Your car is one of your most valuable assets, so when you need to ship it to or from Tampa, you expect a company to care for it as you do. ConsumerAffairs researched the best auto transport companies in Tampa to help you find one that’s right for you.
To choose the best auto transport in Tampa, you'll have to measure the cost of shipping your car against the services and reliability of each company. Often, the cheapest rates do not include insured drivers, guarantees of safety or door-to-door service. Decide how easy you want the shipping of your vehicle to be and how important safety and insurance is to you. Remember that insurance provides a safeguard against vehicle damages—damages that you'll have to pay to fix otherwise.
How much does it cost to transport a vehicle to/from Tampa?
Shipping cost is impacted by a number of variables, including the season, the city you're relocating to or from and the type of transportation you expect. In Tampa, you're likely to pay more during the winter months because a lot of people move south for the winter, so auto transport companies will be busier. If you choose to ship your car in a closed carrier, your car will be protected from weather and debris, but this service is typically more expensive than standard open carriers. Gas prices also influence price, as does the type of car you're transporting.
Tampa is a popular place for relocation. People move to the city for many reasons:
To escape miserable winters
To take a new job
To attend school at the University of Southern Florida or University of Tampa
For a military transfer at MacDill AirForce Base
To seek medical treatment at places like Moffitt Cancer Center
In the winter in particular, a lot of people move to Tampa temporarily or permanently from northern cities. Take a look at the estimated cost to relocate your car from these popular northern cities:
New York, NY
$925 - $1,125
$725 - $995
$725 - $925
$725 - $1,000
San Antonio, TX
$675 - $875
Fort Bragg, NC
$475 - $675
$575 - $775
New York, NY
$725 - $995
Note: Based on shipping a large, operable sedan in an open carrier with availability 45 days in advance.
What to keep in mind to get an accurate quote
Enclosed shipping will be more expensive than an open carrier. If you're transporting a sedan, you'll pay less than if you're shipping a truck, van or SUV. Larger vehicles weigh more and tend to take up more space. Special equipment is often needed for non-running vehicles and not all companies can transport them. Make sure you ask before you make a reservation and prepare to pay more.
Geography matters, too. In Tampa, shipping costs with most carriers will be the same whether you're shipping from downtown Tampa or a suburb like Wesley Chapel or Brandon. But in other places, you may pay more for rural or remote destinations. If you're way outside of a major metropolitan area, your costs will be higher or you may have to pick up/drop off your vehicle in the nearest city.
Be flexible when it comes to scheduling your pick-up and arrival time. Depending on travel distance and the company you choose, you should expect your vehicle to arrive a few days later than originally stated. If you're willing to pay a premium, you can choose a transport plan that comes with a guaranteed day for pick-up.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) advises consumers to be smart when hiring an auto transport company in Tampa. Make sure you understand the difference between a broker (the company that finds you a carrier) and the actual transporter. Make sure the company you use is registered with the FMCSA and can provide a USDOT number.
Avoid being scammed by choosing from the list of trusted companies below.
One of the benefits of eShip is its status as a moving broker licensed by the Department of Transportation. With over 2,000 long-distance auto moves per year, they have the experience Tampa consumers are looking for. You can also track your vehicle online while it’s being shipped. No deposit is required up-front.
AmeriFreight ships your car door-to-door and provides all the protection and insurance Tampa shoppers need when they’re looking for a reliable way to move their vehicle. Members of the military receive a discount, so if you’re transferring to or from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, mention that when you’re asking for a quote.
Ship A Car Direct
Ship a Car Direct offers Tampa customers many resources, including a FAQ sheet and educational videos about shipping your car out of state. Receive an online quote instantly, without providing any personal information. There’s a damage-free guarantee, and the company is licensed, bonded and insured. Deposits are not required to book.