Shipping Cars from State-to-State

While everyone loves a good road trip, during a move it’s not quite as much fun. You’re anxious to get to your new home and have a million things on your mind. Not only does a state-to-state drive take more time than you may have, Between gas, hotels, food, and tolls, the costs mount up, so honestly, why not have someone haul your car for you? Or, your classic is in California and you need to get it to a show in Pennsylvania. Driving really isn’t an option because your valuable vehicle shouldn’t be exposed to additional miles, wear, and tear.

Transporting your car shouldn’t have to be a worry. With Caravan Auto Transport you can get free quotes from licensed, insured car transporters with just one click, taking the guesswork out of choosing a reliable, expert carrier to do the job properly. Click ‘Get Quote’ now for a free estimate in just minutes!

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Options for Transporting Cars to Another State

When shipping your car state-to-state, you have quite a few options to choose from. Following are some of the most popular:

Hire Someone to Drive

Your friend’s kid is heading off to college and needs to make a few extra bucks. Why not hire him to drive your car cross-country, saving you the hassle? Well, because it’s a pretty bad idea. Trusting an individual to care for your car as you would is a big leap of faith, leaving you vulnerable to all kinds of damage to the car, or even the driver. You could also consider hiring a service to drive the car, but even though they provide a higher level of protection, you’re still putting miles and wear and tear on the vehicle plus paying for hotels, food, tolls, and incidentals.


If you’re already driving a U-Haul with all of your possessions inside, you could tow your car. You’d get the added room to pack more stuff and would have your car with you the minute you arrive. But if you have a moving company doing all the heavy lifting for you, this isn’t even an option to consider.

Enclosed Carrier

Your car is one of your most valuable assets and if you care about its overall safety, enclosed auto transport is the best shipping option. The carriers are fully enclosed, some are climate-controlled, and most are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Your car will be in an airtight space away from the elements and human damage. Of course, this will cost you more, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind.

Open Carrier

The most popular mode of state-to-state car transport is the open-air carrier, mostly due to its affordability and accessibility. Auto shippers have way more open-air carriers available, and they run more frequently, resulting in faster transport times. The drawback is the car’s vulnerability to any and all road hazards, ranging from bugs and road debris to hail, snow, and rain. If your car is less valuable, you may want to consider this mode.

Shipping via Train

Shipping your car by train can be more cost-effective than other options, but time is involved getting to the stations for drop-off and pick-up. If you have multiple cars to ship, you might want to consider transport by rail as many rail transport companies require multiple cars for transport. Also, when shipping by train, you’ll need to decide between open and enclosed transport, and just as with conventional carriers, enclosed is the safer and more expensive of the two options.

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How Much Does It Cost to Ship Your Car to Another State?

The cost to ship your car via open carrier to another state is generally $1 per mile for the first 500 miles. So, if you’re only going 400 miles, your cost would be around $400. Of you’re moving your car between 500 and 1000 miles, the cost per mile drops to .75 cents per mile. Going state-to-state increases the distance travelled, and over 1000 miles the rate drops even further to about .40 cents per mile. Here are some other things to think about:


The further your car is transported, the lower the cost per mile. But you’re also going farther, so the cost will correspond to how far the car is being transported. Important to keep in mind, enclosed state-to-state transport can cost as much as 40-60% more than open air transport, and expedited shipping costs about 30% more than standard delivery.

Pick-up and Drop-off Points

If you’re travelling from one large city to another, your rates will be lower than if you’re moving the car to a more rural area. Transport companies run vehicles along major state-to-state routes on a regular basis so your vehicle will be joining a carrier full of customers on an already scheduled run. But if you have any custom requirements, like an out-of-the-way pick-up or drop-off, then you’ll pay for that customization.

Vehicle Weight

The more your vehicle weighs, the more it’s going to cost you in transport costs. The carriers are designed to carry certain amounts of weight, and if your vehicle is loading down the carrier down, you’ll be charged for the extra drag. In addition, if the carrier can’t load as many cars because yours is eating into the overall weight load, you’ll bear that cost as well.

Vehicle Size

As with vehicle weight, the size of your car does indeed matter. If you’re shipping an oversized vehicle, you’re taking away space that might have been used for another car. That extra space will end up as an additional charge on your bill.

Time of Year

The summer months are the peak times for moving in general, so prices naturally rise during that time of year. Another popular season is at the start of winter when snowbirds head to warmer climes. If you can possibly schedule your state-to-state auto move at a less popular time, you’ll stand to save significantly.

Delivery Time

If you’re starting a new job in a new state, chances are that you’ll need your car in a timely manner. In that case, you’ll probably want to consider shipping your car via open air carrier. Transporters have more open carriers available and they’re more affordable. But if time isn’t a consideration, or you have a more valuable vehicle that you want to keep safe, enclosed transport will be a better option.

Car’s Condition

Finally, a factor that weighs into the overall cost of shipping an auto state-to-state is its condition. Does your car run? The more work a shipper has to do to load your vehicle onto a hauler, the more you’ll pay.

How to Ship a Car to Another State

Whatever the reason you’re shipping your car state-to-state, if you’ve decided to hire a vehicle transporter, follow these steps to get ready:

  1. Request auto shipping quotes: One of the easiest steps in the process is to get free quotes from Caravan Auto Transport. All you need to do is click once and within minutes, you’ll have quotes from a variety of licensed, insured carriers. At this point, you can easily compare the quotes and determine who offers the best services and deals. Read the reviews and check their business standing. And be cognizant that the lowest price isn’t always the best choice. Feel free to call and ask for details after you receive quotes so you understand exactly what the company offers. During the call, ask for their licensing information and amount of insurance coverage..
  2. Schedule the shipment: Once you’ve decided on the best shipper to meet your needs, request proof of a carrier’s insurance. Then you can rest assured that your vehicle is in good hands and feel safe scheduling its shipment. Cross-country deliveries can take up to two weeks, depending on the route, so be sure to find out how long it will take for your auto to arrive at your destination. Then you can work backwards to plan the amount of lead time that’s required for your automobile’s move.
  3. Prepare the vehicle for shipment: Before driving your car to the pick-up location, you’ll want to prepare it for the state-to-state trip. First and foremost, clean the car inside and out so you can see its overall condition. Take pictures of all dents, dings, scratches, and damage and record the condition in a dated document which you’ll show the driver upon pickup. Ensure the car is completely tuned up before it leaves and check fluid levels, tire pressure, brakes, etc. You want your car to be in perfect condition when it arrives, ready to hit the roads in your new hometown. Make sure to empty the car of all personal possessions. That will keep its weight down and prevent loss. And finally, be sure to remove all external add-ones, like bike racks or extra antennas . . . the shipper will not be responsible for damage to added accessories.
  4. Drop it off at the pick-up location: Once the car is ready, and it’s time to ship, you’ll most likely drive it to a terminal for pickup and load-in. If you have a higher budget and a shorter amount of time to make your move, you can opt for door-to-door pick-up and delivery. The transporter will either come directly to your home or, if the truck can’t access your street due to obstacles such as low-hanging wires or heavy tree cover, the driver will arrange pick-up at an open lot close to your home.
  5. Track its progress: Depending on the length of the trip, your car may take as much as two weeks to be delivered. Ask the transport company how you can track its progress along the way. They’ll either provide you with a link to a site that tracks the truck or allow you to check in by phone for reports.
  6. Receive the delivery: Once your car’s ready to be picked up, the transporter will get in touch to make arrangements. Make sure you have your photos and proof of condition handy. If you’ve chosen terminal delivery, you’ll have to go pick up your car. Or if it’s being delivered to your home, delivery may be as simple as opening the front door. In either case, you’ll want to make sure to inspect the car carefully the minute it arrives. Should you see any damage, it should be reported to the transport company and the driver immediately. If the damage is serious enough, you’ll want to make an insurance claim to cover the repair costs. The transporter will instruct you on the process to file the paperwork.


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