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Moving a Car to Another State: A Comprehensive Guide

  • Tips for car owners
  • Katie Carter
  • 9 minutes

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We understand that moving a car to another state can be quite stressful. If you’re like most people today, chances are you have more than one car to move around, making things a bit challenging. But fear not; we’ll figure it out together!

Moving your car to another state doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re planning a move, here we share some tips on how to make it go smoothly. Let’s look at each option to help you determine the best fit for you. 

Moving a car to another state 

Easy Ways to Move Your Car to Another State 

Hire an auto transport company 

Finding a good car shipping company and letting them do all the hard work is the least stressful way to ship a car to another state. Get at least three quotes for shipping your car to compare prices and services from different companies. This will help you find the best company for your needs and budget. 

Transport your car with a moving company 

Are you going across state lines with a full-service moving company? They might also be able to move your vehicle(s). When you get a price for your cross-country move, ask if they can help you move your car. Even if they don’t do it themselves, they may be able to put you in touch with a company that does. 

Hitch your car to a moving truck 

If you’re driving a truck to your destination, you can hitch your car to the back using a tow dolly or trailer. Check with your truck rental company to see if they allow it (if they do, most will also rent out the equipment you need). Do note that this will add more of a challenge to your drive regarding mobility, so if you’re already uncomfortable about hauling a big moving truck, you may not want to deal with a car trailer too. 

Hire a professional driver

Concierge transportation companies, also called professional driving companies, let you hire a driver to make the trip for you in your car. Many of them will even take your pet with them and stop along the way so it can go to the bathroom. This expensive choice will put more miles on your car but may be an excellent way to go. Of course, you should always go through a driving company to hire a skilled driver. Concierge transportation companies do background checks on drivers and have insurance to cover the move.  

Drive it yourself 

Even though it takes the most time, this choice gives you complete control over your car’s moves. This is the easiest and least expensive way if you only move a short distance. This won’t be easy if you’re moving out of state or across the country, but it can be done. People who want to go on a road trip should consider this cheap option to hire a car transporter.  

You could also ask friends or family to drive the car for you. This will be cheaper than getting a professional driver, but you must ensure that your insurance covers this person and is a good driver. We don’t suggest this option, but it could work if you’re in a pinch. 

Ship your car by Train.

People on the East Coast are the only ones who can make this choice. Through the direct-to-consumer freight train option, Amtrak Auto Train lets you take your car on a passenger train. But you do have to take your car with you on the train. It can take a lot longer to drive from Virginia to Florida than to fly, and a one-way ticket can cost close to $150 at this time. 

Ship your car by Boat. 

Moving a car by boat is the best (or only) choice in some states. If you need to drive a car to Hawaii, the only way is by boat. Alaska is another state where boat shipping makes sense. It is not cheap, though. At the time this was written, the boat ride from the Port of Tacoma in Washington to the Anchorage Port in Alaska cost more than $2,100.

How do you ship your car cheaply? 

Make an early reservation.

The more time you give companies to bid on your job, the better your chance of getting a low price. One company might offer $950 on the first day, and another might offer $875 on the second. The more time it takes for companies to bid, the lower your price will get.  

You can get the most out of making a ticket early for about two weeks, so you don’t have to wait for months. Just make plans. You could save a lot of money.  

Use open transport 

The big semi-trailers you see on the road are used to ship almost all cars. This is called “open transport” in the business world, and it’s a simple way to save hundreds of dollars.  

Only about 10% of vehicles are shipped in a fully enclosed container, which is expensive and generally unnecessary. 

Car shipping costs by transport type 

Distance   Open Transport Enclosed Transport 
500 miles $560 $790 
1000 miles $790 $1100 
1500 miles $1000 $1320 
2000 miles $1370 $1800 

Checks to make when collecting a car from the port 

Cars get shipped all the time, and they go everywhere worldwide. So, just like buying a car from a store, you must do a few checks. This ensures your car looks and works as it should and for your safety, before you start driving. So, here are seven things you should check when picking up a car from the port:   

  • Check for damage or scratches 
  • Check fuel level – never ship a car with a full fuel tank. Leave it around ¼ full for safety reasons. 
  • Check the oil level (the engine must be cold) 
  • Check water levels 
  • Check tires are above the legal requirements 
  • Check all lights are working
  • Wash the car – and enjoy your new car! 

How to inspect your car after shipping? 

Most of the time, professionals bring your car to your front door. But if you are staying in an apartment complex and there are no “proper” roads for an 18-wheeler truck to pass, you must set up the delivery time and date somewhere else. Wherever it is, you should be ready with the original inspection report about how your car was before it was shipped.  

Bring your camera, a notepad, and a pencil with you. Start taking a close look at your car.  

  • Inspect every inch of your car. Check for some new dents, scratches, or chips on the paint. 
  • Inspect the damage on exterior mirrors, door handles, cracks on the glass, and windshield condition. 
  • Check the tires and underside too. 
  • Open and close all doors, roll all the windows up and down, and check if the lock is still working. 
  • Run and drive your car back and forth, just to be sure that they are still working. 

You can file a claim. 

If your car got damaged during shipping, you could file a claim. To make a car insurance claim, you must show pictures and proof that your car didn’t have that specific scratch or broken glass before you give it to the shipping professionals. Car shipping companies are only allowed to ship your car and not any personal things you have in it. If any of your items go missing, they are not responsible. In this case, you won’t be able to make a claim. So, be careful and keep your things with you, not in your car.  

Questions you have about moving a car to another state you didn’t know whom to ask 

How much does it cost to ship a car to another state?  

If you use a professional car shipping company, the total cost to ship a car to another state depends on many factors. On average, shipping a four-door sedan from New York to California costs between $600 and $1,000, and a small van, pickup truck, or SUV costs between $800 and $1,070. If you move in the winter, you’re more likely to pay less than the lowest end of the range. Also, if you move in the summer, you can expect to spend more. 

What are the advantages of using a container to ship your car? 

The most common and practical way to move a single car is the “roll on, roll off” method. But there are a few places where it can’t be used. There is no way to get to the RORO shipping. So, the shipping method used in this case is sending in containers.   

There is a lot of desire for container shipping right now. The cheapest way to move over long distances is in containers. Container trucks are used to make deliveries. You can move any cargo: bulk, liquid, perishable, fragile, and flammable. This is done with the help of containers that can hold any data. 

What is the paperwork for shipping a car internationally?  

The specific documentation requirements may vary depending on the destination country; When you ship your car, you might have to deal with a lot of different papers, but only your bill of lading and your insurance terms and conditions are always required; others are: 

  • Bill of lading 
  • Insurance Terms and Conditions  
  • Lienholder authorization 
  • Absent owner authorization 
  • Title and Registration 
  • Proof of insurance 
  • Photo ID 

What are the rules and restrictions that I should follow while car shipping? 

The Federal Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a part of the Department of Transportation. It is in charge of regulating all motor carriers that cross state lines and fall under the authority of the DOT. It also wants to stop crashes involving vehicles and make them safer.  

Cross-country vehicle shippers may go through multiple states to complete their jobs. So, car transport companies that want to work in states other than their own must get all the licenses and certifications they need from the federal government. Here are the steps to follow up: 

  • Research and choose a reputable car shipping company. 
  • Clean your car thoroughly before shipping. 
  • Remove all personal belongings from the vehicle. 
  • Disable the car alarm system. 
  • Document and take pictures of any existing damage. 
  • Check and comply with any specific regulations at the destination. 
  • Ensure the fuel tank is no more than a quarter full. 
  • Provide accurate contact information for pickup and delivery. 
  • Understand insurance coverage and consider additional options. 


    Switch to coverage through Way.com for a new standard of affordable and best car insurance, no matter what type of coverage you have. Start by getting a free quote today to find out what low rates and savings you may be eligible for as a policyholder.

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