Many retirees that live in northern states have a second home down south where they can go to escape the harsh winter weather that will inevitably roll around every year. These people are affectionately called “snowbirds.” Whether they are just going for a long vacation or they prefer to live in another state for the entire winter season, these snowbirds will still need transportation once they arrive in their warmer location. Sure, they could rent a car, but this can be expensive over a long period of time. Not to mention, many people prefer the comfort and familiarity of their own vehicle. As a seasonal traveler, many snowbirds don’t want the added stress of making a long distance drive. For this reason, many choose to have their car shipped to their destination.
What are the benefits of auto transport?
Safety: Most retirees are not enthusiastic about driving their car hundreds of miles during the winter months. It can be risky to take such a drive when highways are susceptible to snow and ice from the cold weather. Furthermore, it can be overwhelming to deal with unexpected car trouble or breakdowns. Shipping their vehicle is a much safer option.
Convenience: Driving a long distance could take several days or more depending on inclement weather, traffic delays, or other unforeseen circumstances. Snowbirds can avoid travel delays and interruptions by having their car shipped. In addition, they can avoid putting high mileage on their cars by utilizing a transport service.
No Extra Travel Spending: Driving your own vehicle may sound like a better deal, but by the time you factor in the cost of gas, hotels, and food you will soon find that the expenses begin to pile up. An auto transport service can actually save you money.
What kind of services do auto transporters provide?
Once you have decided to have your vehicle shipped, you will need to choose which transport service is right for you. Here is a short description of these various services:
Open Auto Transport: This service is most widely used by customers and is considered the industry standard. The car will be shipped on an open carrier with other vehicles. This is the cheapest way to transport your vehicle, although it will be exposed to the outdoor elements.
Enclosed Auto Transport: This method of transport provides extra protection for your vehicle, as it is shipped on an enclosed carrier where it will be shielded from the outdoor elements. However, this service will cost more than open transport. This method is recommended for classic or antique vehicles, exotic sports cars, or luxury vehicles.
Terminal-to-Terminal Shipping: The method of shipping requires you to drop your vehicle off at a nearby terminal for shipment and you will also need to pick it up from a terminal located near your final destination. This method can save you money, but might also be a hassle if there is not a terminal located close to your location.
Door-to-Door Shipping: This shipping option is the most convenient because you won’t have to worry about taking or picking up your car from a terminal . Rather, the car is picked up from your home and delivered directly to your destination. That said, this will generally be more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping.
How much will it cost to ship your car?
There is not a “one price fits all” when it comes to auto shipping. The cost of shipment depends on the following factors:
- Vehicle make and model
- Transport services
- Vehicle condition
The best way to get an idea of how much it will cost is to call a few auto transport companies to request a free quote.
Helpful tips for Snowbirds:
Book in advance: The snowbird season is typically quite busy for auto transport companies so you will want to book your shipment well in advance. It is recommended that you arrange shipping at least 2-3 weeks in advance to ensure your vehicle will be shipped in a timely manner.
Prepare your car for shipment: Prior to shipping your car you will want to clean both the interior and exterior. This is important for the inspection process, as it is easier to see scratches and dings on a clean car. You will also want to make sure there is no more than ¼ tank of gas before shipping. Finally, you want to remove all personal belongings from inside the vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.