Your car is designed to do one thing: move.
But when the engine isn’t running, that two-ton hunk of metal isn’t going anywhere fast. Thankfully, we’ve got car shippers who can lug our cars when we can’t drive them ourselves.
Maybe you’re making a long-distance move, or maybe you need to get your classic car to the auto show. No matter why you’re shipping your vehicle, you’ll want to hire a company that knows what it’s doing—and Ship a Car Direct definitely does.
From its low prices to its transparent FAQ page, here are the details on what we love—and don’t love—about Ship a Car Direct. (Or SACD for short . . . or not, that’s even harder to say.)
Pro tip: start the quote process now so you have an idea of what your auto shipment would cost as you read our review.
What to know about Ship a Car Direct
A very “direct” company—in more ways than one.
Ship a Car Direct is a broker. This means that the company doesn’t have its own trucks or drivers, but instead, it helps connect you with third-party “carriers.” You pay the full price for the auto shipment and then a brokerage fee on top of that for the broker.
While this may sound like some sort of pyramid scheme, it’s actually the way most cars get shipped. And Ship a Car Direct is not shy about it. In fact, the company’s FAQ1 page is very up-front about how the auto shipping industry really works.
Knowledge is power . . . for real
PS: This FAQ page is worth a read even if you decide to use another company.
So while we would prefer to skip the broker fee, we’ll take Ship a Car Direct’s transparency over saving a few measly dollars any day.
What you get with Ship a Car Direct
One auto transport salad with extra customer service sauce, please—hold the fancy add-ons.
Ship a Car Direct will do just what its name suggests—get your car from one place to another. But as the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to ship a cat. (Or is it more than one way to skin a car? One of those.)
Here’s a breakdown of which standard features and add-ons are available when you choose to transport with Ship a Car Direct.
Complete Ship a Car Direct features
|Feature||Available||Standard or add-on?|
|FMCSA certified*||Yes||Comes standard|
|Door-to-door pickup and delivery||Yes||Comes standard|
|Enclosed option||Yes||Costs extra|
|Non-running car||Yes||Costs extra|
|Expedited transport||Yes||Costs extra|
|Extra insurance coverage||Yes||Comes standard|
|Allows luggage in car||Yes (up to 100 lbs.)||Comes standard|
|Guaranteed pick-up dates||No||Not available|
|RV transport||Yes||Costs extra|
|Boat/ski-doo transport||Yes||Costs extra|
|International transport||No||Not available|
|Real-time tracking||No||Not available|
|Additional moving services||No||Not available|
|Free quote||Get a quote||Get a quote|
*FMCSA stands for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Ship a Car Direct’s service comes with the standard features you’d expect from any major auto shipper, like door-to-door shipping and closed-carrier options. You could compare its offerings to those of Montway Auto Transport, for reference.
There are a few ways that the company stands out, though, for better or worse. For example, Ship a Car Direct doesn’t have real-time tracking of shipments, so you have no way of knowing whether your priceless classic is sitting at a truck stop in Kentucky or pulling onto your street for delivery.
Another potential issue for customers is that Ship a Car Direct doesn’t do home or apartment moves. (It’s not called “Ship a House Direct,” after all.) You’ll have to contact a company like Allied for that.
In the “for better” department, we have Ship a Car Direct’s “damage free guarantee,” which comes standard on every shipment. More on that coming right up!
All licensed carriers are required to have their own insurance—which, in most cases, covers up to $1,000,000 in damages. However, there may be instances where the carrier’s insurance fails to cover damage to your car. This is where you’ll be happy you’ve got the “damage free guarantee.”
If you end up having to file a claim with your own insurance company, then Ship a Car Direct will pay your deductible (up to $500). While damage to cars in transport is rare, this policy can give you some extra peace of mind when you send your car out into the big, bad world.
Shipping other types of vehicles
Here are some alternative names for Ship a Car Direct: Ship an Airstream Direct. Ship a Motorboat Direct. Ship a Ski-Doo Direct. (Yes, I thought of those all by myself.)
The point is that this company can ship more than just your car. It can do RVs, boats, ski-doos, and most other large vehicles. But if you’re trying to ship your gnarly Triumph motorcycle, you’ll want to look into a good motorcycle shipper.
Ship a Car Direct transport experience
Just slap 526 stamps on your car and put it in the mailbox—right?
Ship a Car Direct’s reputation is among the best in the industry, despite a few negative reviews on the Better Business Bureau’s website.2 (BBB complaints are like embarrassing yearbook pictures—everyone has a few.)
But no matter how reputable a company may be, it’s always best to know what you’re getting yourself into. So here’s a basic rundown of what you’ll likely experience when you hire Ship a Car Direct.
Quotes and pricing
Some companies pride themselves on giving you an instant quote (that’s right, I’m talking about you, U-Ship). But Ship a Car Direct is less interested in quick ballpark quotes and more interested in accuracy.
The company will give you a quote range on the website, and then a representative will send you an email with an exact quote within a few hours. That means no phone call necessary. (Can I get a “heck yes” from my fellow introverts in the back?)
As for pricing, Ship a Car Direct tends to be among the cheapest auto shipping companies. In one test case that we sent out to both companies (shipping a Honda Accord from Chicago to Dallas), Ship a Car Direct was $89 cheaper than Montway Auto Transporters.
Auto shipping prices are notorious for fluctuating based on location and timing, so make sure to get a few quotes before choosing any company, including Ship a Car Direct.
Prepping your car
It’s time to say goodbye to your darling automobile. (They just grow up so fast, don’t they.) But you’ll want to double-check a few things before it gets loaded onto that auto carrier.
Make sure there aren’t any extra racks, loose parts, or other potential hazards attached to the outside of your vehicle. Fill up the tank to at least one-quarter, if it isn’t already. And please, for the love of all that is good, disable your car alarm!
If you do want to pack anything in your car, put it in the truck portion of your vehicle, not in the cab. And keep it all in a single bag or suitcase if you can. Remember: your car is not substitute for a moving container.
Once your car-shipper is dispatched by Ship a Car Direct, you’ll have to pay your deposit, or broker fee. This amount will be paid directly to the company.
Your carrier will contact you by phone to verify the address, pick-up time, and any other pertinent information (like if you live on a small street that’s hard for an 18-wheeler to access).
Once the carrier is there, you’ll need to do a quick inspection of the car (you’ll do this again at drop-off). These inspections are the basis for any and all insurance claims, so try to be thorough!
Finally, make sure someone will be there to receive the car. It doesn’t have to be you, as long as the person can sign off on the vehicle and, most important, give the driver a hefty stack of bills (yes, you’ll likely need to pay in cash or cashier’s check).
Recap: Is Ship a Car Direct a good mover?
A straight shooter in the wild, wild west of auto shipping.
There’s plenty to like about Ship a Car Direct, but if we had to choose our favorite thing, it’d be its honest, straightforward communication. This is one of the reasons that Ship a Car Direct has made it into the rankings for the best auto shippers overall.
There are also a few issues we found in our review. Here’s a quick summary for the TL;DR crowd.
- Services: Ship a Car Direct has all of the basics, from door-to-door shipping to closed carrier options. However, it doesn’t have some of the extra perks we like to see, such as real-time tracking.
- Quotes: You can get a price range instantly. You’ll have to wait a few minutes at least for an exact dollar amount. Prices are in the cheaper range compared to other major companies.
- Shipping: There shouldn’t be any surprises here, as long as you make sure to do your inspection and turn off your car alarm!
Has all this reading about auto transportation got you revved up? Well, head on over and get a quote on Ship a Car Direct’s website. Or if you’ve ever used them before, let us know in the comments!