Price Breakdown: Shipping A Car vs. Transporting a Motorcycle

What's the big difference between shipping a car and a motorcycle? The cost, of course! Check out this complete breakdown of price comparison.

Shipping a car and shipping a motorcycle are two processes with a lot of similarities. Since they involve vehicles, preparation and maintenance are essential. If there’s any significant difference in shipping these two, it would undoubtedly be the price! The cost of transporting a car is much more expensive, considering its size and value. The cost of storing vehicles in transit differs as well. Today, you’ll be learning these differences so you can make an informed decision on how to transport your vehicle across the country.

Cost of Transporting a Motorcycle

Let’s start with the lighter vehicle first. According to SeaRates, the average cost of shipping a motorcycle is about $500. Before you think that it’s way too much, know that average is different from the actual price. Many factors are at play, including:

  • Motorcycle Model, Condition, and Size: Luxury wheels such as Ducatis and Kawasaki Ninjas will cost more. You’ll also have to spend more on brand-new models and big bikes.
  • Season: If you wish to save, avoid shipping your motorcycle during winter as carriers will take weather and road conditions into account.
  • Fuel rates: Your shipping company will naturally charge more if the current gas prices are high to even out their transit expenses.
  • Insurance: Nobody knows when accidents might happen and if you don’t want to find yourself in a tight position, consider spending more to insure your vehicle.
  • Distance: Obviously, having a motorcycle delivered to another state is more expensive due to mileage and toll fees.

While the average shipping is $500, the cost for shipping a motorcycle in a relatively short distance is around $200 to $300. On the other hand, long-distance delivery ranges from $400 to $700. International transport is the most expensive as it typically starts from $1000 and above. 

Cost of Shipping a Car

Naturally, auto transport will require you to spend more compared to shipping a motorcycle. That’s because the carrier will have to take more extensive measures to ensure the vehicle’s safety. Not to mention, a car takes up more space in the trailer.

But the difference isn’t that much, as it costs around $600 to $800 to ship a car. Just as with motorcycle shipping, there are several factors that impact price, such as:

  • Destination: Transporting a vehicle to major cities like NYC and San Francisco will cost a little more since the carriers will have to navigate the metro area traffic.
  • Time of the Year: It’s cheapest to transport a car during fall when the weather is nice and not many vehicles are out on the road.
  • Method of Transport: Open trailers are more affordable, but they expose your car to external elements. Enclosed trailers are more secure, but they would come at a higher price.
  • Vehicle Type and Model: It’s more expensive to ship larger vehicles like SUVs, vintage wheels, sports cars, and luxury cars.
  • Delivery Preference: Door-to-door shipping will be more expensive than terminal shipping where you have to pick up the car from the carrier’s warehouse yourself.

All in all, the factors that determine both transport prices are pretty similar. Most importantly, it all boils down to the shipping company that you choose. So, how can you find a suitable carrier for your precious wheels?

Additional Tips on Finding a Good Shipping Company

Like any other process, research does a lot of good when hunting a car or motorcycle shipper. You want to find one who can successfully deliver your vehicle safely without straining your wallet. Here are some ways to ensure you land a responsible carrier.

  • Compare quotes from different companies. If you have more options, you can compare prices as well as service quality.
  • Ask people about their experiences. On top of reading reviews, reach out to previous customers and learn about how the company took care of their concerns.
  • You don’t need a deposit to get a quote. Remember that a quote is an estimate, and you shouldn’t commit just to obtain an estimate.
  • Ask the right questions. How will you handle my car? Who will drive the trailer? How can I submit claims if something happens? These questions can give you an idea if the company knows what they’re doing.

Price is vital to know when shipping any item, no matter how big or small. However, it’s also essential to look beyond the numbers sometimes. You don’t want to settle for too low a price if the service quality isn’t good. That said, make sure you get to know your vehicle shipper well.

Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.