Cheapest Way to Transport Car Cross Countryby Brian Westover
There are times when you need to get a car from one state to another. Maybe it's part of a cross-country move, or perhaps you have purchased or sold a car out of state. There are several methods for transporting a vehicle, and the unique circumstances and financial details of each make every option worth considering.
Car Transport Basics
While there are several methods for shipping or transporting a vehicle, there is no simple answer as to which is the best or cheapest. Driving a car yourself across the state line may be cheaper than hiring a professional service, while transport companies are often more affordable for coast-to-coast shipping. Money may not be the only consideration. What one saves in money may be lost in time and inconvenience. Guarantees of safe delivery can come at added expense and extra paperwork.
Do it Yourself
The most straightforward option is to transport the vehicle yourself. Driving the vehicle from point A to point B, and then returning by bus, will cost you only the gas and the bus ticket. It requires little or no paperwork, assures that you'll know when the vehicle will arrive and eliminates the need to find and coordinate with an automobile transport service. For shorter journeys of a day or two, this option is usually ideal. A variation on this is to tow the vehicle with a car trailer or on a flat-bed truck. This also will require the time to drive to the destination, but eliminates the additional mileage and wear-and-tear on the vehicle that would be added from the drive. This option works especially well when part of a cross-country move. You can rent vehicle trailers through U-Haul and other rental companies for reasonable rates.
Hire a Driver
If you don’t want to make the drive yourself, hire a trusted acquaintance to drive the car. In addition to the cost of gas and return travel, you will also need to compensate this person for his time. It's more expensive than driving yourself, but it also saves you from spending days on the road. As with driving yourself, this option is most affordable for shorter journeys.
Use Professional Transport
Hiring a professional service to transport the car may be the most convenient and secure way to ship a vehicle. It is also the cheapest route when shipping a car coast-to-coast. Some companies will transport the car on a special car trailer, while others may ship the vehicle via train. Legitimate transport companies should be both bonded and insured, and will require an inspection and a bill of lading before shipping. To find a reputable transport company, ask the people who know best, such as vehicle dealerships, car rental companies and acquaintances who have shipped vehicles. Once you have found a company with a strong reputation and reasonable prices, the agent should be able to easily walk you through any paperwork and insurance arrangements.
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