When you want to move your vehicle, you likely want your car to arrive safely, on time, and at a reasonable price. While that seems challenging for some of the biggest names in the vehicle transport world, it’s a point of focus for Ship a Car Direct–at least according to online reviews.
Our team wanted to see how Ship a Car Direct stacked up to some of the best car shipping companies in the country. We took an in-depth look at the providers rates, services, and reviews to get the full picture. Here’s what we found.
Ship A Car Direct Overview
Ship a Car Direct has been in the auto transport business since 2008. The Los Angeles based company started under the name Honesty First Auto Transport, but changed to Ship a Car Direct in 2011. These days, the company offers door-to-door shipping services for customers in every state (and Washington, D.C.) except Alaska.
As a car shipping broker and not a direct provider, Ship a Car Direct works with both customers and individual carriers to find solutions that work for both. The company goes a step further than some brokers, offering to cover your car insurance deductible if your vehicle is damaged during shipment.
|Ship a Car Direct Pros||Ship a Car Direct Cons|
|Thorough carrier vetting||Clunky website|
|Additional insurance packaged with service||Quote calculator gives estimated range|
|Affordable rates||Quoted rates not guaranteed|
Ship A Car Direct Shipping Cost
The Ship a Car Direct website features a quote calculator tool to help you get an idea of how much you’ll pay for car shipping. However, this quote calculator only provides a range of shipping costs rather than exact figures. Still, this is useful if you’re not ready to hand over your phone number to get an official quote.
We used the tool to generate a few quote ranges for shipping a 2018 Subaru Impreza in working condition. Based on what we saw in our research, Ship a Car Direct offers affordable rates, even at the higher end of these ranges.
Here are some sample rates we got for both short- and long-distance shipments using the quote calculator.
Raleigh, North Carolina to Los Angeles
$1,100 – $1,300
($0.43 – $0.51/mi.)
Raleigh, North Carolina to Los Angeles
$1,675 – $1,875
($0.66 – $0.73/mi.)
Jacksonville, Florida to Atlanta
$350 – $550
($1.01 – $1.59/mi.)
Jacksonville, Florida to Atlanta
$650 – $850
($1.88 – $2.46)
Average Cost Of Car Shipping
Our internal data suggests that the average cost of cross-country car shipments ranges from $1,389 to $2,775. The rates we saw from Ship a Car Direct compare favorably. The high end of estimates from the company were still less than the low end of average rates in the industry.
Here are some average car shipping rates for other types of moves from uShip, a broker that works with over 40,000 active movers:
- Average cost per mile, under 200 miles: $2.92
- Average cost per mile, over 1,000 miles: $0.78
- Average car shipping cost overall: $500 – $1,000
Car Shipping Cost Factors
There is more to the cost of shipping a car than distance. While auto transporters do charge by the mile, there are several factors that go into that per-mile cost. Knowing which variables can drive your prices up and down can help you find cheap car shipping.
Here are a few of the main factors that affect car shipping costs:
- Vehicle type: Larger cars like SUVs and more expensive vehicles usually cost more to ship. Even more, classic cars and other specialty vehicles.
- Vehicle condition: If your vehicle is inoperable, you’ll need to pay more to move it.
- Shipping options: Choosing to ship your car in an open container instead of an enclosed container saves money, but you’ll also leave your car exposed to damages.
- Shipping time frame: You’ll get the cheapest rates if you can wait and are flexible about shipping dates. Rushed shipping is considerably more expensive.
- Time of year: Rates are at their highest in the summer when the vehicle shipping industry sees peak demand.
- Cost of fuel: Fuel prices are one of the biggest costs for car carriers, so you will see car shipping costs go up and down alongside fuel costs.
Ship A Car Direct Car Shipping Services
You won’t find quite as many options for transport services at Ship a Car Direct as you would with some other providers. For example, the company is adamantly opposed to terminal-to-terminal shipping. You also can’t ship a car to Alaska.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have choices. Here are your options with Ship a Car Direct:
- Door-to-door shipping: Your auto carrier will pick up and deliver your vehicle as close to your home as is safe for the multi-car carrier.
- Open transport: Using an open carrier to ship your car saves money, but you also risk damage from road debris and inclement weather.
- Enclosed transport: You can choose to ship your car in an enclosed trailer for a higher price.
- Hawaii shipping: Not every auto transport company offers car shipping to Hawaii, but Ship a Car Direct does.
Ship A Car Direct Carrier Vetting
A large portion of complaints about car shipping companies surround individual carriers themselves. To combat that, Ship a Car Direct employs a strict carrier vetting policy. This ensures all drivers in the broker’s network are fully qualified and insured to transport your vehicle. In turn, this reduces the chance of unprofessional drivers.
Another confidence-inspiring policy Ship a Car Direct features is its Damage-Free Guarantee. If your car is damaged during a shipment, you can use your insurance coverage to cover the cost of repairs. But that coverage often comes with a deductible.
As part of the Damage-Free Guarantee, Ship a Car Direct will pay up to $500 toward your deductible if you need to get your car repaired following a shipment. This is rare for car shippers and a major selling point for Ship a Car Direct.
Ship A Car Direct App
Another Ship a Car Direct feature our team liked is the company’s mobile app. Available for both iOS and Android devices, you can use this app to record damages to your vehicle before and after shipment. This can help speed up any damage claims you might have.
Both apps are rated highly in their respective marketplaces. Customers gave the Ship a Car Direct mobile app 4.8 out of 5.0 stars in the Apple Store and 4.7 out of 5.0 stars in the Google Marketplace.
Ship A Car Direct Reviews
Ship a Car Direct has an outstanding industry reputation, as evidenced by its A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It is also accredited by the BBB.
Ship a Car Direct also has a strong reputation with customers. On the customer review section of the BBB website, the company has an impressive 4.7 out of 5.0-star average customer rating. That’s among the highest of any car shipping company in our study.
Positive Ship A Car Direct Reviews
The majority of Ship a Car Direct reviews we found online were positive. In those reviews, customers frequently mentioned professional service and an easy shipping process.
“A top notch company with expert professionals who guide the process and communicate in a timely manner. They have an app, which makes tracking your automobile delivery easy.”
– Debra, BBB
“Have to say that myself and my family are very pleased with the service and professionalism of Ship a Car Direct. From the quote given, the contact person who followed up, the placing of the order with a transport agent and the scheduling of the pick up and delivery.”
– Jennifer, BBB
Negative Ship A Car Direct Reviews
While most Ship a Car Direct reviews we saw were from customers who had good experiences, not everyone was happy with their service. Negative reviews for the company mentioned communication issues and mix-ups with individual carriers.
“We signed the contract several weeks in advance, with the stipulation that the car would not be picked up earlier than July 24. We got a call at night on July 22 from TransAuto, the carrier that Ship a Car Direct selected, demanding to pick up the car at 8 am the following morning.”
– Karen, BBB
“The driver called us on the day of delivery at 9:15 AM and said he would deliver our car in the afternoon and would call one hour before to let us know where to deliver the car. Six hours later we called the driver and asked where our car was.”
– Colleen, BBB
Bottom Line On Ship A Car Direct: 4.1 Stars
Ship a Car Direct has a lot going for it. Policies like the Damage-Free Guarantee and the company’s vetting process inspire confidence in the auto broker. The abundance of positive reviews online suggest that these aren’t gimmicks and the company stands behind its customers. Overall, we give Ship a Car Direct 4.1 out of 5.0 stars.
Sure, the website is not the easiest to use, and the quote tool only gives you ranges. But the company’s affordable prices and highly rated mobile app make Ship a Car Direct an attractive choice. Unless you need to ship a car to Alaska or want terminal-to-terminal shipping as an option, we recommend at least getting a free quote from Ship a Car Direct.
|Overall Star Rating||4.1 out of 5.0|
|Reputation||4.3 out of 5.0|
|Price||3.9 out of 5.0|
|Services||4.3 out of 5.0|
|Customer Experience||4.0 out of 5.0|
Top Recommendations For Car Shipping
Even if Ship a Car Direct looks like the right choice, it’s still a good idea to get car shipping quotes online from multiple providers. We recommend looking into these auto transport companies:
Easy Auto Ship: 4.5 Stars
Our research and an abundance of online reviews suggest that Easy Auto Ship more than lives up to its name. Customers frequently praise the company’s wide selection of services, smooth process, and competitive rates. Easy Auto Ship also promises no hidden fees after you’ve signed your contract.
The company has an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB. Customers have given it an average rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars in the BBB’s customer review section. To learn more about the provider, check out our full-length Easy Auto Ship review.
Montway Auto Transport: 4.6 Stars
Montway Auto Transport topped our list of the best car shipping companies this year. The company’s below-average rates, user-friendly process, and excellent customer support are why we named it Best Overall in our study.
The company is accredited by the BBB and has an A+ rating from the organization. Montway also has strong ratings from customers across the internet. You can find out more about the shipping provider in our in-depth Montway Auto Transport review.
FAQ: Ship A Car Direct
How We Rate Auto Shippers
Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car shipping companies. While there are multiple qualities that make an auto transport provider successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:
- Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact auto shipping rates. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and routes.
- Services: Our team of experts looks at the types of services available, as well as insurance coverage and the ability to guarantee pickup and drop-off dates. Ratings also take into account whether the transport company is a broker or a carrier.
- Reputation: It’s important that a car shipping provider is able to deliver your vehicle in a safe and timely manner. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
- Customer Experience: We comb through consumer reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Car transport companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area.
*Data accurate at time of publication.