Step-by-Step How To Instructions For How To Ship Your Car Out of State

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Are you planning to move states and need to take your car with you? Car shipping is expensive, but can significantly reduce the stress of a long-distance road trip. Expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $1,300 depending on size of car, distance, type of transport. Here are some things to consider if you intend to ship your car out of state.

1. Get Several Quotes

It’s almost always a good idea to get several quotes from different companies so you can compare and further narrow down.

2. Understand the Difference Between Auto Carriers and Brokers

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If you are in the market to ship a car, you will find both carriers and brokers. Brokers serve as the middle person between carriers (i.e. people shipping your physical car) and yourself. They do not own trucks but work with carriers. Carriers will have their own trucks and ultimately do the actual vehicle shipment. There are advantages and disadvantages to working with both. Know what you are getting. Most importantly, reputable providers shouldn’t try to hide who they are.

3. Understand the Difference Between Covered and Uncovered Shipping

Some carriers may provide covered shipping in a large truck while others may provide uncovered open-air shipping. Find out the risks, price, and requirements involved with both options and make a decision accordingly. Usually, a covered carrier is a lot more money.

4. Find Out How Long the Car Will Take to Arrive


Once the car is shipped, it may take several days to a week depending on the distance from the drop-off point to the destination point, the delivery schedule of the carrier, and your specific agreement with the carrier. To avoid any miscommunication, it is always best to seek clarity on when your car will arrive at the final destination so you can start making plans accordingly.

5. Ask Existing Movers How Much Extra a Vehicle Add-On Costs

Ask your existing interstate movers (that are taking your other stuff for your interstate move) if they have a vehicle shipping service. It is worthwhile asking how much extra car shipping would cost you. This could be a good way to consolidate your moving and coordinate with a single point of contact instead of multiple people. Usually, though, these interstate moving companies will charge high rates for vehicle shipping.

6. Ask the Carrier for a Checklist Before Shipping

Before the car is shipped, get a checklist of everything needed in advance so that you are properly prepared with no issues. These are usually things to prep the car for before shipping including checking fluid levels, removing personal belongings, removing toll tags, etc. Get a full list from the carrier.

7. Make Sure Carrier and Broker are Licensed

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Shipping a vehicle is always a risk, which is why you will want to make sure that both the carrier and auto broker (if used) are licensed with the Department of Transport’s FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).

Per the FMSCA website, Auto transporters and transport brokers are both issued a six-digit MC Docket number. Auto transporters are also issued a seven-digit USDOT number. You can check the validity of the registration of any transporter or broker by doing a carrier search for their MC Docket number on this site.

Make sure they are registered. Check the FMSCA website for past complaints about the carrier or broker. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Check third-party reviews.

8. Make Sure the Carrier and Broker are Insured

You will also want to make sure they are properly insured. This includes, but is not limited to insurance to cover any damage that may occur as a result of the shipment either to your vehicle or to other vehicles and/or people. Ask the carrier about general and commercial liability insurance, along with professional errors liability insurance.

Check your existing policies for your car and homeowner’s/renter’s insurance to see what is covered.

Find out what is covered and what is not, and how to file claims if necessary.

You may want or need to purchase additional supplementary insurance. Confer with a licensed, reputable insurance agent.

9. Take Pictures and Document the Condition of the Car

You will also want to take before and after pictures of your vehicle, so you can keep track in case of any issues with the vehicle.

Shipping your car out of state doesn’t have to be too difficult if you know what to do.


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