Shipping a Car Across The Country: A Step-by-Step Guide

As one of the most useful inventions ever and an ever-present part of our lives, cars are not easily overlooked when it comes time for moving day. However, while it is typically trivially easy to get the vehicle somewhere, things can get tricky when long distances are involved. When moving cross country, you will likely want to get there safely and comfortably. More often than not, this means catching a plane. After all, trying to make the journey by car means potentially going the whole day, with not much time to rest. A strenuous endurance exercise, for sure. So, how does one get their automobile from point A to point B? Using shipping, of course! To help you along, we have prepared a guide on shipping a car across the country step by step.

Figuring out the cost of shipping a car across the country

Now, the primary parameters influencing the cost of shipping a vehicle are the distance, make and model, dimensions, age, and mode of transport. To summarize, the newer and more expensive your car is, the more it will cost you to have it transported. It is not unfair because newer vehicles in impeccable condition require a lot more delicate care than the older models. The bigger your car, the more space it takes up and the more troublesome it is to transport, so this too makes sense.

Moving truck.
Getting your car ready for shipping is both similar and different from getting it ready for the road.

Distance is an interesting cost aspect since it is actually cheaper when you are shipping further. The cost is approximately two dollars per mile for under 200 miles journeys, while it drops to a dollar per mile under 1500 miles and only around 0.5 dollars for distances longer than that. Don’t forget to account for the cost of auto detailing services in Oregon either! It’s always better to ship your car clean.

Choosing a shipping company and mode of transport

When it comes to an interstate move, be it in Ohio or elsewhere, you need to find reliable movers. You always need to trust a moving company you hire to conduct your relocation. However, when shipping your car, you want to find the right people for the job! Never let the price quote be the end of your decision-making process. Make sure to check the reviews of the shipping companies, and once you have shortlisted several of them, you can even ask for referrals.

Talking to past customers is an excellent way to gauge the quality of a shipping company, particularly when it comes to expensive items like cars. Another thing to keep in mind is what mode of transport you will opt for. You have the choice between enclosed shipping, open-air shipping, door-to-door shipping, and rail shipping.

Rail shipping

This is the cheapest option available but suffers from considerably long transport times. Still, that can give you time to set up your new garage! It also ensures your car is not exposed to the elements during transport.

Open-air shipping

Marginally more expensive but faster, open-air shipping. Unfortunately, it leaves your car at the mercy of the elements. Not a big issue for most cars. However, if your car is expensive or delicate, this will likely not be the best option for you.

Enclosed shipping

Enclosed shipping comes with all the benefits of open-air shipping without the drawbacks! However, it is more expensive.

Door-to-door shipping

The final and most expensive option is shipping your car straight from your current address to the new one in a dedicated transport vehicle. This means your car would be the only one handled by the particular employee, which lets them better care for it. You would also not need to fetch your vehicle in person. Still, as mentioned before, it is by far the most expensive option for shipping a car across the country.

Preparing your car

Your first step should be disabling the alarm. Transport can jostle your car, and the alarm would be an inconvenience. Then, you want to take any accessories off your vehicle and any valuables and belongings out of it. Both can end up lost on the road.

A family is shipping a car across the country
Even during shipping, your car should be in good condition.

Next, you need to refill oil, brake, and transmission fluids. Check the tire pressure and battery condition as well! Finally, if it applies to your car, you want to disable the electronic toll pass. It might also be wise to check if your brakes are working correctly and, just in case, make sure the tracker on your car is on if you have it installed.

Prepare your documentation

You will need to submit your passport, ID, driving license, proof of ownership, and a copy of the vehicle title. All of these might be necessary during the inspection, which can occur in the course of transport. Besides, no shipping company will accept the application without them, in any state!

You will also have to fill out a consignee form and submit an inventory list of everything you leave in the car. This includes spare tires, tools, and first-aid kits. This way, you will know whether or not something has been lost during transport, so it serves as protection for both you and the shipping company. Make sure everything is listed in a moving quote.

Get a good insurance

Now, preparing your car for the move and securing all the documentation is not enough. You should also think about the what-if scenario of your vehicle getting damaged. It is not a nice thing to consider, but you will be thanking your past self for foresight if an accident does occur!

Street in NYC with cars
Some companies might refuse to transport your vehicle if it is not insured.

Any additional costs incurred from the insurance would be well worth it, considering the price of a brand new car. So, do not hesitate! Car insurance during the move is not a needless expense but a necessary precaution.

Final Word

This marks the end of our shipping a car across the country guide. We hope we have helped prepare you for the task ahead. And that your move will go perfectly smoothly, with no accidents. Just remember that preparation is critical, and we are sure everything will be fine.

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