Car Dealership 3

How to Ship a Car to Another State

Affiliate Disclosure: Automoblog and its partners may earn a commission if you employ the services of the car shipping providers outlined here. These commissions come to us at no additional cost to you. Our research team has carefully vetted dozens of car shipping providers. See our Privacy Policy to learn more.  

Crash Course:

  • The most popular ways to transport a car to a different start are with an auto transport company, via train, hiring a driver, or driving it yourself.
  • How much does it cost to ship a car to another state? We found that an interstate car move typically costs between $1,000 and $2,000.
  • Using a vehicle moving company can be costly, but it is also very convenient and does not require a lot of time or effort from the vehicle owner.

Featured Car Shipping Companies

We reviewed the industry’s top car shipping providers. Here are our featured picks:

Best Service Options

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

See Plans

On Montway’s Website

(844) 601-0286

Or Call Montway Directly

Best Customer Experience

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

See Plans

On SGT’s Website

(864) 635-4879

Or Call SGT Directly

Best Value

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

See Plans

On Sherpa’s Website

(888) 916-6358

Or Call Sherpa Directly

Easy Online Quotes

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

See Plans

On Nexus’ Website

(224) 286-8173

Or Call Nexus Directly

Knowing how to ship a car to another state before you start shopping for a car transport company can help you get the best rates and ensure a stress-free move. To help with your next shipment, our team put together this guide to using auto movers to ship your car across state lines.

In this start-to-finish guide to using an auto transport company, we’ve included sample quotes to help give you a general idea of shipping prices. You’ll also find advice on how to lower your costs and recommendations for the best car shipping providers from our latest auto transport study.

How To Ship A Car From One State To Another

Some of the specifics can vary between auto transport services, but you can follow some of the same general steps to make sure your state-to-state move is as hassle-free as possible.

1. Pick a Car Carrier Transport Type

The first thing you must do in the car shipping process is to decide what car shipping services you need. There are several ways to ship a car, so it’s important to research all your options first.

Car Carrier Transport Types

Below are the common auto transport types:

  • Open carrier car shipping: This is the most common and most affordable method to ship a car. This car shipping method transports your vehicle on a truck trailer that leaves your vehicle exposed to the elements and common road hazards. However, it is more affordable because the carrier is able to transport up to 10 cars at a time, which lowers individual costs. 
  • Enclosed car shipping: Enclosed auto transport services typically cost 33% more than an open-air carrier, yet your car is protected during transit by walls and a roof. The higher cost is due to the fact that the carrier transports fewer vehicles.
  • Shipping a car by train: The best way to ship a vehicle using a rail freight company is Amtrak’s Auto Train. This method is generally cheaper than truck carriers, however, it is only available on one line that runs between Washington, D.C. and Orlando, Florida. The train will not offload vehicles in between the two cities, so unless you need your vehicle shipped close to one of those destinations, this option is not for you.

Choose Your Drop-Off and Pick-Up Locations

There are multiple ways to plan for where your vehicle will be picked up and dropped off. Below are the options for where you can have your car shipped from and to:

  • Door-to-door shipping: This service ships your vehicles as close as possible from your preferred pick-up location to your desired drop-off location, such as your home or workplace. 
  • Terminal-to-terminal shipping: If you want to save money, this option is generally cheaper because you must deliver your car to a terminal and pick it up from a shipping terminal. Typically, terminal-to-terminal shipping is slower than door-to-door shipping.
  • Port-to-port shipping: If you are moving outside of the contagious 48 states, this option allows you to drop your vehicle off at your pre-selected port and your vehicle will be shipped overseas to the port of delivery.
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2. Research Car Shipping Companies

These days, there are a lot of car shipping providers out there. While they all provide the same basic service, the differences between them can be stark in terms of price, options, customer support, and overall reliability.

How to Find Good Car Shipping Options

You’ll want to get shipping quotes from several providers to be able to compare rates. Still, it helps narrow down your options before getting quotes. Here are a few of the best ways to do this:

  • Read round-ups: Shipping company round-ups are useful because experts in the field have done a lot of the research for you. These often include ratings based on the most important considerations for shipping companies and can give you a better idea of which companies may be best suited for your needs.
  • Ask friends: If you have a friend or family member that has shipped a car before, ask for their opinion. Not only can they give you an honest opinion about the company they used, they can also give you some tips and tricks based on their experience.
  • Post on forums: Internet discussion boards such as Reddit can be a good place to ask for advice on car shipping. Just remember that companies may pose as “regular” commenters, so take the responses you get with a grain of salt and compare them to what you learn on your own.
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3. Get Shipping Quotes

Fortunately, most auto transport companies make it easy to get free quotes directly from their websites. This allows you to get an accurate idea of the cost of shipping your car to another state and compare offers from the companies you choose.

Advice for Getting Auto Transport Quotes

Getting quotes from car shippers is about as simple and straightforward as it gets. Many companies offer instant quotes, but most of those that don’t should get back to you within a few hours. Still, there are some best practices worth mentioning, including:

  • Remember that prices can increase: While some auto transporters guarantee their quotes, it is also very common for the final price to increase from the original quote. So while one company’s initial offer to ship your car across state lines may be lower, if another’s is guaranteed, it may actually be cheaper in the end.
  • Use alternate contact information if possible: One thing we learned in our research is that many shipping companies are very persistent once you request a quote. While you can usually opt out of communications, we recommend giving alternate contact details if possible to keep your primary methods free of spam. It’s easy to set up a second email account if you don’t already have one, and there are many voice over internet protocol (VoIP) providers that can provide an alternate phone number for free.
  • Understand that your choices matter: Most providers offer at least a few options on how to ship your car and will ask for your preferences at quote time. These options can make a big difference in price and service. For example, you can save money by choosing open instead of enclosed shipping, but you’ll also be at a much greater risk for damage during transit. We’ll go into more detail about those options later in the article.
  • Quotes may be adjustable: There may be some wiggle room in the quote you receive. For starters, some companies offer discounts for people in certain groups or categories or for paying in cash. Others may offer price-matching policies. And even if they don’t, some providers may be willing to negotiate, given how competitive the car shipping industry can be. It never hurts to ask for a lower price.

What You Need To Get Car Shipping Quotes

While you don’t need a huge amount of information to start getting quotes, it’s never a bad idea to have everything you need in one place beforehand. Different providers ask for slightly different information, but in general, you may need the following:

  • Vehicle make, model, year, and operability
  • Pickup and delivery locations
  • Ideal shipping time frame
  • Desired shipping options, such as open vs. enclosed transport and door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal transport
  • Contact information such as your phone number and email address
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
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4. Choose an Auto Transport Company

It’s tempting to just go with the cheapest option you get and call it a day. But there’s more to consider than price. Quality matters when you need to ship a car, especially over long distances. There are a few things to look out for:

  • Hidden fees: Your quote may not include all of the fees and surcharges that come with shipping a car to another state, but they should be mentioned in any contract a provider sends your way. Make sure to read the fine print carefully and follow up with a representative to get an accurate idea of the final price before signing anything.
  • Company reputation: Reading customer reviews online can help you evaluate a provider. While it’s normal for car shippers to receive a few complaints here and there, patterns of behavior like price increases, delays, or poor communications are major red flags.
  • Carrier vetting: Most auto transport companies serve as brokers that line customers up with individual carriers that can best serve their needs. Some companies have thorough vetting processes to ensure they only use professional drivers with a good track record, but others aren’t so careful. A moving company that offers you the lowest price may only be able to do so because they work with carriers that other companies won’t.

Once you’ve found the auto shipper you want, double-check the details of the contract before signing. You may also need to put down a deposit to finalize the agreement.

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5. Prepare Your Car

While you don’t have to get your vehicle absolutely perfect before the auto transport service arrives, there are a few things to take care of. Requirements may vary from company to company, but the steps to prepare your car for shipping it to another state are fairly basic.

How to Prepare Your Car to Ship to Another State: A Checklist

There are several things you’ll want to do before your car carrier arrives. These include:

  • Leave some gas in it: You don’t need to fill your gas tank before shipping your car, nor do you need to drain it. However, you’ll want to make sure your tank is 1/4 full when the moving truck arrives. This is because the carrier may need to drive it around a little bit when unloading and loading it off and on the tow dolly.
  • Remove personal items: Auto transporters ask you to remove all personal belongings from your car before shipping it. Loose items inside the vehicle can bounce around during transit and damage your car. Some car shipping companies allow you to ship your car with stuff in it, but they typically have weight restrictions and packing instructions you’ll need to follow.
  • Inspect your vehicle thoroughly: No matter how careful a truck driver is, cars can easily be damaged during shipping – especially over long-distance shipments to other states. Carefully inspect your car inside and out, and consider taking photos to document any existing damage. This will allow you to easily identify any new damage when you receive your vehicle and provide proof if you need to file a claim against a driver’s insurance policy.
  • Fasten all seatbelts: Vehicles vibrate and shake a lot while in transit. As a result, it’s possible for the metal connectors on your seatbelts to fly around and break a window or cause other damage. Fastening your safety belts before shipping can prevent this.
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6. Meet Your Driver on Pick-Up Day

You should receive a heads-up from either your shipping company or the driver themself when they are ready to pick your vehicle up. Either you or a representative you choose will need to meet the driver to do a few things before they hit the road:

  • Inspect the vehicle: You should do this ahead of time, but the carrier will also likely want to go over the car and note existing damage. This protects both of you in the event your vehicle is damaged during transit. If you’ve documented your existing damage, you can provide the driver with this information to speed up the process.
  • Sign the bill of lading: A bill of lading is a standard legal form used in most logistics services. It outlines your shipping agreement and notes existing damages, among other things. You’ll need to sign it again when you receive your vehicle.
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7. Wait for Delivery

Car shipping times are always approximate at best. Drivers are at the mercy of several factors that can delay a shipment, including weather conditions, traffic, and auto accidents. When you ship a car to another state over long distances, the probability that a carrier runs into an issue increases. But there are some things you can do while you wait.

During the shipment, you should be able to check on your vehicle’s location. Some companies offer live GPS tracking via an app or through their website. If they don’t, they can usually provide you with a location over the phone.

Your shipment taking a little longer than expected shouldn’t be cause for concern. But if there are major delays, the shipping company should be able to offer some kind of concession to help make things right. You’ve paid for their service, so you shouldn’t hesitate to call and ask for an explanation or assistance.

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8. Meet Your Driver at the Delivery

You should receive notice that your car is close to being delivered with more specific information about when and where to meet the driver. If you can’t make it yourself, you’ll need to send someone you trust to act as your representative.

Before your driver leaves, there are a few things you should do:

  • Reinspect your vehicle: After the driver unloads your car, look over it carefully for signs of new damage. Take notes and photos of any dents, scratches, or other damages you see. Your driver won’t be able to help you with claims on the spot, so there’s no need to discuss these damages with them at this time.
  • Ask to drive your car: Your driver may be in a hurry, but it’s a good idea to start your car up and drive it – even just for a few feet – to check for immediate signs of mechanical damage. It’s not unheard of for wheel and axle components to incur some damage in transit and this damage should be immediately apparent if it exists.
  • Pay the remaining balance: With most auto transport companies, you’ll pay the balance of your fee to the driver directly. Some drivers may require cash or a cashier’s check and may not be able to take a credit card. Even if they do, you may be able to get a discount by paying in cash.
  • Sign the bill of lading again: Signing the bill of lading a second time represents the end of your transaction. It is here that you can note new damages if you spot any.
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9. Follow Up If Needed

Your transaction is complete once you’ve signed the Bill of Lading for a second time. But if you found damages or were otherwise unsatisfied with your service, there are some things you can do to address that. And even if things went perfectly, there’s some follow-up that you may want to do.

Below are some of the follow-up actions you can take:

  • Filing an insurance claim: If your car was damaged in transit, you’ll need to file a claim with the driver’s insurer. This is where having detailed notes and photo evidence makes things much easier. The insurance company you need to contact should be listed in the contract or bill of lading. But if you can’t find it, the auto transport company should be able to provide it to you.
  • Making a complaint to your provider: If something went wrong with your shipment, it’s never a bad idea to let your shipping provider know – even if the issue is strictly with the individual carrier. This could help them remove the driver from their pool, and it may even end in the company compensating you in some way.
  • Making a complaint online: You can also make a public complaint about your issues online for other potential customers to see. Leaving a negative review or complaint on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and other sites may also inspire the company to take action and try to rectify the situation.
  • Leaving a positive review online: Positive reviews are just as helpful as negative reviews, since both provide firsthand information about the customer experience. In our research, we found that reviews tend to skew negative, since people are generally more inspired to leave negative reviews when looking for a solution than they are to report a positive experience. Highlighting a good experience with a company can help steer future customers in the right direction.
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How Much to Ship a Car to Another State?

It typically costs between $1,000 and $2,000 to ship a car long-distance, such as from one state to another, according to our cost data research and secret shopper study. Car shipping costs vary widely – especially when they involve shipping a car between two states.

Cost to Ship a Car to Another State

To help us get a better understanding of how much real customers pay to ship their cars, we conducted a survey of 1,000 auto transport customers. The chart below breaks down what we learned from the responses we received.

The reason for such a large range is that rates are individualized for each job. There can be major differences between jobs and what auto shipping companies charge for them.

Quotes to Have a Car Shipped to Another State

Our team conducted a secret shopper study during our research to get a more accurate idea of what auto transport companies charge. We requested quotes to ship a 2018 Nissan Rogue SUV in operable condition between several different locations for both open-air and enclosed shipping services.

In the table below, you’ll find the quotes we received for several of the top providers in our study.

Car Shipping CompanyShipping DistanceOpen Transport
Shipping Quote
Enclosed Transport
Shipping Quote
Sherpa Auto Transport1,500 miles$1,075$1,275
AmeriFreight1,500 miles$1,199$2,038
RoadRunner Auto Transport1,500 miles$1,245$1,445
SGT Auto Transport1,500 miles$1,385$2,079
Montway Auto Transport1,500 miles$1,459$1,829
American Auto Shipping1,500 miles$1,559$2,079
uShip1,500 miles$1,605$1,995
Easy Auto Ship1,500 miles$1,669$2,169

Auto Shipping Cost Factors: Explained

Car shipping companies use several factors to come up with the rates they charge for car shipping services. These include:

  • Shipping distance: Car shippers charge by the mile. So shipping a car to another state cross-country will obviously cost more than to the next state over. However, per-mile rates do tend to decrease as the moving distance increases.
  • Shipping options: Which options you choose also impacts the cost of your shipment. Premium options, such as using an enclosed carrier instead of open transport, can cost significantly more than standard services.
  • Vehicle type: Shipping costs usually go up the larger and more expensive a car is. Auto transport companies may charge additional fees to transport high-value vehicles like exotic or classic cars or alternative vehicles like RVs, ATVs, and motorcycles.
  • Time of year: Car shipping is a seasonal industry. Rates tend to be at their highest during January and the summer months.
  • Vehicle condition: Most car shippers charge more to move a vehicle if it’s inoperable and can’t be driven.
  • Shipping speed: Some companies offer services like expedited shipping and guaranteed pickup dates if you’re in a rush. These options often cost substantially more than standard vehicle transport rates.
  • Pickup and delivery locations: Companies may also charge more if they need to travel away from major transit routes or to rural destinations to pick up or drop off your vehicle.
  • Car shipping company: Finally, rates simply vary between companies – even for the same service for the same vehicle. That’s why we always recommend getting quotes from multiple providers.
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Cheapest Way to Ship a Car to Another State

There’s nothing you can do about many of the factors that determine your auto-shipping costs, such as when and where you need to ship it. However, there are a few things you can do to try and save money when transporting a car to a different state, including:

  • Choose open transport: Open carrier shipping comes with a little more risk than enclosed shipping, but it also tends to cost much less.
  • Be flexible: Similar to buying airline tickets, being flexible about your shipping dates can help you get a cheaper price.
  • Opt for terminal-to-terminal shipping: Not every company offers it as an option, but shipping your car between two central locations is often far less expensive than door-to-door service. Just make sure to consider the cost of your time to drop off and pick up your vehicle from the terminals.
  • Compare quotes: Shopping around is a good way to find the best rates in almost any industry, car shipping included. Companies will almost certainly quote you different rates for your car shipment, so getting estimates from multiple shippers can potentially save you a significant amount of money.
  • Pay in cash: Many auto transporters offer a discount for paying in cash. Make sure to ask if this is an option when discussing your quote with a provider.
  • Look for discounts: Car transport discounts aren’t very common, but some companies do offer them. You may be able to get lower rates for belonging to organizations like the military, or for certain statuses like being a student or a senior citizen.
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How to Ship a Vehicle to Another State: Conclusion

Shipping a car to another state can seem like a lot to take in – especially if it’s your first time doing it. However, you can find the most cost-effective way to ship your vehicle and ensure a smooth shipping process by following a few basic steps.

While we found a majority of people paid between $1,000 to $2,000 to transport a car across state lines, your own shipping rates will depend on several factors about your vehicle and the services you need. Getting car shipping quotes is the only way to get a precise idea of what you’ll pay. Our team recommends getting quotes from a few different auto transport providers to find the best rates available to you.

Top Picks for Shipping a Car to Another State

Learning how to ship a car to another state should be easy, especially if you pick one of the leading auto transport providers. Below, we’ve listed our top-rated car shipping companies:

Car Shipping CompanyOverall RatingPrice RatingServices Rating
Montway Auto Transport4.74.54.8
SGT Auto Transport4.64.45.0
American Auto Shipping4.64.45.0

*Ratings are determined by our editorial review team. Learn more about our scoring methodology below.

#1 Montway Auto Transport: Best Service Options

Montway Auto Transport is one of the most popular car shipping providers, having shipped over 250,000 cars in 2023 alone. The company works with over 30,000 vetted carriers, creating a healthy bidding process, which often leads to affordable rates. Montway Auto Transport ships vehicles to all 50 states including Hawaii and Alaska and to locations across the globe.

Guaranteed pickup dates, expedited deliveries, and various other shipping options help Montway Auto Transport to earn solid reviews online. The company has an A+ score on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, along with a 4.6- out of 5.0-star rating on Trustpilot.

Further reading: Montway Auto Transport review

Best Service Options

Our Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

#2 SGT Auto Transport: Best Customer Experience

SGT offers a variety of transport options to the contiguous 48 states, to Hawaii, and even to international destinations. The company works with over 200,000 reputable carriers to transport all kinds of cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and specialty vehicles.

Though it’s only been in business since 2014, SGT Auto Transport has established a positive reputation in the marketplace. This is reflected in the company’s 4.8- out of 5.0-star rating from those on the BBB website. SGT Auto Transport also receives excellent scores on Trustpilot, where reviews often mention strong customer service and an easy scheduling system.

Best Customer Experience

Our Rating: 3 out of 5.0

#3 American Auto Shipping

American Auto Shipping has over 20 years of experience and sets itself apart from the competition by offering locked-in prices and concierge services. American Auto Shipping’s car transport services are available in three tiers, so you can pay a bit more for expedited shipping or save money if there’s no rush.

American Auto Shipping holds an A+ rating and receives 4.7 out of 5.0 stars from customers on the BBB website. The company also boasts high marks from Google reviews, with an impressive 4.6 out of 5.0-star rating.

Ship a Car to Another State: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about how to ship a car to another state.

How much does it cost to ship a car across the U.S.?

According to the free quotes we received from leading car shipping companies, cross-country vehicle shipments such as from California to New York typically cost slightly less than $2,000. Your shipping cost will depend on the type of car you’re moving, the time of year, whether you choose an open carrier or enclosed auto transport, and various market conditions.

How much is it to ship a car from Texas to California?

Shipping a 2018 Nissan Rogue from San Francisco to Austin, Texas on an open trailer costs about $1,385 with SGT Auto Transport. Your shipping cost may vary considerably depending on vehicle type, time of year, and your chosen type of transport vehicle.

How much does it cost to ship a car from Florida to North Carolina?

According to Montway Auto Transport, it costs $709 to ship a 2018 Nissan Rogue from Orlando, Florida to Raleigh, North Carolina via an open car carrier. Your car shipment might cost more or less depending on the size and type of vehicle, transport method, and other variables. Rates may also vary if you’re located in Miami, Tampa, or Jacksonville instead.

How long does shipping a car from Seattle to Los Angeles take?

According to Montway Auto Transport, shipping a car from Seattle to Los Angeles takes four to six days. Your vehicle shipping timeline will vary based on the time of year, weather conditions, and how competitive the shipping route is.

Our Methodology

Our expert review team takes satisfaction in providing accurate and unbiased information. We identified the following rating categories based on consumer survey data and conducted extensive research to formulate rankings of the best car shipping companies.

  • Prices: A variety of factors influence cost, so it can be difficult to compare quotes between providers. Our team performs ongoing secret shopper analyses for different vehicles, services, and shipping routes to give this rating.
  • Services: Because each consumer has unique needs, it’s essential that an auto transport company offers an array of services. We take into account the availability of services, ability to guarantee pickup and drop-off dates, and insurance coverage options.
  • Reputation: Our team considers Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, a company’s history of service, and years in business when giving this score.
  • Customer Service: Reputable car shippers operate with a certain degree of care for consumers. We take into account customer reviews, BBB complaints, and the responsiveness of the customer service team.