Over the last year, Ship a Car Direct has become one of the most reliable auto transport companies in the industry—and this year, they’ve landed a spot on our list of best car shipping companies. Not only does the auto shipping broker have some of the most affordable rates we’ve seen, but it also carefully vets its drivers to make sure that your car is safe during transit.
2023 Ship A Car Direct Review
How Ship A Car Direct compares to the car shipping industry
|Ship a Car Direct
|Company pricing (out of 5)
|Average customer review score
|4.8 / 5
|4.6 / 5
|Offers extra insurance coverage
See where Ship A Car Direct ranks on our list of best car shipping companies in 2023.
How much does Ship A Car Direct cost?
Ship a Car Direct average car shipping pricing
The average cost to ship a vehicle with Ship a Car Direct is approximately $981 in 2023. However, as with most other companies, prices vary widely based on things like transport type, vehicle condition, and distance. For example, shipping a mid-size car 300 miles on an open carrier is about $575. In comparison, it will set you back around $1,350 to transport a truck across the country in an enclosed carrier.
And while Ship a Car Direct’s prices aren’t guaranteed, the broker is very transparent about how pricing works and can help you estimate a final cost.
Ship A Car Direct average shipping prices
|Car (Toyota Corolla)
|SUV (Ford Explorer)
|Truck (Ford F-150)
Data as of 10/5/2022. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing shipping costs for 3 vehicle sizes across 11 distances.
How Ship a Car Direct pricing compares
The average cost to transport a vehicle with Ship a Car Direct is about 11% less expensive than the industry average. For the typical shipment, that shakes out to around $130. Ship a Car Direct has even better savings for long-distance trips. The car transport company has even lower prices for enclosed transport (ideal for high-end luxury vehicles). For example, the industry’s average enclosed shipping price is approximately $1,500—but Ship a Car Direct can often get the job done for around $1,234.
How Ship a Car Direct’s pricing compares
We mentioned this above, but Ship A Car Direct has some of the most competitive pricing around. In fact, the average cost to transport a vehicle with Ship a Car Direct is about 11% less expensive than the industry average. And for the typical shipment, that shakes out to around $130 in savings.
Plus, Ship a Car Direct has even better savings for long-distance shipping and enclosed transport (ideal for high-end luxury vehicles). For example, the industry’s average enclosed shipping price is approximately $1,500—but Ship a Car Direct can often get the job done for around $1,234.
Ship a Car Direct enclosed auto transport price compared to the industry average
|Industry average price
|Enclosed shipping price
Data as of 10/5/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing shipping costs for 3 vehicle sizes across 11 distances on enclosed transport.
Cost factors to consider
You may be familiar with this already, but most car shipping companies have several different factors that will affect the price of transporting your vehicle—and Ship A Car Direct is no different. Here are the ones you can expect to see:
- It may be a no-brainer, but short-distance transports cost less than cross-country shipments, and international shipping is the most expensive of all.
- Transport type. You can choose between open and enclosed transport:
- Open transport. Most people use open transport because it’s less expensive. The downside is that your car is more susceptible to the elements because the car carrier is open to the elements.
- Enclosed transport. While it costs about 30% extra for Ship A Car Direct to transport your vehicle inside a fully enclosed trailer, you can rest assured your car has more protection against bad weather and road debris.
- Vehicle condition. If it requires extra effort for the driver to load your vehicle onto a truck, it will cost you more. For example, Ship A Car Direct charges $150 if your vehicle won’t start.
- Vehicle size. Again, pretty straightforward, but the bigger your vehicle, the more it’ll cost you. It’s worth noting though, that Ship a Car Direct quoted us the same price to ship both a mid-size car and a larger SUV via enclosed shipping. That’s either an error or an opportunity to save money, so we recommend paying extra attention when you get quotes for your move.
- Vehicle weight. Heavier vehicles will cost more across the board. Ship a Car Direct says that many people try to put luggage in their vehicles to save on moving expenses but warns that it’s prohibited when using their transport services.
- Broker and carrier fees. Ship a Car Direct charges an auto transport broker fee when it assigns an auto carrier (or driver) to your shipment. The car shipping carrier also charges a fee, but Ship a Car Direct doesn’t have a say in what it is.
- Guaranteed pickups. We’re not entirely sure of Ship a Car Direct’s stance. The company’s website says that you can pay extra to have your car picked up by a specific date, but its terms and conditions say that you can’t. We recommend asking Ship a Car Direct about your options if you need to leave town by a certain date.
- Carrier’s final price. While Ship a Car Direct can give you an initial quote, it cautions customers that the quote is only an estimate. The final price charged by the carrier may be higher. Our research suggests you’ll often see a 25% increase between your initial estimate and the final bill.
Ship A Car Direct’s liability and transit coverage options
Ship a Car Direct protects the safety of your shipment by verifying that all carriers have insurance before assigning one to your shipment. While the carrier’s policy is your primary insurance, Ship a Car Direct also has a no-charge $500 gap insurance policy called a “damage-free guarantee.”
The gap coverage goes toward your personal insurance deductible if the carrier’s insurance refuses to pay a claim. And we should be clear: this is one of the more competitive coverage options we’ve seen across Ship A Car Direct’s competitors.
Ship A Car Direct’s best features and services
Ship A Car Direct at a glance
|Broker or carrier
|Carries basic insurance
|Availability (# of states)
|Average customer service rating
|4.8 / 5
|Years in business
Ship a Car Direct offers its customers an option between both open and enclosed shipping services for all types of vehicles, including door-to-door shipping.
Door-to-door shipping refers to when the driver picks up a vehicle at your home and delivers it to your destination address. On the other hand, terminal-to-terminal shipping requires you to drop off and pick up your car at an auto transport depot.
What we like about Ship A Car Direct
Hard-line carrier policies
Ship a Car Direct has a pretty rigid company policy that helps protect you against disreputable car shippers by weeding out lower-quality drivers from the start. In fact, the broker’s “hire slow, fire fast” slogan means that it thoroughly vets all potential truck drivers before assigning someone to transport your vehicle. And the “fire fast” part? It’s effective as soon as a customer has had a bad experience. In other words, the car transportation company immediately severs ties with drivers who act in an unprofessional or unethical manner.
Ship a Car Direct does a lot of research before selecting your truck driver. Not only will the company scour each driver’s peer ratings, business references, and insurance coverage, to find reliable car carriers, but they’ll also use any other information that is publicly available. Look out, shady carriers!
We’ve touched on this already, but as it’s one of our favorite services, it’s worth mentioning again: Ship a Car direct has a damage-free guarantee worth up to $500. While the auto shipping company won’t use drivers unless they carry insurance, sometimes the policy doesn’t cover all of the damage. And usually when that happens, you must use your personal auto insurance (which can get messy).
Rather than leave you to fight it out with the insurance company, Ship a Car Direct contributes $500 towards your deductible. Again—this is one of the best insurance offerings of any auto transport company we’ve seen.
Why should you care? Because Ship a Car Direct is so confident in the quality of your driver that it has no problem agreeing to pay out of its own pocket if your car doesn’t arrive in the same condition it left.
Stellar customer reviews
If the low prices and guaranteed coverage hasn’t sold you, then you should know that Ship a Car Direct receives some of the highest customer reviews in the business. We’ve looked at a dozen of the most popular review sites and found that the company gets an average review score of 4.8 out of 5 stars—a nearly perfect score. And folks often mention fast and helpful customer service in their positive Ship a Car Direct reviews.
Ship a Car direct’s owner even personally responds to Yelp reviews. It would be easy for an auto transport company to ignore reviews sharing negative experiences, but Ship a Car Direct will continue to work with you—even after your car arrives.
That said, we should mention the company posts review scores on its homepage that we haven’t been able to verify independently. And aside from missing an online quoting tool (which many of its competitors use), the website is clunky and difficult to navigate at times. While we understand there could be more significant red flags, it still raises an eyebrow.
Regardless, we remain impressed by Ship a Car Direct’s willingness to engage with customers who have poor experiences and their ability to deliver on their unofficial motto, “We make the process of shipping your car suck less.” And customers generally seem to agree, which is why they consistently award the company an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Then you’re in luck because Ship a Car Direct scores even higher on our Best Classic Car Shipping Companies list.
A long-term review of Ship A Car Direct
Our historical review of Ship A Car Direct shows that the company consistently performs like one of the nation’s best car shipping companies. The most important trends we’ve seen are deals with pricing: Ship a Car Direct is consistently more cost-efficient than its competitors.
For example, in 2021, Ship a Car Direct’s prices were about 20% below average. And in 2022, they’ve continued to beat industry averages, coming in about 11% less than the competition—which makes all the difference, especially during a recession.
On its own, that might be a red flag (you should always beware of prices that are too low). However, Ship a Car Direct has maintained an impressive 4.8-star average customer review rating from 2021–2023, meaning that its prices weren’t just a ploy to get more customers. They’re legitimately delivering on pricing that’s lower than the competition.
Ship a Car Direct has been one of our top companies for some time. It was on our Top 5 list in 2020, but didn’t quite make the cut in 2021. 2022, however, brought positive changes for Ship a Car Direct, and they're back on our Top 5 (now ranked fourth overall).
Ship a Car Direct is officially back on our list of the best auto shipping companies. In addition to offering the lowest prices, the transport broker goes out of its way to make you happy and reassured. How? The auto shipper contributes up to $500 toward your insurance deductible, carefully vets potential drivers, and doesn’t charge upfront deposits. And if you’re still not convinced, you should know that the owner even responds to every review that customers leave on Yelp.
We like Ship a Car Direct, and the transport broker’s average 4.8-star review suggests that customers do too.
Looking for low prices and high quality?
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Is Ship a Car Direct an affordable auto shipper?
Yes, Ship a Car Direct is an affordable auto shipper. Move.org finds that the car shipping company’s initial quotes are often about 15% below the industry average.
What is the car shipping rate for a classic car?
The average car shipping rate for a classic car is approximately $1,500—although Ship a Car Direct often quotes customers an amount closer to $1,234.
Is Ship a Car Direct a legit car shipping service?
Yes, Ship a Car Direct is a legit car shipping service. The auto transporter is 10 years old and has an average customer review score of 4.8 out of 5 stars. After extensive research, Move.org finds Ship a Car Direct to be one of the nation’s best auto transport companies.
How fast is car transport?
Car transport drivers can usually travel about 500 miles per day. For example, a 2,000-mile trip is rarely faster than 4 days (500 miles x 4 days = 2,000 miles). Some car shipping services like Ship a Car Direct let you pay extra for guaranteed pickup to jumpstart the shipping process.
Is vehicle shipping expensive?
Vehicle shipping can be expensive depending on your vehicle weight, transport type, and total distance. The average cost to transport a vehicle with Ship a Car Direct is about 11% lower than the auto shipping industry average.
What is Ship a Car Direct’s damage-free guarantee?
Ship a Car Direct’s damage-free guarantee is a secondary insurance policy that covers up to $500 of your insurance deductible. The auto shipper provides this car shipment coverage free of charge.
What’s the cheapest way to ship my car?
The cheapest way to ship your car is on an open carrier. Most Ship a Car Direct customers use this shipping option because it’s around 30% more affordable than enclosed transport.
How long has Ship a Car Direct been shipping cars?
Ship a Car Direct has been shipping cars for 11 years. The auto shipper is popular with customers and scores an average review rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Move.org calculates industry averages and identifies pricing trends by following a fourfold research approach:
- Compare quotes. We collected nearly 700 quotes from 10 different companies. The car shipping quotes included prices for a motorcycle, car, SUV, and truck across 11 distances on both open and enclosed transport.
- Mystery shopping. We contacted auto transport companies posing as customers to gather pricing data and learn how the brokers formulate their prices.
- Site visits. We invited several industry leaders to visit our headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT, and explain what goes into their pricing. We then compared their answers to information we independently obtained to verify accuracy.
- Annual calendar. We repeat this process every year and save our data so that we can compare trends over time.