How to Ship a Car to Florida

Moving to Florida’s a hassle. Especially if you have to do the driving. That’s why some people choose the easier route of shipping their car to the Sunshine State. But “easier” doesn’t mean “easy.” There’s a lot of homework you’ll need to do before turning your car over to a shipper.

Car transport to Florida isn’t as simple as just calling the first shipper in your Google results. You’ll want to consider how you want your car treated on its journey, what happens if there’s damage to your car, reviews of the companies you’re considering, and a number of other factors.

What to Consider When Shipping a Car to Florida

The first thing to think about is how you want the car shipped. There are two main options here; open or closed. Open transport is handled by special semi trailers that can load as many as 12 cars at a time. The trailer’s just a framework - it’s not enclosed. That means everything from gravel kicked up by other vehicles to bird droppings to hail could damage your vehicle in transit. But the advantage is that it’s cheaper, largely because the shipper can get more cars on an open trailer than the less risky option, closed transport.

Closed transport is just what it sounds like - your car rides to its destination in a fully enclosed trailer. That means all those environmental hazards we talked about earlier aren’t a threat to your ride. But the downside is that it’s more expensive.

You’ll also want to think about where you want to start and end the shipment. Dropping it off at the shipper’s terminal, and picking it up from a terminal at the destination, can often save you money. On the other hand, it might be worth the extra cash for the convenience of having your car picked up at your house, and dropped off right where you want it. If that’s true for you, you’ll want to spring for the “door-to-door” shipping option.

If you have the option, it’s not a bad idea to consider the timing of your shipment as well. Car transport companies have busy times, and slow times. Shipping during the slower times is likely to get you a discount.

On the subject of discounts, be sure to explore what options you have. Some shippers give military discounts. AAA members can often find shippers willing to drop the price as well. Students, senior citizens, and first responders also qualify for discounts at some shippers. Be sure to check to see if you qualify for a price reduction when you choose a shipper.

What is the Cost of Shipping a Car to Florida?

The good news is that no matter which city in Florida you ship your car to, the price won’t change much. We ran a test car, a 2021 Honda Accord through one company’s online quote system to show you the small difference in price based on destination:

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As you can see, there’s only a $41 dollar difference between the highest and lowest priced destination cities.

The bad news is that prices goes up considerably the farther away your car transport to Florida starts. If you happen to be shipping it from Alaska, your wallet might need CPR!

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What Type of Shipping is Available to Florida?

Your two basic choices are open or closed shipping. As we covered earlier, open shipping is cheapest but leaves your car vulnerable to weather and other damage. Closed-trailer shipping will cost more, but might be worth a look if you want to be sure your car arrives in tip-top shape.

If you’re transporting something truly special, like an exotic or a classic car, there are upgraded options available from some shippers. Usually these options involve smaller enclosed trailers, with more care taken in loading and unloading the car. Luxury shipping also often gets the car to its destination faster, simply because there are fewer cars on the trailer and so fewer stops to make on the way. Some companies offer expedited shipping in non-luxury tiers as well. They cost extra, though, so if time isn’t pressing that’s an easily skippable upgrade.

Should you need to ship your car to Florida from a non-USA origin, international shipping is available. The most economical method is usually what’s called “Ro-Ro,” or “roll on, roll off” shipping. The shipper will drive your car onto a purpose-built ship, where it will ride the seas with sometimes several thousand other vehicles. Vehicles are chained down so they don’t move, but they’re out in the open which sometimes causes concern, especially if you want to ship belongings along with your vehicle. And there’s a somewhat higher chance of vehicle damage as the car is driven on and off the ship. Many Ro-Ro services require your vehicle to be empty of possessions, which means if you have belongings to ship as well you’ll have to find another way to handle them.

A sometimes more expensive, but also more secure and flexible option is containerized shipping. Your car gets driven into a shipping container and tied down. You can put almost anything you want inside the car, provided it doesn’t run afoul of dangerous goods laws. Anything else you’d like to ship that doesn’t fit in your car, but does fit in the container, is fair game as well. The shipping container is generally locked and sealed, which helps prevent people from monkeying with your ride, or stealing your stuff.

Pricing for international shipping is all over the map, and depends among other things on the size of vehicle you’re shipping, and which country it’s coming to Florida from. And keep in mind that when you do get that shipping rate quote, it probably won’t include certain mandatory charges like port fees or clearing customs.

And there’s a somewhat oddball option if your shipping is happening from, and to, very specific locations, and you want to leave and arrive at the same time as your car. If you need car transport to Florida along the East Coast - specifically, from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Amtrak has a solution for you. It’s called the Auto Train, and it’s specifically for people who want to take their car with them on a trip (or a move), but don’t want to drive it themselves.

You’ll pay $146 for a motorcycle, $258 for a regular vehicle or $297 for a truck, van, or large SUV. Then you’ll choose your seating options. On the low side, there's a coach which can run less than $100. Or you could upgrade all the way to a large private room with sleeping and bathroom facilities, but that can cost more than $1,200. That higher price does, however, include dinner and breakfast during the 17-hour trip, and even wine at dinner. Plus, even the highest price option can be less expensive than shipping your car to Florida via more standard methods, but only if your travel is along the East Coast, and you intend to accompany your car on the voyage.

Recommended Companies for Shipping a Car to Florida

We like Easy Auto Ship’s instant quote feature, which lets you quickly explore options for shipping times that can help you find better rates. Customer reviews of the company are generally positive. You can read more about them in our more in depth review of the company here.

If you’re shipping from the Washington, D.C. area we can easily recommend Amtrak’s Auto Train. It’s a convenient and unique way to move your car across the country without driving it, all while sitting back and enjoying a train ride. Pricing, even if you upgrade to a top-end private room, is quite competitive with regular shipping options.

But if you really want to explore your options, we recommend checking out a shipping aggregator such as uShip. Aggregators aren’t shippers themselves, but they’ll gather quotes from many shippers and present them to you. It’s a much easier way to quickly explore a multitude of shipping options. We’ve got a lot more details on shipping aggregation in our separate uShip article.

Read more about Car Talk’s Best Car Shipping Companies in 2021.

FAQ

How much would it cost to ship a car to Florida?

Depends on how you ship it, and where you ship it from. Cheaper options sometimes run less than a thousand bucks, while more expensive ones can double that or more.

Can I send my car to Florida?

Yes! There are many companies which will handle shipping your car for you.

What is the cheapest way to ship a car?

The cheapest way is to hire someone to drive it across the country for you. But that puts miles on the car and carries greater risks, so you might think about upgrading to one of the more standard options discussed in this article.

What is the cheapest way to ship a car to another state?

The absolute cheapest way is to con your friend into doing it for free! But since most of us don’t have such gullible friends, the better option is to ship it on an open car transporter.

Can I put stuff in my car when I ship it?

Usually it’s not a good idea, if it’s even allowed. Anything you leave in your car could be lost or stolen, and most shipping companies won’t accept responsibility if that happens.

What is the best company to ship a car?

There are many options for car transport to Florida, and the best one depends on your specific needs. We recommend reviewing our Best Car Shipping Companies, and then deciding for yourself what’s the best company for you.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.