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9 Top Tips for Shipping a Car to Another State


Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

If you’re new to shipping a car to another state you might be wondering what it’s all about. When you want to ship a car to another state it’s actually easier than you think. There are also several things you can do to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. In this post, we’re going to share some tips on what you need to do. 

Follow our advice and you and your car will have no hassles when moving from one state to another.  

1. Find the best company

Cars tend to be a very prized possession. While it may be very tempting to snag the cheapest quote you find on the internet, try to resist the low-priced, independent auto transporters.

Low-priced shippers tend to offer a sub-standard service and lack in certain departments such as customer care and insurance. 

It’s much better if you trust your car to a professional, seasoned auto transport company. You certainly won’t regret it. A good place to start looking for reputable auto transport companies, like SGT Auto Transport, is to find companies that have top-notch customer reviews online or several years experience in the industry.

To ensure your vehicle is fully covered through the transportation process, choose a company with ample experience in shipping cars that also provides automatic transportation insurance of no less than $100,000.  

2. Don’t skimp on your research

One vital tip that can’t be stressed enough is to always do your research. Thanks to the internet, you can do most of your research from the comfort of your armchair. The world wide web also provides an opportunity for anyone and everyone to share their opinion on a product, service, or company. You should take these reviews very seriously as they can tell you a lot about a company’s reputation. 

Comments to look out for are those that highlight late deliveries, bad customer service, or hidden charges. These are the types of company to avoid.

Something else you can do in terms of research is to ask around. You can ask family and friends, but it’s also an idea to ask around at work or post on social media. You should get plenty of suggestions and comments from followers and friends. These are going to be hugely valuable when making your final decision.  

3. Calculate your car shipping costs

If you know someone who has shipped a car to another state, consider asking them which company they used. They’ll likely share their experience and tell you how much to ship a car to another state. Beyond that, you’ll have to do your own research and possibly outreach.

During your vetting process of potential companies, research each company's prices by clicking, calling, or visiting brick-and-mortar locations. 

Most of the top car shipping companies, SGT Auto Transport included, also offer online quote calculators to help potential customers get fast and accurate quotes in seconds. 

Get an instant quote for shipping your car to another state!

4. Choose your type of transportation: enclosed vs. open

When you’re deciding to ship a car to another state, you’ll likely be faced with two options: enclosed vs. open car transport. 

  • Enclosed transport protects your car with four walls, a roof, and a floor on a truck and trailer. You can expect to pay 30% to 40% extra, on average. It might also take longer to transport your car because there are far fewer enclosed trailers. 
  • Open air transport moves your vehicle on an open trailer. It is a very safe, secure, and affordable option for standard vehicles. 

Which option you choose depends on your needs. If you drive down the freeway long enough, you’re bound to encounter cars being transported via open car transport. Almost 97% of all vehicles shipped in the US are shipped via open air transport. Statistically, it has proven to be almost as safe for your vehicle as enclosed auto transport. 

5. Ask as many questions as you need

Understanding the process for shipping a car to another state is important. However, in order to do that, you might have to ask the right questions. Before you finalize your booking with an auto transport company, make sure you’ve covered all the important questions. For example, you should ask:

  • How many days before my quote expires?
  • Do you have a satisfaction guarantee?
  • What is your refund policy?
  • Do you include insurance in your pricing?
  • What is your cancellation policy?

For many people, their vehicle is like a member of the family. Therefore, you want to make sure you’re working with an auto transport company that understands how important it is to keep customers’ cars safe and protected. 

6. Book as early as possible

It’s always a good idea to book your shipment as soon as you can, preferably as soon as you know you’ll need it. If you do this, you’re more likely to get the lowest quote possible and also give yourself ample time to plan your move. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the pricing of shipping a car to another state also depends on other factors such as the size and weight of your vehicle and the time of year. 

Something else to bear in mind is that while the route your car is taking appears to be relatively straight and easy, it doesn’t mean the route that the carrier takes will also be straight and easy. Transporting vehicles from state-to-state is a large logistical puzzle where a transport trailer can zigzag all over the place. Vehicles have to be picked up and dropped off in different locations and the carrier might also run into conditions that slow down the whole process.

How long does it take to ship a car to another state?

Because you need to plan appropriately, the general time frame for transporting cars long distances are as follows: 

  • 100–500 miles will take 1–2 days
  • 500–1000 miles will take 2–4 days
  • 1000–1500 miles will take 3–5 days
  • 1500–2000 miles will take 4–6 days
  • 2000–2500 miles will take 5–7 days
  • 2500–3000 miles will take 7–10 days

When you're shopping around for auto shipment quotes to get your car from one state to another, ask companies for an estimate on the shipping time for your vehicle before you finalize your booking. 

7. Make sure your vehicle is ready for the journey

Once you’ve chosen a car shipping company and method of how to ship your car from one state to another, you’ll need to prepare your vehicle. 

First, do a thorough cleaning of the interior of your car and wash the outside as well. That way, you’ll be able to easily spot any scratches, dings, scuffs, cracks, etc and make a note of them on the Bill of Lading. After you’ve given your car a thorough wash, buff and clean, then take pictures of your car for your records. 

Next, fill your gas tank to about a quarter. This ensures there’s enough gas for loading and unloading the car off the trailer and to get from the drop-off point to its new home if necessary. For the car shipping company, having about a quarter tank of gas also helps to reduce the truck and trailer’s payload as it drives cross-country. 

Something else you need to do is remove your personal belongings from your vehicle. That includes items in the glove compartment and trunk. Extra items weigh down your car and they’re never insured in a shipping company's plan, so you’re not covered if they’re damaged. 

It’s also a good idea to remove any toll road beepers from your vehicle. Should they run up automatic toll charges as your vehicle travels from point A to point B, the toll service will typically reverse the charges. But you will have to reach out to them, and provide them with proof of your auto transport shipment. 

Finally, you’ll need to hand over your keys to the carrier’s driver. These are needed for loading and unloading your car on the trailer. 

8. Make sure your documentation is in order

Documentation such as registration, title, and proof of insurance are not a requirement when you ship a car to another state, however, it’s a good idea to have them handy just in case they are needed. 

Also, be sure to keep up your car’s insurance during the cross-country move. All licensed and bonded auto transport companies will insure your car under their own insurance policy, but it’s better to have additional insurance on top. 

9. Quality vs. price

We’ve already mentioned that the cheapest is not necessarily the best option. There are hundreds of different auto transport companies out there, each with their own protocols and rules. While it might seem like a good idea to go with the cheapest in town, consider “why” the company is much cheaper than the rest. 

It might be that the company is not insured and doesn’t include coverage in their final quote. On the other hand, it might be because it’s a new business and investment hasn’t been made in certain safety equipment that older, more experienced companies have. 

If you go with a reputable, well-known auto transport company, it might cost a little bit more, but you know you’re getting the service, coverage, and treatment that you and your car deserve. 

Whether you’re moving with the military, shipping a beloved classic car, or relocating, SGT Auto Transport has services to suit your individual needs. We’ve got a great reputation, years of experience, and have helped thousands of satisfied customers over the last few years. 

Get an instant quote for shipping your car to another state!

If you’d prefer to speak with a representative simply call (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option .

If you like the price you’re given, click to make your booking or confirm the details with the SGT Auto Transport representative.   

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