Moving Cars From State to State – Everything You Need to Know

Posted in Car Shipping on February 5, 2024

When it comes to relocating your vehicle across state lines, knowledge is key. In this blog post, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about moving cars from state to state. We’ll cover all the essentials you need to make your interstate vehicle transport smooth and stress-free.

What Is Interstate Car Transport?

Interstate auto transport, often referred to as long-distance or cross-country auto shipping, is a service that facilitates the shipping of vehicles from one state to another. It’s a practical solution for individuals moving to a new state with a family, buying a car online from a different location, or relocating for work. Instead of driving the vehicle yourself, which often increases relocation stress, you can rely on professional long-distance movers to handle the logistics.

As one of the essential cross-country moving services, auto transportation involves loading your vehicle onto a specialized car carrier trailer and then transporting it to your desired destination. This service offers convenience and time-saving benefits, ensuring your vehicle is moved safely and that it will reach its new city without the wear and tear associated with long road trips.

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Different Types of Car Transport Services – Open vs. Enclosed Trailer

When it comes to shipping an auto, you have two primary options for the type of carrier trailer used – open and enclosed trailers. Open carrier is the more common choice due to its cost-effectiveness. Your vehicle is loaded onto an open-air trailer along with other cars.

While this option is friendly to your relocation budget, it exposes your automobile to the elements, such as weather and road debris. Open trailer is suitable for most everyday vehicles and is a popular choice for those looking to transport their cars economically.

However, if you own a luxury automobile or a vintage one, our relocation tip would be to go with an enclosed carrier when moving cross country. Enclosed trailers provide an extra layer of protection. Your car is placed inside a covered trailer, shielding it from weather, dirt, and potential damage during transit.

Delivery Options – Door-To-Door and Terminal-To-Terminal

When arranging an auto transport service, you’ll also have choices regarding the delivery method. With the door-to-door service option, the car transport company picks up your automobile at your chosen location, such as your home or workplace. It then delivers it directly to your new home or office. It’s the most convenient choice for most customers, eliminating the need to drop off and pick up your vehicle at terminals.

On the other hand, the terminal-to-terminal transport method requires you to drop off your four-wheeler at a designated terminal closest to you and pick it up from another terminal near your destination. While terminal-to-terminal delivery is slightly more affordable, it requires you to arrange transportation to and from the terminals, which can be less convenient for some and add an additional layer of relocation anxiety.

A moving truck with an enclosed trailer on the road
While it is slightly more expensive, an enclosed trailer offers better protection

What Are the Legal Requirements for Moving Cars From State to State?

When shipping cars from state to state, it’s essential to be aware of and comply with the legal requirements governing vehicle transportation. Failure to do so can result in fines, delays, or even the impoundment of your vehicle. Each state has its regulations regarding vehicle transportation.

These regulations can include weight limits, vehicle dimensions, and specific requirements for commercial carriers. It’s crucial to research and understand the rules in both your starting and destination states to prepare for the move and ensure compliance.

Importance of Having a Licensed and Insured Cross-Country Car Transport Company

To navigate the shipping process smoothly, entrust your vehicle to a licensed and insured company like Cross Country Movers. A legitimate relocation company will have the necessary permits and vehicle transport insurance coverage to operate legally across state lines.

This safeguards your vehicle and offers protection in case of any accidents or damage during transit. You can check if the company is licensed on the FMCSA website – be sure to check their USDOT number.

The revenue of the auto transportation industry was $9.9 billion in 2023

Preparing Your Car for Interstate Movement

Effective preparation of your auto for interstate transit is crucial to guarantee a smooth and stress-free relocation experience. Ensuring your car is ready can prevent issues during transit and help maintain its perfect condition upon arrival.

Pre-Transport Checks Are Essential

Begin with a comprehensive inspection of your car, taking note of any pre-existing damage or problems. Photograph and create a folder or digital relocation inventory to document these issues. Consider getting your auto serviced before transport to address any mechanical or maintenance needs. Ensure that all important documentation, such as the vehicle’s title, registration, and insurance, is easily accessible.

Vehicle Shipping Preparations and Securing the Car

Remove all personal belongings from your auto before transport. Auto transport companies generally forbid any items inside the vehicle due to liability and weight constraints. This practice ensures safety and minimizes the risk of damage during transit. Clean the automobile thoroughly and disable the alarm. Maintain a fuel level of approximately a quarter tank before transit. This quantity provides enough fuel for loading, unloading, and potential delays without adding unnecessary weight.

A long-distance moving trailer hauling cars
You need to prepare your auto if you want to ensure safe transit to another state

Factors to Consider When Selecting an Automobile Relocation Company for Moving Across the Country

Selecting the right relocation company is a critical decision that directly impacts the safety of your automobile during transit. When choosing a company, several crucial factors demand your attention to guarantee a successful and efficient relocation experience. To make an informed choice, begin by researching the reputation of potential providers. Read reviews and seek recommendations from friends or online communities to gauge their reliability and performance.

Beyond reputation, consider the range of services offered. Determine if they provide options such as open or enclosed transport and various delivery methods, aligning these with your specific needs. While the cost of shipping is an important factor, be cautious of quotes that seem too low, as they might hide hidden fees or subpar service.

Red Flags to Avoid in Auto Transport Services

When selecting an auto transport service, it’s essential to be alert to potential warning signs that may point to a relocation scam. Recognizing these red flags can help you avoid unreliable or unscrupulous providers:

  • Unusually low quotes – Extremely low price quotes may conceal hidden fees or substandard service. Exercise caution when dealing with quotes that appear too good to be true.
  • Lack of licensing and insurance – Verify that the company possesses proper licensing and insurance. Refrain from engaging with a service provider that cannot provide evidence of these credentials.
  • Negative reviews or lack of a website – Consistent negative reviews or a lack of online presence could suggest an unreliable company. Seek feedback from previous customers to check their experience with the company.
  • Unclear terms and conditions – Ensure you thoroughly review and comprehend the company’s terms and conditions before entering into any agreements. Avoid companies that lack transparency regarding their policies.

What to Expect on the Moving Day When Your Car Movers Arrive?

When your movers arrive on the moving day, they will begin by inspecting your vehicle for any pre-existing damage and documenting it. After the inspection, your vehicle will be loaded onto the transport carrier using the appropriate equipment. The movers will ensure it is securely fastened and ready for shipping. Throughout the journey, your vehicle’s condition will be closely monitored to prevent any potential damage.

Upon arrival at your destination, the movers will conduct a final inspection and hand over your automobile to you. It’s essential to be present during delivery to ensure everything is in order and to address any concerns you may have. If you decide to entrust your automobile to our team at Cross Country Movers, you can rest assured that it will arrive at your new address in pristine condition, without any damages.

Gray car up close
Your movers will inspect the car before loading it on the carrier

Post-Transport – Receiving Your Vehicle

After your automobile has been transported across state lines, it’s essential to understand what to expect when it finally arrives at its destination. Upon delivery, carefully inspect your vehicle for any damages that may have occurred during transit. Note any new scratches, dents, or other issues, and document them with photographs. If you notice any damage, inform the car shipping company immediately so that they can address the situation.

Additionally, complete any necessary paperwork related to the delivery and confirm that your vehicle’s condition matches the agreed-upon terms in your contract. These steps are essential to ensure that any post-transport concerns are addressed promptly and accurately.

Feedback for Your Cross-Country Movers – Writing a Review

After your vehicle has been successfully transported from one state to another, consider sharing your experience by writing a review of the car transport company. Your feedback can be invaluable to other potential customers seeking reliable service. Highlight the professionalism, timeliness, and overall quality of the service you received. Likewise, if you encountered any issues, discuss how the company addressed them.

Sharing your honest feedback helps others make informed decisions and encourages service providers to maintain high standards. Your review can play a vital role in the car transport industry by promoting excellence and assisting fellow customers in choosing the right cross-country movers for their needs.

A girl sitting in a cafe and typing on a laptop
Once your relocation is over, be sure to write a review of your shipping company

Contact Cross Country Movers – Our Team of Long-Distance Moving Experts Will Ship Your Auto Effortlessly

Trust Cross Country Movers for long-distance vehicle transport – our team consists of seasoned experts who will take care of your automobile. With a wealth of experience in the industry, we specialize in seamlessly shipping your auto across state lines. Our commitment to excellence ensures that your vehicle arrives at its destination safely and without hassle.

Our professional team is dedicated to providing top-notch shipping service – as well as moving and packing services and peace of mind throughout the entire process. Contact us, and let us take care of your long-distance auto shipping needs with precision and reliability.


How Do I Prepare My Car for Interstate Transport?

Preparing your car involves a thorough cleaning, removal of personal items, documenting existing damage, maintaining a quarter-tank of fuel, disabling the alarm, and having necessary documents like registration and insurance readily available for smooth interstate transport.

What Is the Difference Between Open-Air and Enclosed Transport?

Open-air transport is a more cost-effective option but leaves your vehicle exposed to weather conditions, dirt, and road debris, which might be a concern. The enclosed carrier is more expensive but offers better security and protection. Covered trailers safeguard against environmental factors and potential damage, making them an ideal choice for transporting luxury, antique, or highly valuable vehicles.

How Do I Choose a Reliable Car Transport Company?

Choosing a reliable car transport company involves a thorough process that includes researching and reading customer reviews and verifying the company’s licensing and insurance credentials. It’s essential to inquire about the company’s experience in the industry, safety policies, and the range of services they offer. Consider their communication and customer service quality, as these are crucial factors in ensuring smooth and stress-free transportation.

What Should I Do if My Vehicle Is Damaged During Transport?

In the event of damage during transport, immediately document it with detailed photographs, promptly notify the shipping company, review your insurance coverage, maintain comprehensive records of all communication, and communicate with the company to pursue compensation following their established procedures and policies.

Hannah Michaelson

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

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