Wouldn’t it be great if you could just fold up your car and pack it in a suitcase? Stuff some socks around the edges toss it in the moving truck?
Hopefully Google is working on that one! In the meantime, you have a number of options for auto transport. Let’s take a look.
On the Road
The most common option for vehicle-shipping is to use a truck. There are plenty of independent Auto Mover companies to choose from, and if you’re already using a regular moving company, many of them also offer their own vehicle shipping options.
Generally, it takes up to a month to ship your vehicle by truck, with rates running from a few hundred dollars to ship to the next state, to upwards of $1000–2000 for a cross-country trip. You’ll be quoted based on the make/model, weight/size and condition of your vehicle, the distance of the move, and your insurance coverage.
When shipping by truck, you can choose between:
Your car is transported on the back of an open truck, just like the trucks you see on the highway transporting vehicles to car-dealerships. This option is cheap, but leaves your vehicle open to potential damage from rocks, weather and leaking fluids from vehicles above yours.
Your vehicle is fully enclosed in the back of a truck. This eliminates any possibility of damage from the elements, but is more expensive. Typically used to transport antique, classic and luxury vehicles.
Some moving companies offer to place your vehicle in the same truck as the rest of your things.
Most auto movers give you the option to pay for expedited delivery and a spot on the top row. You can also choose between terminal-to-terminal (where you drop off and pick up your vehicle at a delivery hub) and door-to-door delivery, or mix and match the two.
Finally, while it’s not technically a shipping option, you can also pay someone to drive your vehicle to your destination for you. Some auto mover and moving companies offer this as an option, or you can hire a professional through a company like ProfessionalDrivers, or find someone yourself through classified ads.
By Train: Shipping your vehicle by freight train is faster and safer, but typically more expensive than by truck. Sometimes it may require extra insurance as well.
Amtrak also provides a limited vehicle-shipping option, called Amtrak Auto Train, that runs between Washington D.C. and Orlando, FL. Note that you also have to be on the train.
By Air: The safest, fastest and most expensive option.
By Boat: A slower, slightly less reliable and usually cheaper option for moves overseas.
Once you’ve chosen a car shipping option, make sure to check out part 2 of this series here for information on how to pick a good auto mover company and how to prepare your car for shipping.
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