How to Get a Car Shipping Quote Before Shipping a Car

How to Get a Car Shipping Quote Before Shipping a Car


When it comes to car shipping services, whether it’s across state lines, across the country, or internationally, one of the major concerns for most of our customers has to be the price. There are hundreds of auto transport companies to choose from, which means you’re likely to find yourself requesting several auto transport quotes. 

Each car transport quote you get will be different, so you need to look closely at each one. Check the information you provide is correct because only then can you be certain you’re getting accurate car shipping quotes. 

Where is the best place to go for your car shipping quotes?

Whenever you’re shipping a car from point A to point B, the first thing you’ll want to know is how to get a car shipping quote. After all, how much it’s going to cost is a key factor. Unfortunately, individual auto transport companies tend to have their own way of dealing with vehicle shipping quotes, which some of you may find confusing. 

You have a couple of options when it comes to getting your car transport quote. First, you can connect with the car shipping companies directly. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we provide an online car shipping quote calculator, but you can also speak with our shipping advisors directly by (864) 546-5038 or Live Chat. We have a network of trusted and thoroughly vetted carriers to choose from and will do our best to find one that fits your needs. 

Another popular option is to use a car shipping marketplace. uShip is one of the most recognized marketplaces. You’re able to compare the rates from a range of different auto transport companies simultaneously. If you don’t like the rates, you’re able to take your shipment listing to uShip’s marketplace and start an auction. If you decide to do this, various car shipping carriers will send you vehicle shipping quotes to review.  

What factors affect auto transport quotes?

Several different factors have to be taken into account when calculating a car transport quote. The following common factors determine the final price.

Type of vehicle

Vehicles come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and this factor is one of the most significant. If you want to ship a large and heavy SUV or truck, it’s going to cost more than a much lighter and smaller sedan. 

Why does the size of your car affect the price? It’s because space is a premium on a car transporter’s trailer. If the carrier is shipping vehicles less than the average-sized family sedan, for example, they’ll be able to ship more on one trailer. If, on the other hand, the vehicles are longer, the carrier will be able to transport fewer cars. 

Carriers have to make exact calculations when considering how many vehicles fit on a trailer. The aim will be to make each journey as cost-effective as possible.

It’s not just the length of your car that matters either. If you want to ship an SUV, for example, it’s typically higher than the average sedan, so you can expect it to cost more to ship. 

Always give the exact details of the car you want to ship. That way, you’ll have no surprises at pick-up.    

Distance traveled

The distance a vehicle has to travel between point A and point B is one of the biggest variables in the auto transport industry. Of course, a long trip costs more than a short trip overall. However, the cost per mile is generally lower the further your car has to travel. 

Take a look at this table of rates per mile, and you’ll see what we mean.

DistanceAverage cost to ship a car per mileExample shipping distanceExample total shipping cost
1-500 miles$1400 miles$400
500+ miles$0.75900 miles$675
1,000 + miles$0.601,200 miles$720
2,000 + miles$0.502,000 miles$1,200
2,500 + miles$0.403,600 miles$1,440


The average price per mile rates shown up above are reflective of current market conditions as of January 2020. The rates are subject to change due to seasonal fluctuations, cost of gas, pick-up/delivery locations, etc.

You could save money by agreeing to meet the carrier in the closest city or near a major interstate exit. 

Type of carrier

One of the most common ways people choose to ship their cars is with an open auto transport provider. This type of carrier is more available, which makes it easier to book and more affordable. However, your car is exposed to the elements and traffic grime with this form of auto transport. Nevertheless, this is an extremely safe and secure way to ship a vehicle.

The other option is enclosed auto transport, and this is a service designed for particularly valuable, rare, customer, or exotic vehicles. The cost is around 30% to 40% higher, but this is because of the high-value insurance.

If your vehicle is worth less than $100,000, the more budget-friendly option is open car transport. 

Pick-up and delivery location

More than three-quarters of people in the US live in urban areas. If you happen to be one of them, you can expect your car transport quote to be lower than someone who lives in a more rural location. This is because it’s much easier for the carrier to organize their schedule in areas where the density of people is high.  

Time of year

If you want to transport a car during the summer months, you can expect to pay more. Similarly, car shipping during the holidays is more costly. Rates can also rise during the fall when large numbers of snowbirds are moving to warmer locations and taking their cars with them. 

Book your auto transport service offseason, if you want to save money. 

Condition of vehicle

If your car doesn’t run, there will be additional costs because the carrier will need specialized equipment to load and unload your car. 

Try to ensure your vehicle is running when booking your auto transport service. If it’s not running, make sure you inform the carrier, so there are no delays at pick-up. 

Time frame

If you’ve left your arrangements until the last minute it’s not generally a problem. Similarly, if you need your vehicle quicker than the standard timeframe, you can expect to pay more for the speedy shipping. 

If your budget is tight and you want the best possible car shipping quotes, try to make your arrangements a few weeks in advance.

Try to be as flexible as possible on your pick-up dates. You’re more likely to find an affordable car shipping company, especially if you avoid peak seasons. 

Special requirements

Exceptional circumstances can affect the cost of transporting a car. If you want to carry extra personal items in the trunk of your car, if your car has low ground clearance or any modification, or if you’d prefer top load, the average cost to ship a car per mile will be higher. 

If you want to save a few bucks, consider the following:

  • Book in advance
  • Ask about discounts
  • Choose the right type of auto transport
  • Pick the right time of the year
  • Ensure your car is running
  • Ship more than one car 

Things to bear in mind when getting your vehicle shipping quotes online

Getting a car shipping quote is not a complex process. There are, however, a few things you should always be aware of. 

Check for all-inclusive prices

Car transport rates vary, so when you’re comparing car shipping quotes, be very careful. Determine whether the price is all-inclusive because you don’t want to be caught out by “extra charges” you weren’t aware of. 

Always read the small print of the offer because not all carriers include all costs in the car shipping quotes. Check there are no additional fees or charges you might have to pay later. 

Is full insurance included in the quote?

Your standard motor insurance policy doesn’t usually cover the cost of transporting your car across country. It’s therefore essential that you check the shipping company has adequate insurance coverage. 

Ask for insurance documentation so you can check the level of cover your vehicle will have during the shipping process. If you don’t think the insurance coverage is adequate, it might be possible for you to increase the cover. However, it’ll likely cost a little more.

Check with the auto transport company that their auto transport quotes include the cost of full insurance. It’s not something you want to worry about paying extra for. 

What are the payment options?

When you request a car transport quote you’ll have a couple of options regarding the price. Here at SGT Auto Transport, for example, we offer a Discounted Cash Price and a Regular Price.

Discounted Cash Price

We take a small partial payment once your vehicle is scheduled for pick-up. You pay the outstanding balance in cash or certified funds upon delivery of your vehicle.

Regular Price

You pay in full once your vehicle is scheduled for pick-up. No further payment has to be made.  

Do you have to make an upfront payment?

Some shipping companies take no upfront payments until they confirm your auto transport booking. However, others may require a deposit in order to secure the quoted price. 

Here at SGT Auto Transport, we have $0 upfront payment at the time of booking. 

How long is the quote valid?

This is something that varies between transport providers. As far as an SGT Auto Transport quote goes, it’s valid for seven days. 

Don't worry if you don't confirm your booking at that time. You don't have to input your details again because we have them on file. It's a simple case of getting back in touch, and we'll recalculate the cost of your service.

How to get a car shipping quote from SGT Auto Transport

Getting a quote for an auto transport service is relatively easy. Most modern, forward-thinking transport companies allow you to do it online. It might be called something different, for example, we refer to it as our online calculator, but basically, it's the same as getting a quote.

Inputting the correct information is vital, as the details of your shipping requirements and the vehicle to be shipped determine the car shipping rates you can expect to pay. Here are some of the details you’ll be required to provide:

  • Step 1 - Input the pick-up and delivery location (zip code).
  • Step 2 – Choose between open and enclosed auto transit.
  • Step 3 – Enter the vehicle details and whether it’s running or not. 

SGT Auto Transport provides handy drop-down lists to choose the year of manufacture for your vehicle, the make, and the model. If you can't find your car in any of the lists, you'll need to speak with a customer representative. Similarly, if the year of manufacture was before 1941, a tailored quote is required. This step also includes letting us know whether your car is running or not. 

  • Step 4 – This is when you provide your contact details, including your email address.

Your email is required because we always email you a copy of your quote, so you have one for your records. At this stage in the quote process, you need to provide the first available pick-up date. It should be the earliest date your vehicle will be ready to ship.

  • Step 5 – This is the final step in the quote process and is when you get your quote. 

You click on the 'view your quote' button, and it automatically appears on the next page. You get to see all the details of your auto transport service, and it's now you've got to check them carefully. 

You can expect to see:

  • First shipping date
  • Distance to be traveled
  • Timeframe for delivery
  • Details of your vehicle
  • Location of both the pick-up and delivery
  • Whether your car is running or not
  • The type of service required – for example, open/enclosed 
  • Whether or not insurance is included
  • Two prices – one regular and one for cash

If you want to know how much it costs to ship a vehicle with us, get an instant quote for shipping your car today!  

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