How to Transport a Vehicle to Another State – Your Step-by-Step Guide

Every year, millions of people in the U.S. move from one state to another for work or other reasons. But few know precisely how shipping a car from one state to another works. While it may sound like a logistical nightmare for the uninitiated, the process isn’t too difficult.

Fortunately, there are many ways to transport a vehicle to another state, and most of these methods don’t require you to be there to receive it. Read on for all the details.

How to Transport a Vehicle to Another StateHow Do I Ship a Car From One State to Another?

Currently, there are around seven primary methods for shipping a car from another state to your destination. They include:

  • Ship car from one state to another using an auto transport company
  • Hire a moving company to transport your car
  • Connect your car to a moving truck
  • Ship a car by train
  • Send a car by boat
  • Rent a professional driver
  • Drive it yourself

Every method follows a specific process, and we’re here to guide you through each step.

Hire an Auto Transport Company

An auto transport company isn’t like a moving company. While both ship cars from one state to another, the former exclusively handles automobiles of every shape and form. Meanwhile, moving companies also transport other objects such as furniture and belongings.

Auto transport companies will let you choose one of two primary transport methods – your car is held in an open carrier or enclosed carrier.

Open carriers hold around 10 cars on different levels and are exposed. As the truck carries the vehicles to their destination, the driver can easily check for any sustained damage. However, this method also comes with the risk of the car being damaged through exposure to the elements or other causes.

Nevertheless, open carriers are the most affordable and readily available option from an auto transport company. But they usually unload all automobiles at a specific location, not an address you choose.

Enclosed carriers are similar in design but only hold several vehicles at a time because they’re covered from the sun and rain. Because the design doesn’t permit the truck to haul as much cargo as the uncovered version, you can expect it to reach your destination sooner because there are fewer cars to deliver. Keep in mind that enclosed carriers tend to be more expensive.

Some enclosed carriers offer delivery to a specific address, which is helpful for people who want their car to be quickly accessible.

Here are the steps to hiring an auto transport company.

  1. Drive your car to the auto transport company.
  2. Talk to a representative and discuss the distance, transport method, and fees.
  3. Leave your vehicle with the company.
  4. The car will be loaded onto a carrier and sent to its destination.
  5. Travel to the new state and collect your car.

As you can see, the process is straightforward. Using a hired company is one of the best options as they’re reliable and speedy. People who are displaying their classic vehicle at auto shows can choose the enclosed carriers since they’re more secure.

Hire an Auto Transport CompanyHire a Moving Company

Moving companies are the best choice for shipping a car to a different state, mainly if you’re leaving the current area permanently. A moving company is likely already shipping your furniture and other belongings to the new home, and it’s more convenient if one company handles everything.

Unfortunately, not every moving company has the equipment to offer vehicle transportation services. They can still direct you to an auto transport company that can help you.

  1. Talk to the moving company to determine if they can move your car.
  2. If the answer is yes, finalize the details.
  3. Leave the car with the moving company.
  4. The moving company will ship the car along with any other allowed objects to the destination.
  5. Travel to the new state and get your car.

Moving companies have the added advantage of direct shipping, as some auto transport companies don’t offer this service. With the vehicle delivered to where you want it to be, you don’t need to spend extra time and money traveling to get it.

Connect a Car to a Moving Truck

Some homeowners may choose to rent a moving truck for an interstate move to answer the question “How do I ship a car from one state to another?” This option is best for families who don’t have too many belongings and can handle more cargo. In this case, they can tow the car or haul it in a car trailer.

Before doing so, it’s crucial to check with the truck rental company. Some companies allow for this and even rent out the necessary equipment for the job. If not, you’ll need to hire someone else.

However, driving a moving truck may require skills and qualifications you may not have. A big truck isn’t easy to operate and may be too much for you to handle yourself if you lack experience. Consider this option only if you have a license to drive large vehicles with trailers.

  1. Talk to a truck rental company about the possibility of attaching a car trailer or tow dolly to the truck.
  2. Obtain the necessary equipment for the move.
  3. Connect the car trailer or tow dolly to the rented moving truck.
  4. Drive the truck and car to your destination.
  5. Unload the cargo.
  6. Drive the truck to a company’s pickup spot.

Ship a Car by Train

Trains are an accessible answer to how to transport a vehicle from one state to another state. If there are connecting rail lines between the two states, trains are an excellent option. Sadly, there is only a single Amtrak route in the nation for this method.

For instance, there’s an Amtrak route stretching from Lorton, Virginia to Sanford, Florida. It can handle the 815-mile move in 17 hours and 29 minutes, which is an impressive speed. However, anyone living farther away from these two cities will simply be unable to take full advantage of Amtrak’s car shipping.

Another benefit of shipping a car by Amtrak train is you can also ride the train with your car if you choose to purchase a ticket.

Shipping a car this way and buying a train ticket can cost less than other long-distance routes. Also, it’s much more comfortable than driving all day for more than a week as well.

  1. Drive your car to one of the two Amtrak hubs.
  2. Pay the fee to load your car on the train plus a ticket for yourself.
  3. Let Amtrak handle the loading while you get on the train.
  4. Ride along until you reach the second hub.
  5. Let Amtrak unload your car before driving off.

Amtrak’s car shipping route doesn’t have any stops in between. This means you should only use this method if you’re close enough to the hubs and your starting point/destination is in either Virginia or Florida. That said, the speed with which you can get the car from one hub to another is unbeatable.

Ship a Car by Boat

For states near large bodies of water, using a boat can be one of the more unexpected out-of-state car transport methods. Shipping a car to a different state by boat has been practiced for many years, and it’s pretty convenient to do so if the two locations have a lake or river between them. Most people only associate this way with international moves, but it’s not limited to that.

Some car owners use boats to move cars from their state to Hawaii or Alaska, states that are separated from the others by large bodies of water. In the case of Hawaii, it’s pretty much the only option. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Drive to the shipping company.
  2. Let the company load the car onto a boat.
  3. Leave and travel to your destination.
  4. Go to the designated port and retrieve your car.
  5. Drive away.

Car transportation by sea is safe, and your car shouldn’t experience any damage. If it does, talk to the company and file a damage claim. Many reputable companies are helpful and will do their best to process it quickly.

Renting a Professional Driver

Some auto transport companies offer professional direct delivery services. You hire a trained driver to transport your car to your new home. There are some considerations before proceeding.

Besides putting miles on your car, the driver may do other things to your vehicle you may not be aware of. And while your vehicle may be covered by insurance, there may be hassles when you try to claim it if it’s damaged in this manner.

Fortunately, many professional drivers are vetted before getting the job. Some companies even hire ex-military professionals who are reliable.

Depending on the company, you can place some belongings or pets in the car before the driver starts their journey. They will take care of the cargo and ensure everything arrives in the same condition as you last saw everything.

  1. Contact an auto transport company with a professional direct delivery option.
  2. Get a quote and wait for the driver to arrive.
  3. Complete preparations and let the driver start the moving process.
  4. Head to the other state and get your car.

Some companies even let homeowners ride along with a professional driver. In the end, you should pick the plan that suits your situation the best.

Renting a Professional DriverDriving the Car Yourself

Finally, there’s arguably the cheapest option, which is to drive the car yourself. Assuming your luggage is handled by a moving company, you can choose to move on your own. However, it would be best to consider getting insurance to cover any potential damage or injuries.

Driving yourself is better if you’re not moving a long distance away. A road trip is another way for you to experience new places, but it can be tiring. To that end, some people ask family or friends to come along for companionship or to assist with driving.

  1. Pack some essentials for the journey.
  2. Start driving to your destination.
  3. Rest when you’re tired.
  4. Repeat until you complete the journey.

How Prices Are Calculated

Even if the services mentioned above are different, they share a few commonalities when it comes to price calculation. The prime example is the total distance your car must be shipped, as most companies charge per mile.

Your pick-up date is another factor that affects the price. Finally, a car’s weight and make are also factored into the final cost.

Tips Before Shipping a Vehicle to Another State

Though it’s convenient to hand over your car to a trusted mover, there are some precautions to take before the move happens. It’s best to prepare the vehicle for a journey, even if it’s not going to be driven to your final destination.

For those letting an auto transport company or similar service do the shipping, ensure the gas tank isn’t more than a quarter full. However, owners who intend to hire professional drivers should provide a full tank so the driver can travel longer without having to stop as much, thus shortening transportation time.

Though some companies don’t mind owners leaving items or pets on the vehicle, you shouldn’t leave valuables inside. These precious items should be kept with you instead to reduce the chances of someone stealing them.

The car’s tires should be inflated and in good condition, no matter the service you hire. Because you’ll be driving the car later, it shouldn’t be in poor road condition when you receive it.

While a reputable transport or shipping company will cover damages if you file a claim, others might be reluctant. A way to prove damages occurred on the road is to take pictures and videos of your car from all angles before you give it to the shipping company. Don’t forget to record the condition of the inside as well.

Insurance will be more willing to cover damages if you can prove beyond doubt that some damage was incurred during transit.

Many people ship cars and vehicles in the summer, which can drive the prices up. Instead, consider hiring auto transport services in the fall or winter when prices tend to be lower because it’s the off-season.

Smooth Transportation

Transporting a car from one state to another isn’t difficult these days because there are many options to choose from. Always choose the method that fits your budget and situation, as some shipping routes, like trains, are only available in a few locations.

Besides driving the vehicle yourself, professional companies are more than willing to ship or drive your car for a fee. You can even move cars with a train or boat if the option is available.

If you need to know how to transport car from one state to another, contact us for assistance. We’re more than happy to help.