How to Ship a Car to Another State - (2023)

How to Ship a Car to Another State - (1)

Moving out of state can be stressful and figuring out a way to transport your car to a new state can be even more complicated, if you don’t have a plan. Lucky for you, after reading our expert tips, you will have a plan and be educated on all of your car shipping options. Whether you choose to drive the car yourself, enlist the help of a family member or hire a professional auto transport company, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know to successfully ship a car across state lines.

Smart Ways to Ship a Car to Another State

  1. Hire an auto transport company
  2. Transport your car with a moving company
  3. Hitch your car to a moving truck
  4. Hire a professional driver
  5. Drive it yourself
  6. Ship your car by train
  7. Ship your car by boat

Hire an auto transport company

The most stress-free route to ship a car to another state is to find a reputable car shipping company and let them handle all the heavy lifting. Get at least three car shipping quotes to compare shipping prices and offerings from different service providers to ensure you find the best car shipping companies for your needs and budget.

There are a lot of great auto shippers in the auto transport industry. Always be sure that the company you choose to work with can check off the following boxes:

  • Must be licensed and insured for interstate moves. To verify licensure, visit theFederal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’swebsite and look up a company’s U.S. DOT number. (Note that any company listed on our directory has already been screened for license and insurance.)
  • They have a good rating with theBetter Business Bureau(BBB).
  • Good online reviews.

Get started with a visit to ourcar shipping quotesfeature.

Transport your car with a moving company

Are you using a full-service moving company for your interstate move? They may be able to move your car(s) too. When you’re getting a quote for your interstate move, ask if they offer vehicle transportation services. Even if they don’t offer the service themselves, they may be able to connect you with an auto transport service.

Hitch your car to a moving truck

If you’redriving a moving truckto your destination, you may be able to hitch your car to the back using a tow dolly or car trailer. Check with yourtruck rentalcompany to see if it’s something they allow (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 in terms of 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) allow you to hire a driver to make the trek for you in your car. Many of them will even take your pet along and will stop for potty breaks along the way. This is a pricey option—and it will put miles on your car—but it may be a good way to go. Of course, if you hire a professional driver,alwaysgo through a driving company. Concierge transportation companies pre-vet their drivers and have the move covered by insurance.

Drive it yourself

While certainly the most time-consuming, this option allows you to have total control over your car’s move. If you’re moving a short distance, then this is certainly the easiest and cheapest option. If you’re moving out of state and/or across the country, this isn’t going to be easy – but it can be done. Those up for a road trip should consider this inexpensive alternative to hiring an auto transporter.

You might also consider asking friends or family members to drive the car. This will end up being more affordable than hiring a professional driver, but you want to make sure this person will be covered by your insurance and that they are a reliable driver. Overall, we don’t recommend this option, but it is an option if you’re in a pinch.

Car transport by train

Amtrak’s trains are capable of transporting everything from sedans and vans to SUVs to motorcycles. Those moving along the East Coast between Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida, can load their car onto theAmtrak Auto Trainto be transported to their destination.

Car transport by boat

While this is mostly reserved forinternational car shipping, you can still ship your car by boat domestically, too. Just like moving your car by train, this isn’t the most common method to move your car, but it could be right under certain circumstances. (For example, if you’removing to HawaiiorAlaska.)

How to Ship a Car to Another State - (2)

Tips for getting your car ready for interstate transport

To ensure your transport goes off without a hitch, prep your car before it hits the road. A professional auto transport company you work with will generally go over the specifics that you need to do before pick-up, but be prepared to do these tasks either way:

(Video) Guide to Transporting a Car to Another State or Internationally - Moving Tips 2022

  • Check your fuel gaugeand ensure that it is no more than one-quarter full.
  • Empty all items from your car.The company you hire may require your car to be empty or may just have a set weight limit.
  • Remove all valuables, including those documents in the glove compartment and standalone GPS devices.
  • Check your car’s tiresto ensure that they are inflated and in good condition.
  • Check your car’s batteryto ensure that it is fully charged.

To be safe, it’s also a good idea to check your car closely for any existing damage and to photograph it from all angles. That way, if it incurs any damage on the road, you will have proof that it was not pre-existing and can go through the appropriate insurance channels to be reimbursed.

How to Ship a Car to Another State - (3)

How to save money when you ship a car to another state using professional car shipping services

  • Choose an open-air carrier transport.This option will leave your car exposed to the elements, but it’s the most cost-effective option.
  • Be flexible with car shipping drop-off and pickup dates. Auto transport companies will typically have some flexibility in letting you pick your dates, but if you can swing it, be open to staying flexible on the dates.
  • Get multiple quotes. Get free auto transport quotes and a quick look at reputable companies in ourauto transport center.

FAQs about vehicle shipping

Keep reading to find answers to the most commonly asked questions about shipping cars using an auto transport company.

How do I ship a car to another state?

If you’re not driving a car yourself or hitching it to the moving truck you’re driving, you can use aprofessional auto shipping companyto move it for you either in an open-air or enclosed carrier. Other car transport services include using a professional driver to drive it for you and shipping your car by boat or train. The last two are less common, with limited options.

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

If you’re using a professional car shipping company, there are a lot of factors that make up the total cost to ship a car to another state, thoughaverage car shipping costsare about $600-$1,000 for a four-door sedan and $800-$1,070 for a small van, pickup, or SUV (based on a New York to California move). You’re more likely to hit the lower end of the range if you move in the off-season winter months. Likewise, expect to spend more if you’re moving in the summer.

Other factors that will affect the total cost of shipping a car to another state include:

  • The size and weight of your car.The bigger and heavier your car is, the more it’s going to cost to move.
  • The distance of your move.As you would probably expect, long-distance moves cost more due to increased labor charges, fuel charges, and tolls.
  • The make and model of your car.The type of vehicle and specifics of your car do factor in when it comes to the total cost. Expect to spend to transport a luxury or classic car. Those types of cars will require more individualized attention from the shipping service.
  • The time of year you’re moving.You’ll spend more to transport a car to another state if you’re moving in the summer than in the winter. There’s a higher demand for auto shipping services at that time.
  • The type of transport you choose.Costs vary depending on whether you opt for an enclosed or open-air carrier. We’ll get into more detail on those below.

An important additional cost to consider is insurance. All legitimate auto transport companies must carry insurance, but it may not be sufficient for your needs—especially if your car is very valuable. Check with your existing auto insurance policyholder to see if your plan covers long-distance shipping, or consider purchasing supplemental insurance that will protect your car in the event something happens on the road.

(Video) Three Easy Steps To Ship Your Car To A Different State | Move Car

Enclosed transport vs. open-air transport

A big cost determinant will be thetypeof transport method you choose—i.e., an enclosed carrier or an open-air carrier. Open-air carriers tend to be the most popular shipping method since they run cheaper than enclosed carry transports, but there are a few variables to keep in mind aside from just cost.

Open-air carriers

You’ve likely seen a lot of open-air carry transport vehicles on the road. Typically, they hold about nine to 10 cars on two separate levels, each car safely secured to the base so it doesn’t move around.

These types of carriers are more readily available, which is part of the reason that they’re the more affordable option. Having your car completely visible during the entire trip is also an advantage in that it allows the driver to notice any signs of damage immediately. That being said, open-air carriers mean that your car is exposed to the elements during transport, including any inclement weather. This makes it more susceptible to damage in the first place.

Another notable aspect of open-air transport is timing. Because open air carriers transport nearly a dozen vehicles at a time, they’re usually making multiple stops on their trips. This can push back your vehicle’s delivery date and may also mean that your car is dropped off at a central hub in your area instead of directly at your door. Inquire about delivery specifics when sourcing quotes so that you don’t inadvertently sign up to get your car a week or two after you expect to.

Enclosed carriers

If you want your car to be completely protected during the shipping process, you’ll want to go for an enclosed carrier, though it will cost you more. Enclosed carriers have a few big advantages that warrant the price hike, including a lack of exposure to outside elements and higher overall security. And many times, there are only about three to five vehicles on the carrier at a time, which means you get your car back faster.

The biggest con, of course, is the price tag. According to A-1 Auto Transport, shipping your car on an enclosed carriercosts about an additional $0.25 to $0.50 per mile, which adds up quickly if you’re sending your car across the country. If you’re worried about exposure to the elements or are shipping a luxury or classic car, it’s worth looking into.

What is the cheapest way to ship a car to another state?

The cheapest way to move a car, in most cases, is to drive it yourself. But if you hire a professional car shipping company, costs depend on the car’s size, weight, the distance of the move, the time of year you’re moving, and other factors. But, typically, the cheapest way is by an open-air carrier.

(Video) Shipping Your Car To Another State – Move Your Car Easily

What factors impact the cost of shipping a car to another state?

Thecost of auto transportwhen using an auto transport company typically depends on several important factors, including the time of year (the demand is higher in the spring and summer months), the size, weight, the make and the model of your car (for example, a luxury car will cost more to transport), the distance traveled, the type of auto transport, the level of service (door-to-door service transport rates will cost more than picking up your car from a specific delivery location), and any added insurance cost.

Can I ship personal items in my car to another state?

No. The car transport company is not a moving company and doesn’t have a license for this type of service. Plus, its insurance policy covers your vehicle only, not your belongings inside it.

Can I have a full gas tank?

It’s preferable that you only have one-fourth of fuel in the tank, as it adds to the car’s overall weight.

Should I use an enclosed car carrier to ship a car to another state?

It’s safer than the open-air carrier but also more expensive. If you are shipping a vintage, luxury or rare car, or your car has sentimental value across state lines, then opt for the better protection of the enclosed carrier.

What kind of paperwork is needed by the car shipping company?

Typically, two documents. The bill of lading and the insurance terms and conditions. You might also get asked for things like your ID and title and registration, but it’s not legally required to ship a car.

How can I prepare my car for transport?

Check that your car’s tank is no more than one-quarter full, remove all personal belongings (especially valuables), check your car’s tires and battery, disable the alarm, wash your car (that way, any damage will be more visible at the before-and-after inspections), and give your key to the carrier.

How does auto transport insurance coverage work?

The carrier must have auto transport insurance that will cover your car (but not your belongings inside it) during loading, transport and unloading. You can also purchase additional insurance if there’s a need for it. You don’t need your personal car insurance to ship your car, but you need it to drive it away and in case you need to file a claim.

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How do I ship a car from one state to another in the US? ›

5 different ways to ship a car from one state to another
  1. Drive it yourself. ...
  2. Hire someone to drive it for you. ...
  3. Use a train shipping service. ...
  4. Use an airplane shipping service. ...
  5. Use an auto transport service. ...
  6. Open car shipping. ...
  7. Enclosed car shipping. ...
  8. Guaranteed pick-up.
14 Feb 2022

How do you transfer a car to another car? ›

A car hauling trailer, either open or enclosed, is the best and safest option for towing a car with another car. With a car hauler, all four wheels of the towed vehicle sit on the trailer. Simply drive the car up onto the trailer and secure it with straps and/or chains.

What will you do to move the vehicle? ›

Very slowly let out the clutch until you feel it bite. And you start to go forward at that point

How many people does it take to move a car? ›

an average city car around 1000kg. People can lift around 20-25kg safely, but many can lift a lot more than that (NOT RECOMMENDED) so it could take 20 people to lift a vehicle or maybe even 5 or 10 people if each of those people could lift 2 or 4 times their recommended amount.

Can I put stuff in my car when I ship it? ›

Although it is legal to ship items in your vehicle or trunk, many companies prefer that you do not as there is always a risk of theft or damage to the items during transport. Most companies recommend that you remove all personal items from the vehicle prior to shipment.

How long does it take to ship a car? ›

How will the vehicle transport take? Auto-shipping companies vary in their efficiency and procedures. There are no guarantees on dates and times. After you have placed the order it could take up to 7 days for pick up and anywhere close to four weeks for delivery depending on certain variables.

How do you move a car without driving it? ›

One of the most popular ways to transport a car is to hire an auto transporter to ship it. By opting to ship, you won't have to worry about driving your car a long distance or putting miles on your car. Shipping a vehicle is done by either placing the car on an open-air trailer or an enclosed truck.

Can I push a car by myself? ›

Unfortunately, you can't push a car by yourself. Besides the large amount of force it would take to push the car by yourself, you wouldn't have someone to steer the vehicle. Anyone who attempts to push a car alone could find themselves in physical danger.

How many boxes can you fit in a car? ›

If you have a standard sedan, you can fit many boxes in your car: 77 small, 38 medium, 25 large, or 6 extra-large boxes. This assumes that you use the area behind the driver and passenger seat and the trunk and doesn't account for leaving space around the windows to have a clear view while driving.

How do you move a car across the country? ›

Most vehicles can be transported on either a car trailer or tow dolly (a mini-trailer with only two wheels). Car trailers usually aren't affordable for trips of more than 500 miles. On the other hand, tow dollies can generally save you money, even for cross-country trips.

How do you move a car without a key? ›

Tips Hacks on how to MOVE YOUR CAR without the keys ... - YouTube

How much does it cost to tow a car 100 miles? ›

Average prices based on distance are as follows: 5 miles or less: $35-$125. 40 miles: $125- $275. 100 miles: up to $600.

How much does it cost to ship a car across the US? ›

The average cost to ship a car is approximately $1,290. analyzed nearly 700 car shipping quotes to calculate industry averages. We found that costs range from about $630 to transport your vehicle a few hundred miles on an open carrier to around $1,810 to send your car across the country in an enclosed truck.

How much do cars weigh? ›

Average weight of consumer vehicles
Body styleExamplesAverage weight
Compact carToyota Corolla2,600 to 3,000 pounds
Midsize carToyota Camry Honda Accord3,300 pounds
Large carDodge Charger4,400 pounds
Subcompact SUVKia Soul Honda HR-V2000 pounds
6 more rows
20 Oct 2021

Should you ship your car open or enclosed? ›

Is enclosed transportation safer than open shipping? Yes, enclosed transportation is safer than open shipping. Because your car is shipped inside of a closed trailer, enclosed auto shipping better protects your vehicle against bad weather and road debris than open auto shipping.

How much can you pack in your car when shipping? ›

Car shipping companies typically allow for 100 lbs. of additional weight free of charge; however, more weight can mean more cost. It's important to communicate with your car carrier to be sure they allow additional weight, ship personal items in vehicles, and what specific rules they may have.

Does car need to be empty when shipping? ›

By the regulations, the car should be empty, but driver allows to put up to 100 lbs in the trunk of the car. Typically a carrier will request an additional $100 for every 100 lbs that exceed 100 lbs that you can put for free. And still, the carrier will ask you to put everything in the trunk.

When should I ship my car? ›

You can ship your car at any point during the year. However, there are times when it is much busier in the car shipping industry. Thus, it will take a little longer and cost a little more to ship your car during those times. Typically, the best time to ship a car is in the fall.

How long does it take to ship a car 200 miles? ›

Driving time and distance traveled is one of the most obvious factors.
How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car?
Distance to travelLength of shipment
1-200 miles1-2 days
201-600 miles2-4 days
601-1,000 miles3-5 days
1,001-1,500 miles4-6 days
2 more rows
24 Sept 2018

How long does it take to unload a car carrier ship? ›

At the destination, vehicles are unloaded the same way, by driving them off the cargo vessel. This process usually takes anywhere from three-weeks to a month to get from port to port.

Should you ship your car open or enclosed? ›

Is enclosed transportation safer than open shipping? Yes, enclosed transportation is safer than open shipping. Because your car is shipped inside of a closed trailer, enclosed auto shipping better protects your vehicle against bad weather and road debris than open auto shipping.

How much does it cost to ship a car from California to Washington DC? ›

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car from California to Washington? Depending on your origin and destination cities, the price for shipping a car or truck from California to Washington can range from $600 to $1,500 or more.

Can car be transported by train? ›

So car transport by Train will be the safest, secure and affordable option. With the help of Indian Railways, your car will be delivered to your destination city and charges are also economic. You can choose any container, it wants cost much as compared to the private car shifting companies.

How do I register an out of state vehicle in Texas? ›


To do this, you must visit your local county tax-assessor collector office. You will need your insurance card, proof of vehicle inspection (the Vehicle Inspection Report from the inspection station), and proof you own the vehicle, such as the registration or title from your previous state.

What's the difference between open and enclosed transport? ›

With open transport, your car is usually transported on a long, two-level trailer. Open transport is suitable for any type of vehicle, especially for standard models or used cars. With the enclosed transport, your car is shipped via a car carrier with a fully enclosed trailer.

What is enclosed vehicle transport? ›

With enclosed car transport on the other hand, your vehicle is transported in a fully-enclosed trailer which has a roof and four sides and provides a safe and secure environment for vehicles during transportation.

Is montway a good company? ›

Montway has both an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB. On the whole, Montway Auto Transport reviews from customers are positive. Montway has a 4.5-star rating from over 2,000 customers on the BBB. Looking at Google reviews, the company has a 4.6-star rating out of 5.0 from over 6,000 reviews.

How much would it cost to ship a car from California to Florida? ›

Estimated Car Shipping cost & transit time for popular California to Virginia Transport Trips
Shipping To/FromCostTransit Time
Los Angeles to Orlando$12997-8 days
San Diego to Miami$13997-8 days
San Francisco to Kissimmee$14997-10 days
San Jose to Jacksonville$13997-9 days
4 more rows

How long does it take to ship a car from California to Washington state? ›

Our standard auto carriers typically travel an estimated 500 miles per day – expedited pickup services may be available to reduce transit time by picking up your vehicle right away. The estimated transit time from California to Washington is 5 – 7 days.

How long does it take to ship a car from DC to LA? ›

Shipping a vehicle from Washington DC to Los Angeles can take up to two weeks.

Is it cheaper to ship by rail or truck? ›

Rail Freight is Competitively Priced

Since trains are more fuel-efficient than trucks, the cost to ship freight via rail is very price competitive. In fact, shipping by rail uses approximately three times less fuel than trucks, saving in fuel surcharges.

Can I put my car on a train to Florida? ›

The Auto Train transports you and your car (or van, motorcycle, SUV, small boat, jet-ski or other recreational vehicle) nonstop from the Washington, DC area to Florida, just outside of Orlando.

How long does it take to unload a vehicle carrier? ›

At the destination, vehicles are unloaded the same way, by driving them off the cargo vessel. This process usually takes anywhere from three-weeks to a month to get from port to port.

How do I avoid paying sales tax on a car in Texas? ›

How can I avoid paying sales tax on a used car?
  1. You will register the vehicle in a state with no sales tax because you live or have a business there.
  2. You plan to move to a state without sales tax within 90 days of the vehicle purchase.
  3. The vehicle was made before 1973.
  4. You are disabled.
31 May 2021

How much does it cost to register a vehicle in Texas from out of state? ›

Registration fee (base fee of $50.75 for passenger vehicles and light trucks), Title application fee of $28 or $33, depending on the county, State portion of the vehicle inspection fee (up to $30.75)

Does Texas accept out of state car inspection? ›

Motorist Out-of-State When Inspection Expires

If your vehicle is out-of-state and you are unable to complete a Texas vehicle inspection to renew your vehicle's registration, you will be able to self-certify the vehicle is out-of-state and will be permitted to register.


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