Cross Country Auto Transport In 2023

The cross-country shipping process may seem very complicated when you only start to dig into the topic. But once you know how the shipping process works it will seem very easy.

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cross country car shipping guide

This article gathered all the details you need to know before shipping your vehicle across the country and choosing the company. You can check the whole article or navigate using this plan:

What Is Cross Country Car Shipping?
How Does Car Shipping Across Country Work?
How Long Does It Take To Move A Car Cross Country?
How To Transport Cars Across The Country?
How Much Does Cross Country Vehicle Shipping Cost?
How To Get A Car Shipped Across The Country For Cheap?
Why Choose Car Shipping Instead Of Driving Yourself?
Best Cross Country Auto Transport Companies
cross country auto transportation full guide

What Is Cross Country Car Shipping?

Cross-country car shipping is a service provided by different transportation companies which can be divided into 2 main groups: brokers and carriers. They work on shipping all types of vehicles from small regular sedans to boats and heavy equipment within the US territory including Alaska, the Hawaiian islands, and overseas territories (Guam, Puerto Rico). 

Broker companies are a kind of bridge between carrier companies and customers since most carriers are small family-owned businesses and they don’t have enough personnel and time to work with customers directly. 

Brokers work with customers on scheduling the dates, and addresses, negotiating the details, and then look for the carrier who is going the requested route and is ready to transport the vehicle. Most of carrier companies only specialize in moving regular vehicles, such as sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. 

Therefore if you are planning to move some kind of oversized cargo like a bus, a boat, a limousine, or heavy equipment the process of looking for a carrier company may take extra time since such companies plan their route far ahead.

So How Does Car Shipping Across Country Work?

Cross-country car shipping is very easy if you know what to do, have an exact plan of your moving process, and work with one of the best car shipping companies. And here in Compare the Carrier, we can help you with all three points. First, let’s take a look at the things you have to do to get your car shipped.

Request a quote at Compare the Carrier
Check the quotes you receive and choose the one that suits your needs and budget
Contact the shipping company and place an order by providing addresses and detailed information on the vehicle.
Check and sign the paperwork the company sends you to confirm the order.
Receive driver’s information via email and text message
Negotiate the pick-up time with the driver when he calls you a day before the pick-up
Release the car and sign the Bill of Lading
Pay the partial deposit (some companies may require it at the time of booking)
Negotiate the delivery time with the driver when he calls you a day before the drop-off
Receive the vehicle and pay the remaining balance to the driver
Thoroughly examine your car and sign the Bill of Lading
Leave a review for the car shipping company and the driver
step by step car shipping across country

How Long Does It Take To Move A Car Cross Country?

Now that you know how car shipping works, you probably wonder how long it takes to transport the car and how long you will have to rent a vehicle or ask your friends to help you out. That is totally understandable since everyone wants to get the vehicle as soon as possible. And if you are moving to a new place, or start a new job there, having a vehicle is almost vital. 

Time in transit usually depends on the distance and the type of trailer you choose. For example, enclosed trailers sometimes go 500-550 miles per day as they carry fewer vehicles at a time and do not have to worry about small pebbles or weather conditions damaging the vehicle. Open carriers usually go 400 miles per day. Sometimes carrier companies may offer expedited delivery since they have a team of drivers that exchange each other every few hours. 

You can check the average shipping time in the chart below:

average cross country auto transport transit time

How To Transport Cars Across The Country?

This question is rather ambiguous, so we decided to divide it into a few more specific questions covering different points of the car shipping process.

Choosing The Shipping Service Type (door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal shipping)

The car shipping service type can be divided into two main types. Door-to-door shipping and terminal-to-terminal transportation.

You may think that terminal-to-terminal car shipping is cheaper, but in most cases, it’s actually vice versa since the company has to pay for the terminal, for the security of vehicles, and so on. That is why most carrier companies provide door-to-door delivery and do not charge extra for it. 

Moreover, it is much easier for you to receive the vehicle at your home address or at the nearest large parking lot (in case your street is a cul de sac or dead-end) than to rent a car or take a taxi to the storage center. 

So before you decide to proceed with any transportation company and place an order, make sure to check what kind of service they provide.

Choosing The Shipping Trailer Type

The shipping process is also affected by the trailer type you choose. First of all, trailers can be enclosed and open.

Enclosed Trailers

enclosed cross country car shipping

Enclosed trailers are mostly used to move brand-new, antique, or exotic vehicles and motorcycles as they protect the vehicles from weather conditions, small road pebbles, and road dust. You can get more info about the shipping of classic and exotic cars here.

Enclosed trailers can also be softside and hardside, with the last one offering more protection.

If you are sure that your car requires shipping only in an enclosed trailer you can check our article best-enclosed car shipping services.

Open Trailers

cross country car shipping in open trailer - car hauler

Open trailers are more commonly used for transportation services since they are cheaper than enclosed ones. There are 3 main types of open trailers:

Lowboy Trailers

Lowboy trailers are a type of specialized trailer that is commonly used in auto transport for carrying heavy and oversized vehicles, such as construction equipment, large trucks, and other types of machinery. These trailers are designed with a lower deck height than other types of trailers, allowing for easier loading and unloading of vehicles with high clearance. The low deck also provides better stability during transport, reducing the risk of damage to the vehicles being shipped.

In addition to their lower deck height, lowboy trailers typically have a removable gooseneck or detachable front section, which allows for the front of the trailer to be lowered to the ground for easier loading of vehicles. This feature is especially useful for vehicles that cannot be driven onto the trailer, such as those that are inoperable or have low clearance.

Lowboy trailers come in a variety of sizes and weight capacities and can be used for both short and long-distance transport. They are often used in conjunction with other types of trailers, such as flatbed or enclosed trailers, to transport a range of vehicles and equipment.

Flatbed Trailers

These ones are used for transporting inoperable vehicles, or vehicles with dimensions that don’t allow them to be Flatbed trailers are used in auto transport to carry inoperable or oversized vehicles, as well as vehicles with dimensions that do not allow them to fit on a car hauler. These trailers have a weight limit of 48,000 lbs and a height limit of 9 ft, including the trailer.

They offer versatility and easy loading and unloading but expose the vehicles to the elements. To use flatbed trailers for auto transport, it is important to work with a reputable and experienced auto transport company that can handle the specific requirements and ensure the safety of the vehicles.

Usual Car Haulers

Car haulers are used for shipping cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans. This type of trailer can carry up to 11 vehicles (sometimes even up to 16) at the same time. They are often used by dealerships, as it is the most popular way to ship commonly used vehicles.

Comparing The Quotes And Choosing The Company

Our company collaborates only with top US transportation companies after thoroughly checking them by several factors.

First of all, we check the reviews of the company from both its employees and customers to make sure the company is as good as it claims.

Besides that, we also check the insurance and license of the shipping company: The FMCSA website gives us a unique chance to see whether the company has active insurance and how much exactly the coverage is. You can also check it by yourself by entering the company’s MC or USDOT number.

After that, we also check the experience of the company and when it was founded.  Experience is a very important part of any car shipping process and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website also gives us a chance to see if there were any accidents in the past few years.

Cross Country Car Shipping Preparation

Almost all used vehicles have some slight scratches. Therefore before your vehicle gets picked up, you need to wash your vehicle and take a couple of detailed photos of your vehicle from different angles. To have strong proof in case there will be new damages.

We also recommend you to leave only a quarter tank of gas as it affects the weight of the vehicle and the driver can be fined for being overweight. You also need to remove parking passes, toll tags, and plates, since they can be charged or stolen and drivers, unfortunately, can’t keep track of these.

If you are planning to move your personal items, make sure they are properly packed as they may damage the vehicle’s interior. Besides that, if the vehicle is transported on an open trailer, make sure to properly close the windows as water can get inside, making a mess in the passenger compartment. And carriers do not claim responsibility for any of such cases.

Also before you release the vehicle to the driver, make sure to check if there is any fluid leakage and try your best to fix it on time as it may cause issues while the car is in transit. If you own an electric car, make sure the battery is fully charged.

Once in the hands of a professional driver, your vehicle will be carefully transported to its destination.

cross country auto transport preparetion

How Much Does Cross-Country Vehicle Shipping Cost

The cost for shipping a vehicle varies from company to company and, unfortunately, it cannot be fixed until you sign the agreement. 

But the transportation price depends on several factors that we will consider below.

Factors That Affect Cross-Country Auto Transport Price

When we choose some kind of service that our life doesn’t depend on (literally), we are tempted to choose the service with the cheapest price. The same happens with transportation.

Nevertheless, choosing a shipping company with the lowest rate may cause additional problems and the lowest rate may suddenly turn into a higher one sometime after booking or even after the vehicle is picked up.

To help you understand whether the price is realistic or is too low to catch your attention, let’s take a look at the factors that the price depends on.

General cross-country car moving factors affecting the price:

Size of the vehicle
Pickup and delivery locations
Type of trailer
Season and dates flexibility
General Cross Country Car Moving Factors Affecting The Price Cross Country Auto Transport In 2023 8

Detailed Info On Every Shipping Factor


That is quite obvious as everyone understands that the longer the route is, the higher the price will be. The price for shipping the vehicle for 100 miles cannot be the same as for shipping the same vehicle for 600 miles.

Size of the vehicle

A regular midsize sedan is up to 190 inches long and up to 3600 lbs of curb weight. Each car hauler has a specific number of regular spots that are created for the most commonly used vehicles – sedans. That means that transportation of a car with such parameters is always cheaper than shipping, for example, a van or a pickup truck. 

Large vehicles take more space on the trailer and instead of shipping 2 regular sedans, the driver will ship only one van or pickup truck and will have free space on the trailer. If the driver charges the same amount for a pick-up as for a sedan, he will lose money. That is why shipping large vehicles costs more than a midsize sedan.

The same thing happens when shipping some highly modified vehicles since modifications will affect the price and even the type of trailer required for shipping.

Pickup and delivery locations

No matter where you live, whether in a large metropolitan area or a small town far from the main highways, the companies we work with can provide you with door-to-door delivery service. The only difference is the price. If you live in a more or less popular location, that driver is going through daily, pick up from your exact address is not an issue and will not cost extra.

But if you are living in some remote area, the driver has to change his route and go the extra mile to pick up the vehicle. That will cost extra money depending on the exact route. You can also try to negotiate it with the driver and meet him near the highway or big city nearby and it will help you reduce the shipping cost.

Type of trailer

There are two types of car haulers: open and enclosed. Shipping a vehicle in an enclosed trailer usually costs 50% more than in an open trailer. That is why they are mostly used for transportation of brand new, antique, exotic, or show cars and motorcycles when it’s critically important to prevent even the smallest damage on the vehicle.

For transportation of other vehicles such as boats, heavy equipment, RV, or travel trailers used flatbeds and lowboy. Shipping vehicles in these trailers types costs more than in open car haulers but the price, in general, depends on vehicle size and weight.

Season and dates flexibility

We highly recommend you plan the shipping as far in advance as possible since sometimes it may affect the price a lot. For example, if you need to move the car during the snowbird season or winter holidays, we also advise you to be flexible with shipping dates as the price may vary from day to day.

Therefore, if you have a flexible shipping time frame, the transportation company will have enough time to find the best option for you and you will not have to overpay.

Average Cross Country Shipping Cost For Different Vehicles Types

Now let’s take a look at the average shipping cost for different types of vehicles.

Average vehicle ship price calculation table

Average cross country auto transport rates calculation

For more detailed info about shipping other vehicle types across the country, you can check our auto transport blog.

If you are planning to ship your vehicle overseas, a bunch of the companies we work with can also offer you such an option. Simply submit the request on our website and choose one of the quotes you receive. Below you can also check average rates for overseas transportation.

overseas vehicle shipping cost calculation

*For modified and oversized vehicles as well as for heavy equipment, the price is calculated based on the size and weight of an exact vehicle.

How To Get A Car Shipped Across Country For A Cheap Price

Most of the shipping companies Compare The Carrier collaborate with offer a bunch of discounts to help you ship the vehicle(s) within your budget.

The most common discounts are the following:

– military discount for active military and veterans that served our country;

– regular customer discount for people shipping the vehicle with the company for the second (or more) time;

– business discount for dealers, body shops, and any other businesses;

– multi-load discount for shipping two or more vehicles at the same time and on the same route.

Why Choose Car Shipping Instead Of Driving Yourself When Moving Cross Country?

Whether you choose to drive the car or have it shipped, each option has pros and cons. If you decide to drive the car, you can take along your family and pets if any, hire a U-haul trailer and transport your plants and all personal items inside it. If you are not short of time, you can stop wherever you like, enjoy the scenery and turn your move into a small family trip.

On the other hand, if you decide to drive the vehicle, you will have to spend more money on hotels, food, gas and think about how to keep your kids occupied, and sometimes it may be the hardest part of the move. So if you choose to have your car transported on the trailer, while you simply fly to your destination and have your items sent via post, you will experience a bunch of benefits from such a decision:

–  first of all, you will avoid vehicle wear and tear, which means it will last longer and you won’t have to change the tires that soon;

– you will save money on gas, tolls, parking, food, hotels;

– you will also save your worthless time by being able to unpack the things and get ready for your new start right after you land in a new place;

– if your vehicle is brand new, luxury or antique you won’t have to worry about weather conditions while on the road since you can ship it in an enclosed trailer;

– if you have two or more vehicles, you can ship them on one trailer and save some money with a multi-load discount;

– in case your car gets damaged, the insurance of the carrier will cover it within a week or two and you won’t have to take care of it.

If you are still unsure about it, you may request a quote on Compare The Carrier and check the prices to see what will be more advantageous for you.

Best Cross Country Auto Transport Companies

Whether you are planning to have your vehicle shipped in an open trailer or an enclosed one, whether you are planning to move a motorcycle, a sedan, or a large van, we have a company ready to provide you with a high-quality transportation service. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best carrier and broker companies.

(This top is based on our articles “best car shipping services” and “top enclosed auto transport companies”)

best cross country car shipping companies

Top 6 Best Cross Country Carrier Companies

AutoBox Express LLC

AutoBox Express LLC is one of the most famous fleet owners of both softside and hardside enclosed trailers not only in Illinois, where it is located but also all over the US. The company covers all 48 states and its drivers work throughout the whole year ready to provide you with white-glove service. The company hires rather experienced drivers and almost all of them have more than 20 years of trucking experience.

The carrier company owns more than 20 enclosed trailers with remote control lift gates that allow transporting vehicles even with extremely low clearance (for example, race cars). Hundreds of customers trust this company, including several dealerships, celebrities, and racers.

Horseless Carriage Carriers, Inc.

Horseless Carriage Carriers, Inc. has provided customers with a comprehensive enclosed-trailer transportation service since the mid-70-s. Since then, they have many customers that get back to them when their vehicle(s) needs to be moved again.

This carrier company was a family business with only one enclosed truck, but they kept working and by providing the perfect service, they turned into a large carrier company with 35 trucks working with dealers and usual customers.  The company specializes in the long-term storage of valuable cars and shipping them within the southwest, west, and northeast coast.

King of the Road

King of the Road is also considered one of the best shipping companies in its area: shipping motorcycles of all kinds. Besides that, the company can also transport some other vehicles with non-standard wheelbase, for example, ATVs, UTVs, lawnmowers, and golf carts.

Even though this company owns less than 10 enclosed trailers, it covers all 48 states. The company has some dispatchers working in pairs with the drivers. The dispatch department schedules the route, calls the customers to negotiate the pick-up and drop-off date and time and helps the drivers to resolve the issues if any.

King of the Road has the highest possible insurance coverage as for the motorcycle shipping company (up to $250 000 per vehicle on the trailer).

Veterans Auto and Bike Transport LLC

Veterans Auto and Bike Transport LLC is an independent owner-operator company, which means that the owner of the company plans the route and transports all vehicles by himself. He has provided vehicle owners with the perfect white-glove enclosed-trailer transportation service since the year 2015.

This carrier operates within the East Coast and Midwest region and owns a 38 ft enclosed hardside trailer.

The insurance coverage is up to $200 000 per car on the trailer.

Fast Freight Trucking Inc.

Fast Freight Trucking Inc operates as an open carrier company and is located in Washington State. The company owns 7 large open car haulers and can transport almost any kind of vehicle, including sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, buses, and modified vehicles.

Unlike some other companies covering all 48 states and changing their routes almost all the time, this company specializes in shipping vehicles only from the northwest to the east coast. As well as other family-owned companies, it values its reputation. The company’s staff pays special attention to customers’ needs and calls in advance to negotiate the details.  Moreover, the company offers several discounts.

West Coast Auto Shipping Service Inc

West Coast Auto Shipping Service, Inc. is a licensed and bonded car carrier company offering high-end transportation services. The company has a number of open car haulers covering the routes within Washington State, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. On rare occasions, during the snowbird season, the company also goes to Florida and Georgia.

The company insurance coverage is up to $250 000 per car on the trailer or $1 000 000 per trailer, which is rather high as for an open transporter.

Ready To Get Your Quotes From Best Car Carriers Companies?

Top 7 Best-Rated Companies To Move A Car Across Country

MoveWheels Auto Transport

MoveWheels Auto Transport is one of the top ten auto transport companies on the most popular transport review websites like Trustpilot and Transport Review. Located in Jacksonville, FL, the company helps customers from all over the US to ship their cars not only within 48 mainland states but also to overseas territories and even internationally.

The company was founded more than 12 years ago and since then it has shipped more than 240 000 vehicles and has created a database of carriers that they work with on a daily basis. The company’s staff specializes in shipping all kinds of vehicles including regular and modified vehicles, heavy equipment, and boats.

Besides that, MoveWheels Auto Transport is one of a few companies that does not require any prepayment until the driver picks up the vehicle.

Nationwide Auto Transportation

Founded the same year as the previous company, Nationwide Auto Transportation is a good competitor as it also provides a white-glove service, shipping vehicles within all 50 states and offering both open and enclosed shipping.

The goal of the company is to meet customer’s expectations, but also to exceed them every time. And, we can say for sure, the personnel of the company has been rather successful at it so far. Nationwide Auto Transportation is committed to providing the best auto transportation service coupled with an excellent customer experience. The company’s customer support service is super friendly and customer-oriented and the drivers are very well-trained and very experienced in handling different types of vehicles.

Moverjet Logistics

In comparison to the previous companies, Moverjet Logistics is a relatively young company. But despite that, it also has 5 stars on transport review websites.

Based in Wilmington, DE, the company offers transport services within all 50 states, though it is mostly known for shipping vehicles within the mainland.

Moverjet Logistics provides the customers only with top-notch service and their every need is anticipated throughout the whole shipping process, ensuring each customer gets the best auto transportation experience. And besides offering transparent cost formation and payment, the company also offers multiple load discounts to make transportation more efficient for customers.

Mercury Auto Transport

Founded in 2007 in Davie, FL, Mercury Auto transport has always put customers first providing them with perfect service and transparent pricing and payment process. The partial deposit is charged after the order is assigned to the exact driver and the remaining balance is paid at the drop off with cash or certified funds.   

The customer support representatives keep the customers updated throughout the whole shipping process and are available any day of the week from 7 am to 7 pm eastern time.

Working with both open and enclosed carriers, the company has shipped almost 200 000 vehicles since 2007.

True Carrier LLC

True Carrier is also a perfect example of a company that cares about each customer. Even though it is the youngest transportation company on the list, thousands lately chose it to ship their vehicles. It’s also one of the companies that do not require any prepayment at the time of booking.

Based in Tampa, FL TrueCarrier is doing its best to suit every customer’s needs and budget by offering military and multi-load discounts.  Besides that, the company also specializes in corporate relocations and dealership moves. The company offers door-to-door delivery at the lowest rate possible, working with carriers with high-quality equipment only.


Being in the shipping industry for only 8 years, GetCarrier is disproving all stereotypes you may have read or heard about car shipping brokers. If you had a bad experience shipping your vehicle in the past and you said you would never ship your car again, but it happened that you need the shipping service again, you just need to see how car shipping works with GetCarrier.

The company values each customer and does its best to create long-term partnerships whether you are a dealer or a customer shipping a vehicle once in a lifetime.

Shipping agents and customer support care make the shipping process safe and transparent by working out a mutually beneficial agreement that helps the company to stay in a good relationship with each side of the business they deal with. GetCarrier company always does its best to deliver a good experience for both drivers and customers.

Montway Auto Transport

Montway is probably one of the most popular car shipping companies in the US. It was established in 2006 and started as a company with 2 employees from their home office. Since then the company has grown a lot and has shipped more than 700 000 vehicles.

The company’s mission has always been to deliver a 5-star vehicle-shipping experience by blending innovative logistics solutions with the team’s commitment to service perfection.

The company’s staff always advise their customers of everything they need to know and explain the whole process patiently. Besides that, they try to meet the needs and desires of the customers and help them with anything they need, whenever they need it since customer support service is available 24/7.

Ready To Get Your Best Cross Country Car Shipping Quotes?

Maybe you were looking for the best cross-country car transport company for your motorcycle? No worries we have a top motorbike auto transport company for you! Just follow this link to read it.


Can I ship personal items inside the car?

Usually, it depends on the transportation company you choose as some of them may not allow that. Also sometimes it may be free of charge or may cost an extra $100 and you will be asked to put the items in the trunk and/or the backseat below window level as no items are allowed in the front seat.

Is it possible to transport inoperable cars across the country?

Compare the Carrier can provide you with quotes from companies that do ship non-running vehicles. You just need to mention that when asking for a quote. Please note, that you also need to provide the shipping company with the details on the vehicle (why it is considered inoperable) as it will affect the type of the trailer and the cost of shipping.

Can I track my vehicle during shipping?

Some companies do offer a tracking option, but only for enclosed trailers. The tracking option affects the price of transportation, and not everyone is ready to pay extra. However, shipping companies provide their customers with the name and phone number of the driver and the dispatcher so you can check with them at any time. You can also contact the customer support of the shipping company and they will be happy to assist you.

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National Dispatch
National Dispatch
1 year ago

Thanks for sharing this amazing information with us

Americas cars Shipping
Americas cars Shipping
6 months ago

Shipping a vehicle in an enclosed trailer usually costs 50% more than in an open trailer. I like it


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