How to get a car shipped across country from a dealership

How to get a car shipped across country from a dealership

Your local car dealership is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for a new vehicle. However, there are lots of reasons not to stop there and look further afield. Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to buy almost anything you want online. Purchasing a vehicle is no different, and if you widen your shopping horizons, you’ll have so much more to choose. 

You can visit many websites, whether you’re looking for something new, used, or a specialty vehicle. Most reputable dealerships are also going to have an online presence where you can go shopping. Once you’ve found something you like, you’ve then got to get your purchase home. In this article, we’re going to answer an important question: “How do I ship a car across country?” But before we talk about cross country car shipping, let’s share some tips on the buying process.   

Why you should look for a car out of state

There are plenty of valid reasons you should look further than your local city when looking for a new vehicle. Why not spread your search even further and look for a car out of state. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t widen your search to the whole of the United States. When you broaden your parameters, there are going to be so many more vehicles to choose from. But, more choice is not the only reason to look for a car across country. 

One very significant advantage to shopping out of state is the price difference. Car prices vary considerably across the country, and in some areas, prices might be much lower than where you live. If your budget is restricted, it pays to look for a car in a location where you can get a better deal. 

The worst state to buy a used car is California. Hawaii trails behind a close second. So what about the best states to buy a used car? Florida is at the top of the list, and you can expect to pay as much as 10% less than other US states.

Something else to bear in mind is unexpected fees. There are other costs, aside from the cost of the vehicle itself. Before your car is driven off the dealership lot, you will have to pay state and local sales taxes. On top of that, you’ll also pay registration fees and dealer documentation fees. The worst state for charging additional fees is Alabama. However, the best state to avoid unexpected fees is Oregon. Other low-cost states include New Hampshire and Alaska.

If you’re looking for a specific make, model, or option package, shopping out of state means you’re more likely to get a deal that suits you. For example, the online market has always been active for classic, specialty, and antique vehicles. Car enthusiasts and collectors much prefer to shop online because they can get the exact vehicle they’re looking for. Car dealerships have also realized there are significant advantages to listing their vehicle online. And transporting a car from dealerships is effortless to arrange.     

Where to look for a car across country

If you’re looking for a car out-of-state, there are several options. The obvious place to start is to go directly to the websites of dealers in other states. However, if you’re unsure which dealerships to choose, there’s a much easier way to shop remotely. 

Visit a car buying site such as or, and you’ll be able to browse listings that include used and new cars. Some of the vehicles listed will be from private sellers, but there will also be cars listed for sale by dealers.

One further option is to visit an auction site such as AutoTempest. Websites like these collect listings from a variety of different car-buying sites.

Tips for buying a car from an out-of-state dealer

Cross country car buying

Buying a car out of state does require a certain amount of effort. There’s also the potential to reap great rewards. However, there are some steps you need to follow if you want to get the best deal. 

Be sure to get a vehicle history report

Whenever you buy a car, you should get a vehicle history report from a company like Carfax. If you’re buying a car across country, this is a fundamental first step. When you get a history report, you’re able to make sure there are no issues with the vehicle before you move forward with the purchase. It will also show whether there is a lien on the vehicle. This has to be released before the car can be taken across state lines.  

Have the car inspected before you buy

If you’re buying a car locally, it’s easy to arrange for a mechanic to inspect the car before you buy it. When you buy a car out-of-state, it doesn’t mean you should skip this vital step. The smart thing to do is hire someone in the local area to test drive and inspect the car for you. 

Some online dealerships offer a free return policy. If this applies to your purchase, you could wait and have the car inspected as soon as it’s delivered. However, you could avoid the hassle of having to return it with a pre-purchase inspection. 

Pay your taxes

In some states, there is no sales tax. Taxes and fees on vehicle purchases apply to the state where the car is garaged. In most states, you have to pay all fees before the car can be registered. If you buy a vehicle from a franchised dealer, they should take care of most of the paperwork for you. 

States have different inspection requirements

Visit the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) website to find out information regarding the state’s specific safety, emission, and/or odometer inspection requirements. Once you’ve received your car, you’ll have to visit the DMV in person to take care of the paperwork and get your official title and registration. If you know exactly what paperwork and forms of identification are required, you’ll save time and hassle. 

Title and registration

When you register your new vehicle in the state you live in, you will have to pay for a new title and registration. Find out how much time you have before the new state required that the vehicle is registered. It could be as little as 30 days.

Why shipping your car is a smart thing to do

When you buy a car from a dealership across the other side of the country, you have to get your car home. There are several options, but the smartest is to ship your new car across the country. Before we go into the details, let’s examine a couple of the other options and look at their pros and cons. 

Drive your car yourself

This is possibly the first option most people would consider. It seems a pretty cheap thing to do on the surface. However, delve a little deeper and the cost increases. First, you have to find a way to get to the dealership. Whether that’s by plane, train, or bus, it only adds to the cost. Then you’ve got to cover the cost of fuel, somewhere to stay overnight, meals and drinks, and additional insurance. 

As well as the cost, you’ve also got to remember that it could be stressful and dangerous if you drive long distances.  

Hire a professional driver or have a friend or relative drive it for you

If you’d rather not drive such a long-distance yourself, you could always hire a professional driver to drive your car home for you. You’d have to find a driver you could trust to drive your new car home, which is challenging in itself. Some companies provide this kind of service, or you could hire someone directly. 

Alternatively, you might have a friend or family member who would be willing to collect and drive your car on your behalf. 

The cost of either of these options is the major downside. And let’s not forget the hidden cost of unnecessary wear and tear.  

The best way to get a car shipped from a dealership

Once you’ve found and purchased your dream car, the next step is to book transport. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we’ve been transporting vehicles for many years and know how best to get your car to your home, without any hassles. Let’s look at how the process works. 

1. Get a quote and book your order

Get your free instant quote using our online instant quote calculator. If you like the price, you make your booking. You confirm the details you entered into the quote calculator, and our shipping advisors make your booking. 

There are two ways you can pay for your cross country car shipping service. Pay just once, in full, using a credit or debit card. You make this payment as soon as we have assigned a carrier to your shipment. Alternatively, there’s the option of a discounted cash rate. We take a small partial payment when your vehicle is dispatched. You then pay the balance when you accept the delivery of your new vehicle.


2. We pick up your vehicle

The carrier will contact you before the pick-up date so they can confirm the details and make sure the location and time are convenient. You will need to clarify the pick-up details with the dealership you purchased the car from. When the carrier arrives, they will inspect the vehicle and note its condition on the Bill of Lading.  Your new vehicle can then be loaded onto the trailer. 

3. You receive your vehicle

The carrier will contact you again, a short while before they are due to deliver your vehicle. This call confirms the delivery details and checks you’re going to be available to receive your new car. When the car arrives, check it carefully and compare the condition with a copy of the Bill of Lading. If everything is in order, you sign the Bill of Lading to receive the car and pay any money you owe.

As you can see, cross country car shipping is quick, easy, and convenient. But how much does it cost? Let’s see if we can help with an answer.   

How much does it cost to ship a car across country?

How much does it cost is going to be a question on many people’s lips. Surely it’s got to be expensive? Cross country car transport is more affordable than you think. It’s not possible to put an exact price on it. For that, you’ll have to use our instant quote calculator. What we can do is explain what factors we take into account when working out a price. 

The factors include:

  • Whether your new car is being picked up from a dealership in a metropolitan or remote location
  • The delivery location
  • The distance between these two spots
  • The time of year
  • The current price of fuel
  • The make, model, and year of the car you want us to transport
  • Whether you want open or enclosed auto transport (we’ll explain the difference shortly)

How long does it take to ship a car across country?

On average, a truck and trailer can cover several hundred miles in one day. How long it’s going to take to deliver your car, therefore, depends on how far they’ve got to travel. It could be just a couple of days. However, for cross country deliveries, it might take a week or more. 

If you need your car urgently, you can take advantage of a guaranteed pick-up service or express auto transport. There is, however, an added cost for this type of auto transport service. 

Cross country car shipping options: open car transport vs. enclosed auto transport

Earlier, we mentioned you had the option of choosing open car transport or enclosed auto transport. Let’s explain the difference. 

Open car transport

Choose open car transport, and the auto transport company will transport your vehicle along with several others, using a truck and a trailer. Open car trailers are exposed on all sides to the elements, road debris, and traffic grime. Don’t think this means your vehicle isn’t safe and secure. Open car transport is one of the safest, most secure, and popular ways to ship a car. It’s actually the service of choice when it comes to transporting cars for dealerships. If it’s the number one auto transport for dealers, it has to be a good quality service. 

Choose open car transport, and you’ll enjoy many benefits, for example:

  • Fast and efficient service
  • Insurance is typically included
  • An affordable way to ship a car across country
  • Topload placement is an option for added protection
  • Suitable for most types of vehicle
  • Better for the environment
  • Multiple car shipping is an option

Enclosed auto transport

Enclosed auto transport is a little different in that the carrier transports your vehicle in a trailer that is completely enclosed. Your new car could be transported on its own or with just a couple of other vehicles. Enclosed auto transport is a service that offers complete protection and security for your vehicle. This is the main reason it is the auto transport service of choice for owners of classic and high-value vehicles.

The benefits of enclosed auto transport include:

  • Peace of mind protection
  • Suitable for vehicles with low ground clearance
  • Increased insurance coverage

What you need to do when your car arrives

As soon as your vehicle arrives, you need to make sure it’s insured and registered. If you buy a car from a local dealership, they usually take care of the paperwork for you. When you purchase a car from much further afield, it’s your responsibility to handle the details. 

The first step in to contact your current insurance agent and check whether there is a clause in your policy that automatically covers a newly purchased vehicle. Even if it’s just for a few days, this gives you enough time to sort out your new insurance details. It may be possible for you to add your new car to your current policy before you accept delivery. You’ll need the VIN, purchase price, and a few basic details about the vehicle.

Now you know how easy and straightforward it is to buy the car of your dreams, even if it’s from the other side of the country, time to get down to the serious task of shopping. Once you’ve found that special car, get in touch with us here at SGT Auto Transport, and we’ll handle the shipping. Speak directly with our shipping advisors on (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option. 

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