How long to ship a car by truck?

Transportation times for car shipping can vary based on a few factors.  Actual route, HOS (hours of service), traffic, weather, pick ups and drop offs delayed by other customers, breakdowns etc.

Generally coast to coast will take 7 to 10 days.  500 miles per day is an good estimate of distance traveled. Keep in mind another day or two is spent on the loading side.

Drivers are under strict rules from the FMCSA and DOT and can only drive 11 hours per day and have a total 14 hour day ( essentially 3 hours on duty for loading unloading etc) and 60 hours total  work in a 7 day period. They must then do a restart, stopping for 34 hrs before they can reset their hours and get back on the road.  It is out of their hands if any delay arises. They can not make up the lost time.

Discuss any time restraints and availability before booking with your carrier (or broker). Good weather and no traffic can see actual transport time to be less than the original estimate given by the auto transporter.


Be ready for you driver by following these steps

How to Prepare my Car for Shipping

How to avoid overpaying for car shipping to and from Florida?

Do what you can to ship your car before the rush. Have someone on the other end to receive the car for you and park it at your place of stay or hold on to it until you arrive.  Allow for a larger window for pick up and drop off as well can help with getting a lower price.

Following  the above advice for your Florida car shipping will hopefully take the stress away from the whole experience.

 Good luck with your move.

PS      If you prefer to just make one call to a broker instead of looking for a carrier on your own we recommend reaching out to A1AutoTransport 1-866-780-2152


-This article contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission.

Car Shipping. Your most important document

The BOL (Bill of Lading) is a required document to move any type of freight by a for-hire carrier.  It is a contract between the shipper (you) and the carrier as well as a receipt of the transaction.

The driver and you will both sign the BOL on both ends of the transaction. It is an important legal document and will be very useful in case of damage. Do not take it lightly. Make sure it is filled out correctly both on pickup and delivery.

A copy  is given to the customer on pickup, as well as on delivery.

A proper Bill of Lading defines what cargo is being shipped and the terms for doing so. In addition to vehicle condition and mileage it will denote the following:

  • customer information
  • carrier information
  • shipper or broker information
  • order id
  • pickup address
  • delivery address
  • pickup and delivery dates
  • terms and conditions

It is the most important step ( along with pictures) in prepping you car for the long journey to its destination.

How does the car shipping industry work?

Almost every sales call you receive when requesting a quote to ship your car will be a broker. Now some will be carrier/brokers meaning they have the authority from DOT (Dept of Transportation) to both operate trucks (specifically auto transport trucks/trailers) and to broker loads to another carrier. Either way, you will want to verify their mc/dot number for good standing through the FMCSA . Further, this will allow you to so what kind of authority they carry. Broker, Motor Carrier or both.

The price a broker is quoting you will include their fee (deposit or broker fee) in addition to their estimate of what it will take to get a willing and able driver to take your car. They will base it on comparable prior payments for the same route, time of year etc. You will want to know up front what the broker fee is. A fair and honest company would charge their fee and work to get you the best price. Not get the best price just to pad their bottom line.

Careful with price quotes that are too low. Very likely the left over pay to the actual carrier will not be sufficient to secure a driver. That could end up costing you even more. Rideshare, taxis, car rentals, storage at the origin. Generally if you see the per mile amount lower than $0.50 problems are likely.

How do auto tranport brokers find carriers? They, along with almost every car carrier, belong to a load board. Central Dispatch. Part of their fee is the access to that. Like the MLS for real estate, only proffesionals in the car industry have an account. Unfortunately, you do not know who the actual carrier or driver will be until it has been booked on your behalf through a broker. The equipment used varies greatly as does the general ability and professionalism of each separate carrier.

If you have a damage claim with your car you will be going through two separate companies. Getting to know the driver and carrier you are trusting your vehicle with can alleviate those concerns if not outright mitigate them. Check our post regarding your most important document.

Use our handy Auto Transport Company List to connect with a car hauler in your area.



PS      If you prefer to just make one call to a broker instead of looking for a carrier on your own we recommend reaching out to A1AutoTransport 1-866-780-2152

What to expect during your car shipment delivery

Knowing what to expect during your car delivery will allow for a stress free experience.

If you’ve selected the right auto transport company  and checked out their standing with the FMCSA the delivery process should go smoothly.

You have kept in touch with the driver or their dispatch and have been kept up to date on the eta of the truck.

You prepared your car for shipment and have your pictures and copy of BOL showing the initial condition of your car.

Now the morning of delivery, delays can happen. City traffic along with deliveries before you can delay the driver. Allow for a good 3 hr window from the drivers estimated arrival time, just in case.

Scout out a large OPEN lot or large wide street where the driver can safely unload your car. The closer to your address the better obviously, but keep in mind trucks are not allowed everywhere on on every street.

If the driver is familiar with your area he might have something in mind already. Be sure to communicate this information with the driver.

Have cash or Certified Check made out to the carrier company name if payment is COD (Cash on Delivery).  It is a good idea to have proof of payment with you if it was pre-paid so as to show the driver. COD is commonplace in the industry and drivers are reluctant to release a car without payment or proof thereof.  Otherwise you will have to get in touch with his back office as he might not have been updated properly.

Have your smart phone or camera with you to take pictures of the car.

Take your time inspecting the car and filling out the BOL correctly and accurately.

 PS      If you prefer to just make one call to a broker instead of looking for a carrier on your own we recommend reaching out to A1AutoTransport 1-866-780-2152

Breaking down your car shipping quote

A car shipping quote can vary wildly.  With so many companies competing for your business you will have a few throwing out low ball quotes just to get you on the phone.

Auto transport companies, car shipping brokers and car carriers alike,  used to be hard to get a hold of and do any research about. Today, thanks to the internet, and directories like our site, it has never been easier.

With too many options, comes difficulty in choosing the right service provider. Analyzing the quote given by your auto transport professional can help you make an informed decision. Here are some things to look for:

  • Quality of service. You want an auto transport company able to move your car hundreds of miles, safely and in a timely manner. Reviews on the various review sites, the company snapshot from fmcsa can help point you to or away from a specific carrier.
  • Broker fee? If you are working with an auto transport broker instead of a direct connection with a carrier, then know up front what the broker fee is. Some will try to make a bigger percentage of the total fee by lowering their price offer to carriers. That can lead to delays or lesser quality carriers among other issues.
  • Price per mile. Once you have the total quote break it down to a per mile price. While by itself it might give a complete picture, it will help if you have different locations for pickup or delivery so you you can estimate any discount you might be able to work.
  • Know the type of trailer. Open or enclosed. There is a significant price difference between the 2. Don’t get stuck with an enclosed expensive trailer transport when an open will do.
  • Finally, be sure to ask for any discounts or special offers they may provide. Veterans, return customers, certain age groups might get you a discount.

Knowing the above can equip you to analyze the car shipping quote you received. You should be able to see if its just too low or way too high.

Good luck with your move.


PS      If you prefer to just make one call to a broker instead of looking for a carrier on your own we recommend reaching out to A1AutoTransport 1-866-780-2152


-This article contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission.

How to Prepare car for Shipment

When moving having a handy checklist of steps can be the difference between everything going smoothly or adding more stress to an already stressful time.

This is what to do so your car shipping process is as easy and stress free as possible.

 Inform the car hauler if your car has:

  • any oversize, after market parts. (tires, lift package, non removable racks etc)
  • is it lower that 4 inches from the ground (especially if you had it done aftermarket)
  • special steps needed to drive or stop the vehicle
  • soft top convertible (safer to load on top)
  • any fluid leaks ( they can ruin the vehicle below if placed on top)

Preferably you will want to get this info to your driver days ahead of time so they can be prepared and or find a carrier that is able to accomadate your needs.

 A few days before your ship date:

  • Keep your gas tank around 1/4 to 1/8 of capacity
  • Wash the car
  • empty it of any personal items
  • check battery, inflate tires and top off fluids
  • leave only paperwork required by carrier

The morning of pickup:

  • take pictures of car. Inside, Outside, odometer. If using a cellphone enable geo tagging otherwise sign and date the pics. (useful in case of damage)
  • remove toll tags and parking passes
  • disable the alarm

And don’t forget to stay in touch with your driver!

For a general estimate of transport time check out

How long to ship my car by truck?

Is my car insured during transport?

Damage caused by the carrier during transport would be covered under the carriers cargo insurance policy. Carriers typically carry up to $350,000 in cargo insurance (for a full size 8-9 car trailer, smaller trailers will carry less).

Typically, damage due to acts of god (hail, storms etc) would not be covered by this. Discuss with your carrier the type and amount of insurance they carry.

A deductible would not be imposed on you in case of any damage.

Personal items inside the car are NOT covered as is any damage caused due to those items. We do recommend not having any items in the car during transport. In addition to them not being covered in case of damage or theft, carriers most often then not, only have DOT authority to transport vehicles and not any personal items or household goods.

In case of damage be sure to not it on the bill of lading and take pictures before pickup and during the drop off inspection. That will help immensely when filing any claim.

Check How to prepare a car for shipment for more info.