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How to Find an Auto Shipper on a Budget

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Cars are expensive. Moving a car is also expensive. Your moving budget only has so much wiggle room and paying for shipping an automobile can be the thing that pushes you over the edge. There are cheap options for shipping your vehicle. Here's how to find them.

Do you really need to ship your car?

The first thing to do when trying to save money on shipping your vehicle is to consider if shipping is really necessary. The best way to save money on this expensive part of moving is to avoid it completely. There are a few ways to do this.

Can you even ship your car? 
If you are moving internationally, it is important to realize that some countries will not accept certain cars into their borders. Partial restrictions could also lead to you having to pay duties at customs when you pick up your car. Some common auto restrictions include:
  • Left/right steering wheel alignment
  • Age of cars: Some countries will not accept any car over five years old
  • Size/weight restrictions
  • Emissions restrictions
Consult the consulate of whatever country you plan on shipping to, and find out what car restrictions are in place. If your vehicle can't be shipped in the country, then you are going to have to abandon the idea of shipping it overseas. At this point you either keep it waiting in a garage for you to get back at some future date, or you sell it to make some money and help with your budget.

Drive your car yourself. If you are moving more locally and are looking to save money, you may consider simply driving the vehicle to its new destination. The obvious drawbacks of this option are that the car will experience some wear and tear, you will be occupied with driving for some time during your move, and it will cost gas money. If you aren't worried about your car getting some extra mileage on it and burning through some gas, this is a relatively cheap alternative to shipping your vehicle.

Finding cheap shipping options

Drive-away service
The cheapest option offered by most moving companies for shipping your vehicle is not really shipping your vehicle at all. Drive-away service simply involves hiring someone from the moving company to drive your car to its destination for you. This costs more than you driving the car yourself, but it frees you up to do whatever else you need to do during the move.

The disadvantages include the same concerns with gas money and mileage that driving the car yourself would have, but you also need to trust the driver to be in your car and not get in an accident. Review what your auto insurance plan says about other drivers in your car before agreeing to this. The moving company may offer additional insurance you may want to purchase if your budget has room for it.

Open air trailers
This shipping option is the standard way to ship your vehicle. It is a legitimate form of shipping, so it is more expensive than the driving options, but it is the least expensive and most common way to ship your vehicle. Most movers and auto shipping companies will offer some form of open air shipping, so don't be shy when comparing auto shippers' prices and choosing the best deal.

There are some drawbacks for this shipping option, however. Despite the fact that no wear and tear will be put on your vehicle, it still will be exposed to the elements and any possible accidents involving the truck. Inquire about the shipping company's insurance since shipping is not usually covered by your regular car insurance.

This option may also take additional time. Truck trailers can sometimes hold 10 different cars at once, so if your car is not early in the shipping schedule, it may take days to reach its destination.

Enclosed trailers
This option is more rare and expensive but offers better protection for your car. It is the same idea, a truck carrying your vehicle to its destination, except now the car is in an enclosed, climate-controlled container.

If you're on a budget, it is hard to justify spending the money on an enclosed container. The added protection from weather doesn't make a lot of sense for a car if you regularly drive it outside, anyway. The relative rareness of the service also means that you'll be able to get fewer quotes from different companies when comparing prices. 

Air shipping
If you are on a budget, there's no reason to choose this most expensive method for shipping your automobile. Air shipping gets cars places quickly and safely, but it costs a lot more money. The rarity of air shipping services also means that it will be hard to compare prices.

If you're on a budget when shipping your vehicle, you're going to have to make some safety and time concessions in order to make your car shipment more affordable.

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on August 4, 2014 - Moving Expert
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