Shipping a car from Alabama to California Guide

shipping a car

Understand the basics of auto transport. Request your free quote online or call to speak with one of our logistics experts!



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Drivers have all sorts of reasons for shipping their vehicles between destinations – relocation, buying or selling a car out of state, participating in an auto show, just to name a few. Contrary to popular belief, auto transport doesn’t have to be stressful. For flawless vehicle shipping experience, invest some time to understand the basics of the auto transport industry. And whether you are new to car shipping or consider yourself well-versed in vehicle transport, Corsia Logistics auto relocation specialists are here to make sure that you and your vehicle have a flawless experience.

What options do I have when shipping a car from Alabama to California?

There are two main options for when you need to move a car from Alabama to California:

  • drive your vehicle all the way to California
  • hire a professional auto transport company

Driving from Alabama to California implies a cross-country trip. It would be a great option if you are up for a big road adventure. Road trips are great because they make us slow down, appreciate the ordinary, be spontaneous and resourceful. And driving itself can be a sort of meditation. It takes your mind off everything else and forces you to focus on the activity of driving. However, traveling long distances by car is not the easiest, nor it is the cheapest way to go. And a cross-country road trip is definitely not something you do on a whim. When the distance is greater than 200 – 300 miles, we recommend shipping the car instead of driving it.

Hiring an auto shipping company saves you time and spares your car additional hundreds of miles of wear and tear. When you have to move a vehicle across the country, it often means adding at least a thousand miles to the odometer, oil change, possible flat tires and other unplanned for issues.

And when you compare all costs involved, shipping a car from Alabama to California is also often cheaper than driving it yourself. All you have to do is find a reliable auto transporter and make sure your car is ready for shipping.

What services do auto transport companies offer?

You will have to choose the carrier type and the time frame of delivery. It all depends on your budget, time allotment, and the level of protection you want for your vehicle.

Open auto transport is a standard shipping method and also the most affordable. Your car will be shipped on a double-deck trailer designed to carry up to 10 vehicles at a time. Small open carriers that load one or two vehicles are used for local, less than 300 miles, and expedited deliveries.

If you are looking to add an extra layer of protection, you can choose to ship it via enclosed auto transport. Enclosed trailers have soft or hard side walls that protect vehicles from weather and road elements. Most of these trailers are designed to haul between 5 and 7 cars at a time. Although a single-vehicle enclosed trailer may be available upon request. Due to the extra protection it offers, enclosed auto transport is a pricier solution.

Whether you are shipping via open or enclosed auto transport, you can request a top-load for your vehicle. For an extra fee, your car will travel on a top-deck of a trailer, which ensures against possible leaks from other vehicles.

If you are on a tight timeline and need your vehicle to be delivered on or by an exact date, request expedited auto shipping. Guaranteed delivery is a premium service that comes with a premium price.

How much does it cost to ship a car from Alabama to California?

Beyond the final figure, it’s important to understand how vehicle shipping cost is calculated. The final cost to transport a car depends on a few factors.

  • Vehicle make and model
  • Modifications
  • Vehicle condition
  • Type of service
  • Distance and locations
  • Supply and demand

Each and every factor is important when we determine the right cost to ship a vehicle from Alabama to California. Vehicle’s make and model and the distance set the base price for shipping. However, they are not the deciding factors. The type of carrier and the vehicle condition always affect the price. Shipping in an enclosed trailer isalmost always more expensive. If a car is not running on its own power, the cost of shipping increases. When you are in a rush and need your vehicle delivered fast, you’ll have to pay more for expedited delivery.

However, the current supply and demand situation on a given route is usually a deciding factor. Fluctuations happen daily and that is why it is very important to track these changes constantly on national dispatch boards.

When looking for a car shipping quote, do not settle for the lowest price, especially during the peak season. Some auto transport companies will low ball the price and then later ask for more money because they cannot find a carrier to pick up your vehicle at such a low rate. Others, unfortunately, overcharge due to various reasons. Look for a reasonable amount – a golden mean, a realistic price that will ship your vehicle in a timely and professional manner.

Our team of logistics experts provides manual tracking of daily supply and demand fluctuations. This enables us to quote a realistic current market price that will ship your vehicle in a professional and timely fashion.

Also, in your search for the best car shipping price, you’ll be offered instant and manual quotes. Before you choose in favor of one or the other, understand the difference between the two.

What documents do I need to ship a car from Chicago to Arizona?

Unless your vehicle is traveling abroad, we don’t need any documents from you. Domestic shipping is simple. You or someone on your behalf will need to release the car, together with the keys, to a carrier at pick up and sign the Bill of Lading (BOL). BOL is not only a receipt but also an important inspection report. Before signing the document, it’s important to make sure that the carrier driver marked down all the existing damages.

Is my car insured during transport?

Yes, it is. Legally all auto transporters must carry a minimum amount of insurance. 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 information with your potential shipper.

Moving to the Golden State

Shipping a car to California from Michigan

Getting ready to leave the Yellowhammer State behind and head to California’s sunny beaches? You are not the only one. Every single day, California welcomes newcomers full of dreams, ideas, and positive energy. Compared to Alabama’s population of fewer than 5 million, California is home to 39,77 million people (currently the most populated state in the US). And according to various surveys, California is one of the best states to live in the US.

Since the state is very spread out, its climate ranges from polar to subtropical, depending on which part of California you decide to move to. Compared to the Heart of Dixie, which has a humid subtropical climate, the Golden State has a Mediterranean climate.

Economy and employment

The state of California is known for its rich and diverse economy as well as its recent boom in financial services and real estate. Moreover, the state is also known for its high taxes, expensive housing and living costs, especially for someone moving from Alabama. On the bright side, salaries in California are much higher than the national average. Once you move to the Golden State, you will be able to have a full-time job and a few gigs on the side if you need to earn some extra money.

You can find plenty of job opportunities in finance, real estate, the entertainment industry, government, scientific and technical business services, IT, and so on. Following your dream as an entrepreneur or starting your own business is also possible in California. You just need to be persistent and give your best to succeed in everything that you set your mind to.

Housing and Living Costs

Besides Hawaii, California is one of the states with the most expensive housing and cost of living in the US. If we compare Los Angeles to Huntsville, for example, the cost of living in L.A. is 82% more expensive. Its median home costs are also way more expensive — 350% more expensive to be exact.

Don’t despair though. There are plenty of other cities in California that are not as expensive as Los Angeles. Among the top places to live in California are Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Irvine, San Jose, Fresno, and San Mateo County.

Things to do in California

With such a perfect weather and so many breathtaking landscapes, sunny beaches, as well as yummy food, and diverse culture get ready to have your schedule crazy busy once you move to the Golden State. Among the top things we recommend you to visit, as soon as you have free time, are the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Napa Valley Vineyards, Hollywood hills and Beverly Hills, The Death Valley, Channel Islands, Kings Canyon, and the Redwoods National and State parks.

All nature lovers are welcome. California is perfect for anyone who loves to practice outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, surfing, barbecuing, swimming, and skiing. There is a great number of music festivals and events happening throughout the year as well, so all you need to do is just pick your favorite activities and events, and just enjoy your time and have fun.

Moving to California with a car

Moving to California with a car is already a great start. As the state is very spread out, having one or two cars per family is almost a necessity. Once you become a resident of California, you will have 20 days to get your car registered and 10 days to obtain a California driver’s license. Keep in mind that in order to do so, you need to hold a valid car insurance as well. For more information visit the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles online. Enjoy the new journey!