How to Ship a Car to Another State When Moving?
Table of Contents
- 1. 7 Easy Ways to Ship a Car to Another State
- 2. How to Prepare your Car for Shipping?
- 3. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Interstate moves are notorious for the prep work that goes into them, barring instances when you plan to move lean – you know, without hauling your entire household possessions with you?
Then again, moving by its very nature was never going to be a stroll in the park on a lazy Sunday morning; unless, of course, you sign up for a full-service or white-glove type of moving service where the movers sweat the small stuff so you don’t have to – something we at SEKA Moving & Storage do.
If you’re a car owner, you need to figure out how best to ship a car to another state. This will involve separate planning from the rest of the belongings you plan to take with you. Good thing is, transporting a car to another state is not as much of a headache as the prospect may appear.
The first thing you need to do is work out the best way to move a car from state to state, then based on your decision, get your vehicle ready for the move.
7 Easy Ways to Ship a Car to Another State
Transporting a car to another state may seem daunting, but the upside is that you have a ton of options to choose from as a car owner.
There is no best way to ship cars from state to state as that entirely depends on individual preferences.
Nevertheless, you still need to factor in the cost of doing so because as much as you may opt for one method over the other, said method may not make much sense to you from a budget perspective.
Below are some of the ways you can transport a car from state to state.
1. Drive the Car Yourself.
This is an obvious choice for many people planning to transport a car to another state. The best thing about it is that it affords you – the car owner – total control over your car.
That aside, there are those who fancy long drives so the move presents a wonderful opportunity to cover some miles and turn this into a road trip.
However, the idea of being stuck behind the wheel for hundreds or thousands of miles is not one that sends the pulse racing for some people; plus, it might not be the most convenient in some instances either.
That aside, driving the car yourself might prove more suited for shorter distances over long-distance moving. Anything north of 500 miles could turn out to be costlier compared to some other alternatives, particularly in this era of exorbitant fuel costs.
Gas notwithstanding, you also have to budget for food and overnight stays if you’ll be spending endless hours on the road. As well, you need to keep some dry powder on the side for any eventualities when transporting a car to another state.
There’s also the wear and tear to consider if you will be clocking hundreds of hundreds of miles, not to mention the location in question and time of year. Winters in particular are not the best time to drive long-distance.
2. Entrust Your Vehicle With an Auto Transport Company.
One of the best ways to ship a car to another state is to use a vehicle transport company. These guys are in business for that particular job, so you can expect the best service in terms of reliability of service and vehicle safety.
More than that, an auto transport company makes for a fuss-free way to ship cars from state to state, making it the obvious choice if convenience (and vehicle security) is what you need. The car transport company can pick up your vehicle from your current location and drop it off at the point of delivery, so you don’t have to stress about driving conditions or terrain.
Even better, these companies haul cars on trailers specifically designed for transporting vehicles. That means you not only get to preserve your vehicle’s condition by going with this option, but you also don’t have to lose sleep over it. This is literally the pick of the bunch when evaluating methods for transferring a car to another state.
However, you need to be sure that the company is licensed and insured for interstate moves (you can check for their USDOT number on the FMCSA portal) and that they also enjoy positive online reviews, including a top rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
3. Use a Moving Company.
The third option available to you if you want to ship a car to another state is to do it through a moving company. Not all movers offer vehicle transportation services, though, so you need to check with them first.
Even then, you need to be sure the moving company services the route you’ll be using. For instance, you might find Brooklyn movers shipping cars from New York to New Jersey (or Connecticut); others servicing the New York to Florida route (and vice-versa); others doing California to New York (and vice-versa), and so on, and so forth.
Shipping a car to another state using a moving company is also convenient, but you need to do your due diligence before signing up with them to ensure you’re leaving your prized asset in the right hands.
It also helps to confirm how they transport vehicles. Do they assign a driver when shipping your car to another state or do they use a trailer for transport? Having this information in your back pocket can help you arrive at a more informed decision.
4. Hire a Driver.
Hiring a driver to ship a car to another state is the other option available to you. It absolves you of the inconvenience of driving the car yourself, leaving you to worry about other aspects of the move, content in the knowledge that the vehicle is already taken care of.
But there is a caveat: you can’t trust every Tom, Dick, and Harry with your car, license and experience notwithstanding – unless they are a close friend or family member you can trust. The best drivers to use when transporting a car to another state are professional drivers for hire, ideally from a concierge transportation service.
Also known as professional driving services, these companies vet the drivers in their ranks and are licensed companies covered by insurance.
Many offer additional perks such as pet transportation, meaning they can take your pet with them and plan for potty breaks en route. On the downside, though, they can be a bit pricey, not to mention the impact of the mileage on your car.
5. Hitch Your Car to a Moving Truck.
This works best if you’re relocating using a moving truck, owned or rented. You can then use a car trailer or tow dolly to hitch your vehicle to the back of the truck.
If you’re renting the truck, you might want to check with the truck rental company if they allow for this. If they don’t, no worries – there are those that do and can even rent out all the accompanying equipment you might need to facilitate the transportation.
This option to ship a car to another state is not for everyone, though. You need to be comfortable driving a truck, but also keep in mind that you’ll be hauling a car trailer at the same time, which raises the question of mobility challenges.
6. Ship Your Car by Train.
You can also use a train to ship your car to another state.
This option, however, is only available to those around the East Coast who can use Amtrak’s Auto Train service to shuttle their vehicles between Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida. The exact drop-off/pick-up stations are Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida (or the other way around).
You are allowed to stuff your vehicle with other possessions, a win if you’re only relocating with a handful of household possessions. But remember you are required to be on board the passenger train accompanying your car.
The best thing about using this method to ship your car to another state is the amount of wear and tear you can save your car. Unfortunately, it is very limited as far as the geographical jurisdiction goes.
7. Ship Your Car by Boat.
Lastly, you can also ship a car to another state by boat. While this is more popular for shipping cars internationally, the option is available domestically too.
Like the train method, though, it is only viable for people in select locations – moving to Alaska or Hawaii, for example.
How to Prepare your Car for Shipping?
Now that you’re privy to the various methods you can use to transport a car to another state, let’s walk you through some of the work that goes on behind the scenes in a bid to get a vehicle ready for shipping.
Yes, just like everything else, you need to prep your vehicle for shipping to ensure it arrives at the destination in pristine condition.
These tips mostly apply for instances when the car is being hauled as opposed to driven.
1. Make Sure the Fuel Tank Is No More Than a Quarter Full.
Not that there’s anything wrong with shipping a car from state to state on a full tank, but when using third parties like auto transport companies, usually there are other vehicles being transported.
Fuel is heavy, so if most of the cars have a full tank, that limits the number of vehicles that can be carried as commercial carriers are required by law to adhere to certain weight limits. When the vehicles are full of fuel, it also makes maneuverability more challenging.
Additionally, a lot of fuel in the tank makes the process of loading and unloading more cumbersome.
That said, one-quarter full is often a good amount to work with. That should be enough to get you to the next filling station when your vehicle touches down on the other end, but if you don’t want to risk it, half a tank should do yah.
2. Unload All Belongings From the Vehicle.
We mentioned that some options like using a train to ship a car to another state allow for packing other items inside the vehicle.
Outside of that option, though, some entities (particularly auto carrier companies) tend to have a set weight limit depending on car type and may thus require you to empty extra luggage from the vehicle before shipping.
In fact, most do not permit shipping vehicles with items inside, whether you’re moving your car to another state or to some other location.
3. Remove All Valuable Items.
As an extension of the previous point, it is best practice to take out any valuables you may have in your car when moving a car to another state, including those in the glove compartment.
Whether it’s tablets, standalone GPS gadgets, wallets, purses, and what-not, removing your valuables from your car thwarts any potential incidents of theft.
You would be well-served to remember that just because you are transporting your car with a professional shipping company does not mean their insurance covers any valuables you may have inside. You would be doing so at your own risk.
While you are at it, also consider removing stuff like roof racks, bike racks, and other such external attachments. This makes it easier for the moving crew to handle your vehicle during the loading and unloading process.
4. Check Your Vehicle Tires.
When shipping your car to another state, conduct some routine inspections before handing the keys over to the shipper.
Confirm the tires are properly inflated and in good condition.
5. Get an Extra Set of Keys.
This measure is precautionary. Keys can get misplaced by accident (or stolen), and should that happen, you don’t want to find yourself stranded as you wait for a solution.
To avoid finding yourself in that situation, it never hurts to have an extra set of keys on hand to bail you out in case anything happens, bearing in mind that one set will be going with the car.
6. Document Any Interior and Exterior Damages.
If you’re shipping a car to another state some thousands of miles away and concerned about the risk of damage to your car during transit, take the time to inspect the vehicle prior to shipping. You can either do this yourself or professionally.
When inspecting the vehicle, check for any pre-existing dents, dings, scratches, or scrapes on the vehicle’s exterior and take photos for proof should it get to a point where you have to make claims about new damages inflicted during transport. Feel free to do the same with the interior.
This particularly helps when transporting your car on an open-air carrier (vs enclosed).
7. Check the Car Battery.
Something else you can do before you ship a car to another state is to check the state of the battery.
This makes up part of the inspection process, so before shipping, check the battery to make sure it is fully charged.
As well, top off any fluids as need be.
If you’re planning to ship a car to another state, you need to plan well in advance.
Think carefully about the method of shipping, as this will impact everything from your budget to the condition of your vehicle, keeping things like mileage and general wear and tear in mind, in addition to vehicle security and convenience on your part.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car to Another State?
Well, it very much depends on the method you plan to transport with.
Planning to drive yourself? Then budget for gas, and – depending on distance – food and probably the cost of overnight stay.
You might need to plan for unexpected incidents along the way too, never mind contending with vehicle servicing costs in the end. The cost will differ if you plan to use a concierge transportation service – could be higher, could be slightly lower even.
If you’re using a professional shipping company to ship a car to another state, the costs will also differ depending on the type of transportation (open-air vs enclosed carrier), make and model of your car, vehicle size and weight, the distance being shipped, and time of year (transporting a car to another state is more expensive in summer than winter).
Regardless of the method you choose, insurance is something worth considering. If your existing vehicle insurance company covers long-distance shipping, great. If not, consider taking out a supplemental policy to protect your vehicle should anything happen during transport.
Can You Fly Your Car to a Different State?
Absolutely. It is possible to transport your car to another state by plane, although not all states allow for this option.
For example, California, Colorado, and Florida allow for vehicle shipping by plane, but it is not allowed in the State of New York, Arkansas, or Michigan – just to mention a few examples.
This is the fastest way to ship your vehicle long-distance, but it costs a pretty penny and is better suited for luxury or vintage models.
How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car From One State to Another?
The length of time it takes to ship a car to another state will largely depend on the distance in question and the method of shipping.
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