When you need to move a vehicle from one place to another, the process can be a confusing mix of high prices, long shipping times, and nonexistent insurance coverage. Several companies hope to remedy this issue with transparent pricing and easy coverage disclosures. Ship a Car Direct is one of them, and despite the fact that its website is less than perfect, the company offers several shipping options that accommodate budgets and vehicles of all types.
The cost of shipping a car with any company depends heavily on the type of the vehicle, how far it’s being shipped, and on any special accommodations that need to be made. The table below shows several sample quotes obtained from Ship A Car Direct. The company offers a range of prices with each quote request to illustrate the difference in cost for various shipping speeds and other options. We used a 2015 Subaru Outback as our test car for this scenario. Make sure to contact the company for a specific quote for your needs.
The most important thing to remember is that Ship a Car Direct, like all other vehicle shipping companies, doesn’t actually ship any cars. The company maintains a network of independent drivers that are allowed to bid on your shipping job, which means that you don’t always know who’s going to be transporting your vehicle before the bid is accepted. That said, Ship a Car Direct’s network has been vetted and checked to ensure that you’re working with reputable people.
To start the process with Ship a Car Direct, you’ll need to either obtain a quote online or by phone. The company offers an easy online tool to estimate the costs of shipping your vehicle between two locations, so there’s very little friction to get the ball rolling. Once you’ve obtained a quote, you will be contacted by a company representative to finalize details, including the type of shipping service you choose (open vs. closed trailer, etc.).
For more on this topic, see our detailed guide on how to ship a car.
Ship A Car Direct makes it easy to get a range of quotes for nearly any vehicle. The company’s website offers a quote calculator directly on the homepage, along with the ability to obtain quotes for multiple vehicles at one time.
Once you’ve arrived at Ship A Car Direct’s website, enter your vehicle’s information in the first window. On the next page, enter your vehicle’s current location and your desired destination. You will be presented with a list of prices, ranging from the lowest priced services to the fastest, most expensive shipping options. The company notes that the quotes it provides online are only estimates, so you’ll have to contact Ship A Car Direct to get an exact price for the shipment.
All shipping companies’ pricing varies, depending on the distance that a vehicle is being transported. If you’re shipping from one coast to the other, expect to pay more than if you were shipping from one city to another in one state.
Rates can vary seasonally as well, as people tend to move and ship vehicles when the weather is nicer in summer and spring. Weather delays and possible inclement conditions can affect shipping dates and the cost.
Ship a Car Direct is similar to many other shipping companies, in that open trailer shipping is the cheapest option for nearly any vehicle. Closed trailer transport or other upgraded shipping methods cost more. If you’re not in a hurry to get your car to its destination, you’ll save money. Expedited shipping costs more, as does short-notice shipping. Having flexible shipping dates is helpful in keeping your cost down as well.
Ship a Car Direct notes on its website that part of the price you pay is to cover insurance. The company says that it verifies the carrier’s insurance is capable of covering your vehicle. There is no additional charge to you, as the coverage is included in the shipping costs you pay.
If there is damage that occurs during shipping, Ship a Car Direct notes that the most important thing you can do is to note the damage on the bill of lading report when you receive the vehicle.
Damage is rare, but it’s vital that you note damage immediately to avoid any questions on when it occurred or on who is ultimately responsible.
Consumer Affairs collects reviews on Ship a Car Direct, both positive and negative. Quite a few of the negative reviews reference a change in pricing between the quote and actual shipping date, but even more positive reviews speak of quick shipping with expected services performed perfectly.
“My experience with Ship a car direct was excellent. Booking was easy and from the beginning they were transparent about the process. From there on communication was great. I always understood where I was in the process. My carrier was also great. Very accommodating and also excellent communication. The car arrived a day earlier than expected and I received a call the day before and the morning of the delivery. The car arrived without a scratch. I will definitely use this company again if I need to ship a car in the future.”
“I chose Ship A Car Direct after interviewing 3 brokers. After talking with Christina and reading other people's reviews, I was satisfied that choosing Ship A Car Direct was the way to go. I had flexible dates and after picking the pick-up date I had to reschedule and it was done without a problem. Christina chose a company, notified me of the company name and I received a phone call from the driver the same day. I agreed two having my car picked up two days earlier than scheduled. Their driver arrived at the time promised, conducted his inspection, loaded the car and off he went. The car was going to Maryland and was going to be received by my daughter. The driver kept my daughter up to date and the vehicle was delivered 2 days early and no damage occurred. From beginning to end this process was effortless on my part. If I ever have to ship another car, Ship A Car Direct would be my choice.”
“We needed to ship a car from Tacoma, WA to Austin, TX. This was our first time shipping a car (the car was for our nephew who is a college student) and we were concerned what condition the car would be in after travelling on a trailer-truck for 2200+ miles. After checking reviews we picked Ship-a-Car. Their price was lower than some other companies but their reviews were good. Everything about the experience was excellent. The car was picked up by Puget Sound Carriers and delivered on time and the car arrived in excellent condition.. No scratches or dings. All the Ship-a-Car and Puget Sound Carrier people were outstanding. We would definitely recommend and use them again.”
“The service is extremely poor. I booked the shipping 10 days before the pickup date but they waited until 2 days before the pickup date to provide me with the carrier info and the price is 10% higher than the original quote. The experience is very bad and I ended up having to choose another company.”
“Horrible experience with these guys. Lack of communication on their part cost me money. Avoid if you can, very unprofessional and they overcharge comparing to the competition. You let these guys transport your car, you will find yourself constantly calling them to get information. They will tell you one thing on the phone and when all is finally done you get something else and a bunch of excuses from their side.”
“The representative we dealt with was rude and obnoxious. We, consequently, took our business elsewhere to which we still received an unprofessional text message. It was disappointing and uncalled for and certainly not deserved. Additionally, he was unable to find a carrier (after 3 business days) and when we switched the alternative found a carrier for us in two hours with no nastiness.”
To read more on our top picks and recommendations for Car Shipping, take a look at our Best Car Shipping Companies in 2021.
The cheapest way to move a vehicle with a shipping company is open transport. This is very similar to the car carrier trailers you see on the highway. Simply loading a vehicle onto a trailer is much less expensive than an enclosed transport option.
It can be cheaper to drive your vehicle rather than ship it, but you’ll have to account for the time it takes to do that. If you have to take time off of work, pay for fuel, and spend money on a hotel, you should add those costs and determine if you’ll save any money by moving the car yourself.
It’s not illegal to ship your car with personal belongings inside, but it’s a bad idea. Your shipping company may allow you to move other gear inside your car, but they will most likely not cover any damages incurred during shipping if something gets lost or damaged.
Your car isn’t required to be insured for shipping, but most shipping companies carry insurance to cover damages incurred during shipping. Regardless, it’s still a good idea to maintain insurance on your vehicle.
It might be cheaper up front, but is that person going to pay for scratches or damages that happen along the way? If the answer is “no,” you’re better off hiring a pro to ship your car.
The best way to get a good price is to compare offers. We recommend reaching out to...