How to Ship a Car You Bought Online

February 21, 2019

Buying a car online is simpler and easier than ever before. A survey by tech consulting firm Accenture of 10,000 individuals across the globe found 69 percent of car buyers would consider buying a vehicle online. Before you buy online, you need to decide how you will get the car to your current location. Follow our tips to find the best car shipping method and learn where you can save on the cost.

car shipping

Source: Getty

Shipping a Car You Bought Online: Tips and Tricks

  1. Research Car Shipping Carriers

    Research several car shipping companies, then visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website to check the carrier’s insurance records, verify their business licenses and review any consumer complaints. Do not be tempted to save money by hiring a trucking company to move your vehicle, as most do not specialize in vehicle transport. Your vehicle’s safety is worth the additional investment. When you’ve located a few potential companies, ask for rate quotes.

  2. Open or Enclosed Car Shipping

    Whether or not you choose open or enclosed shipping for your new car depends on several factors like the rareness and value of the vehicle. Open shipping is safer than driving the car home yourself, but if you’re not comfortable with that method and are willing to part with more cash, enclosed car shipping provides protection from the elements.

  3. Save Money by Doing Some Driving

    The majority of car shipping companies act as a broker and move contracted shipping trucks across major interstates and highways. Where the car you purchased originates from and the final destination greatly affects the cost of shipping. If you live in the suburbs or a small town, you’ll save money by having the car you bought online delivered to the nearest larger city. This may require some driving on your part and you may need to recruit a friend or family member to drop you off, but it can cut the overall cost.

  4. Seasons Affect Car Shipping Prices

    Car shipping companies are usually less busy in the winter. Reduced traffic on the roads, the trucker’s workload, and fewer customers may provide discounts. Additionally, retirees who live in the south in the winter and the north in the summer, regularly ship their cars in March/April (north) and September/October (south). This means a car buyer may be able to snag a better rate as there is a built-in incentive for the transport company to fill up an empty trailer for the trip back. Fewer people transport cars in the winter, which means a better rate for you.

  5. Remember Insurance

    Mishaps can occur while shipping your car. Be sure your vehicle is covered by insurance before you ship. Most car shipping companies offer some level of shipping insurance as well as gap insurance that can be purchased for an additional fee. If your personal insurance policy covers your car while it is being shipped, verify that it includes comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage should cover any damage that may occur during shipping. If you’re not sure, check with your auto insurance representative.

  6. Patience Can Equal Savings

    A wide window of arrival times usually accompanies the best shipping price. Keep in mind some car shippers require customers to wait as long as three weeks for their car to arrive due to the truck stopping at multiple cross-country hubs along the shipping route. Flexibility on your end can lead to savings.

Research Car Shipping Costs

The three best ways to research shipping costs include:

  1. Using a Broker: If you would rather not spend your time researching car shipping companies, contact a broker or transport dealer. Transport trucks only move when filled, so if you want to receive your car faster, a transport broker can quickly locate a car shipping company that has an open slot. Car shipping brokers act like the travel agents of the car shipping world. Just like a travel agent can shop multiple airlines for the best deal, a car shipping broker finds pricing from multiple shipping companies and looks at their availability. So if you purchase a car online, a broker can look for available trucks close to the city your new car is in.

    Transport dealers may negotiate a cheaper shipping price, but they charge a fee for their services. The result may be an increase in your overall shipping cost. Keep in mind, an important factor in the shipping price will be the car’s weight and size. A lightweight, small car will be less expensive to ship than a heavy, larger vehicle.

  2. Act as Your Own Broker: If you have the time and energy, you can save cash by being your own broker. You will need to call several car shipping companies and inquire about prices and policies. Keep in mind a customer that has no prior relationship with the company probably won’t be able to secure the best price.

  3. Find an Auto Seller That Includes Shipping: Some websites and online auto sellers include shipping as part of the sale. For example, eBay Motors includes many dealers that allow shoppers to see shipping rates and options before they buy. Although shipping charges are an added cost, the shipping is taken care of by the dealer, which saves you time and trouble.

Shipping Your Car Through eBay

If you purchase your car through eBay, several car shipping companies offer their services through the online shopping site. Sign into your eBay account and search “auto transport.” The results will list several car shipping services located across the U.S. According to the eBay Motors Security Page, criminals like to offer free shipping with the purchase of a car on eBay. They’ll likely tell you they have access to transportation resources through an employer or through a military discount. Make sure the seller is a registered eBay Motors Dealer. Remember, if you’re buying a car through eBay, you’re responsible for picking up your vehicle or hiring a car shipping company. If the seller is a registered eBay Motors Dealer, they may offer free shipping on eBay’s website.

Advantages of Shipping a Car You Bought Online

Three major ways to pick up and transport your new car to its final destination include flying to pick it up, driving with a friend, or shipping the vehicle. The average cost to ship a sedan from New York to Florida is around $650 to $800. The average cost of a plane ticket from Miami, Florida to New York City is about $187, however, that is a 20-hour road trip. You’d need to factor in gas for the drive home, lodging, food, time off work and the convenience factor. The advantages of shipping your new purchase include:

  • No taking time from work
  • No airline hassles
  • No long cross-country drives
  • Convenience – your car is shipped straight to your door

When it comes down to it, shipping a car you bought online is a matter of convenience. It makes the most sense for those who bought a car across the country or multiple states away. The price of shipping a car a long distance could very well equal out to the cost of a plane ticket, gas, food, lodging and time off work if you were to drive with a friend or family member.