

Why we picked Sherpa Auto Transport

Below are all of the services provided by Sherpa that made them stand out to our review team.

  • Price Lock Promise: The main thing that sets Sherpa Auto Transport apart from many other car shipping companies is its guaranteed quotes. While it is common in the industry for rates to increase as much as 25% from the initial quote, Sherpa’s Price Lock Promise backs up your quoted rate with a $300 rebate if you are charged more than your initial estimate.
  • Clean Car Guarantee: Sherpa Auto Transport also offers a Clean Car Guarantee, meaning the company will reimburse you for a car wash if your vehicle is dirty after it arrives at its destination.
  • $1 million in commercial auto liability: All auto carriers that work with Sherpa are required to carry $100,000 in cargo insurance coverage, plus $1 million in commercial auto liability. In order to make it easier for customers to file an insurance claim if needed, Sherpa also requires all of its carriers to include them as a policyholder on their insurance policies.
Pros & Cons
Pros Prices guaranteed up to $300 over estimate through the Price Lock Promise Vets all carriers through its preferred network Many positive Sherpa Auto Transport customer reviews Offers instant free quotes online Cons No motorcycle or ATV shipping Doesn’t ship to and from Alaska Must call the provider for a pricing estimate Does not offer guaranteed pickup dates

Overall, we found Sherpa to be a bit more expensive than the average cost for a car transport company. Because the company’s Price Lock Promise ensures your rate won’t increase, Sherpa’s agents consider the market to set a transport price that carriers are likely to accept.?

Here are a few example quotes we received:

VehicleShipping TypeShipment MileageQuote
Honda CivicOpen549 miles$745
Honda CivicEnclosed1,588 miles$1,490
Honda CivicOpen2,877 miles$1,850
Though the company does have an impressive pricing calculator on its website, it doesn’t give actual pricing estimates online. Because of this, customers seeking an estimate from Sherpa will need to do so by phone.


Similar to Montway, Sherpa isn’t a generalist provider that ships ATVs, recreational vehicles, boats or campers. Instead, Sherpa specializes in providing quality transportation services specifically for automobiles. The auto transport broker offers a wide range of shipping services, including:?

  • Open and enclosed transport
  • Shipment tracking
  • Multi-car transport
  • Auto shipping to the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii and Washington, D.C.
  • Door-to-door shipping
  • Three-day pickup windows

Sherpa maintains some of the strongest carrier-vetting standards in the industry. The company takes the following steps to ensure that it is working with only the highest-quality carriers:?

  • Conducts thorough background checks using publicly available records
  • Requires carriers to be properly licensed and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Leverages cutting-edge technology to analyze driver performance?
  • Places drivers who create negative experiences for customers on a “do not use” list
Customer Reviews

Started in 2017, Sherpa is a relative newcomer. Yet since it began, the company has shown a clear commitment to providing the best possible customer experience. A 4.9-star score and an A+ rating from the BBB, backed by many positive customer reviews, confirm this commitment.

Sherpa has maintained a BBB rating of 4.8 stars or higher for the previous two years. Positive customer reviews cite Sherpa’s friendly customer service agents, the Price Lock Promise, high quality carriers and free car washes.

#3. SGT Auto Transport


Founded in 2014, SGT Auto Transport is one of the most popular auto transport providers in the industry. SGT is able to consistently provide a level of customizable shipping service that is unique in the industry.

Keep reading: SGT Auto Transport review

Why we picked SGT Auto Transport

Here are the factors that make SGT Auto Transport one of our top picks for car shipping companies.

  • Instant quotes: One thing we appreciate about SGT Auto Transport is its instant quote form. Along with the fact that instant quotes aren’t offered by every provider, it’s helpful to know what you’d pay upfront instead of waiting on a call with the company to find out.
  • Price match guarantee: While SGT may not be the cheapest option out of the gate, its price matching feature allows customers to save money by shopping around. If you provide a written quote from a direct competitor that’s lower than what you find from SGT, the company will match the rate to give you the best price.
  • Free cancellation: If your vehicle isn’t picked up the day it’s scheduled, SGT offers free cancellation.
Pros & Cons
Pros 4.8 stars on BBB with A+ rating and accreditation Guaranteed pickup Full insurance coverage for every transport Free cancellation for missed pickups Instant online quote tool Motorcycle shipping Full service provider Price match guarantee Below-average prices for guaranteed shipments 24/7 customer support No upfront payments Cons No terminal-to-terminal option No real-time GPS tracking No port-to-port shipping options No shipping to Alaska Complaints of price increases after initial estimate Complaints of late arrival for pickup

According to our research, SGT Auto Transport is about average when it comes to car shipping costs. That said, the company offers some of the lowest guaranteed prices in the industry.?

Below are some example quotes we received.

VehicleShipping TypeShipment MileageQuote
Honda CivicOpen549 miles$665
Honda CivicEnclosed1,588 miles$2,040
Honda CivicOpen2,877 miles$1,699
While SGT doesn’t have the lowest prices on the market, it makes up for it with solid payment options, customizability and a price match guarantee. Along with price matching, SGT also provides full insurance coverage for every vehicle that it ships.


The company can provide door-to-door service and can ship vehicles in the continental U.S. and to or from Hawaii. With its enclosed containers, SGT also specializes in classic car shipping by protecting prized vehicles from the elements during transport.?

Services offered by SGT include:?

  • Door-to-door service
  • U.S. and international shipping
  • Expedited shipping
  • Instant quotes online
  • Guaranteed pick-up
  • Open and enclosed shipping
  • Ships cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles.

SGT Auto Transport has maintained a strong track record of providing reliable auto shipping services since the company’s inception. SGT customer service is available 24/7, which has made a good impression on customers and is reflected in positive reviews and satisfaction ratings.?

Customer Reviews

Though SGT performs well in customer reviews in general, there are some complaints of the vehicle arriving after the scheduled pickup time. Though not uncommon in the industry, this conflicts with the guaranteed pickup services that the company offers. The bottom line is that the company has a solid industry reputation, with an A+ rating on the BBB with accreditation, and a customer rating of 4.9 stars on the platform.?

#4. American Auto Shipping


American Auto Shipping has been moving cars for its customers since 1999. The company services the 48 contiguous states plus Hawaii and will ship several vehicle types, including automobiles, motorcycles, boats, aircraft and commercial construction and agricultural equipment.

Keep reading: American Auto Shipping review

Why we picked American Auto Shipping
  • No initial deposit: Unlike other companies, American Auto Shipping does not require a deposit to book a quote.
  • Free car wash: American Auto Shipping also pays up to $20 for a car wash after your vehicle arrives. Shipping on an open carrier leaves it exposed to the elements, so this is a nice touch.
  • Car shipping calculator: American Auto Shipping makes comparing quotes quick and simple by providing easy estimates and a free calculator on its website. Within minutes, you can get a free instant quote and guaranteed pricing without having to call or email the provider.?
Pros & Cons
Pros Instant online quote form Guaranteed quotes available $500 damage fee guarantee Standard, priority and expedited shipping No required upfront deposit Insurance deductible reimbursements Expedited pickup Cons No international car shipping Few customer reviews Initial estimates are relatively high Not accredited by the BBB No terminal-to-terminal service No Alaska shipping

The quotes we received from American Auto Shipping were about average for the industry. However, American Auto Shipping gives the final price upfront, while many competitors provide a low initial quote and then raise your rate by up to 25% from the initial estimate. Since American Auto Shipping offers locked-in pricing, the quote you get is the final price you’ll pay.?

Below, you can see some example quotes we received for their standard shipping service.

VehicleShipping TypeShipment MileageQuote
Honda CivicOpen549 miles$659
Honda CivicEnclosed1,588 miles$1,829
Honda CivicOpen2,877 miles$1,629

American Auto Shipping offers three pricing options with each shipment, allowing you to customize your shipment based on your budget and how quickly you need your vehicle shipped:

  • Standard shipments are picked up within one to five weekdays.
  • Priority shipments are picked up within two weekdays and cost $200 more.
  • Expedited shipments are picked up within 24 hours (on business days) and cost $500 more. This is unique because in most cases you can expect to pay twice that amount for next-day pickup.?

American Auto Shipping adds that these pickup windows apply about 90% of the time.?

The company also has some of the best guaranteed pricing in the industry, with binding quotes that won’t leave you surprised after you receive your initial estimate.?

There are two caveats to American Auto Shipping’s guaranteed quote policy. First, you have 24 hours to accept the company’s price. If you wait any longer than that, you have to start the pricing process over. Second, American Auto Shipping reserves the right to raise your price if you provide them with incorrect information, such as the wrong make or model of your vehicle.?

American Auto Ship doesn’t require customers to make an initial deposit in order to book shipments. In comparison, other companies often require you to pay a deposit upfront so that you don’t cancel your order after your initial quote is raised.?

Though pricing from American Auto Shipping is average compared to competitors, features like customizable pricing levels, binding quotes and rental car reimbursements mean customers can get competitive rates to ship almost any kind of vehicle with the provider. American Auto Shipping also has some of the best insurance rates in the industry. If you have to file an insurance claim, the company offers up to $500 of deductible reimbursements.?


American Auto Shipping offers the following services:

  • Open or enclosed car shipping containers
  • Door-to-door service
  • Hawaii car shipping
  • Motorcycle shipping
  • Heavy equipment transport
  • Shipment tracking

While American Auto Shipping will ship almost any type of vehicle at a reasonable price, one of its few downsides is the company does not ship internationally.

Customer Reviews

American Auto Shipping has been in business for over 20 years and has a history of reliable customer service. With American Auto Shipping, you’ll get a personal concierge who will help you from the time you get a quote until your vehicle is delivered.

American Auto Shipping customers appreciate the personal touch, as shown by its nearly 5-star rating on the BBB. While the reviews that exist for the provider are positive overall, it is important to point out that the provider isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau and there aren’t that many reviews of the provider online, which is notable for a business that has been in business this long.

#5. AmeriFreight: Added Protection Plan


AmeriFreight is a car shipping broker based in Atlanta that was founded in 2004. The company has some of the strictest vetting standards in the industry, and has some of the most comprehensive insurance policies.

Keep reading: AmeriFreight review

Why we picked Amerifreight

Below are high-level descriptions of the services that make AmeriFreight one of the best car shipping companies.

  • Carrier vetting standards: AmeriFreight conducts thorough background checks to ensure each driver has the correct United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) licensing and registration, which includes having the proper interstate authority for drivers who are crossing state lines.?
  • Customizable pricing: AmeriFrieght’s pricing allows customers seeking various levels of service and savings to ship their vehicles at a cost point that fits their needs — whether you want the best service possible or want to save money.
  • 48-hour inspection period: AmeriFreight allows for a 48-hour window for you to inspect your vehicle for damage after delivery, just in case a claim needs to be filed. This practice is different from most auto transport companies, which require you to sign off on your vehicle’s condition immediately upon delivery, leaving you with just a few minutes to inspect your vehicle for damage.?
Pros & Cons
Pros Low prices and wide selection of discounts Many positive AmeriFreight reviews Over 15 years of experience 48-hour window for post-delivery damage inspection Up to $2,000 in additional insurance coverage available Excellent carrier vetting Provides car transport services for recreational and specialty vehicles Guaranteed pricing available Cons No real-time tracking or mobile app Limited options available for international shipping Pricing can be confusing Guaranteed quotes are only available for most expensive pricing option

Along with its customizable pricing system, which we’ll discuss in further detail below, AmeriFreight offers some of the lowest pricing for larger vehicles of any auto shipping company we reviewed. Here are a few sample quotes we received from the company:

VehicleShipping TypeShipment MileageQuote
Honda CivicOpen549 miles$706
Honda CivicEnclosed1,588 miles$1,350
Honda CivicOpen2,877 miles$1,278

With its unique three-tier system, AmeriFreight offers a different type of pricing model than most car shipping companies. While this level of customization allows customers to choose an option that meets their needs, the only downside is that it can potentially make it confusing for customers to know which option they need.?

AmeriFreight provides a customizable experience where you can choose from the following three options:

  • First Class: This option is equivalent to expedited shipping with other carriers, and is the best choice if you need your vehicle shipped as quickly as possible. You can even get your car shipped within 24 hours. While this option is the most expensive, it can save you money versus other auto transport companies because the guaranteed pricing eliminates the post-quote price increases of up to 25% that are common in the industry.
  • Priority: This is the best option if you can’t wait several weeks for the lowest price, but also don’t need to have your vehicle shipped immediately. AmeriFreight offers some of the lowest rates by having carriers bid against each other after you provide your shipping details, which lowers the overall cost. After a set time period has passed, AmeriFreight picks the lowest price carrier.?
  • Economy: This tier is best if getting cheap car shipping is the most important thing for you, even at the expense of getting your vehicle delivered quickly. To ensure the lowest prices, the Economy option relies on allowing carriers to bid on your shipment for several weeks, starting with an extremely low rate that gradually increases until a carrier makes a bid at an affordable rate.

?AmeriFreight also provides several discounts, including for active-duty military members, medical personnel, first responders, veterans, students and seniors.


You can get the following auto shipping services with AmeriFreight:

  • Open and enclosed shipping
  • Expedited shipping
  • Auto transport to all 50 states
  • Ships to limited international destinations (mostly Canada)
  • Ships automobiles, motorcycles, boats, RVs and ATVs
  • Terminal shipping upon request
  • International car shipping
  • Multi-car transport
  • Insurance coverage
  • Shipment tracking

To ensure that they are only working with high quality carriers, AmeriFreight works with drivers who have at least a 95% rating on central dispatch, and actively maintains a “do not use list” to weed out low-quality drivers.?

When it comes to insurance, AmeriFreight makes sure all its carriers meet the proper minimum liability requirements. AmeriFreight requires most of its drivers to maintain $1 million to $2 million in coverage, which is significantly more than the $750,000 worth of coverage that is required by the federal government.

There are times when a carrier’s insurance may not cover a certain type of damage, or the carrier’s insurance deductible could cost thousands of dollars. To address this issue, AmeriFreight offers Allied Fidelity Total Assurance (AFta) insurance plans, which provide extra coverage in the event of a necessary insurance claim during shipments.?

These optional insurance policies, which cost between $50 and $100, are a unique form of gap (or guaranteed asset protection) insurance. They include coverage for up to $2,000 for deductibles and other expenses not covered by the standard insurance policy. This ensures that you’ll be spared from additional out-of-pocket costs in the majority of instances where you’d need to fill a claim.

The coverage can even be applied to rental vehicle costs if there is a significant delay in your vehicle delivery. You can select from three plan levels, which provide different types of coverage. Here’s a summary of the plan options:

Insurance OptionCostWhat It Covers
Comprehensive$100$2,000 for major damage,
$800 for minor damage,
$300 for lost or stolen keys and
coverage for cancellation
Standard$80$2,000 for major damage,
$800 for minor damage and
$300 for lost or stolen keys
Basic$50$600 for minor damage

Customer Reviews

AmeriFreight has a solid reputation and has provided customers with a safe auto transport experience for over 17 years. The company has many positive reviews from customers, as demonstrated by its A+ rating with accreditation from the BBB and a 4.7-star rating on Google.



Car Shipping Companies Buyer’s Guide

Shipping a car is not overly complicated, but it can be cumbersome for first-time shippers and even people who have previously hired an auto transport company. To help consumers make better-informed decisions regarding car carriers, our review team created the following guide. Read on to learn how to ship a car, avoid costly mistakes, find the perfect car transporter, and how to find the best price without sacrificing quality.?

What To Look For In A Car Shipping Company

It can be difficult to differentiate between most vehicle transportation companies because almost all offer similar shipping routes and transport options. However, several factors indicate a company is reputable and trustworthy, including the quality of customer service, industry reputation, pricing transparency, years of experience and adequate supplemental insurance coverage.

Below are detailed explanations of the most important characteristics to look for when shopping for an auto transport company:

Years of ExperienceTrusted car shipping companies will usually survive the test of time. A company can leverage years of experience to negotiate lower shipping rates and pass the savings on to you.
Industry ReputationJust because a car shipping company has been in business for several years does not always mean it is reputable. Reputable brokers are trusted by customers and carriers. Take the time to read about customers’ experiences on review sites to get a feel for how the company operates.
Customer Service Ratings and ReviewsCompanies with consistently high ratings and customer reviews on trusted sites like Trustpilot and Google are generally good companies to work with. On the other hand, low ratings and negative reviews are often signs of poor customer service or non-transparent pricing.
Guaranteed QuotesCar shipping quotes are estimates based on shipping companies' previous experiences with the market volatility of the industry. It is not unusual for shipping quotes to be lower than the final price by as much as 25% due to supply and demand and the fluctuation of gas prices. Some of the best car shipping companies will guarantee all or a portion of your quote. This is especially useful if you are on a strict budget and can’t afford to pay any hidden fees.
Transparent PricingThe best and most reputable car transport companies are upfront and honest about their rates and possible additional charges. Knowing you can trust the quote you received and that there won’t be any surprise charges when you pick up your vehicle allows you to budget your move more accurately.
Above Average Auto Transport InsuranceReputable carriers are not commonly involved in accidents, but the chances of an accident happening is never zero. Look for an auto transporter with robust insurance coverage and an easy claims filing process. Additionally, some companies offer add-on insurance coverage you can purchase if you want more coverage than the company’s standard insurance offers.

What To Know When Working With a Car Shipping Company

Before you ship your vehicle, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the common shipping industry jargon and understand how the quote, shipping, and pickup and drop-off processes work to ensure a smooth experience.

Quotes Can Change

Quotes are estimates and do not guarantee your final price unless you use a company that offers locked-in pricing. This is because when you get a quote from an auto shipping broker, that broker doesn’t have a carrier lined up for the shipment right away. Instead, the broker gives you an estimate and then attempts to secure a carrier for that price.

The estimates you receive may increase due to carrier availability, fuel prices and market demands. To prevent receiving any unexpected price increases, provide your carrier with as much information about your car and shipment details as possible during the quote process.

Quotes Should Be Free, but You’ll Pay a Deposit

You can get a free quote from any reputable auto shipping company. You shouldn’t have to pay until the broker has secured a carrier, which could be a few days after you get a quote. At that point, you’ll either pay a deposit and elect to pay the rest in cash upon delivery or pay for the whole shipment up front.

Shipping Dates Aren’t Set in Stone

Shipping dates can fluctuate — even among the best auto transport companies. Unless you get expedited transport or the company agrees to a guaranteed pickup date, your pickup window can be up to five days or more. The pickup window provided to you is the earliest and latest pickup date. However, carriers may experience delays on the road, so it’s a good idea to be flexible beyond the pickup window, too. The same goes for delivery times. Staying flexible with your shipping dates is also a good way to save some money on car shipping.?

Know What Is Covered by Your Insurance Policy

Your car insurance company may cover some but not all damage caused during transit, so it is crucial to understand what insurance car shipping companies carry and what, if any, liability your car insurance company covers.

Know What Is Covered by the Carrier’s Insurance Policy

It is essential to precisely understand what is covered before you choose a carrier in case your shipment is delayed by weather or damaged by road debris, theft or a traffic accident.

As for your belongings, most car movers prohibit the transport of personal items in vehicles. So if you do choose to leave any personal belongings in your vehicle, the shipping company’s insurance will likely not cover any instances of damages or theft.?

You can purchase supplemental coverage from most shipping companies. However, before purchasing extra insurance, you should review your insurance policy to know if the extra coverage is needed.

The Bill of Lading Is Important

You and the truck driver will inspect your vehicle and sign a bill of lading at pickup and delivery. At pickup, make sure this document accurately describes the condition of your vehicle. We recommend taking photos of your vehicle at this time to have visual evidence of its condition in case of an incident while it is being transported.

Car Shipping Customer Satisfaction

Our team of experts surveyed 1,000 people who had used a car shipping company during a move. Most of the survey’s participants used one of the car shipping companies in this article.

According to our survey results, most car shipping customers reported being satisfied with their service. Among respondents, 69% said that they were at least “somewhat satisfied” with their shipping experience. Only 21% reported that they were either “somewhat” or “very unsatisfied.”

2021 Shipping Survey: Customer Satisfaction

At around 56%, a small majority of respondents said that they would recommend their provider to a friend or family member looking to ship a car. Only 16% said that they wouldn’t recommend their provider, while 15% said that they would use a car shipping service again, but would use a different company.

According to our survey, most customers experienced some issues during the car shipping process. The most common issues from the survey included:?

  • Vehicle damage upon delivery
  • Carrier’s insurance not covering damage
  • Price increases after booking
  • Shipment dates extending a week or more beyond the delivery date

No matter which car shipping company you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind.?

The complaints mentioned above are easy to avoid by choosing a reputable shipping company, understanding shipping methods, and knowing the precise steps customers need to take to ship a vehicle. Knowing these ahead of time can give you realistic expectations for the shipping process.

Car Shipping Company Cost

According to our research, the average cost to ship a car is around $1,650. Because car shipping costs depend on transport options and many other factors outside your control, costs can vary widely from shipment to shipment. Prices can range from over $1 per mile for short shipments to 50 cents per mile or less for longer cross-country shipments. Below are the lowest, highest and average costs per mile our review team received during our extensive industry review.

Lowest Price$0.43 per mile
Average Price$1.09 per mile
Highest Price$5.45 per mile

Getting the Best Price With a Car Shipping Company

Shipping a car can be expensive, but our team found several ways to save money during our research. Many companies offer discounts, and if you do your research, you can find cheap car shipping services from a reputable company.?

How To Get Cheap Car Shipping

Even if you choose a cheap car shipping company, it is still possible to pay more than you should unless you know all the ways you can save money. Below are several ways to lower your total shipping cost:

Shop AroundYou can save hundreds of dollars by shopping around, since some auto transport companies offer specific services in certain locations at rates that are cheaper than their competition. You should always disclose to the shipping agent that you are getting quotes from multiple shippers to find the most affordable rate; by doing so, the agent may disclose that the company offers price matching, discounts, or a price match guarantee to retain your booking.
Be Flexible With Your Shipping DatesBeing flexible allows the carrier to transport your vehicle with other cars going to the same destination into one shipment. Some shipping companies even offer discounts if you are willing to allow the company more flexibility as to when your vehicle is picked up and dropped off.
Book in AdvanceYou don't have to plan months in advance. Plan at least two weeks ahead, and you will allow enough time for carriers to bid on the shipment you booked.
Choose Open Carrier ShippingThe easiest way to lower shipping costs is to transport your car on an open carrier, which could save you up to 25%.
Opt For Terminal-To-Terminal ServicesHave your vehicle picked up and dropped off at a shipping terminal. Door-to-door shipping is a premium service that significantly raises the cost of shipping a vehicle.
Meet Your Carrier at a Convenient LocationShipping companies charge more if they have to deliver vehicles to remote areas or along less popular shipping routes. You can save money by meeting your carrier at a nearby interstate or city along a common shipping route.
Ship Your Car During the Off-SeasonPeak season in the car shipping industry generally lasts during the summer months and in January, when people often move or snowbirds are traveling south. If you can ship your car during the autumn or spring, you can save money because there are more available carriers with open spots on their trailers that will bid on your shipment and drive the price down.

Car Shipping Cost Factors

Aside from the company you choose, several factors affect the cost of shipping a vehicle, including:

  • Distance: How far you ship your car directly affects the cost, but you’ll also pay a lower per-mile rate with long-distance shipping.
  • Transport type: Open car shipping service is usually several hundred dollars cheaper than enclosed shipping. Door-to-door shipping affords you more convenience, but it increases the total cost of shipping a vehicle.
  • Vehicle size and additional features: Small cars are less expensive to transport compared to larger vehicles like SUVs or trucks. Also, cars with additional features like luggage carriers and roof racks are more expensive to ship than stock automobiles.
  • Vehicle operability: Carriers charge between $100 to $150 to winch an inoperable vehicle onto a trailer. Not all carriers have winching capabilities, which limits your options.?
  • Seasonality: Shipping prices vary based on supply and demand, so you’ll pay more for vehicle shipping when many families move in the summer. Demand is also high when snowbirds travel south in the winter and return home in the spring, which increases the prices of common shipping routes.
  • Pickup and drop-off dates: If you are flexible with your pickup and drop-off dates, you can save money, since the shipping company has more time to schedule your shipment on a trailer with other cars traveling to the same location.
  • Pickup and delivery locations: In addition to the distance between pickup and delivery locations impacting rates, the population density of a location, popularity and difficulty of delivering are also important. Shippers often charge more to ship vehicles to rural areas — since more companies compete for your business in large cities, you can lower costs by meeting the carrier in a nearby urban area or town.

Icons showing seven factors that affect car shipping costs.

How to Ship a Car

Shipping a car can take a lot of work for first-timers. To help ensure you have a positive shipping experience and avoid unnecessary hassles, our Guides team has provided the steps you should take to have a positive experience when transporting a vehicle.

  1. Set a Budget

Determine your budget before getting quotes to eliminate companies outside your preferred price range. By determining how much you are willing to spend, you can mix and match different services to better meet your needs, since prices for similar car shipping services can vary drastically depending on your chosen company.

  1. Do Your Research

We recommend researching companies on trusted sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot and Google. Look into companies that can support your transport needs, the size of your vehicle, and the distance of your move. For example, if you work during the day, you should know before you start getting quotes which companies offer extended or 24/7 customer service.?

  1. Decide on a Shipping Method

Determine what transportation method you need and which additional car shipping services are important to you.

  1. Get Quotes

Start getting quotes from the companies you researched at least two weeks before you need to move your vehicle. We recommend getting between three to five quotes to compare prices and determine which suits your budget. Most carriers provide free online quotes, but to get the most accurate quotes, the car shipping company needs the specific details of your shipment, including your vehicle make and model, pickup, and drop-off locations, shipping dates and whether you prefer open or enclosed trailer options.

  1. Choose a Company

Settle on the company that offers the best services for you and that matches all of your car shipping criteria.

  1. Book the Quote

A quote is not a contractual obligation between you and the car shipping company. You must confirm your booking to initiate the shipping process. Car shipping companies will require you to provide proof of ownership or ask for proof of insurance to ensure the company is not transporting a stolen vehicle. Having these documents handy when you book your quote is important.

Once you have booked your transport services, ensure that the shipping company confirms all the details, verifying your chosen transport method, shipping dates, pickup and drop-off locations and insurance coverage, including additional coverage if you purchased it.?

  1. Prepare Your Car For Shipping

Before the carrier picks up your vehicle, there are several steps you need to take to prepare your car for its journey. First, make sure your vehicle is clean and take photos of your car’s current condition. This documentation will be useful if you file a claim with the auto transport company’s insurance.

If your shipping company allows you to ship personal cargo in your vehicle, do not exceed the maximum weight limit allowed, or you will have to pay an additional fee. Also, the carrier has the right to search personal belongings shipped in a vehicle to ensure the driver’s safety and prevent the transfer of illicit drugs.

  1. Give Your Car to the Shipping Company

You must meet the carrier at the agreed-upon location on the pick-up date, whether at a terminal, your house or a nearby interstate. You and the auto transporter will inspect your car and document any existing damage. Once the inspection is complete, you will sign a bill of lading, a document that acts as a receipt and details the services provided to you. Along with the photos you took while preparing your car for shipment, the bill of lading is handy if you need to file an insurance claim because it documents the condition of your vehicle before it was shipped.

  1. Track Your Vehicle

Some companies offer real-time GPS tracking, while others require you to call the car shipping broker to inquire about the location of your vehicle. Many customers find this step gives them peace of mind, since it reveals whether the carrier is on schedule and their vehicle is on its way to the correct drop-off location.

  1. Receive and Inspect Your Car

When your vehicle is ready to be picked up, meet the carrier at the drop-off location and inspect your vehicle for any damage. If your vehicle has new dings, dents or scratches, you should take pictures and record the damages with the carrier. Ensure the damages are recorded on the bill of lading because the carrier’s insurance will deny your claim if the damage is not detailed there.

  1. Review the Company

At the end of your car shipping process, you should leave a review of the company’s services on the car shipping broker’s website and trusted review sites. That way, other customers can decide which companies to use and which to avoid.



Ways You Can Ship a Car

There are several ways to ship a car, including truck, train, ship and airplane. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, which is why our team has reviewed the pros and cons of each to create a car shipping method guide for those needing auto transport services.

Shipping a Car by Truck

Due to its affordability, simplicity, and availability, the most common ground shipping method for cars utilizes tractor-trailers or trucks with modified beds specifically made to transport vehicles.?

Open Vs. Enclosed Car Shipping

When you ship your car with a truck, carriers offer open or enclosed shipping.?

Open Transport Car Shipping

Open car transport is the most common and cheapest way to ship a vehicle. With this service, the carrier loads your car onto a two-level trailer with up to 10 other vehicles on a modified truck bed or trailer.?

Generally, open car shipping provides the most flexible scheduling options of all the car shipping methods. However, cars on an open trailer are exposed to the elements and other hazards, such as upper cars dripping fluids onto lower cars during the trip. That said, open carrier shipping is a safe and cost-effective way to transport your vehicle.

Below are the pros and cons of open carrier shipping:

Pros Least expensive car shipping method Most flexible scheduling options Vehicles are regularly inspected by drivers
Cons Cars are exposed to the elements and road debris Offers less security

Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed shipping moves your vehicle on a trailer with sides and a roof that protects your car from the elements, road debris and other hazards. You may want to book an enclosed carrier if you have a luxury or classic car because it is less probable that your vehicle will arrive with dents, dings, scratches or a broken windshield. However, shipping a vehicle on an enclosed trailer takes longer because the carrier can only fit two to three cars at a time, and fewer companies offer this service.

There are also situations in which enclosed transport might be the only choice. For example, the ramps on an auto transport trailer can damage vehicles with fewer than five inches of clearance. If you have a lifted truck or a very large vehicle, you may also need to select enclosed auto transport, as it might not fit on an open trailer.

Below are the pros and cons of choosing enclosed auto transport for your car shipping needs:

Pros Safest shipping option Higher insurance policy limits Best for high-value vehicles
Cons Most expensive shipping option Transport can take longer Less flexibility in scheduling Quotes can be underestimated

Door-To-Door vs. Terminal-To-Terminal Car Shipping

Depending on your car moving company, you may also be able to choose between door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal shipping.

Door-To-Door Vehicle Shipping

Door-to-door service is standard in the auto transport industry and allows you and the carrier to meet at an agreed-upon address to pick up and drop off your vehicle. However, door-to-door service doesn’t always start or end on your exact doorstep. Imagine a 45-foot truck driving up to your house. Meeting at a nearby parking lot or along a wide road is best if the carrier has trouble navigating the area.

Below are the pros and cons of door-to-door service:

Pros Most convenient transport service Offered by most car shipping companies
Cons Most expensive transport method Not available in all areas
Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Shipping

Terminal-to-terminal shipping is exactly what it sounds like. You will drop off and pick up your vehicle at a shipping terminal. Terminal-to-terminal shipping is an excellent option for people who live in rural areas or not along common shipping routes. Even if you cannot personally take your car to the terminal or pick it up, you can designate someone to do it for you.?

Below are the pros and cons of terminal-to-terminal shipping:

Pros Very flexible shipping dates Less expensive than door-to-door shipping Best for people with busy schedules
Cons Storage fees can quickly accumulate Damage may occur during storage Terminals may not be close to where you live

Shipping a Car by Train

Utilizing a train to ship a car is only advantageous for people moving up or down the East Coast. Amtrak’s Auto Train is the only rail freight company providing non-commercial car shipping, and it only offers one route between the Washington, D.C. area and Sanford, Florida. Along with the cost of shipping your vehicle, you must purchase a passenger ticket for this vehicle transport service. While that means you can skip I-95 traffic jams, keep in mind that the journey takes an average of 17 hours.

Below are the pros and cons of using a train to ship your vehicle:

Pros Affordable rates You can pack your car with personal items Relaxing journey
Cons Only available on the East Coast Limited pickup and drop off locations Vehicles are in transit for a longer duration of time

Shipping a Car by Boat

When you use a boat to transport your car, you can choose from roll on/roll off (RORO) service and enclosed containers.?

RORO is similar to open car shipping in that your vehicle is driven onto the cargo deck of a ship and is exposed to the elements during transport.?

Enclosed cargo ship containers protect your vehicle from the elements, and you can choose an individual container — which costs more — or a shared container that offers better value. Shipping a car by boat is the most common service used to transport cars internationally due to its affordability compared to using an airplane.

Below are the pros and cons of using a cargo ship to transport your car overseas:

Pros Lowest international shipping rates Containerized shipping is the most preferred overseas shipping method Roll on/roll off service is the cheapest way to ship a car internationally Offers door-to-door delivery where applicable
Cons Total payment is usually paid upfront Delays can be caused by border patrol agencies Slowest method of international car shipping Unless you purchase an exclusive container, vehicles are exposed to the elements during transit

Shipping a Car by Airplane

Vehicles are not usually shipped in an airplane due to the substantial costs associated with this method, which often exceed the value of most cars. This service is excellent for transporting exotic vehicles quickly and safely.

Below are the pros and cons of sending a car with an airplane:

Pros Fastest car shipping method Very accurate shipping dates Best for exotic cars
Cons Most expensive car shipping service Due to size and weight limitations, not all cars can be shipped by an airplane Delays due to weather and unforeseen circumstance are possible

Why Shipping Your Car Is Better Than Buying New or Driving It

Shipping a car might seem like a big hassle and major expense. When moving, whether across the country or from one state to another, shipping your vehicle instead of driving prevents adding additional mileage to your vehicle. It could even save you money, since you won’t have to pay for expenses along the way, like hotels, gas, and food.

You may be wondering whether it makes more sense to purchase a new car instead of shipping your current vehicle. But there are a few reasons it can be worth it to use an auto transport service:

  • Cost: The majority of car shipments with standard shipping options cost less than $2,000. When you add up the purchase price of a new vehicle as well as what you’ll spend on taxes and fees that aren’t part of a car’s value, it can be worth the money to transport your current car.
  • Time: With the right planning and foresight, your car shipping experience can be efficient — especially compared to how long you might spend researching new vehicles and visiting car dealerships.
  • Convenience: Shipping a car takes some effort and coordination. However, the best car shipping companies offer a smooth and hassle-free shipping process, from instant quotes to coordinating pickup and delivery dates. This can be less stressful than purchasing a new vehicle and all the finance, tax and title paperwork that comes with it.



Best Auto Transport Companies: The Bottom Line

We rated Montway Auto Transport as the best overall car shipping company, but each of the other providers in this article is worthy of your attention. Sherpa Auto Transport, AmeriFreight, Easy Auto Ship, SGT Auto Transport and American Auto Shipping all earned high scores in our study and offer both reliable service and competitive pricing.

You can and should get free quotes from several providers to compare before making a decision. The car shipper that offers the best rates for your neighbor may not be the one with the cheapest rates for you.



Car Shipping Companies: FAQ

Below are some common frequently asked questions about car shipping companies:?



Our Methodology

Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car shipping companies. We collected data on dozens of auto transport providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the companies that scored the most points topping the list.

Here are the factors our ratings take into account:

  • Cost: Auto shipping companies with affordable rates, locked-in pricing and discount opportunities scored highest in this category.
  • Services: Companies that offer a variety of choices for car transport, strong insurance coverage and added benefits are more likely to meet consumer needs.
  • Customer experience: This score is based on customer satisfaction ratings and availability of extras like GPS tracking. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each transporter’s customer service team based on our own shopper analysis.
  • Reputation: Our research team considered availability, ratings from industry experts and years in business when giving this score.

Our credentials:

  • 150+ hours researched
  • 20 companies reviewed
  • 2,000+ consumers surveyed

*Data accurate at time of publication.

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