So, we reached out to a couple of companies requesting an estimate of how much it’d cost to ship an SUV.

Here’s what we found out.

We found out that shipping an SUV cost about $1,000 to $1,500.

But that is more or less just ballpark figures as there are a couple of factors that add up to this. Factors like; type of auto transport method, the distance of the transport, cost of added insurance, are just a few to mention.

If you’re going to ship an SUV across the country, it’s important you choose a suitable shipping method. That means the quote you get from a car shipping company is your best guess of what the final price will be.

But first, is it safe to ship cars across the country?

Well, shipping an SUV across the country can be safe, as there are rear cases of damages during cross-country shipping.

However, It’d be a smart choice to get in touch with your auto insurance company to double-check that your vehicle will be covered during its journey.

With that being said, how much does it cost to ship an SUV? Let’s find out.


The average cost to ship an SUV

The primary factor that affects costs for shipping a car across the country is the total mileage. Car hauling rates for each mile vary based on total mileage.

On average, for journeys less than 200 miles, auto transport companies will charge anything from $2.00 per mile. This price dips down to about $0.58 per mile for even longer distances exceeding 1,500 miles. – The longer the distance, the lower the price.

Aside from the usual, ‘how much? and how long?”, some important questions to ask of each company are:

  1. How long is your car transport quote valid?
  2. What insurance is included when transporting
  3. What if anything is NOT included in moving costs (to avoid any surprises),

The answers you get will help you compare quotes and get the best shipping deal for your vehicle.

Cost of Shipping an SUV – factors to consider

In as much as getting an affordable car shipping company is everyone’s desire, there are a couple of factors that should be considered if you’re going to ship a Sport Utility Vehicle across the country.

Cost of Shipping by Type of Auto Transport Method

Open-carrier and enclosed carriers are the two most used methods of shipping a Sport Utility Vehicle. If you’re moving a luxury SUV, an enclosed carrier is a better choice. Although it may cost you about 40% more than an open carrier because it offers more protection and security at a premium cost.

There’s a shipping method that’s even cheaper than the open carrier, and another more expensive than the enclosed carrier. We’ll talk about them later on.

Cost of Shipping an SUV by Distance

Moving an SUV within the country is by far cheaper than moving it across the country. Hence, the farther you need to move your car, the more it’s going to cost you.

Cost of Shipping an SUV at different times of the year

If you’re on a budget, you can pretty much save a couple of dollars during the winter as there are fewer demands for shipping services. Although you should be mindful of longer than average delivery times due to weather.

Cost of Shipping an SUV by Size and Weight

Usually, semi-truck rigs can haul up to nine vehicles at a time. But if you’re shipping a large size SUV that obviously weighs more, then that number will reduce for two reasons.

First, large SUVs take up more space on a transporter, which leaves less space for other cars. Secondly, the weight of a large SUV will limit the carrier’s total capacity.

As such, shipping a large SUV will cost more than shipping a small SUV or a regular sedan.

Level of service

Many auto transport companies use terminal shipping (with terminal shipping, customers are responsible for dropping a vehicle at the closest terminal to the pickup location and then also responsible for picking it up at a terminal close to the delivery location)

Many companies provide alternative drop-off options. For customers willing to pay up, you can get a door-to-door servicer. The company may be able to personally deliver the car to their home.

Cost of Added Insurance

If it’s your first time shipping a vehicle, it’s natural to be concerned about the state of your car during transit.

While a professional transport company will carry insurance in cases of unforeseen circumstances, you may still need to purchase separate insurance as this would be your saving grace if your car gets damaged in the carrier

What is the cheapest way to ship an SUV across the country?

Shipping a car across the country is not as cheap as shipping within the country.

While there are different methods of shipping, the cheapest may necessarily not be the most recommended. They cost differently; some are relatively cheaper while the other being much more expensive. All these are part of their pros and cons.

So depending on what type of SUV you’re shipping and some other factors, you can make a judgment on which you’d consider the best way to ship your SUV.

The different modes of shipping?

  • Train
  • Open-air Carrier
  • Enclosed Carrier
  • Plane

Among the above-listed modes, shipping by train is the cheapest option. Second to the open-air carrier. An enclosed carrier is the third cheapest, expended truck happens to be the fourth cheapest while the most expensive is shipping by plane.

What are the differences between an Open-air carrier and an Enclosed carrier?

What is an open truck?

An open truck is an open-air carrier used for shipping. Using this kind of transport means that your SUV will be on an open trailer, outdoors, and exposed to the element of travel.


Open Air Carrier

This method is the most common and cheapest way to ship your car. An open carrier often costs hundreds of dollars less than an enclosed carrier.

What is an enclosed truck?

An enclosed truck is an enclosed carrier for shipping vehicles. Unlike the open-air carrier, the enclosed carrier is any non-powered vehicle that is towed by a powerful vehicle such as a truck or a car.

An enclosed carrier costs 50% more and is typically recommended only for vehicles worth more than $70,000.


An enclosed truck

In an enclosed truck, content within is protected from environmental elements and theft. So with this form of shipment, you can worry less about your SUV being exposed to harsh weather.

What is an Expedited Truck Shipping?

The expedited shipping method provides for more rapid results than usual. This method of shipping promises fast arrival of goods than regular transit times.

To ensure that expedited shipping demands are met, trucks with expedited goods travel from order pickup to delivery with no stops in between.

This comes with a cost though. Expedited truck shipping is a more expensive shipping option compared to the regular open truck or enclosed truck.


Freight train with a load of new cars at the railway station.

Alternative ways to ship an SUV across the country.

Hire a driver

While this could be a pricey choice, hiring a professional driver to drive your car across the country is one option to consider.

Though it often ensures that utmost special attention is given to your car throughout the trip, its shortcoming is the fact that your car may accumulate a lot of mileage (not to mention, wear and tear).

Having your vehicle shipped with on an auto transporter, however, keeps its mileage low since the car is off the road.

Cruise it yourself

If you’ve been looking forward to a remarkable fun trip? This could be an opportunity.

You can save yourself some couple of $$ by seating behind the steering of your car to do the delivery yourself.

Preparing your SUV to be shipped

If you’ve decided to use an auto transport service, that’s great! You should consider making a car shipping checklist and then knock out some important items before waving goodbye.


1. Remove Attachments

Do away with any attachment, for now, get rid of antennas, bike racks, and whatsoever could fall off or break during shipment.

2. Disable your alarm

It could be a long drive, you don’t want to annoy your driver when this goes up.

3. Deactivate your electronic tool pass

If your device is on, you still get charged. Deactivating will save you the charges.

4. Ensure your gas tank is less than one-quarter full.

More gas in your car will add to your car weight and this, in turn, increase the cost of shipping. A smart choice will be to have just a little gas reserved in your tank.

5. Test your Emergency brake

If this doesn’t work, car shipping companies won’t take your car.

6. Ensure your car is drivable

Top off your oil and fluids, check your tires and battery, and ensure your car is driveable.

7. Wash your car

This can often be overlooked but having it knocked out last from your list means your SUV is ready to be shipped. You may want to check out the 7 SUV interior cleaning tips

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQ)

Can I put stuff in my car when shipping it?

If you’re moving, it would be a good idea to packing some of your personal stuff in your car trunk during shipping as this will simplify the moving process.

While this is a perfectly understandable concern, the answer is a bit complicated.

It’s technically legal to put your personal items or boxes in your car or trunk during shipping! But many companies advise you rather not as there is always a risk of theft or damage to the items during transport.

Also, putting valuable items in your car during shipping is strongly discouraged.

Some auto transport companies will let you pack up to 100 lbs of non-valuable personal items in the trunk of your vehicle. For SUV or hatchback with no trunk, your personal items must stay in the cargo area

Best practices for shipping items in your SUV

Despite the risk during shipping, if you’re comfortable putting your stuff in your car then you may want to follow these few tips to avoid unfortunate situations.

  • Never ship valuables.
  • Make sure any boxes, bags, or suitcases cannot be seen from the windows.
  • Do not pack items that are fragile.
  • Avoid packing too many items that would go over the weight limit.
  • Check with your auto shipping company before packing items in your trunk.
  • Never pack liquids, firearms, or flammable items.

How long does it take to ship an SUV?

Shipment through a longer route obviously implies that it’s going to take a longer time to deliver your car. Ideally, a transport of a few hundred miles should take about a day or two, while transporting across the country will take anywhere 5 to 7 days.

FREE Giveaway!

Are you a proud SUV owner, or are you also crazy about SUVs as I am? If you are then you definitely don’t want to miss this giveaway.

In a couple of days, we’ll be launching a resourceful guide that will teach you How to clean and maintain an SUV – the right way. This will be a premium e-Book and we’ll be giving it FREE of charge but only to members of our inner circle.

The inner circle is a community of proud SUV owners who share their knowledge of Sport Utility Vehicles.

The other day, a controversy surrounding Tesla’s Cyber Truck made our day in the circle. Haven’t seen that truck? These are the hilarious tesla truck meme that will make a lame man walk

If you want to the part of this awesome community, kindly sign up for our newsletter and we’ll send you a special link to this circle.

I look forward to seeing you in the inner circle.


About the Author

Larry Cruise


I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.

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