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 transportation across the country, getting good, competitive quotes is critical. However, requesting car shipping quotes online isn’t always straightforward. 
Join us as we explore the right way to request car shipping quotes online. With these insights, you can discover the best-priced and most fully featured car shipper for your needs. 

Understanding Car Shipping Quotes

Understanding car shipping quotes is crucial to ensure a smooth and cost-effective experience if you plan to ship a vehicle. Here’s a breakdown of what a car shipping quote is, why it’s necessary, and the critical components involved. 

What is a Car Shipping Quote?

A car shipping quote is an estimate provided by auto transport companies outlining the cost of transporting your vehicle from one location to another. This quote is based on various factors, including the type of vehicle, the distance of transport, and the shipping method chosen. It gives customers an idea of what they can expect to pay and helps them compare different services.

Why are Auto Shipping Quotes Necessary?

Auto shipping quotes are essential for several reasons:

  • Budget Planning: They help you understand the potential costs, allowing you to budget accordingly.
  • Comparison Shopping: Quotes enable you to compare prices and services from different auto transport companies to find the best deal.
  • Transparency: A detailed quote breaks down the costs, providing transparency and helping you avoid hidden fees.
  • Informed Decision: By reviewing quotes, you can decide which company and shipping method best meet your needs.

Critical Components of Auto Transport Quotes

Vehicle Type and Size:

Your vehicle's make, model, and size significantly impact the cost. Larger vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, typically cost more to transport than smaller cars due to the space and weight they occupy on the transport truck.

Distance of Transport:

The distance between the pickup and delivery locations is a primary factor in determining the cost. Longer distances will naturally cost more due to fuel, time, and labor.

Shipping Method:

Open Transport: The most common and cost-effective method, where vehicles are transported on an open carrier exposed to the elements.
Enclosed Transport: Provides additional protection for luxury, classic, or high-value cars, costing more due to the added security and limited availability.

Vehicle Condition:

Whether your vehicle is operable or inoperable affects the price. Transporting an inoperable vehicle requires special equipment and handling, which can increase the cost.

Time of Year:

Seasonality affects pricing. Due to increased demand, shipping rates tend to be higher during peak seasons, such as summer months and snowbird migration periods.

Pick-up and Delivery Locations:

  • Door-to-Door Service: This is more convenient but may be more expensive than terminal-to-terminal service, where the vehicle is dropped off and picked up at designated locations.
  • Rural vs. Metro Locations: Due to accessibility, shipping to or from rural areas may incur higher fees than major urban routes.

Insurance Costs:

Coverage provided by the transport company is often included in the quote, but additional insurance may be recommended for high-value vehicles, impacting the overall cost.

Additional Services and Fees:

Services such as expedited shipping, guaranteed delivery dates, or special handling requests can add to the total cost.

Understanding these key components can help you navigate the car shipping process more effectively and get a fair and accurate quote tailored to your needs. 

Researching Car Shipping Companies 

Finding a reliable car shipping company is crucial to ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience when shipping your vehicle. Here are some steps to help you find reputable companies, evaluate customer reviews and ratings, and ensure proper licensing and insurance.

Finding Reputable Car Shipping Companies

Online Research:

When choosing an auto transport company, start by conducting thorough online research. Use search engines and industry-specific websites to create a list of potential car shipping companies. Look for those with professional websites and a clear explanation of their services.

Industry Associations:

Check if the company is a member of industry associations like the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Membership in such organizations often indicates a commitment to industry standards and customer service.


Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have shipped their vehicles. Personal experiences can provide valuable insights and help you narrow down your options.

Evaluating Customer Reviews and Ratings

Review Websites:

Visit review websites like Yelp, Trustpilot, and the BBB to read customer reviews and ratings. Pay attention to positive and negative feedback to get a balanced perspective on the company's performance.

Social Media:

Check the company's social media pages for customer feedback and engagement. Companies that actively respond to customer inquiries and complaints are committed to customer satisfaction.

Forums and Discussion Boards:

Participate in online forums and discussion boards related to car shipping. These platforms can provide real-life experiences and recommendations from individuals who have used car shipping services.

Ensuring Proper Licensing and Insurance

Verify Licensing:

Ensure that the car shipping company is appropriately licensed. Reputable companies should have a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number, which you can verify on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. A valid USDOT number ensures the company meets federal safety and financial responsibility requirements.

Check Insurance Coverage:

Confirm that the company provides adequate insurance coverage for your vehicle during transit. Ask for details about their insurance policy, including what is covered and any potential deductibles. It's also advisable to check if your auto insurance covers vehicle transport.

Request Documentation:

Before finalizing your decision, request copies of the company's licensing and insurance documentation. A reputable company will readily provide this information to ensure transparency and build customer trust.

By following these steps, you can confidently choose a reputable car shipping company that meets your needs and provides peace of mind throughout the vehicle transport process. These are all essential steps before you ask for car shipping quotes.  

Requesting Car Shipping Quotes 

Accurate car shipping quotes are crucial in planning your vehicle transport. Here’s how to request quotes: directly contacting car shipping companies, utilizing online quote request forms, and ensuring you provide accurate information for the most precise estimate.

Directly Contacting Car Shipping Companies

Phone Calls:

Call car shipping companies directly to speak with a representative. This method allows you to ask detailed questions about their services, pricing, and any special requirements you might have. It also provides an opportunity to gauge the company’s customer service quality.

Email Inquiries:

Send emails to car shipping companies with a detailed description of your transport needs. This method lets you keep a written record of your communications and responses, which can be helpful for comparison and follow-up purposes.

In-Person Visits:

If feasible, visit local car shipping companies to discuss your needs face-to-face. This can provide a more personal touch and may give you a better sense of the company’s professionalism and operations.

Utilizing Online Quote Request Forms

  • Company Websites: Most car shipping companies have online quote request forms on their websites. Fill out these forms with the necessary details to receive an estimate. This convenient method allows you to request quotes from multiple companies quickly.
  • Comparison Websites: Use car shipping comparison websites that aggregate quotes from various companies. These platforms can save time by allowing you to fill out a single form and receive multiple quotes. However, ensure the website is reputable and reviews the companies it lists.
  • Automated Tools: Some companies offer automated tools that provide instant quotes based on the information you enter. While convenient, remember that these quotes might be less accurate than those obtained through direct contact due to the lack of personalized details.

Providing Accurate Information for Accurate Vehicle Shipping Quotes

  • Vehicle Details: Provide complete information about your vehicle, including make, model, year, size, and condition (operable or inoperable). Larger vehicles or those that require special handling will affect the cost.
  • Pickup and Delivery Locations: Specify the exact pickup and delivery locations. Shipping costs can vary significantly depending on whether the locations are urban or rural. Accurate addresses help companies provide precise quotes.
  • Preferred Dates: Indicate your preferred shipping dates. Flexibility with your schedule can sometimes result in lower costs, as companies might offer discounts for less busy times.
  • Transport Type: Decide whether you want open or enclosed transport. Open transport is more cost-effective but exposes your vehicle to the elements, while enclosed transport provides extra protection at a higher cost.
  • Special Requirements: Mention any special requirements, such as expedited shipping, additional insurance coverage, or the transport of non-standard vehicles (e.g., classic cars). These factors can influence the quote.

By following these steps, you can obtain accurate and comprehensive auto shipping quotes, which will allow you to make an informed decision about your vehicle transport needs.

Comparing Car Shipping Quotes

When comparing car shipping quotes, start by analyzing the breakdown of costs to understand where your money is going. Look at the services included in the quote, such as door-to-door delivery, open car shipping vs. enclosed auto transport, or insurance coverage, and identify any additional fees that may apply, like expedited shipping or fuel surcharges.

Finally, identify the most competitive quote by balancing cost with the value of services provided, ensuring you get the best car shipping quote for your specific needs.

Questions to Ask When Receiving Car Shipping Quotes 

When requesting car shipping quotes, it’s essential to ask some key questions. The following questions will ensure you understand the services offered and any potential risks.

Inquire about insurance coverage to know what protection your vehicle has during transit.

Clarify delivery timelines and guarantees to set realistic expectations for your car's arrival.

Additionally, understand the cancellation policies to know your options if plans change.

These questions will help you decide and choose the best car shipping service for your needs. 

Factors Affecting Car Shipping Quotes 

When considering car shipping quotes, several factors influence the cost.

The distance of transport is a primary factor; longer distances typically result in higher costs.

Your vehicle's type, size, and weight also play a significant role, with larger and heavier vehicles costing more to ship.

Seasonal fluctuations in pricing can also impact rates, with peak times such as summer and holidays often seeing increased demand and higher prices.

Understanding these pricing factors helps in planning and budgeting for car shipping services. 

Negotiating Car Shipping Quotes 

When negotiating car shipping quotes, exploring cost-saving measures is essential. Discussing flexible delivery options, such as choosing less busy pickup and delivery times, can help reduce costs.

Additionally, when requesting auto transport quotes, seek out discounts or promotions offered by the shipping company, such as seasonal deals or first-time customer discounts. By engaging in these discussions, you can potentially lower the overall cost of your car shipping.

Finalizing the Car Shipping Quote and Booking 

To finalize your car shipping quote and booking, confirm all quote details with the shipping company. Ensure everything is clearly outlined, including costs, services, and delivery timelines. Secure a written contract to formalize the agreement and protect both parties.

Finally, make the necessary preparations for vehicle pickup, such as removing personal items and ensuring the car is in good condition for transport. This thorough approach ensures a smooth and transparent long-distance car transport experience.

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