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How to Ship a Car Cross the Country – A Guide to Essentials

Posted in Car Shipping,How-to,Moving Tips & Tricks on June 27, 2022

How to ship a car cross-country? If you are moving across the country and own a car, there is no reason to leave your beloved four-wheeler behind. Still, the best thing is to be informed about the whole procedure and choose the method of transportation that suits you the most. When moving across the country, you’ll certainly want your car to be with you at the new place.

For long-distance moving, cars can be transported basically in three ways. You can choose to ship your car across the country by yourself (drive it, more simply,) hire someone else to drive the car to the new destination, or hire professional cross-country moving services. There are many factors to consider when choosing what is the best option to ship a car across the country, and we’ll look here at the most important ones.

How to Ship a Car Cross-Country? You Can Always Drive to the New Destination When Moving Cross-Country

There are many reasons to move your vehicle when you’re going to a new state, and it is absolutely viable to drive to your new home address. However, this method has many disadvantages that can severely affect your relocation budget and the overall efficiency of your move. Let us see what are the main disadvantages of shipping a car across the country by driving yourself:

  • First of all, imagine that you are moving to LA from the other side of the US. You’ll have to subject yourself to an exhausting drive that can last for a long time. Don’t forget that you’ll have to unpack after moving, and such a long drive will take up a lot of your energy and make the arrangement of your new home and the overall adjustment period much harder.
  • If you are moving during winter or, generally, during poor weather conditions for driving, shipping a car cross country by yourself will be all the more exhausting.
  • For such long drives, you’ll have to spend a lot of money on gas. Also, you’ll have to spend at least one night at a hotel in order to rest, which will increase the cost of moving significantly. And, don’t forget that you are moving during the coronavirus, and staying at hotels can be uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, if you choose to do it this way, here is a useful video on what you can do to make a long drive more comfortable.

YouTube video

Still, There Are Some Advantages to Deciding to Ship a Vehicle by Yourself Instead of Hiring Cross-Country Movers

If you are moving to a new home that is not that far from your current location, shipping your car across the country by yourself can be the right thing to do. You’ll not have to worry about finding legitimate long-distance movers, and a nice drive can really calm you down and alleviate the anxiety about relocation. But, there are other advantages as well:

  • This is a great choice if you are moving with pets. Relocation can be extremely stressful for pets, especially when they have to be separated from their owners on a moving day. If you think that the drive won’t take a lot of time and be too tiring, prepare the vehicle adequately and move out together. There are many benefits of moving together with your pets.
  • If you have to transport some valuable items, let’s say, some pieces of jewelry, it is best to do it by packing it into your own vehicle and driving to the new destination. Although it is possible to hire a service that will transport your valuables, professionals will always advise you to pack prized possessions and carry them with you when relocating to a new home.
  • When relocating to a place that is not far with just a bag of essentials, there might be no need to search for cross-country movers. If everything fits in the trunk and you deem that driving is a perfectly viable option for relocating, there is no need to add anything more on your moving-out list that will create additional expenses and take up additional time.
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You Can Pay Someone to Drive Your Vehicle to the New Destination Instead of Shipping a Car Cross-Country

If you don’t want to drive yourself but also don’t want to hire auto shipping services, this can be a great alternative way to move your car. However, you need to be absolutely sure that the person who will drive is reliable. People often “hire” their family members for this task, but when hiring a driver, you need to be sure that the person in question has a legitimate driver’s license and is overall a trustworthy person. The smartest thing is to search for recommendations if you want to make sure that the move will be safe.

Nonetheless, if you go for this option, you have to be certain about two things regarding insurance. Firstly, the driver has to have insurance. Secondly, you have to be sure that your insurance policy covers other drivers in case something bad happens. Some policies do, and some don’t, so the smartest thing to do is to check that with the insurance provider.

Shipping a Car Across the Country With a Company Does Cost, but It’s Probably the Best Way to Approach This Issue

Is it worth it to ship a car across the country? You’ll probably be asking yourself this question once the long-distance moving services that include packing service have been booked. It is safe to say that there are many benefits of auto shipping service and that it is well worth it, especially if you need to cross a long distance.

An Auto Transport Company Will Give You an Exact Quote Once It Is Decided What Kind of Service Is Needed

How much does it cost to ship a car? The quote for shipping your car cross-country will depend on what kind of service you choose. A good auto transport business will offer you different kinds of delivery and carriers. But, some companies take into consideration other factors as well. Here is what will affect the cost of shipment:

  • Type of auto transport (a carrier with an open or enclosed trailer)
  • Type of delivery (terminal-to-terminal, door-to-door)
  • Distance,
  • Type of vehicle (size is the most important element)
  • A company may take weather conditions into account. Moving in the rainy season (or snowy) can increase the cost of auto transport.

There Are Different Kinds of Transportation Depending on the Type of the Carrier

How are cars shipped across country? This is a question most people ask when moving out for the first time. A good auto transport company will usually offer you two options for vehicle relocation:

  • You can choose a carrier with an open trailer, which is the most usual choice for people who are using auto transport services. The quote for the open trailer is lower, and generally, the procedure is much more time-efficient. However, during transportation in an open trailer, your vehicle will be exposed to weather and other external factors.
  • You can choose a carrier with an enclosed trailer. With this type of transportation, you will not have to worry about bad weather conditions and other external factors. But, the quote is higher. An enclosed trailer is usually recommended if you have to move some expensive, luxury cars.

There Are Also Two Types of Delivery Available When You Ship a Car Across Country

What methods of car shipping services are the best? When it comes to delivery, companies also usually offer two types:

  • Terminal-to-terminal delivery is the less expensive option, and it entails leaving a car at a terminal of the moving company (their parking space) in your hometown. From there, the movers will take it, load it onto a carrier that you have chosen and take it to the terminal in the city that you are moving to.
  • Door-to-door delivery is more convenient but also more expensive than the previous option. The movers will arrive at your house, take the car and transport it directly to your new home address.

You Have to Prepare Before You Ship Your Car Across Country

You might have heard that there are certain items that movers won’t load onto their trucks during relocations, namely ones that are dirty. Well, for cars, there are a few other things that have to be in order:

  • First of all, you will need to make certain that your car is in drivable condition. This basically means that you have to check the engine, fluids, and tires. If there are some slight malfunctions, it is best to notify the movers about them.
  • Out of all parts, the emergency brake is the most important when it comes to car transportation. If it doesn’t work, the movers will refuse to load the car onto their trucks.
  • Any external parts like racks on top of the roof or antennas should be removed. They can easily get damaged during relocation, and insurance does not cover such things.
  • Washing and emptying your car is important. If you wash it after the transportation and notice a dent on the chassis, the car transportation service can claim that the dent existed before relocation and was not visible due to the car’s condition. You should check with the movers whether you’re permitted to leave some items in the car. Some allow it, but generally, the wisest thing to do is empty the car completely.
  • If you have an electronic toll pass, don’t forget to turn it off. Even though the car is being transported, the devices on motorway tolls will register the device in your car and charge you.

The Smartest Thing to Do Is Get Cross-Country Moving Coverage Before Shipping Your Car Across Country

The good news is that good vehicle shipping companies will offer you car insurance as well. Usually, there are two types depending on the type of trailer (when relocating with an enclosed trailer, the coverage is higher). However, bear in mind that you’ll only receive money in case the outer parts of your car are damaged (chassis, for example). Internal malfunctions are not taken into account.

Consider All the Options, and Choose the One That Suits You Best for Shipping Car Cross Country

All in all, if you are, for example, moving from the East Coast to West Coast, we would say that it isn’t worth driving the car by yourself. Simply put, the time, energy, and money that you’ll have to spend will be too much, especially when you consider that further obligations await you in your new place. Hence, in this situation, we would recommend searching for a car transport company. The price will be worth it. But, we understand that there are passionate drivers out there, and if you’re one of them, there is no reason to go against yourself.


What Are the Steps Involved in Shipping a Car Cross-Country?

Shipping a car cross country involves several steps, including selecting a reputable auto transport company, obtaining an accurate quote, preparing the vehicle for shipping, choosing the appropriate shipping method, and tracking the shipment. Before the vehicle is shipped, it is important to remove all personal items and disable the alarm system. On the day of shipping, the car is inspected for any pre-existing damage and loaded onto a transport truck. The truck will then transport the vehicle to the destination, where it will be inspected once again upon arrival and the customer will be notified to pick up the car.

How Do I Choose a Car Shipping Company for Cross-Country Transport?

Firstly, it is important to ensure the company is licensed and insured. It is also a good idea to read online reviews and check the company’s reputation. It is also recommended to get quotes from multiple companies to compare the services offered and the cost. Additionally, it is important to consider the type of shipping method, such as open or enclosed transport, and the estimated delivery time. Finally, it is recommended to ask about the company’s communication and tracking policies to ensure you have access to updates on the shipment’s progress.

What Is the Cost of Shipping a Car Cross-Country?

The cost of shipping a car cross country can vary greatly depending on several factors such as the make and model of the vehicle, the distance of the shipment, the shipping method (open or enclosed), and the time of year. On average, the cost can range anywhere from $800 to $3,000 or more. To get an accurate estimate of the cost, it is recommended to obtain quotes from multiple car shipping companies and compare their services and prices. Factors such as the origin and destination locations, the size of the vehicle, and any special requirements can also affect the cost of shipping.

How Long Does It Take to Ship a Car Cross-Country?

The time it takes to ship a car cross-country can vary, but it typically takes between 5 to 10 business days. The exact delivery time depends on several factors such as the origin and destination locations, the shipping method, and the time of year. Shipping a car during peak season or during holidays can take longer due to increased demand. Some car shipping companies offer expedited shipping options for an additional cost, which can reduce the delivery time to 2 to 4 business days.

Is It Safe to Ship a Car Cross-Country?

Shipping a car cross country is generally safe, as long as you choose a reputable and experienced car shipping company. Auto transport companies use specially designed trailers to transport vehicles, and they take precautions to ensure the safety of the vehicle during transport. However, it is important to thoroughly inspect the vehicle before shipping to document any pre-existing damage and to remove any personal items. Car shipping companies are required to carry insurance, which provides coverage in the event of any damage during transport.

What Are the Different Methods of Shipping a Car Cross-Country?

There are two main methods of shipping a car cross country: open transport and enclosed transport.

  • Open transport: This is the most common and economical method of shipping a car. Cars are loaded onto a multi-level open trailer, which can carry multiple vehicles at once. This method is suitable for standard vehicles and provides the best value for money.
  • Enclosed transport: This is a more premium shipping option that provides added protection for high-end or luxury vehicles. The vehicle is loaded into a fully enclosed trailer, which provides a higher level of protection from the elements and road debris. This method is more expensive than open transport, but it offers greater peace of mind for car owners who want the best protection for their vehicles.

Choosing the right shipping method depends on factors such as the type of vehicle, the distance of the shipment, and the budget. It is recommended to discuss your specific needs and preferences with a car shipping company to determine the best option for you.

What Preparation Do I Need to Do Before Shipping My Car Cross-Country?

Firstly, it is important to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and document any pre-existing damage. Secondly, you should remove all personal items and valuables from the car, as well as disable the alarm system. Additionally, you should ensure that the vehicle has enough fuel for the driver to load and unload it from the trailer, but not enough to make it too heavy for transport. You should also provide the car shipping company with clear instructions and contact information, including the pick-up and delivery locations, and the preferred method of shipping.

How Do I Track My Car During the Shipping Process?

Most car shipping companies provide tracking services that allow you to monitor the progress of your shipment. The tracking information is typically available online through the company’s website or through a mobile app. Some companies also provide real-time updates via email or text message. The level of tracking and communication varies between companies, so it is important to ask about the company’s tracking and communication policies before making arrangements for shipping. You should also provide the company with up-to-date contact information to ensure that you receive any updates on the shipment’s progress.

What Happens if My Car Is Damaged During Shipping?

If your car is damaged during shipping, you should contact the shipping company immediately and file a claim. The shipping company is responsible for compensating you for any damage that occurs during the shipping process. To support your claim, it is advisable to take pictures of the damage and gather any relevant documents, such as the bill of lading, prior to contacting the shipping company. In some cases, the shipping company may ask for an independent inspection to assess the damage before settling the claim.

How Do I Handle the Delivery of My Car After It Arrives at Its Destination?

When your car arrives at its destination, it is important to be present for the delivery to inspect it for any damages that may have occurred during shipping. Thoroughly inspect the car, both inside and out, and take note of any damages or issues. If you find any damages, make sure to document them with pictures and inform the shipping company immediately. Be sure to check for missing items or personal belongings and make sure the car is running properly. After the inspection, sign the bill of lading to indicate that you have received the car in the condition it was shipped in. If everything is in order, you can then take possession of the car and drive it away.

Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

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