2020 Ship a Car Direct Review

Bottom line: Ship a Car Direct brokers decently priced auto transport with other licensed and insured car carriers—and it offers extra coverage with its damage-free guarantee.

Overall rating

3.9 / 5

Traveling across the country with a screaming toddler, your spouse, or simply on your own can be a long and exhausting experience. And whether you’re relocating your life or just transporting a collectible Corvette to your current home, there are plenty of reasons you may want to ship your car.

Ship a Car Direct has options for all of it.

Ship a Car Direct opened in 2008 under the name “Honesty First Auto Transport,” and the company still prides itself in offering fair, transparent service. It’s quickly grown to be one of the top-ranked auto shippers in the biz with open and enclosed transport options, a damage-free guarantee, and insured carriers.

Read on to learn why Ship a Car Direct is a great broker for your auto transport needs.

Pros

  • Damage-free guarantee
  • Instant online quotes
  • Door-to-door delivery
  • Robust, resource-filled website
  • No up-front deposits

Cons

  • Email required for in-depth quote
  • Slow response time for emailed quotes

See how Ship a Car Direct compares to other auto transporters on our Best Car Shipping Companies list.

How much does Ship a Car Direct cost?

Auto transport pricing isn’t an exact science, but we got quotes ranging from $450 to $650 to ship a crossover SUV across state lines and $1,000 to $1,200 for a cross-country trip. This puts Ship a Car Direct within range of the average cost to ship a car. Keep in mind that you’ll pay a premium for enclosed transport.

It’s also important to note that Ship a Car Direct is an auto shipment broker, meaning the company works to secure you a deal with one of its vetted carriers. You’ll pay a few extra bucks (usually called a deposit) to Ship a Car Direct for managing this process—the rest of the cost goes to the auto carrier itself upon delivery.

Ship a Car Direct pricing

Wondering what you’ll pay to transport your vehicle with Ship a Car Direct? We collected ballpark pricing using the company’s instant quote generator. These figures are based on shipping an operable crossover SUV in the fall.

Transport typeInterstateCross-country
RouteSalt Lake City, UT, to Denver, COSalt Lake City, UT, to Philadelphia, PA
Open transport$450–$650$1,000–$1,200
Enclosed transport$650–$850$1,450–$1,650
Transport type
Route
Open transport
Enclosed transport
Interstate Cross-country
Salt Lake City, UT, to Denver, CO Salt Lake City, UT, to Philadelphia, PA
$450–$650 $1,000–$1,200
$650–$850 $1,450–$1,650

Data as of 7/18/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Our exact quote for shipping a compact SUV from Salt Lake City to Philadelphia was on the high side of the estimate range at $1,650 for cross-country shipment in an enclosed carrier. However, Ship a Car Direct offered to reduce the price to $1,620 via a $30 rebate completed after the car’s delivery.

Getting a quote from Ship a Car Direct

Many auto transport companies make you hand over your personal information to get any type of quote, but we like that Ship a Car Direct gives you a rough estimate instantly without sending spam.

Unfortunately, its pricing information is not as detailed as other companies, so you will need to hand over your name and email to get a detailed quote. We don’t love that, according to the company’s privacy policy, your info may be shared with third parties, which could lead to some annoying emails in your inbox.

When we did provide an email address, we received a more accurate quote—eventually. After submitting the form, it took over nine hours to receive anything back from Ship a Car Direct. Unlike other auto transport quotes we’ve received, this quote wasn’t broken down into detail—instead, it just listed the final price.

To finalize an auto transport quote with Ship a Car Direct, you must call or reserve online.

Ship a Car Direct pricing factors

So many variables affect the price of auto transport. Here are a few that go into your Ship a Car Direct quote:

  • Distance: Local or cross-country
  • Car type: Car size, weight, and make/model
  • Location: Rural or urban pickup and delivery
  • Operational: Operable or inoperable car
  • Season: High or low season for car shipments
  • Transport type: Open or enclosed
  • Fuel prices: High or low
Get money

GAS UP!

GAS UP!

Did you know that car carriers charge a non-run fee if your car can’t be driven on and off the trailer? To prevent this, fill up your tank with gas and be sure your battery is charged before your car is picked up.

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Ship a Car Direct coverage options

Ship a Car Direct’s damage-free guarantee is its most beloved perk, but what does it mean in terms of coverage? You should always read the terms and conditions for these types of policies yourself, but if you totally didn’t (don’t worry, we won’t judge you), we’ve summed it up below so you know exactly what’s covered.

While everyone hopes their car comes off the transport truck with no dings or dents, this isn’t always the case. If your Miata gets mashed during the journey, it is the carrier’s responsibility to pay the claim. But if the company fails to do so, Ship a Car Direct will reimburse you up to $500 to cover your out-of-pocket insurance deductible.

This means if your deductible is $500, the whole thing gets paid (hooray!). If your deductible is $750, you’ll be responsible for just $250. Check your car insurance deductible before signing up for auto shipment to find out how well you’re covered.

To get this perk, you must also do the following:

  • Provide documentation that the carrier did not cover the damage.
  • Prove you filed a claim with your insurance.
  • Show that the repair work was actually performed.

Phew! That’s a lot of requirements, but it’s important that you follow all these steps to get the damage reimbursement you should.

Ship a Car Direct’s included basic insurance

Part of what you pay for with Ship a Car Direct is the knowledge that only reputable auto transport companies are invited to this auto shipment party. Ship a Car Direct includes $500 of insurance protection on every booking, but it also weeds out shady car shipping characters, including any carriers whose insurance isn’t up to date.

Rest easy knowing Ship a Car Direct’s vetted companies have your car covered at no additional cost to you.

Heads up exclamation

TOLL TIME

TOLL TIME

Do you live in a state with EZ Pass or another toll system? Be sure to remove your pass from your vehicle before transportation, or you’ll be charged a toll every time your car goes for a ride on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Ship a Car Direct’s features and services

Ship a Car Direct offers all standard auto transport services and provides estimated up-front pricing online. Its prices are in line with industry averages, and it offers a damage-free guarantee.

Here’s everything the company has to offer:

  • Car shipping
  • Classic car shipping
  • Inoperable vehicle shipping
  • Interstate and intrastate auto moves
  • Government and military auto shipments
  • Door-to-door delivery
  • Open and enclosed transport

Why we recommend Ship a Car Direct

It offers only door-to-door shipping

Skip the hassle of dropping your car off at one place and picking it up at another with Ship a Car Direct’s door-to-door delivery service. Ship a Car Direct never uses the cumbersome terminal-to-terminal process, and it guarantees that the carrier that picks up your car will be the one to drop it off.

The only exception to this door-to-door rule is home addresses where a multi-car carrier cannot safely park (think busy Manhattan streets or tiny, historic lanes). Instead it will be delivered to a safe spot nearby.

It provides a damage-free guarantee

Speaking of damage, Ship a Car Direct is an excellent car shipping choice if you’re looking for extra protection against dings and other damage that could happen in transit. Every booking includes $500 in insurance, free of charge, as a damage-free guarantee.

Most cars are shipped on open carriers, and while rare, dings and scratches can happen. That’s why Ship a Car Direct uses only licensed and insured companies that guarantee against damage. However, if a carrier refuses to cover your car’s damage, Ship a Car Direct will cover up to $500 of your deductible if you file a claim with your own insurance company.

If you love your car as much as your kid, breathe a sigh of relief knowing your beloved ride is protected wherever it travels.

It doesn’t require payment before assigning a carrier

Do you get paid before you do the work at your job? Why would you pay an auto shipment broker before they’ve contracted and assigned your car pickup? Short answer: you shouldn’t.

Ship a Car Direct does not request a deposit (in company lingo, a “service fee”) until they’ve confirmed a carrier and price for your pickup. What you do pay at that point is essentially a broker fee for this convenience. Full payment is due to the carrier only upon delivery.

FAQs about Ship a Car Direct

Can I pack my belongings in my car before transport?

Short answer: no. Auto transporters are not licensed or liable for shipping personal goods from state to state. Many companies will say you can put up to 100 pounds of belongings in the trunk, but Ship a Car Direct advises against the practice because your stuff is not insured—and the added weight might increase your shipment price.

Plus, if the Department of Transportation sees a car on a transport truck filled with stuff, they may fine the carrier, who will pass the cost onto you.1 Yikes.

How long does transport take?

Shipping time with Ship a Car Direct can take between one and two weeks for coast-to-coast moves. If you car is traveling a shorter distance, you can use this time window to estimate your own transit time. For example, a move from the East Coast to the Midwest may take four to seven days.

Of course, this is a good question to ask a Ship a Car Direct representative, especially if you’re on a time crunch to receive your car.

How far in advance do I need to book?

Ship a Car Direct does not specify a lead time or require you to book your auto shipment pickup a certain number of days or weeks out. The more notice the better, but even if you wait until the last minute, the company can typically find a carrier to reach you in time.

If you book your auto shipment way ahead of time, note that your price could change if fuel costs go up or down. It’s typically better to get a quote closer to when you’d like it shipped for more accurate pricing.

How’s the customer service?

Like any company, Ship a Car Direct’s reviews are a mixed bag. It has an impressive 4.9-star rating on Consumer Affairs and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, but that doesn’t mean it offers perfect service.

Complaints on the BBB website noted that cars disappeared with no communication for multiple days, only to resurface later and be delivered. These customers eventually received their vehicles and were refunded, but we imagine worrying that your car is lost would be frustrating. On a positive note, Ship a Car Direct was quick to respond to all problems and help to solve them.

On the Consumer Affairs site, most verified customers raved about their experiences with Ship a Car Direct, citing excellent customer service, early or on-time deliveries, and discounts on fees when they called in to book.

Those who’d had unpleasant interactions with car shippers in the past felt that Ship a Car Direct was an improvement, thanks to its professional service, competitive pricing, and dedicated customer support from start to finish.

We do love the Ship a Car Direct is very transparent about the auto shipping process. On its website, you’ll find explainer FAQ pages and detailed videos that delve into the entire auto transport experience. From videos on how your price is determined to others on how to track your order, these come straight from Ship a Car Direct’s owner and can help you understand what to expect.

One important note: Ship a Car Direct customers receive a $30 rebate for leaving a review, so there is far more incentive to review this company (possibly positively) than others.

What we think

Ship a Car Direct is a great option if you’re looking for an auto transport company with damage protection and honest communication. Obtaining a detailed quote takes more time than with other car shippers, but we love that you can get a rough estimate on the spot without sacrificing your personal information.

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Other car shipping picks

Not sure if Ship a Car Direct is right for your upcoming auto shipment? Use our Best Car Shipping Companies list or pick from these vetted shippers to safely transport your ride:

Have you used Ship a Car Direct? Tell us about your experience in the comments section.

Sources

About Jenny Willden

Jenny Willden
Jenny’s been writing stories since she first picked up a pencil and is lucky to call it her profession. She’s lived in five U.S. states (and counting) and uses her mishaps to help you master your next move.