2021 Ship a Car Direct Transport Review

Bottom line: Ship a Car Direct is worth considering. The car shipping company has low prices, strong carrier vetting, and positive customer reviews.
shipacardirect
Ship a Car Direct
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Kurt Manwaring
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on July 29, 2021
8 min read

Ship a Car Direct is a reliable auto transport company that almost makes our top five 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 drivers to make sure that your car is safe. Plus, Ship a Car Direct gives you up to $500 for your insurance deductible in the rare event of an accident. It all results in an average customer review rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars—a nearly perfect score.


How Ship a Car Direct compares to the car shipping industry

Company informationShip a Car DirectIndustry averages
Company pricing (out of 5)$$$$
Average customer review score4.8 / 54.6 / 5
Offers extra insurance coverage
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

See where Ship a Car Direct ranks on our Best Car Shipping Companies piece.


How much does Ship a Car Direct cost?

The average cost to ship a vehicle with Ship a Car Direct is approximately $1,070. However, 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 $550. In comparison, it will set you back around $1,580 to transport a truck across the country in an enclosed carrier.

Ship a Car Direct’s prices aren’t guaranteed, but the broker is transparent about how pricing works and can help you estimate a final cost.

Ship a Car Direct average car shipping pricing

Vehicle type
Open transport
Enclosed transport
Car (Toyota Corolla)
$820
$1170
SUV (Ford Explorer)
$920
$1170
Truck (Ford F-150)
$1050
$1300

Data as of 05/13/2021. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing shipping costs for 3 vehicle sizes across 11 distances.

Methodology

Move.org calculates industry averages and identifies pricing trends by following a fourfold research approach:

  • Icon Yes  Light
    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.
  • Icon Yes  Light
    Mystery shopping. We contacted auto transport companies posing as customers to gather pricing data and learn how the brokers formulate their prices.
  • Icon Yes  Light
    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.
  • Icon Yes  Light
    Annual calendar. We repeat this process every year and save our data so that we can compare trends over time.

How Ship a Car Direct pricing compares

The average cost to transport a vehicle with Ship a Car Direct is about 15% less expensive than the industry average. For the typical shipment, that shakes out to around $190. 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 $1,210.

Ship a Car Direct enclosed auto transport prices compared to the industry average

DescriptionShipping cost
Industry average price
$1500
Enclosed shipping price
$1210
Potential savings
$290

Data as of 5/13/21. 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.

Ship a Car Direct cost factors

Ship a Car Direct says that several things affect the price of transporting your vehicle:

  • Distance. 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 often arrives dirty because the car carrier is “open” to the elements.
    • Enclosed transport. It costs about 30% extra for Ship a Car Direct to transport your vehicle inside a fully enclosed trailer. The upside is that 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. Ship a Car Direct charges $150 if your vehicle won’t start.
  • Vehicle size. The bigger your vehicle, the more it costs. Curiously, 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 cost more. 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 illegal.1
  • 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,2 but its terms and conditions say that you can’t.3 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 coverage options

Ship a Car Direct verifies 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.


Ship a Car Direct at a glance

DescriptionCompany information
MC #632461
USDOT #2241272
Broker or carrierBroker
Carries basic insurance
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Availability (# of states)50
Average customer service rating4.8 / 5
Years in business10

Ship a Car Direct features and services

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Low prices
Pro Bullet No upfront deposit
Pro Bullet Excellent carrier vetting
Pro Bullet Additional insurance
Pro Bullet Positive customer reviews
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No guaranteed prices
Con Bullet No online quotes
Con Bullet Mediocre website

Ship a Car Direct says that it offers open and enclosed shipping services for all vehicles, including door-to-door shipping.

Info Box
What is door-to-door shipping?

Door-to-door shipping means the driver picks up a vehicle at your home and delivers it to your destination address. By comparison, terminal-to-terminal shipping requires you to drop off and pick up your car at an auto transport depot.


Why we recommend Ship a Car Direct

“Hire slow, fire fast” carrier policy

Ship a Car Direct has a company policy that protects you against disreputable car shippers. The broker’s “hire slow, fire fast” slogan means that it carefully vets all potential truck drivers before assigning someone to transport your vehicle. The “fire fast” part comes in if you have a bad experience. The car transportation company immediately severs ties with drivers who act in an unprofessional or unethical manner.

This policy is the car shipping company’s way of weeding out lower-quality drivers.

Bullhorn
How Ship a Car Direct picks your driver

Ship a Car Direct does a ton of research before selecting your truck driver. The company looks at peer ratings, business references, insurance coverage, and other publicly available information to find reliable car carriers.

Damage-free guarantee

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. When that happens, you must use your personal auto insurance. Rather than leave you to fight it out with the insurance company, Ship a Car Direct contributes $500 towards your deductible.

This is one of the best insurance offerings of any auto transport company we’ve seen. Ship a Car Direct is so confident in the quality of your driver that it pays out of its own pocket if your car doesn’t arrive in the same condition it left.

Positive customer reviews

Ship a Car Direct receives some of the highest customer reviews in the business. We 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—or nearly perfect. In addition, people often mention fast and helpful customer service in positive Ship a Car Direct reviews.

Another sign of good quality is that Ship a Car direct’s owner personally responds to Yelp reviews. It would be easy for an auto transport company to sever ties after you have a bad car shipping experience, but Ship a Car Direct will work with you even after your car arrives.

That said, the company posts review scores on its homepage that we haven’t been able to verify independently. While there could be more significant red flags, it still raises an eyebrow.

Still, we remain impressed by Ship a Car Direct’s willingness to engage with customers who have poor experiences.

Overall, visiting Ship a Car Direct’s website feels a bit like traveling back in time to the 1990s. You can’t get online quotes, and the site’s menus and misspellings often make it difficult to navigate. Sometimes the main website even contradicts the broker’s terms and conditions. We think a cleaner, more consistent website experience would better reflect the positive customer experiences the company actually offers.

Ship a Car Direct jokes that transporting a vehicle is like going to the dentist: it’s never fun, but there are ways to make it bearable. The analogy sheds light on the company’s unofficial motto, “We make the process of shipping your car suck less.” Customers repeatedly score Ship a Car Direct low on the suck-o-meter by awarding the company an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Decades of experience

American Auto Shipping has been around longer than just about any car shipping service you might work with. Age isn’t everything (some of our other best car shipping companies are less than 10 years old), but it’s a big deal in this industry because companies come and go so quickly. The fact that American Auto Shipping has been around for more than two decades is saying something.

The transporter also gets stellar customer reviews. The average customer gives American Auto Shipping a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. People routinely praise its customer service reps for being friendly and providing simple explanations about how car shipping works. We’ve rarely seen better scores.

At the same time, we're surprised that American Auto Shipping has relatively few reviews. We searched a dozen review sites and could find only 2,000 of them. To put that in context, most companies have about 7,500 auto transport reviews—including those that haven’t been around nearly as long. It’s a little concerning that fewer than 100 American Auto Shipping customers leave the company reviews each year. But it’s also hard to argue with the company’s near-perfect star rating. The auto shipper impresses us—and that’s not an easy thing to do.

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Need to transport a classic car?

Ship a Car Direct scores even higher on our Best Classic Car Shipping Companies list.


FAQ about Ship a Car Direct

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 $1,070.

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 15% 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 10 years. The auto shipper is popular with customers and scores an average review rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.


Our recommendation

Ship a Car Direct almost claimed a spot on our list of the best auto shipping companies. In addition to low prices, the transport broker goes out of its way to make you happy and reassured. The auto shipper contributes up to $500 toward your insurance deductible, carefully vets potential drivers, and doesn’t charge upfront deposits. 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?

Other car shipping picks

Check out our reviews of some other excellent car shipping companies:

Sources

  1. Adam, Ship a Car Direct, “Can My Car Be Shipped If It Has Things in It?” March 7, 2018. Accessed June 21, 2021.
  2. Ship a Car Direct, “Car Shipping Cost: How Expensive is It?” Accessed June 22, 2021.
  3. Ship a Car Direct, “Terms and Conditions.” Accessed June 22, 2021.

 

Kurt Manwaring
Written by
Kurt Manwaring
Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He brings a BS in sociology and an MPA (masters of public administration) to the Move team. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.