9 Top Tips for Shipping a Car to Another State

Brantley Kendall

13 Oct 2023 7 months ago

In the vast expanse of the United States, the need to transport a car across state lines arises more often than one might think. The demand for car shipping services within the United States has been steadily increasing in recent years. Against an upward trend in car ownership in the United States, it is no surprise that the need to transport vehicles across state lines has become increasingly common. With a staggering total of 278,063,737 personal and commercial vehicles registered to drivers in 2021, it is evident that Americans have a solid attachment to their wheels. As this number continues to rise yearly, so does the demand for car shipping services.

However, navigating the logistics and ensuring a smooth transition can be daunting for many. Not being adequately informed about car shipping can lead to pitfalls and challenges. One of the most common problems is choosing an unreliable or inexperienced car shipping company, which can result in delays, damage to your vehicle, or even scams. That’s why today we present nine top tips that will make shipping a car to another state in the USA a breeze. So, prepare to start this statistical journey filled with valuable insights and expert advice.

Why Ship Your Car? Reasons to Opt for Professional Shipping Services

Regarding shipping cars, people have various reasons for choosing this option. One prevalent scenario is relocation. When individuals move to a different state, transporting their vehicles can be daunting. Driving long distances may be better, especially with the additional stress of moving. In these cases, car shipping provides a convenient solution. It allows people to focus on settling into their new surroundings while their vehicle is safely transported to their new location.

  1. Relocation: When relocating to a different state, transporting your vehicle through a professional car shipping service can save you from the stress and hassle of driving long distances. It lets you focus on other aspects of your move while ensuring your vehicle arrives safely.
  2. Buying/Selling a Vehicle: Using a car shipping service can simplify the process if you’re involved in a vehicle transaction across state lines. It eliminates the need to travel to the location or arrange for the buyer to pick up the vehicle. This can be particularly helpful when dealing with online sales or auctions.
  3. Preservation of Classic Cars: Classic car enthusiasts often opt for professional car shipping services to preserve the condition of their valuable and delicate vehicles. Shipping companies have the expertise to handle classic cars carefully, reducing the risk of damage during transport.
  4. Time Constraints: When time is limited, professional car shipping services can be a lifesaver. For instance, if you need to relocate for work or have a tight schedule for a vehicle transaction, shipping your car saves time. The transport company takes care of all the logistics and ensures timely delivery. It’s essential to consider your specific needs and circumstances when deciding whether to use professional car shipping services.  
  5. Safety: Statistics show that long-distance driving can be risky, especially when traversing unfamiliar territories. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most accidents occur during long journeys. By utilizing professional car shipping services, you can mitigate these risks and ensure the safety of your vehicle. Transport companies have experienced drivers and stringent safety protocols to safeguard your car throughout the journey. 

Peace of Mind: The most important reason to choose professional car shipping services is the peace of mind they offer. Knowing that your vehicle is being taken care of by seasoned professionals can relieve considerable stress. You can rest easy, knowing your car will arrive at its destination safely and on time, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life. In conclusion, professional car shipping services provide a convenient, time-saving, and reliable solution for transporting vehicles over long distances.

Top Tips for Shipping a Car to Another State

Here are some top tips for shipping a car to another state:

#1. Research and choose a reliable car shipping company

You won’t believe what happened recently! There was a report about a vehicle owner who unfortunately fell into a scam because they ignored the trust signals when choosing a car transport service. This poor person was in a rush to ship their car to another state and didn’t take the time to research reputable companies. Instead, they found a seemingly cheap and too-good-to-be-true offer online. They needed to check for reviews or ratings to book with this unknown company. You can probably guess what happened next. The vehicle owner paid the upfront fee, but their car was never picked up for transport.

It’s a cautionary tale highlighting the importance of researching and choosing a trustworthy car transport service. If this person had taken extra time to read reviews or check BBB ratings, they could have avoided this whole mess. So, let this news report remind you to prioritize trust signals when selecting a car transport service. Don’t fall for too-good-to-be-true offers or rush into a decision without doing homework. Trustworthy companies with positive reviews and high ratings are out there, and by taking the time to find one, you can ensure a safe and reliable transport experience for your vehicle.

 #2. Understand Pricing Variables

Let’s summarize the varying costs of shipping a car with a numerical example. Imagine you want to ship your car from New York to California, approximately 2,800 miles. Now, let’s consider some factors that can affect the cost.

  Distance: Shipping companies usually charge per mile, so a longer distance will naturally increase the price. Let’s say the company charges $0.75 per mile. That means the base cost for your journey would be 2,800 miles x $0.75 = $2,100.

  Car Size: Let’s assume you have a compact car. Shipping companies often charge less for smaller vehicles due to their size and weight. For our example, we’ll estimate a 10% lower cost for a compact car, reducing the price from $2,100 to $1,890.

  Shipping Mode: Open carrier transport is generally cheaper than enclosed transport. Open carrier transport costs $200 less compared to enclosed transport. The final cost for open transport is $1,690.

Now that we have our example, here are some tips to get the best price possible:

  • Plan Early: Give yourself ample time to research and compare shipping companies. Last-minute bookings tend to be more expensive.
  • Get Multiple Quotes: Reach out to several companies and request quotes. You can compare prices and services to find the most cost-effective option.
  • Consider Timing: Shipping during peak seasons or holidays might increase prices. Choose off-peak times for more competitive rates.
  • Be Flexible: Sometimes, being open to flexible pick-up and delivery dates can result in cost savings. Avoiding specific high-demand periods can help negotiate a better price.
  • Bundle Shipping: If you have multiple vehicles or are shipping other items, inquire about bundled shipping deals. Shipping everything together can often lead to discounted rates. 

 #3. Opt for Enclosed Transport for Premium Cars

Enclosed car transport offers a range of benefits, particularly for luxury, vintage, or valuable vehicles. It provides an extra layer of protection, shielding your prized possession from potential risks and hazards during shipping. Let us explain further using an example.

 Imagine you own a vintage 1967 Mustang Shelby GT500. This classic beauty has sentimental value and is worth a pretty penny. You decide to transport it from New York to Florida and opt for enclosed transport to safeguard your precious car. Here’s how enclosed transport provides that extra level of protection:

Weather Protection: Enclosed carriers shield your vehicle from adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, hail, or extreme heat. This means your beloved Mustang won’t be subjected to the whims of Mother Nature during the journey.

Road Debris and Dirt: An enclosed carrier shields your car from any potential damage caused by road debris, such as rocks or loose gravel. It also prevents dust and dirt from accumulating on the vehicle, keeping it pristine.

Enhanced Security: Enclosed transport typically involves more stringent security measures. These carriers are fully enclosed and often equipped with advanced tracking systems and alarms, reducing the risk of theft or unauthorized access.

Reduced Risk of Damage: With an enclosed trailer, your car is protected from potential scratches, dings, or other damage that could occur in an open carrier. It eliminates the risk of debris, road spray, or accidental collisions with other vehicles.

Now, let’s talk about the steps that professional car shipping companies take to secure your vehicle during the shipping process:

  • Loading and Securing: Trained professionals handle the loading process with utmost care. They use specialized equipment and tightly secure the vehicle to prevent movement during transit. This ensures that your car remains stable and secure throughout the journey.
  • Protective Coverings: In enclosed transport, cars are often covered with soft blankets, foam padding, or protective wraps. These additional layers shield the vehicle’s exterior from potential scratches or abrasions.
  • Straps and Tie-Downs: Professionals use heavy-duty straps and tie-downs to secure the vehicle to the carrier. This prevents any shifting or bouncing during transport, minimizing the risk of damage.

So, by choosing enclosed transport for your luxury, vintage, or valuable vehicle, you can ensure that it receives the highest level of protection during shipping. With trained professionals, secure loading, protective coverings, and advanced security features, your beloved car will arrive at its destination safely and pristinely.

#4. Prepare Your Car for Shipping

Let’s get down to business and talk about some actionable tips for preparing your vehicle before shipping. Trust us, it’s vital to put in a little effort beforehand to ensure a smooth and stress-free shipping experience. So, here are a few steps you can take:

Step 1: Give your ride a thorough clean-up. Before you ship your vehicle, whip out the soap and water and give it a good scrub. Not only does this make your car look shiny and fresh, but it also allows you to inspect it for any pre-existing damage. Take some clear photos of any scratches, dents, or other imperfections so you’ll have evidence if there’s any confusion later on.

Step 2: Say goodbye to personal items: It’s time for a clean break. Bid farewell to all your personal belongings from the car before shipping it. Take out everything from your CDs to sunglasses, GPS devices, and spare change hiding in the cup holders. Clear out the glove compartment, center console, and trunk. Shipping companies aren’t too keen on transporting personal items for safety reasons, so it’s better to play it safe.

Step 3: Check for leaks and fix them up. Nobody likes a leaky ride. So, pop the hood and quickly check for any fluid leaks under the hood. If you spot any oil, transmission fluid, or coolant leaks, fix them before shipping. We want to keep things clean and dry during transit.

 Step 4: Get those tires and batteries in check. Make sure your tires are correctly inflated and have decent tread depth. This will ensure a smooth loading and unloading process and minimize the risk of tire damage during shipping. And remember your battery! Make sure it’s fully charged and ready to roll. A strong battery means no hiccups when you reach the destination.

 Step 5: Remove or secure external accessories: If your ride is rocking cool external accessories like bike racks, spoilers, or antennas, you should take them off before shipping. These can get damaged during the journey or cause complications during loading. Secure the accessories that can’t be removed tightly to avoid any unexpected mishaps.

#5. Consider Shipping Timelines

One crucial factor to consider is the shipping timeline, which can be influenced by peak versus off-peak season. Let us break it down for you:

During peak season, usually in the summer or around major holidays, there tends to be higher demand for car shipping services. Many people are relocating, going on vacations, or buying cars from out of state. As a result, you may encounter some potential delays. Carriers can fill up quickly, and you might have to wait longer for a spot on a truck. Patience is critical during peak season!

What happens during the peak seasons?

Now, let’s talk numbers for a moment. During peak season, the increased demand can often lead to increased shipping costs. You might notice a difference of $100 to $200 more compared to off-peak season prices. Availability of carriers during peak season can be tighter, making it essential to book in advance to secure a spot and ensure your desired shipping dates.

Benefits of Shipping Your Vehicle during Off-Peak Seasons 

On the flip side, we have the off-peak season. This is when the demand for car shipping services is relatively lower. You may find it easier to book a carrier and enjoy a more flexible shipping schedule. The reduced demand during the off-peak season can also mean lower prices than the peak season. The off-peak season might be the way to go if you want to save a few bucks and have more convenience.


Remember that even during off-peak season, unforeseen circumstances can still cause delays, like extreme weather conditions or unexpected mechanical issues with the carriers. It’s always wise to factor in some buffer time and contact the shipping company to get updates on your shipment.

#6. Check Insurance Coverage

When transporting your car, one thing you don’t want to overlook is checking the insurance coverage. It’s an important step to save you from unnecessary headaches and unexpected expenses. Being informed about your coverage is key to ensuring you have the right level of protection for your car. It’s like an invisible shield that keeps you safe from unexpected mishaps. Let’s dive in and explore the different types of insurance coverage that shipping companies offer and why it matters.

Basic Liability Coverage

First up, we have basic liability coverage. This is usually included in the standard shipping service. It covers damages caused by the carrier during transportation, like accidents or collisions. It’s like the minimum safety net for your vehicle. But remember that basic liability coverage might have some limitations, and the actual coverage amount can vary among shipping companies. So, remember to read the fine print!

Supplemental Insurance

Now, if you’re looking for more protection, consider supplemental insurance. This goes beyond primary liability and covers a broader range of risks. It can offer coverage for theft, vandalism, or extreme weather conditions. Think of it as a super-charged booster that gives you extra peace of mind during shipping. Pay attention to details like deductibles, exclusions, and limitations to ensure you get the coverage you need.

Full coverage option

If you want the ultimate level of protection, there’s full coverage insurance. It provides coverage against all risks and damages during transportation. Remember, when you’re checking insurance coverage, take the time to ask about the nitty-gritty details of each policy.

#7. Document the Condition of Your Car

Let’s talk about what could happen if you skip this step. Imagine your car arrives at its destination, and to your dismay, you notice some new scratches or dents that weren’t there before. Without documentation of your car’s original condition, it becomes a case of your word against the shipping companies. Documenting your car’s condition is like creating a visual record of its current state. It’s your way of capturing scratches, dings, or dents before the vehicle embarks on its journey. By taking the time to document the condition, you have tangible evidence of how your car looked before shipping. This documentation can be convenient if any damage occurs during transportation. So, what’s the right way to document your car’s condition? It’s simple and doesn’t require any fancy equipment.

  • Start by giving your car a thorough inspection.
  • Walk around it and carefully examine the exterior.
  • Look out for any existing damages, no matter how small they may seem.
  • Take close-up photos of each scratch, dent, or imperfection.
  • Remember to capture all four sides of your car, including the front and back.

#8. Know the Drop-off and Pickup Locations

First, knowing your vehicle’s drop-off and pickup locations is like having a roadmap to a smooth and stress-free shipping process. When you have the scoop on where your car needs to go, you can plan accordingly and ensure everything goes off without a hitch. But hold up! There may be some constraints to consider, especially regarding large transport vehicles. These vehicles need plenty of space to maneuver, and some neighborhoods or narrow streets might not suit them. So, it’s essential to communicate with the shipping company and let them know about any possible constraints like low-hanging tree branches or tight turns. This way, they can work their magic and determine the best alternative solution for a smooth pickup or drop-off.

Door to Door and Terminal to Terminal Shipping

Now, let’s talk perks. Have you ever heard of door-to-door car transport? It’s like having VIP service for your car. With this option, the shipping company will pick up your vehicle directly from your location and drop it off at your desired destination. There is no need to drive to a specific terminal or shipping hub. Not only does it save you time, but it also eliminates the hassle of finding a way to and from those locations.

On the other hand, if door-to-door transport isn’t your cup of tea, there’s also the option of choosing a terminal-to-terminal service. This means you’ll drop off your car at a designated terminal and pick it up from another terminal near your destination. It can be a good choice if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option or prefer more flexibility with your schedule. 

#9. Stay Informed During the Transit

When shipping your precious ride, staying informed during transit is key. Good news – most shipping companies offer tracking options to keep you in the loop. This step can bring you peace of mind and make the shipping process a breeze.

  • Stay in the know: Tracking your vehicle allows you to stay up-to-date on its whereabouts throughout the shipping process. It’s like having a virtual GPS for your car!
  • Real-time updates: With tracking, you’ll receive real-time updates on the location of your car. No more wondering or worrying – you’ll be in the loop every step of the way.
  • Managing your schedule: By staying informed, you can plan and manage your schedule accordingly.
  • Prompt action: In the rare event of delays or issues, tracking lets you take quick action. If there’s a hiccup along the way, you’ll be aware of it and can address it promptly with the shipping company.

Communication made easy: Tracking options often come with communication channels, allowing you to connect with the shipping company for updates or any questions. It’s like having a direct line to stay in touch. !


And there you have it! We’ve covered all the tips for shipping your car to another state. To recap, planning and choosing the right type of transport for your vehicle is essential. Researching and comparing different shipping companies is crucial, as is checking for proper insurance coverage. Remember to prepare your car before shipping, stay in communication with the company throughout the process, and inspect it thoroughly upon delivery. When choosing a reliable and experienced car shipping service, look no further than SAKAEM Logistics. Their long-standing experience, reliability, and 24×7 customer support make them the perfect choice for all your car shipping needs. Don’t wait any longer. Reach out to SAKAEM Logistics today and enjoy a hassle-free shipping experience.

Most Common Questions People Also Ask

How much does it cost to ship a car to another state?

The cost of shipping a car to another state can vary depending on factors such as the distance, the size and weight of your vehicle, and the chosen transport method. Getting multiple quotes from different shipping companies is recommended to get an estimate specific to your situation. 

How long does it take to ship a car interstate?

The time it takes to ship a car interstate can also vary. Depending on the distance and the logistics involved, it typically ranges from a few days to a couple of weeks. The shipping company can provide a more accurate estimate based on your destination.

Is it safe to ship my car?

Yes, shipping your car is generally safe. Reputable shipping companies take measures to protect your vehicle during transportation. Choosing a reliable company with good reviews is essential to ensure a smooth and secure shipping process.

What’s the difference between open and enclosed car transport?

The main difference between open and enclosed car transport is the level of protection provided. Open transport involves shipping your car on an open carrier, exposing it to the elements. Enclosed transport, on the other hand, protects your vehicle from weather conditions and road debris by placing it in an enclosed trailer. The choice between the two depends on your preference and budget. 

How do I prepare my car for shipping?

Preparing your car for shipping involves a few simple steps. You should clean your vehicle thoroughly, remove personal belongings, document its current condition with photos, and ensure the fuel tank is less than a quarter full. The shipping company might have specific instructions, so it’s always a good idea to check with them for additional requirements.

Do I need extra insurance when shipping my car?

Most reputable shipping companies provide insurance coverage for your car during transportation. However, it’s essential to check the details of their insurance policy and understand the extent of coverage. If you have any concerns, you can also explore options for additional insurance to provide added peace of mind. 

Can I load my car with personal items during transport?

Most shipping companies recommend you avoid loading your car with personal items during transport. Shipping companies are usually not responsible for any personal belongings left in the vehicle, and they might have restrictions on carrying extra items due to safety regulations. It’s best to consult with the shipping company for their specific guidelines. 

What should I do if my car is damaged during transport?

The first step is to document the damage by taking pictures. Then, report the issue to the shipping company as soon as possible. They will guide you through their claims process and work towards a resolution.

How can I track my car during transportation? 

Tracking your car during transportation can provide you with peace of mind. Many shipping companies offer online tracking systems that allow you to monitor the progress of your vehicle throughout the journey. You can inquire with the shipping company about their tracking options.

Brantley Kendall