Shipping a Car from Chicago to Florida Guide

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In Chicago, the cold weather encourages people to think about spending time in Florida. And a big percentage of those folks actually pack up and go.

Most of the people who move to Florida from Chicago are snowbirds. They are mainly retirees who flock down south to escape the bitter northern cold. This trip presents them with two main challenges, however. First, they have to plan and coordinate their entire relocation of items for a whole winter. And then they have to figure out a way to ship their car from Chicago to Florida.

You can find tons of moving advice out there, but very few car shipping guides. That is why we developed our auto transport guide when moving a car to Florida from Chicago.


What is auto transport and how does it work?

When you need to move a vehicle, the first thought is usually to hop in and drive it to your final destination. Spontaneous trips like this may not be the best idea when the driving distance is more than 200-300 miles, especially if you have to orchestrate your entire household move. The alternative would be to hire a professional car shipping company like Corsia Logistics.

People who are shipping a car from Chicago to Florida often compare it to household moving. However, such a comparison is not very accurate. Firstly, shipping a car is easier than organizing a household move. Secondly, the shipping dates are always only estimated, unless you pay a premium. Read on and learn more.

The first thing you do when you want to ship a vehicle is to hire a car shipping company such as Corsia Logistics. Two types of companies serve the auto transport industry in the US – auto transport brokers and carriers. A broker serves as a liaison between customers and carriers. Most carriers are single owner-operators who serve one or two routes and rely on brokers to find their loads. The carriers can rarely be found online, but rather only through specific dispatch boards only accessible to brokers and some auto dealerships.

A broker is able to search through a database of thousands of carriers and find the one who is heading your way and negotiate the best possible current market price. This is what makes the industry efficient and rates affordable. Moreover, the broker will make sure the carrier’s safety rating is good and insurance is in place.

What services do car shipping companies offer?

Auto transport services often vary by company. Customers can choose based on the type of carrier and on the time frame of delivery. Corsia Logistics provides the following car shipping services:

  • open and enclosed car carrier
  • standard and expedited delivery

Two types of vehicle carriers

Both open and enclosed auto transport have their advantages. You have to decide which of them best fits your needs.

Open transport is your standard car shipping service. You have certainly seen such trucks on the road. They have a distinctive look with seven to ten cars loaded on them. As an alternative, enclosed transport does not really look all that different from a regular dry van trailer used to transport all sorts of goods. Even if you have seen such a truck, you probably have not guessed it is a car carrier, at least not at first sight.

The more common of the two is the open carrier. It encompasses about 90% of all auto transport in the United States. Because of that it is cheaper and is used all the time by our regular clients and car dealerships. It is the perfect solution if you just want to ship your everyday vehicle. However, a lot of our clients have luxury or vintage cars that need more protection. For such vehicle enclosed auto transport is the only option.

Scheduling the shipment and delivery of your vehicle

Once you accept the quote and book your service, we will contact a carrier and schedule your shipment. But here is why shipping dates are only estimates. Auto transport schedules are made about a week in advance, and things can change at any time. They depend on how fast the carrier gets a full load of vehicles booked. And this is that way because most vehicles are by private owners who all have different demands.

When enough people reserve their spots on the carrier, a schedule is set. In the case of standard delivery, the carrier will pick up your vehicle within one to five business days. You will receive a phone call one to three days in advance to let you know the exact date and time of pick-up. After the driver picks up your car, the transit time from Chicago to Florida usually takes 3 to 5 days. When shipping a car delays are possible often due to adverse weather conditions, truck breakdowns, and other customers’ postponements.

If you are pressed for time, expedited delivery could guarantee that your car is picked up or delivered on or by a specified date and time. By booking an expedited shipping you request that your car takes priority over others. The carrier then adjusts their schedule and prioritizes your vehicle.

How much does it cost to ship a car from Florida to Chicago?

In the auto transport industry, several factors affect the price of transporting a vehicle.

  1. vehicle make and model
  2. vehicle modification
  3. vehicle condition
  4. type of car carrier
  5. distance and location
  6. supply and demand

The vehicle’s make and model sets the base price, or more precisely – its dimensions do that. When you tell us the make and model, we can look at its specifications and do the calculations accordingly.

After the previous factor comes the aforementioned transport type. The distance is also important, but it’s not first on the list. That is because it is not necessarily the case that longer distance shipping costs more. Shipments between popular locations with no detours from the interstate are less expensive. Remote and rural locations could be a logistical challenge and often cost more.

To get a lower price it is also important that your vehicle is in running condition. If it has a problem with the engine or brakes, that would require additional services (usually a lift to get it on the carrier). Naturally, this increases the cost.

Last, but not least, is the supply and demand fluctuations. This is one of the most important factors. Supply and demand can change daily and thus it is very important to track fluctuations manually across dispatch boards. It is a tendency that during fall the demand is higher for moving cars from northern to southern states. Because of that, the prices go up.

When looking for an auto transport quote, beware of foul practices! Some companies offer lower rates that are not current market prices and customers end up waiting for weeks for their car to be picked up. But the worst often comes after that. Sometimes these companies call and ask for more money to ‘expedite’ the shipping.

What documents do I need to ship my car from Chicago to Florida?

We do not need any documents from you unless the car is traveling abroad. Domestic transport is easy and simple. You or someone else would have to release the vehicle to the carrier at pick-up. The carrier will need the keys and for the person at pick-up to sign the Bill of Lading (BOL). The BOL serves not only as a receipt but also an inspection report.

Is my vehicle insured during transport?

Yes, it is. Legally all carriers must carry a minimum amount of insurance depending on the type of carrier. Carrier’s cargo insurance protects your vehicle against damages during loading, unloading, and transit and covers anything from theft, dents, and scratches to a total loss of a car. Liability limits, though, will vary from carrier to carrier. If your vehicle is especially valuable, make sure to discuss the insurance required.

Why should I hire Corsia Logistics to transport my car?

Corsia Logistics is a small, family owned company. We provide personalized attention. Our car shipping rates are realistic, current market prices because they are manual. We quote prices manually, not vie a calculator. We do not employ a software to calculate the prices. When you call to talk to one of our logistics experts, they calculate the price based on the factors mentioned above and stay with you throughout the process. So, you get to work with one agent only. This is how we manage to provide the most affordable and precise rate that will ship your vehicle in a timely manner. And above and beyond customer service.

At Corsia Logistics, we also make sure that every customer understands how important current market prices are and that they affect the timely shipping of their vehicle.


From the Windy City to the Sunshine State

For a long time now, Florida has been a safe haven for retirees. But they are not the only ones chasing after the southern sun. Young adults in their 20s and 30s have been moving there as well. Freezing temperatures and bone-chilling winds force Chicagoans to leave the city for the warmer climate of the Sunshine State.

In Florida, unlike Chicago, you will experience summer temperatures all year round. But, also be prepared for extreme heat temperatures and high humidity. Ironically, Florida is not all sunshine either. The state has 17 out of the top 30 cities for lightning, making it the lightning capital of the U.S. And hurricanes have become a regular occurrence across the peninsula. All that still doesn’t stop Chicagoans from making their way to the Sunshine State.

Once in Florida, you’ll be surprised at the number of people who are not permanent residents. The state has become a real melting pot of folks from all over the country, and the world, mainly thanks to the snowbirds. You can search for snowbirds communities online and start making connections before you head down to the Sunshine State. And even if you are moving to Florida on a permanent basis, you may still find valuable information within the snowbird communities.

In moving to Florida from Chicago, you may be able to afford a bigger house as real estate prices are lower than in the Windy City. Unless, of course, you chose Miami to be your new home. Another perk of being a Florida resident is the absence of personal income tax, and lower sales and property taxes.

Get excited about the weather

You will experience hot and humid summer days with temperatures in the 80-90s. But you will also enjoy New Year’s Eve in shorts and T-shirt. The state is also famous for its hurricanes that regularly hit the peninsula. The areas most likely to endure a hurricane are the southern tip, the east coast and the gulf coast along the panhandle. Funny fact we need to include – Disney World has never hit by hurricanes. Miracle indeed?

Meet the Floridians

People who have visited Florida confirm that there are differences in the atmosphere in the two regions, too. Usually, the panhandle is considered socially conservative and more economically disadvantaged. The northwest Florida’s economy depends primarily on military bases, beach tourism, agriculture and fishing. By contrast, central and southern Florida has theme parks, NASA and a very strong defense contracting industry. Naturally, this defines the diversity in people, too. Their mentality and attitude towards life is rather different, so make sure you do your research in advance. Visit the two Floridas, meet locals and get a feel of the environment before you decide to settle.

Moving to the Sunshine State

The Sunshine State was also named the Land of Flowers by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513. The state continues to attract new transplants every day thanks to its great weather, low housing costs, zero state income tax, rich cultural scene, and the longest in the nation coastline (over 1300 miles).

Despite the hurricanes and high humidity, the population of Florida continues to grow. With almost 21 million inhabitants, the state is currently the third most populous in the nation. Compared to Chicago’s humid continental climate with freezing winters, especially during the month of January, Florida’s climate is mostly subtropical hurricanes that occur throughout the state. Most parts of the state have a mild weather during the winter, and its summers are usually hot and humid. Its northern part experiences a subtropical climate, while tropical weather reigns in the southern part of the state.

Housing and Living Costs

You should do your research first and pick a region before you decide whether you should buy right away or rent first once there. These cities are among the most popular ones: Pensacola with Median Home Price (MHP) $136,300, Jacksonville (MHP – $154,700), Tallahassee (MHP-$168,800), Orlando (MHP – $171,000), Clearwater (MHP – $208,400), St. Petersburg (MHP – $185,000), Tampa (MHP – $187,400), Fort Myers (MHP – $204,100), Sarasota (MHP – $272,800), Fort Lauderdale (MHP – $289,300), and last but not least, Miami with MHP – $303,000.

If you move to Florida’s capital Tallahassee, for example, expect the cost of living prices to drop by about 40% compared to Chicago.

Economy and Employment

According to a report by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on March 22, 2018, Florida had a GDP of $967.3 billion in 2017, ranking in the fourth position in the US. The state’s economy is mainly fueled by trade, financial services, manufacturing, construction, and transportation services. Its tourism keeps thriving and contributing to the economy as well.

Job opportunities in the Sunshine State are also abundant with open job positions in various industries. In 2011, the state was named the third best state for business in the US. So if you plan to open your own business and be your own boss, Florida is one of the ideal states to do so.

Moving to Florida with a car

If you are planning on one of the following:

  • spending more than six consecutive months in Florida
  • accepting employment in the state
  • registering to vote
  • enrolling your kids to one of Florida’s public schools
  • filing for a homestead exemption

You will be considered a resident of the state. Hence you’ll need to get a Florida drivers license. You will have 30 days from establishing your Sunshine State residency to apply for the new document. Registering your out-of-state vehicle in Florida is also a must, and you only get 10 days to complete it once you have officially moved. Visit Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Administration for exact vehicle registration and Florida drivers license requirements.

If you have any questions about shipping your vehicle to the Sunshine State, please call us or contact our team online. Thank you.