How to ship your car when moving home

How to ship your car when moving home

Truck trailer transports new cars rides on highway, Italy natural landscape Alps. Warning – authentic shooting there is a motion blur.

Shipping a car across the country or state when moving can be convenient to you and your family but many of us don’t do it because we don’t know where to start.  

The process of shipping a car can be confusing at first, so in this article, we will take a look at how to ship a car, some of the benefits of shipping a car and also what you should consider when shipping a car.

Firstly, why would you choose to ship a car when you could drive it? The answer to this is simple, some people won’t need to ship a car. If you only have one car in your household and you plan to drive to your next home then shipping isn’t for you.

Some people however will relocate to a different country or state and will choose to fly there. This is convenient for them while your car has to take the long way around. Car shipping can also keep the miles off your car and if you don’t have the most reliable car you may not want to drive a long distance anyway.

The cost of shipping a car

The worst part of moving a car is that the price isn’t the same for everyone and many factors will influence the cost.  

Your vehicle’s size for example will influence the cost of shipping it, a smaller car will be cheaper than a bigger one and some companies even charge you on the condition your vehicle is in.  

Distance also has a bearing on the price, the further your car needs to be transported the higher the cost of shipping it. If you are interested in sending your car to your next home rather than driving it but want to know about the costs before committing to it you should use a car shipping calculator to get a rough estimate of the costs involved.

Another decision you will have to make which once again will influence the costs will be if you want an open or enclosed carrier truck to transport your vehicle. An open truck as the name suggests will be open to the elements when being transported while an enclosed truck will be sealed off and your car will be given more protection.

Ultimately if you choose a reputable auto shipping company your vehicle will be in good hands anyway but it’s just something for you to consider before shipping your car.

Other ways to save money

If you find that shipping your car is too expensive there are other options you can take. A terminal to terminal shipping option is provided by most shipping companies and it entails you dropping your car off at one terminal and then picking it up at your destination terminal. This is a good option if you are on a budget.  

The only downsides to terminal to terminal car shipping are it’s less convenient than having your car shipped to your new home, it can take longer and in some cases where you are moving rurally, it may not be available.   

You could also consider paying someone to drive your car across the country, this is still convenient to you but it does have its downsides. Firstly, you will be adding miles to your car’s engine which could be avoided. You also need to pay for that person’s fuel, hotels and food budget too.

Paying for someone to drive your car across the country can be a good method of transporting a car if you trust them and know that they will care for your car. If this is the option you are willing to take just make sure that they are covered by your car insurance before the trip.

I’m happy to ship my car, what next?

Firstly do your research, there are many auto shipping companies out there that specialise in cross country or state moves. Once you have found one with a good reputation, make sure to see if there are any independent reviews of them and read them. See if anyone has had problems with their vehicles being damaged or if the service wasn’t as described.

If you find a company with good reviews, it’s then time to get a quote from them. Some companies will give you a range in price when getting a quote so be sure that the top end of the range is affordable to you when moving your car because there is a high chance that this is going to be the price when it’s all over.

Preparing your car for shipping

If you have found a car, paid their fee and your auto transport service has given you a date for shipment, you now need to get your car ready.  

Firstly make sure that your car is safe to drive as the shipment company will have to drive it on and off the transporting truck. You will need to check that the breaks are working, your tires are pumped and that you have enough fuel in the car so that it can be moved. 1/4 tank of fuel is enough for this any more will increase the weight of your car and you will be charged more for your shipping.

Also, make sure to remove bike racks or on the roof storage as these could get broken and they also add more weight to your vehicle.

Shipping insurance

Different countries have different rules when it comes to vehicle shipping insurance so check with your shipping company if you need to purchase any extra insurance.  

Although shipping companies are safe to use, accidents can still happen and not having your vehicle insured could result in a huge loss for you so just check beforehand. Your current insurance company may also be able to provide information on this.


Damage can happen when you ship your car across the country, just as it could happen if you chose to drive it. Damages are unlikely but you still need to be careful when transporting your vehicle.  

Clean your vehicle before shipping it and take photos along with the time and date to show the condition of your vehicle before shipping and then inspect on arrival. This is important as when your vehicle arrives you will be expected to sign a document indicating that the vehicle has arrived undamaged. If you sign this without seeing damage to your car only to find it at a later date you won’t be able to claim against the shipping company.


Car shipping can be confusing to someone who hasn’t done it before but now you should have more answers and know your next steps. If you are considering shipping your car feel free to bookmark this post and come back to it at a later date.