Best Classic Car Shipping Companies of 2021

Moving any vehicle can seem like a logistical pain in the patootie, but moving your baby? A classic of immense personal or even financial value? Ya, that’s not fun at all. Anyone who can imagine shipping one of their children off to be unseen for days or even weeks, then putting them into the hands of total strangers while trusting that they’ll be returned safely can imagine moving a classic car. It’s nerve wracking on an industrial scale.

So finding the right automotive transport company to move your classic baby is not a simple choice. Here, we look at our top five choices for transporting your classic car with considerations of price, insurance coverage, and enclosed trailer inclusions as primary concerns.

Top 5 Classic Car Shipping Companies

Montway Auto Transport

This is our top choice because Montway offers the best mix of high insurance coverage, good average cost per move, and a good reputation involving covered automotive transport options. Montway appears to only vet their online reviews for language, leaving negative reviews intact with responses from company representatives to resolve outcomes or explain detail. This is a good sign of transparency and that their overall high reviews are real.

Pros and Cons

  • Within the average for most enclosed automotive transport with high insurance requirements.
  • $250,000 of no-deductible insurance included with classic car hauls.
  • May take longer to schedule or pickup/deliver due to high demand.

Sherpa Auto Transport

This company has a very solid reputation in the automotive transport arena. Their costs are generally higher than others on our list, but they have two coverages on all vehicles being transported: insurance and a certificate of coverage. The second can be obtained to cover a specific vehicle and its “irreplaceable” (or nearly so) value. Sherpa requires a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability coverage and $100,000 in cargo insurance for all of their carriers. They take insurance coverage very seriously, which is a good thing for the consumer.

Pros and Cons

  • Very well-designed classic automotive transport customizations.
  • Two types of coverage and a solid reputation in the business.
  • Most expensive option on our list.

Easy Auto Ship

Easy Auto Ship is a consortium of automotive transport haulers made up of both independent (owner-operator) one-truck companies and company-owned/leased trucks and trailers. All conform to specific requirements for the company and result in Easy Auto Ship having one of the largest fleets in the business.

Pros and Cons

  • $100,000 of extra cargo insurance included with classic car hauls.
  • Price is about average for the business, making them fairly affordable.
  • Not necessarily working with the company you’ve hired for your haul, in terms of business entities.

Bargain Auto Transport

Bargain Auto Transport is, as the name implies, the lowest cost of the group here. There is $100,000 of added cargo insurance added for classic car transport, but their website and associated review sites have little negative feedback included and no accounts of what happens to customers when they do need to make a claim against that insurance. So we are adding a grain or two to this one.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent price when compared with peers.
  • $100,000 of added cargo insurance for classic car hauling.
  • Lack of transparency in reviews could be a red flag.

Ship A Car Direct

Similar to Easy Auto Ship, Ship A Car Direct is made up of a mixture of company-owned, leased, and independent operators working within the corporate structure. This means availability is usually good. Added insurance could cost you, though, and the only extra coverage listed is $500 in gap coverage (free of charge), which would only apply to new vehicles.

Pros and Cons

  • Availability for hauling is fairly high in most areas.
  • Transparent website with easy to understand policies, pricing, and customer feedback.
  • Doesn’t specialize in or have specialists in classic auto transportation.

What to Consider Before Shipping a Classic Car?

A car is a car, right? What’s the difference between shipping a new car versus an old one?

Well, you probably have more of a sentimental connection with your ‘67 Ford Bronco than you do with your 2018 Corolla, but let’s talk dollars and cents:

If you totaled your 2018 Corolla, the insurance company would write you a check, less your deductible, based on book value, or the average of what the hundreds of thousands of 2018 Toyota Corollas in the country are worth.

There’s no “book value” on a classic car. The difference between two 1967 Ford Broncos can literally be $140,000. A non-running Bronco with rust in the frame and gaping holes in the floors can still be around $4,000. In the last year, four beautifully restored first-generation Broncos with LS or Coyote engine swaps sold on BringATrailer.com for more than $120,000.

This is important: Before you consider shipping a vintage vehicle, be sure to get in touch with one of the vintage car insurance specialists we’ve reviewed, and get an agreed value policy on that car.

Yes, shippers carry insurance. But it will ONLY pay out claims that involve negligence on the part of the carrier. If they’re hauling your car on an open trailer and a wheel breaks loose on the car in the next lane and takes out the door of your classic car, that’s not on them. A decent shipper is probably going to try to make it right, but not always.

You need to protect your investment yourself before you have it loaded on a trailer, and you need to be in touch with your insurance provider long before it happens. That’s true with any car, but it’s especially true with classic vehicles and the agreed value policies that they’re often protected by.

A car is a car, right? What’s the difference between shipping a new car versus an old one?

Well, you probably have more of a sentimental connection with your ‘67 Ford Bronco than you do with your 2018 Corolla, but let’s talk dollars and cents:

If you totaled your 2018 Corolla, the insurance company would write you a check, less your deductible, based on book value, or the average of what the hundreds of thousands of 2018 Toyota Corollas in the country are worth.

There’s no “book value” on a classic car. The difference between two 1967 Ford Broncos can literally be $140,000. A non-running Bronco with rust in the frame and gaping holes in the floors can still be around $4,000. In the last year, four beautifully restored first-generation Broncos with LS or Coyote engine swaps sold on BringATrailer.com for more than $120,000.

This is important: Before you consider shipping a vintage vehicle, be sure to get in touch with one of the vintage car insurance specialists we’ve reviewed, and get an agreed value policy on that car.

Yes, shippers carry insurance. But it will ONLY pay out claims that involve negligence on the part of the carrier. If they’re hauling your car on an open trailer and a wheel breaks loose on the car in the next lane and takes out the door of your classic car, that’s not on them. A decent shipper is probably going to try to make it right, but not always.

You need to protect your investment yourself before you have it loaded on a trailer, and you need to be in touch with your insurance provider long before it happens. That’s true with any car, but it’s especially true with classic vehicles and the agreed value policies that they’re often protected by.

Next, look at the shipper and their reputation and honesty. A clean track record reported on their website doesn’t mean much if there’s no transparency to the consumer review and other feedback also present. Some of our ranking here was based on how open to the public reviews and ratings seem to be both on the company’s website and on reputable review sites around the Web.

How is Classic Car Shipping Different Than Regular Shipping?

It really isn’t, at the basic level. You need to get a car from one place to another. How old it is really doesn’t make much difference.

What does make a difference is how that car is going to be treated along the trip, and how much you’re willing to invest in getting the car to its final destination.

We covered a lot of this in one of our other shipping stories, which you’d be well advised to read. Here’s the abbreviated version, though:

There are essentially two ways to ship a car. One is to contact a shipping broker. The second is to contact a point-to-point shipper.

Brokers make up just about all of the companies we’ve listed here. With most of them, you put the car you want shipped out for bid, and you’re presented with a number of bids to get the car from one place to another.

A point-to-point shipper like Reliable Carriers, for instance, doesn’t farm the shipping out. They have drivers who work for Reliable, driving trucks owned by Reliable.

Classic cars come in all price levels. When we looked into shipping a 1966 Jeep CJ5 from Virginia to Boston, we sought out quotes from both brokers and point-to-point shippers. Reliable Carriers was about $1,175. Everybody else was around $600. If we were shipping a $3 million Ferrari, you bet your sweet ascot we’d opt for white glove treatment from a point-to-point shipper. For our $6,000 Jeep? We were willing to gamble on the broker.

It really isn’t, at the basic level. You need to get a car from one place to another. How old it is really doesn’t make much difference.

What does make a difference is how that car is going to be treated along the trip, and how much you’re willing to invest in getting the car to its final destination.

We covered a lot of this in one of our other shipping stories, which you’d be well advised to read. Here’s the abbreviated version, though:

There are essentially two ways to ship a car. One is to contact a shipping broker. The second is to contact a point-to-point shipper.

Brokers make up just about all of the companies we’ve listed here. With most of them, you put the car you want shipped out for bid, and you’re presented with a number of bids to get the car from one place to another.

A point-to-point shipper like Reliable Carriers, for instance, doesn’t farm the shipping out. They have drivers who work for Reliable, driving trucks owned by Reliable.

Classic cars come in all price levels. When we looked into shipping a 1966 Jeep CJ5 from Virginia to Boston, we sought out quotes from both brokers and point-to-point shippers. Reliable Carriers was about $1,175. Everybody else was around $600. If we were shipping a $3 million Ferrari, you bet your sweet ascot we’d opt for white glove treatment from a point-to-point shipper. For our $6,000 Jeep? We were willing to gamble on the broker.

What is the Cost of Shipping a Classic Car?

There are five major variables that are going to impact the cost of shipping a car, whether it’s a classic vehicle or not:

  • Distance: This should be obvious. Shipping a car from Boston to Virginia is going to cost a lot less than shipping one from Boston to Los Angeles.

  • Open or Enclosed Trailer: An open trailer is going to be cheaper than an enclosed trailer. You might think “Well, obviously, a classic car would go in an enclosed trailer,” but again, it depends on how much the vehicle is worth. We wouldn’t put a Jaguar E-Type Series I on an open trailer, but we put our ‘66 Jeep CJ5 on one, thinking a few days worth of rain and road salt wasn’t going to do it much harm, considering we were going to do a full detail the second it showed up, anyway.

  • Length: A Vespa 400 microcar is going to cost less to ship than a 22-foot long 1966 Lincoln Continental, just based on how much room it’s going to take up on a trailer.

  • Height: If you’re shipping anything with four-wheel drive (pickups, Jeeps, old Broncos, Scouts and Blazers), you’re going to be asked if it’s stock height. If it’s got a lift and 44-inch Super Swampers, it is likely too tall to go into an enclosed trailer, and you’ll be limited to shipping it on an open trailer.

  • Running or Not?: Shipping a running car is going to be cheaper than shipping one that doesn’t run. It’s not much more expensive to ship a non-running car, but the trailer needs to be equipped with a winch, and it adds a bit of cost to the equation.

Here are the quotes we received to ship our ‘66 Jeep CJ5 from Virginia to Boston. It was running, stock height, and we chose to ship in an open trailer:

Shipping CompanyType of ShipperOnline Quote

You can read more on Car Shipping and see our recommendations for the Best Car Shipping Companies in 2021 here.

For more on this topic, see our detailed guide on how to ship a car.

FAQ

How much does it cost to ship a classic car?

The answer depends on: how far you need to ship a car, whether you’re shipping in an open or an enclosed trailer, how long the car is, how tall the car is, and whether or not it’s running. When we got quotes to ship a ‘66 Jeep CJ5 in running condition from Virginia to Boston on an open trailer, our quotes ranged between $575 and $1,200.

Is a 20 year old car a classic?

Anything can be a “classic.” Any good shipping company is going to treat your 2018 Subaru Forester with as much care as they’d provide for a 1970 Chevelle SS LS6.

How do you ship a classic car?

Start by contacting the insurance company that is going to insure your classic vehicle to understand what they’ll cover if something bad happens. It’s literally the most important part of the entire process. The rest of it is easy: Write a check or give your credit card number to the shipper and wait for the car to arrive.

How do you ship a car that doesn’t run?

All of the shippers that we reviewed here will ask you if the car runs or not. If it doesn’t run, you’ll be assessed a fee. It’s usually pretty nominal, and it only requires that the trailer the car is going to be hauled on has an electric winch to get it up the ramp and into place.

What are the best shipping companies?

In general, the best shipping companies are point-to-point shippers like Reliable Carriers or Horseless Carriage. They’re also the most expensive, by a factor of two. If you’re shipping something rare and expensive, you’d be crazy to opt for anything other than an enclosed trailer with a point-to-point shipper. For less expensive cars, though (say $5,000 to $10,000), there are a lot of shippers that will provide good service for not a lot of money. But be sure to understand exactly what their insurance covers.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.