Like most long-distance moves, you have a lot of pieces to put together regarding all of your items. Your biggest and second most valuable asset, your car, only adds more pieces to the puzzle. So, how do companies transport cars from state to state? To answer that question, we’ll have to cover a list of factors such as laws and regulations on auto transportation, logistics, enclosed transport, open carrier, getting a quote, and so on. Rest assured that by the end of this article, you’ll be well equipped to handle relocating your ride across the country.

Interstate Auto Shipping Is a Complex Process

To the uninformed, auto shipping is not at all like hiring movers. To understand how auto shipping works, you’ll need to know that it functions in steps. Usually, when you’re moving something this big, it’s best to handle the process in stages. For auto shipping companies these stages are vital for making sure each car is sent to their destination on time and without any damages or issues with the car. There are many factors that go into the standard procedure of shipping a car so that customers are guaranteed good service and that both parties are protected. It’s definitely a huge benefit if you’re moving to another state alone and not driving your car to the destination.

 A worker inspecting an SUV
Auto shipping has many factors and procedures to make sure your vehicle is properly delivered

How Much Does it Cost to Transport a Car

We’re willing to bet that right now, your head is flooded with all types of questions – the most important question being, “how much does it cost to transport a car?” You’re entirely right for thinking this. To help give you some context behind it, we’re going to cover some necessary costs associated with auto transporting services and what to expect to be included when you request a quote from a relocation company. We promise you, with this simple breakdown, you’ll be able to protect your wallet better and have your car move in no time.

The Distance of The Transport

A significant factor that makes up a majority of the bill is time traveled between destinations. Most basic auto shipping services are charged based on region. If you’re going to ship from one region to another, you’re likely to get a quote close to $900 for long-distance. The price drops by a lot if you’re moving to the next state over. We suggest mapping out routes and calculating the time it takes to get to your destination to give you a firm idea of the cost.

The Size, Make, and Model of Your Vehicle

When it comes to auto transport, size does matter – make and model are important. Those three factors will dictate the type of shipping transportation and the level of attention cars need from a company. We strongly doubt your 2003 Ford Mustang will need as much attention as a 2019 BMW, but it won’t cost nearly as much. Explore all of the options available to you before you start requesting quotes.

A calculator with the word "costs" displayed
Understand the pricing behind relocating your car

Different Ways to Ship Vehicles

As mentioned before, companies use a couple of different ways to ship your car all varying in price. To determine which one suits you best depends heavily on your schedule, and what shipping preferences you’re open to. A massive benefit to you is that each type of auto transport is guaranteed to be professional and handled with great care. Check with your service provider for quotes on different shipping methods.

Enclosed Transport

We recommend this option for new and more expensive models to ensure that there are no damages to the paint, lights, or windows. Depending on the distance, your car is most likely to end up with tiny scratches from being out in the elements if you use an open carrier. Your vehicle will be loaded into a large enclosed semi-truck trailer, to prevent any minor damages, and transported to a terminal — no need to worry about your new paint job.

Open Carrier Transport

This method is very common and much more affordable than an enclosed trailer if you’re wondering how to save money on moving costs. Your car will be loaded onto an open trailer with other vehicles and transported. Though you won’t have the same level of protection, it’s still a great way to relocate your car for a much more affordable price.

A group of cars being delivered on the freeway
There are different ways to move your car

Car Pick Up and Delivery

Along with shipping methods, there are a couple of ways you can retrieve your automobile. Most auto shipping companies offer these services to customers for convenience and at reasonable prices. Depending on your specific needs you can easily opt for any one of these options.

Door-To-Door Service

Door-to-door service is a fairly common way to ship your car to your new home. For example, if you’re moving to the suburbs you’re going to have a lot of things to do when moving into a new home. In such circumstances, having to go and get your vehicle can be a drag. The most significant benefit is that it saves you a lot of time. With door-to-door drop off service, your car will be delivered directly to your address.

Terminal-To-Terminal Service

Your car will start off at a terminal where it will be loaded in a trailer and delivered to a different terminal nearest to your new address. You’ll be notified once the car arrives at the terminal where you can go and pick it up. Though it’s a bit more work, it does cut back on cost. Most people opt for this because it’s a cheaper service.

A key fob to a car
There are different options you have for retrieving your car

State Laws and Regulations

It’s important to note that each state has different laws and regulations regarding auto shipping services. Movers are expected to inspect your vehicle and make sure it’s in good condition to travel. Not doing so could result in a world of problems for you and your movers. You’ll have to visit an online motor vehicle agency in your state to learn about the rules and regulations or refer to the U.S. Department of Transportation for further information.

Proper Insurance for Cars

Professional moving companies are required to provide insurance coverage for any damage done to the vehicle while in their possession. The coverage is included in your price, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra unless you decide to buy third party insurance.

 A law book and gavel
Laws and regulations vary from state to state

Preparing Your Car For Transport

As we mentioned before, your car will have to pass an inspection for good condition. The review will protect both you and your movers from later complications. An expert from a moving company will check to see the size and weight of a car, whether there are any dents or scratches, and if the vehicle is in good working order. Much like how to prepare for movers, we suggest that you prepare your vehicle for travel. Drain fluids, except for gas, change tires if need be, fix any dents or defects, and, we cannot stress enough, clean your car.

A person working under the hood of a car
Make sure your car is in good traveling condition

How to Reduce Shipping Cost

One thing we know is that no customer wants to break the bank. So, what can you do to reduce the cost of shipping your vehicle? One of the best things you can do is opt for more affordable moving services from reputable relocation companies. You can change the location or type of transport to fix the cost. Feel free to contact your movers for suggestions on cheaper pricing, moving tips, and requesting a quote.

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