Average car shipping cost

When it comes to shipping your vehicle, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to over $1,000 depending on the type of vehicle you are transporting, the distance it is being transported and additional factors including enclosed shipping, paying by credit card, additional insurance and rush delivery. If you are shipping a classic car and have specific needs, expect to pay a premium. The added cost will be worth it when your vehicle arrives unscathed. Always verify payment options, insurance and pick up/delivery times and options before signing a contract with an auto transport company.

National averages to ship a car coast to coast:

Factors that affect your shipping cost

Auto shipping options
The shipping option you choose will impact your final cost.

Vehicle type
The size of your vehicle will make a difference in total shipping cost. For instance, it will cost on average $650-$850 to transport sedans between New York and Florida. The same company will charge $800-$1,100 to transport SUVs, vans and pickup trucks the same distance.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the further your vehicle needs to travel, the more it’s going to cost you. Shipping rates might fluctuate depending on the company you choose, though, so research several companies to find out how much they will charge you based on distance. Here’s a general guideline for how long it will take your vehicle to ship across the country:

Expect to pay more during peak months. Prices to ship a vehicle in the summer months can increase as much as $200-$300 per trip. If you are in the early stages of planning for vehicle transportation, ask about peak rates and find out if the carrier or broker offers discounts during the offseason. Shop around for one that does since this can add up to significant overall savings.

A reputable shipping company will include insurance in their quote. Make sure you know whether their insurance is primary or secondary to yours, and check with your personal insurance company to see if they will cover any damages that shipping might incur. Keep personal items and valuables out of your vehicle as these will not be covered under car insurance policies in the event of damage or theft. Finally, find out if the shipping company’s insurance comes with a damage deductible, and keep written copies of everything related to insurance in the event of an accident.

Delivery time
Expect to pay more if you need your vehicle a day or two after it leaves and less if you are flexible about when your vehicle will show up at its final destination. Generally, you will be given a three-day window for pick-up followed by a reasonably accurate date for delivery. If you need your vehicle picked up by a certain date, most companies will be able to store your vehicle in their facility for an additional fee. You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 more for rushed shipping than for flexible shipping.

Vehicle fleets
If you are a cab company or any other business that needs to ship a fleet of vehicles, you might be able to get a discount from your shipping company for shipping in bulk. Be sure to ask your broker or carrier about a bulk discount as it might not be openly advertised online or in their brochures.

Payment methods
Be aware that while most shipping companies should accept all forms of payment including cash, check, and credit cards, some will charge a two to three percent surcharge when you use a credit card. Be sure to find out what payment method your shipping carrier takes and if you will need to pay anything additional to pay with a credit card. Most transport companies will charge a deposit before they pick up your vehicle that will be applied to your total upon delivery. Many carriers offer a 100 percent refundable deposit, while brokers tend to deny refunds. If you are concerned about getting a refund for any reason, this might make going with a carrier a better option for you.

Shipping a classic car

Shipping a classic car takes some consideration. In addition to all of the above factors, you will need to find a carrier that understands the specific needs of your classic vehicle. The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, has a wide variety of classic cars coming in and out of its doors, which means they need to use different carriers who understand the intricate needs of different cars.

“In general we like to work with companies that understand the uniqueness of many of the vehicles in our collection, and who are attentive to our instructions for handling and securing the vehicles,” says McCabe. Some features they might request from different carriers include: climate control for vehicles that have heat-sensitive materials, finishes or adhesives; trailers with flat-floors for vehicles that are non-runners (meaning vehicles that have to be pushed instead of driven); and a moveable upper rack that can be made high enough to fit tall vehicles, including horse-drawn vehicles.

Whether you are in the business of shipping a wide variety of classic vehicles or just want to buy a classic car from another state you can drive around on weekends, it’s essential that you choose an auto carrier that has experience shipping classic cars and can make sure your vehicle arrives to its final destination safely.

How much does it cost to ship a car from the US to the UK?

Exporting your vehicle from the United States requires a lot of logistics and paperwork. Fortunately, auto shippers are well-versed in the ins and outs of exporting vehicles from the United States, so they can handle most of the leg work for you including dealing with customs and taking care of the actual transport of your vehicle.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for what you need to do before you ship your American car to a country in the European Union (EU):

  1. Get your paperwork in order: Even with an auto shipper taking care of the leg work for you, you still need to provide the right documentation to prove that you own your vehicle legally and that it can leave the country. Here are the documents you need to find:

    • Notarized title

    • If it exists, a letter from the lien holder

    • Shipper export declaration form (available online or from your auto shipper)

    • Declaration of dangerous goods form (this is also available online or from your auto shipper)

  2. Call your insurance company: Some insurance companies will provide coverage for overseas transport of your vehicle while others won’t. Call your insurance company to find out whether or not you need to purchase shipping insurance separately. While you’re on the phone, find out if your insurance coverage includes driving in a foreign country. If it doesn’t, then now is a good time to start shopping for insurance that will cover you while you’re driving abroad.

  3. Find an auto transporter: Use the handy reviews above to find the best auto transporter for your international shipping needs. You will want to take a few things into consideration such as cost, accessibility and, of course, positive reviews from consumers.

  4. Find out how customs works in the country you are travelling to: Every country has their own policy when it comes to taxing your vehicle. Some countries, like Germany, don’t charge tax if you are moving your there as a permanent resident.

  5. Clean your car: There’s more than just vanity at stake here. Taking the time to thoroughly clean your car as well as check your tire air pressure, battery and fluids is a practical way to make sure your car works when it gets to your destination.

  6. Empty your car: Make sure to take all of your personal belongings and possessions out of your vehicle before you transport it.

Cost of importing an American vehicle into Europe

You will have to pay duty on your vehicle before it can clear customs. Here’s a breakdown of what you should expect to pay in taxes when you ship your car from the U.S. to the European Union:

In addition to paying duty, you will also need to pay import tax, which will vary from 19 percent to 22 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) depending on the country.

Using an auto transport company will simplify the customs process for you, but you still need to have an accurate customs card filled out and ready upon the arrival of your vehicle. Your customs declaration will include the following:

How to avoid delay
This is where it is crucial to work with an auto transport company that you trust. Some companies or importers might decrease the value on your customs declaration in order to reduce or eliminate the amount of taxes that you pay. However, getting caught for providing fraudulent information on your customs declaration can result in delays up to and including the seizure of your vehicle. You are ultimately responsible for your customs declaration, so do this part yourself, and make sure it is accurate.

Shipping your car to the U.S.

Similar to when you export a vehicle from the United States, you will need to locate your legal documents, find a legitimate auto transporter who will take care of the transport for you and make sure your vehicle is ready to go once you land. In addition, here are some things you need to know about shipping a vehicle from Europe to the United States:

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, non-American vehicles (both used and new) transported into the United States pay duty at the following rates:

However, the following people can import their vehicles duty-free:

Gas-guzzler tax
Yes, there is such a thing as a national gas-guzzler tax, and your car might be liable for it when you import it into the U.S. if its estimated fuel economy is less than 22.5 miles per gallon. The tax factors in both urban and highway gas economy provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Note that the rating determined by the EPA might differ from the manufacturer’s fuel-economy ratings, so you may end up paying this tax even if your vehicle’s manufacturer claims a fuel economy of 22.5 miles per gallon or higher.

License plates
Contact your local DMV to find out your state’s requirements for getting a new license plate.

Need to ship your car?