Car Shipping & Auto Transportation

Moving to another state or to another country altogether will definitely test your decision-making abilities. One such important decision you need to make is how you’re going to transport your vehicle to the final destination – will you drive it yourself or will you hire a reputable car shipping company to do it for you?

Shipping a vehicle across the country is not easy but it’s not too complicated either thanks to the fact that the auto shipper you hire will take care of almost everything for you. Nevertheless, you’re still going to have to find one of the best car shippers in the country and prepare your own car for transport.

How to transport a car across the country or ship it to another country? Read on to learn your own important role in the car shipping process and to make sure your prized automobile stays safe and sound from beginning to end.

Should you ship your car or drive it?

It can be a tough decision whether to drive your car across the country until you reach the destination city and state, OR whether to have your car shipped to that new address by a dependable car shipping company. As you can imagine, there are advantages and disadvantages to each car shipping option, and you should definitely take a closer look at those pros and cons in order to reach the best decision for you, your family, and of course – your automobile.

Bear in mind that the dilemma of driving across the country or shipping your car may not always be easy to solve. Here are the major factors to take into consideration when wondering what you should do with your vehicle during a house move:


The drive distance to the new home should be the very first factor you examine.

When the new house or apartment is located within the same state or in a neighboring state, then it may be best to have residential movers transport your household items while you drive your own vehicle to the destination town or city. It’s a logical choice and you won’t be spending too many hours (or even days!) on the road either.

When your final destination is far away from where you are, like several states away or more, then it’ll make perfect sense to hire a car shipper to transport your car for you instead of having to drive it for too long across territories you’re not familiar with.


If you happen to be moving house during the cold months of the year, then that fact alone should make your choice much easier. Driving your car across the country in winter conditions – sub-zero temperatures, plenty of snow and ice, strong winds, and possible blizzards – is a rather risky endeavor that you should really think through before deciding to do it. In such cases, it’s much safer to pay a professional car transport company to get the job done quickly and safely.

When moving in summer, or late spring, or early fall, then you should be more willing to drive your car to another state thanks to the minimum risk of something bad happening on the road during the car trip.


How to ship a car across the country
Trusting a top-rated car shipping company guarantees a fast and safe delivery.

How much time can you spare? That’s a very important question when wondering whether to drive your car across the country or have it shipped. A road trip across the states can take from half a day or one full day to several days, depending on the distance, the road conditions, and the weather.

A car trip from coast to coast will take approximately 4 days to complete. Can you really afford to lose several days driving your car to the new address? Do the sensible thing and entrust your valuable vehicle to reputable auto shippers – taking the plane to your destination is the quickest way to do it.


Ultimately, your decision whether to drive or ship your car may come down to the safety factor.

There are numerous risks associated with driving your own vehicle to another part of the country – the car may break down or you could get into an accident of some sort. And even if the car trip goes smoothly, the extra miles you’ll have driven will contribute to the wear and tear of your personal vehicle.

On the other hand, using a top-rated car shipper to transport your car across the country is the safest option of them all. And if you opt to have your automobile shipped inside an enclosed trailer, then you can rest assured that the vehicle will be perfectly intact at delivery because it won’t get exposed to any harmful weather elements.


Needless to say, the COST of each car relocation option will be the deciding factor for you, at least in most cases. Follow the link below to learn more about how the cost to ship a car across the country and the cost to drive across the country will influence your final decision.

Learn more: Ship a Car or Drive It When Moving Across Country?

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How to find trustworthy car shippers

Once you decide that the best option for you will be to have your car shipped via professional car transport services, it’s time to find a car shipping company you can trust with your prized automobile.

And in case you still question your decision to go with the pros, here are the principal reasons why you should choose reputable auto shippers:

  • Experience. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to trust a car shipper that has many years of experience in the car shipping industry. The fact alone that an auto shipper has managed to stay alive in a highly competitive market can often mean that they must be doing something right.
  • Professionalism. The professional attitude toward their job is what sets apart the best car shippers from the average ones, or even the bad ones. You need to find a car shipping company that is honest and reliable in their business.
  • Reliability. You want to have your car shipped quickly and safely and that’s why you’re entrusting it to a professional auto shipping company. You want your car to arrive at the new destination in the exact same way it left the old one, and that’s only possible when you hire the services of a reliable auto shipper.
  • Affordability. Of course, you should also be looking for an affordable auto shipper – one that offers high-quality services at reasonable prices.
How to transport a car to another state
Do your homework right and your valuable car should be in good hands.

And now that you know exactly what type of a car shipping company you’re after, let’s go through the major steps of finding a reliable auto shipper.

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to pick one of the best car shippers in the country as long as you follow the right steps:

  • FILL in an auto shippers quote (it takes less than 1 minute).
  • INDICATE the make and model of your vehicle, the preferred car shipping method (open or enclosed), the current condition of your automobile (running or not running), and the shipping date. Click Get My Price Quote to get in touch with the best car transport companies in your area.
  • GET the car transport quotes and compare them carefully: the prices and the car shipping conditions.
  • CHECK the online reputation of the car shipping companies by accessing our database of car shippers reviews.
  • COMPARE the reviews and ratings of the auto shippers and pick the offer that best suits your budget and requirements.

Learn more: How to find the best car shipping companies

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

Shipping a car to another state or to another country will often come down to the shipping cost. In the majority of cases, it’ll be the price of the car transport service that will determine whether you choose to use that service or not. Unless you have no other choice, that is.

Follow the steps above to get in touch with experienced car shipping companies that will provide you with precise cost estimates. Nevertheless, it’s important that you have a rough idea about the average auto shipping costs so that you can be mentally prepared as well – that is, you know what to expect price-wise.

Factors that influence the car shipping price

But before we offer some average car shipping costs, let’s take a quick look at the factors that will affect the price you’ll have to pay for shipping your car to your new home.

  • Distance. The distance between the pick-up location and the drop-off location will, of course, affect greatly the car shipping price.
  • Size. The size of your car will influence the car transport price one way or another. As a rule of thumb, larger cars are more expensive to transport – SUVs, vans and pick-up trucks cost roughly $200 more to ship.
  • Weight. As you can imagine, the heavier your car is, the costlier it will be to ship it with a professional car shipper.
  • Make and model. Exotic cars usually cost more to get shipped to another part of the country.
  • Insurance. How much money you pay to insure your car for the road will also affect the final cost of shipping a vehicle to another state or country.

Average car shipping costs

And now that you know the factors that influence the car shipping cost, let’s take a look at some average auto transport costs. All in all, you should expect to pay from around $500 for a fairly short state-to-state move to roughly $1,500 for longer cross-country car hauls.

So, to get a pretty rough estimate about how much you will be expected to pay the car mover you hire, you can use the following chart:

  • Distance of 1 – 500 miles: $1 per mile;
  • Distance of 500 – 1,000 miles: $0.75 per mile;
  • Distance of 1,000 – 2,000 miles: $0.60 per mile;
  • Distance of 2,000 – 2,500 miles: $0.50 per mile;
  • Distance of more than 2,500 miles: $0.40 per mile;

Keep in mind that using this chart will only give you an approximate price that won’t include any extra services, including car insurance. Thus said, the price quote you receive from top-rated auto shippers in your area can be rather different and will depend mainly on the car shipping company you pick as your partner and your specific circumstances.

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

How to prepare a car for transport: Car shipping checklist

Having a successful household move is primarily about making the right decisions when it matters the most. You’re going to need a bit of luck too, but as long as you’ve weighed your viable options and picked the one that made the most sense, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a smooth relocation from start to finish.

Car transport checklist
Make sure your car is clean before you hand it over to the car shipping company.

Your decision to ship your car to another state using the quality services of a professional car shipper – reached after careful analysis of your house move situation carefully – will mean that you’re going to have to prepare your car for transport before the car shipping company arrives on the pre-arranged date and time.

The thing is that your car should be ready for pickup by the pros before they make an appearance. Therefore, to prepare your car for transport across the country, you’d be better off following a good car shipping checklist like the one below.

  • Choose a reliable auto shipper. In the end, your goal is to make sure your car will be utterly protected while on the road, and that ultimate safety level will depend primarily on the car shipping company that you pick. How to find trustworthy car shippers? Here’s how to do it.
  • Wash your car. The very first step to getting your car ready for shipping is to wash the exterior of your car. One of the reasons to do it is that you’ll be able to identify any signs of pre-existing damage when your automobile is clean – see below. If you happen to have enough time and desire to do so, you can also clean the interior of your vehicle – a task that most people leave after the car shipping process is over and the car is safely delivered to its destination address.
  • Inspect your car. It’s really important that you do a visual inspection on your vehicle to check for any pre-existing damage – scratches on the surface, paint chips, dents, rust, and so on. If you do find anything, make sure you document that damage by taking close-up photos of any damaged or problematic areas. Also, get several broad shots of your car as well. Those images will be included in the inspection report and will serve as proof in the unlikely event that your car did get any type of damage while it is being shipped.
  • Check your car for leaks. Check under the vehicle chassis and inside the engine compartment for any visible signs of fluid leaks. Also, look closely at the fuel tank area. If you do notice any leaks, you must have them fixed before your car is being loaded up for transport.
  • Leave only a bit of fuel. As a rule of thumb, you should leave around 1/4 of fuel in the fuel tank as you avoid adding any extra weight.
  • Check the car battery. Make sure it’s fully charged and safely positioned and locked in place.
  • Check the car tires. They should be fully inflated.

It’s really important that you have your vehicle ready for transport before the car shipping company comes to pick it up. Follow the link below to access the complete car shipping checklist because there are some additional steps to make sure your auto shipping experience is 100% problem-free.

Learn more: How to prepare a car for transport: Car shipping checklist

How to ship a car overseas

If you happen to be moving to another country for a good reason – work, education, retirement, love, etc., then you may decide that you want to take your car with you. That’s especially true when you’re moving abroad for an extended period of time and you’ve made the calculations that having your favorite automobile with you will be the better option no matter how you look at it, including from a financial point of view.

How to ship a car internationally
Your car is already on its way to the destination country.

When shipping a car overseas, the good news is that the international car shipping company you pick as your partner will take care of everything for you.

After all, the process of having an automobile shipped to another country, oftentimes overseas, is a rather complicated process and you’re going to need to hire the services of an experienced auto shipping company that can handle it all without any added hassle or stress for you.

Shipping your car internationally or not shipping it?

Of course, the very first question for you is whether or not you should pay to transport your vehicle out of the country. If unsure what to do, then you should simply weigh your options and then be practical in your final decision.

  • Time. If you’re moving abroad for an extended period of time, then it often comes down to whether you’ll have the required time to sell your current car before you move away.
  • Cost. Shipping a car overseas can cost anywhere from $700 up to $4,000, or more depending on a number of cost-forming factors. Do the math and see what the numbers are telling you. If your car is fairly new and/or well-preserved, then it may still be worth moving it to the destination country.
  • Storage. What will happen to your car while you’re away? Do you have a safe place where you can put it in storage? Can you ask a friend to look after it or maybe even use it when you’re not there?
  • Maintenance costs. Ask yourself what would happen if the car you just moved broke down in the new country. The cost of repair works and spare parts could easily get out of control in the new place.
  • Duration of stay. If you’re moving abroad and you have no immediate plans to come back anytime soon, then taking your prized car with you will make sense, at least in the majority of cases. You love your car, so why not have it with you? On the other hand, it won’t be worth it to ship your car internationally if you only plan to be out of the country only for a short period of time.

How much does it cost to ship a car internationally?

Needless to say, you would like to know exactly how much it’ll cost you to have your car transported to Canada, Mexico, Japan, to a country in South America or Europe, or maybe even to Australia.

But unfortunately, the cost to ship a car overseas can vary greatly depending on several key factors such as

  • the distance from the pick-up location to a major seaport in the country – Los Angeles and San Francisco on the west coast, Miami, Jacksonville, New York City, Norfolk, Charleston, Wilmington, and Baltimore on the east coast;
  • the distance to the destination country;
  • the shipment method: Roll On, Roll Off (RORO), Car shipping container, or air freight;
  • the size, weight, and condition of your car;
  • the taxes and charges in the destination country;
  • the international car shipping insurance.

In reality, it’s next to impossible to calculate the overseas car shipping cost due to the numerous variables which you have no way of knowing. Therefore, there’s only one way to learn that all-important price: to request international car shipping costs from experienced and reputable car shipping companies near you.

Use our International Car Shipping Cost Calculator to get in touch with international auto shippers – car shipping professionals that will give you precise cost estimates which will help you make an informed decision in the end.

On average, shipping an automobile from the U.S. to Europe starts from around $700 and goes up to $2,000. Also, shipping a vehicle from the United States to Australia should cost around $3,000.

Learn more: How to ship a car overseas

What to do after car delivery

Car transportation services
The successful end of your car shipping story is in your hands.

Once your car has been delivered to your address, there are several very important things that you are expected and recommended to do to complete properly the vehicle shipping process. If you can’t be there in person when your car is being delivered, then you must authorize another person to receive it on your behalf – a person you can really trust.

Car inspection

The very first thing you’re required to do after you get your car delivered is to inspect the vehicle for any signs of damage inflicted during transport. Assuming that there isn’t any damage, you’ll be expected to sign the necessary documents – the condition report and the Bill of Lading.

However, if you do find any transportation damage, then you should take photos of the problematic areas, register them in the condition report and get in touch with your car shipping company for advice about what you are supposed to do next so that the issue is corrected.

Car registration

If you just had your car shipped to another state, then another important task ahead of you will be to register your vehicle in the new state. Now, you shouldn’t postpone that post-relocation job too much because you’ll have a predetermined amount of time to register your car after the move is complete.

Contact the local DMV office to learn more about how much time you got to do it and the steps required for its successful completion. The car registration deadline will depend on the specific state you moved to – some states give as little as 10 days while others are more generous in that regard, offering as many as 30 days for newcomers to register their vehicles.

Car cleaning

While you won’t have a deadline to cleaning both the exterior and the interior of your vehicle, it’s always a good idea to do it soon after your car has been delivered, especially if you’ve used the more economic open car shipping method.

Learn more: How to ship a car to another state

How to ship a motorcycle cross country

When you’re moving across the country as the proud owner of a motorbike, then you’ll have to decide how your two-wheeler will reach the destination place. For a number of reasons, you can’t just get on your bike and drive it to the new home, can you? If you did it, who’s going to drive your car? And what about all the things you’re taking with your car on the cross-country journey, including your pets and a few select house plants?

In most relocation cases, the best solution will be to move your motorbike using a professional motorcycle shipping company. That way, the motorcycle shipper you choose will take care of your prized vehicle, delivering it safely to the address you’ve provided. But before that, you’re going to have to find a reputable, experienced and affordable motorcycle transport service provider.

Choose a motorcycle moving company

How to ship a motorcycle cross country
Hire a motorcycle shipper that will take good care of your valuable bike.

You have to find and pick a good motorcycle shipping company that you can trust with your valuable possession. The thing is that you can’t possibly trust any vehicle shipper that you find – the company you choose will have to specialize in transporting motorcycles across the country, and will have to be experienced enough to handle the job for you quickly and safely.

And of course, the motorbike shipper you single out will also need to have excellent reputation among their former customers (customer reviews).

  • Fill in a vehicle shipping cost estimator to get in touch with top-rated motorcycle shippers in your town or city;
  • Compare the motorcycle moving quotes you receive from the transportation companies;
  • Check the insurance coverage and liability of the motorcycle shipping companies you’re researching. The law requires that all motorbike transporters have both liability and cargo insurance in order to operate across the country.
  • Read customer reviews about motorcycle shippers to get a sense of how reputable and dependable those companies are.

How much does it cost to ship a motorcycle?

Of course, one of your major concerns will be to know how much it will cost to ship your motorcycle long distance to another far-away town or city in the country. In fact, knowing the motorcycle shipping cost in advance will enable you to set your budget right and to be mentally ready for the financial burden beforehand.

The most important thing to understand is that the motorbike shipping cost will be calculated for each individual relocation case based on several key price formation factors:

  • Motorcycle size and weight. The heavier the motorbike is, the more it will cost to transport it. Lightweight models weight around 200-300 pounds, while larger ones can go up to 500 pounds, or more.
  • Shipping distance. The greater the distance, the more expensive it will be to ship your motorcycle due to the higher expenses by the vehicle shipper.
  • Pick up and drop off locations. Door to door delivery services are more expensive, especially when it comes to more remote locations. The cheapest way to ship a motorcycle is when a bike is picked up from and later dropped off in an urban area.

Read more: How to Ship a Motorcycle Across the Country

Who regulates auto shipping companies?

When you’re looking for a reputable and experienced auto shipper to transport your car to another town or city, often located in another state altogether, you may get confused about which company to hire because of the abundance of car transporters on the market.

When you get to the point of comparing the various car shipping companies as part of your research, it’ll help you a lot if you know who regulates auto shipping companies. By knowing the answer to this very question, you’ll be able to protect yourself against bad (understand dishonest) car movers by simply checking whether the car transporters you’re researching are properly licensed by state or federal regulators of auto shipping companies.

State regulators of auto transporters

It’s important to know that all auto shipping companies are regulated either by state or federal regulators, or by both types of regulatory organizations. All car transporters must comply with local or national vehicle transportation regulations in order to be properly licensed.

It’s important to know who regulates car shipping companies.

Car shipping companies must be licensed by the state in which those companies are registered. For instance, a New Hampshire-based auto transporter is required to be licensed by the state of New Hampshire in order to operate within that state’s limits. Once licensed, a car shipper will be issued a state licensing number as proof of its legal status.

Keep in mind that licensing requirements vary from state to state, so you’re going to have to contact your state Department of Transportation in order to check what state licenses and certifications an auto shipper needs to operate legally within the state.

Federal regulators of car shippers

All auto shippers that cross different states in order to ship vehicles to the final destination are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), and in particular – by a governmental agency called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Therefore, all interstate auto transporters must be registered with and licensed by the FMCSA – the national regulatory body that monitors the carrier and trucking industry in the country.

After a successful registration and licensing process, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will issue special USDOT numbers to the licensed car transportation companies as proof to seekers of auto shipping services that those companies have successfully passed strict federal requirement, and therefore can be trusted to do a good job transporting customers’ vehicles across the country.

A USDOT number is really important for all car shippers. Currently, there are 38 U.S. states that require all auto shipping companies operating within their respective states to have a valid USDOT number. And luckily, it’s easy to check whether or not a car shipper is properly licensed by the U.S. Government – just head to the official FMCSA website and do that crucial check.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) regulates auto shipping companies by offering business accreditation as a proof that the auto transporters that do get accredited by the Bureau can be trusted by whoever’s looking for car transportation services.

In order to be accredited by the BBB, an auto shipper must adhere to 8 basic principles set and maintained by the Bureau:

  • Build trust;
  • Advertise honestly;
  • Tell the truth;
  • Be transparent;
  • Honor promises;
  • Be responsive;
  • Safeguard privacy, and
  • Embody integrity.

Also, the Better Business Bureau assigns overall ratings to car shipping companies – from A+ (highest) to F (lowest) – and displays them on their website for everyone to see. What’s more, potential customers can access the BBB website and read whether an auto shipper has any complaints from left by former clients of the company in question.

And if you happen to be unhappy with the car moving company you yourself hired, then you should definitely consider filing a complaint with the BBB, so that your case can be heard, and hopefully, resolved in the near future.

Learn more: Who regulates auto shipping companies?

Posted on November 10, 2019

Joshua Green

Joshua Green is a relocation expert and a moving industry professional, one of the esteemed contributors to with specialized articles and informative guides which help people organize and execute their moves easily and comfortably. Joshua is a recognized author of two books about moving one of which is Relocating Without Breaking A Sweat - Your Personal Handbook For A Perfect Move. Both books are well received and help thousands of people make the right relocation decisions. He is known to skillfully incorporate his never-ending energy, utmost dedication and raw passion into his works. You can contact Joshua Green at: | Linkedin

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