From setting a budget and packing your belongings to deciding whether to ship or drive your car, there’s a lot to consider before a long-distance move.
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- Stick to a budget, downsize your belongings, organize as you pack, gather up documents, and get utilities in order before making a long-distance move.
- Shipping your vehicle via long-distance car transport could offer peace of mind by protecting your car from wear and tear or an unexpected mechanical breakdown.
- You can simplify your long-distance car transport by researching providers, showing flexibility with shipping dates, and being patient throughout the auto shipping process.
Whether it’s across the United States or overseas, a long-distance move means dedicating time and thought to a wide variety of factors. One element you’ll want to consider is the best method to get your vehicle to its final destination. If you’re looking for peace of mind and hope to avoid the hassle of a road trip, long-distance car transport services could be right for you.
We’ve spent over 300 hours conducting research on the car shipping industry to help make transporting your car as smooth as possible. In this article, we’ll detail five things to consider before making a long-distance move and then explain how to take advantage of services from the market’s best car shipping companies.
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What To Consider Before A Long-Distance Move
Before a long-distance move, you’ll need to make decisions to ensure that your belongings reach their final destination safely. Proper planning can simplify the process and take away the stress and hassle that often comes with long-distance relocations.
Below are five tips that could stop your long-distance move from becoming exhausting, complicated, or a major headache:
Stick To Your Budget
Making a cross-country move or a relocation across the world isn’t going to be cheap. Setting a clear budget and sticking to it may prevent you from spending more than you can actually afford. Consider the following costs as you map out your budget:
- Moving services or a rental truck
- Storage unit costs
- Boxes and packing supplies
- Gas, meals, and lodging if you plan to drive
- Car shipping and flight costs if you’ll ship your car
Downsize Your Belongings
If you’re hoping to cut down on moving costs, consider downsizing what you plan to bring along. The more items you take with you, the more you’ll get charged for moving services. Don’t pay extra to transport items that hold very little value.
Start decluttering and downsizing your personal belongings as soon as you learn that you’ll be moving, as it’s a time-consuming process that you don’t want to rush. Tackling a little at a time can prevent the preparations from becoming overwhelming, and you’ll be thankful that you didn’t bring your sweater collection along if you’re moving somewhere warm and sunny.
Organize As You Pack
Throwing all of your belongings haphazardly into boxes won’t help much when it comes time to unpack. Sort everything by room and label boxes so you won’t have to play a guessing game when you reach your destination and start unpacking. You could even consider sorting personal items by specific area such as your desk or closet.
Creating an inventory list could also be helpful, especially for insurance purposes. This list could help you keep track of items as you unpack and will reveal what needs to be replaced if something gets lost or damaged.
Purchase Moving Insurance
The last thing you’ll want to deal with during your move is damaged or lost items. Knowing that your belongings are protected with moving insurance can provide you with peace of mind during transport. If you’ve opted to use a moving company, it may offer you its own insurance policies. However, it’s worth shopping around for third-party insurance coverage if you’re looking for the best deal.
Get Important Documents And Utilities In Order
Try to update important documents with your new address as long before the long-distance move as possible. This means submitting a change of address with the post office so that mail will be rerouted to your new location. In addition, don’t forget to update documents such as your driver’s license, car registration, and insurance plans.
If possible, it may also be wise to arrange the timely shutdown of your current utilities while signing up for ones at your new address. Updating as many documents as you can before the move will make it easier when you settle into your new home.
Should You Drive Or Ship Your Car Long Distance?
There are pros and cons to both driving your car and shipping it via long-distance car transport. If you’re worried about the move becoming costly, consider planning a road trip to get your vehicle to its final destination.
Keep in mind that if you drive instead of using long-distance car transport, you’ll need to factor in the cost of meals and accommodations along with the price of gas. If you plan to sightsee on the way to your destination, consider those costs as well. Budgeting responsibly will be critical to keeping costs low when driving your vehicle over a long distance.
While shipping your car might sound pricier, it saves your vehicle from wear and tear and may be more convenient and less stressful. Ultimately, long-distance auto shipping from a car transport company is an attractive option to consider before a long-distance move.
How Satisfied Are Car Shipping Customers?
In order to understand satisfaction levels among car shippers, our team surveyed 1,000 people who have previously shipped cars. We found that 69 percent of survey respondents were satisfied with their vehicle shipping experience. The infographic below includes a more detailed breakdown of responses from our car shipping survey.
How Does Long-Distance Car Transport Work?
If you’ve decided that shipping your vehicle via long-distance car transport is best but have no idea where to start, find more information below on how to ship a car.
1. Choose Your Method Of Transport
You’ll have your choice of open carrier transport vs. enclosed carrier transport when shipping a vehicle. Open vehicle transport involves having your car shipped on an open trailer and is the cheaper of the two options. Shipping your car in an enclosed trailer is more expensive but offers greater protection from bad weather and road debris. Because of this, it’s typically the right choice for classic cars or luxury vehicles.
In addition, think about whether you’ll opt for door-to-door shipping or terminal-to-terminal transport. Expedited shipping is also good to consider if there’s a short time frame before your long-distance move.
2. Compare Car Shipping Quotes
Shipping your car over a long distance will cost far more than shipping it a few hundred miles. Get free car shipping quotes online from various providers and decide if you’re more comfortable with using a broker or an online marketplace. Most car shipping companies offer instant quote tools that make comparing auto transport prices quick and easy.
3. Pick A Provider And Book Your Transport
Once you’ve settled on a provider, get ready to book your transport. If you’ve chosen a broker, the auto transport company will post your bid and find a car carrier for you. If you opted to ship through an online marketplace, you’ll post your own bid and deal with the car shipping carrier directly.
4. Prepare Your Vehicle For Transport
It’s important to document the vehicle’s condition before it gets shipped off. Note any preexisting scratches, dents, or mechanical issues and leave only a quarter tank of gas. Additionally, take out all personal items to reduce the car’s weight and decrease the potential of a break-in.
5. Drop The Car Off
You’ll meet your chosen car hauler for pickup at an agreed-upon dropoff location. At this point, record any preexisting damages to your vehicle on the bill of lading and sign the receipt for transport. Once you’ve signed the bill of lading, your car will be loaded up for shipment.
6. Pick Up Your Vehicle
Your car will either be delivered to your door or to a predetermined shipping terminal depending on the chosen delivery location. Inspect your vehicle for any damages that may have occurred during the shipment. If all looks well, you’ll sign the bill of lading again to state that the vehicle was delivered safely to your new location.
How To Simplify Long-Distance Car Transport
First-timer car shippers might find auto transport to be somewhat complicated. However, it will be more cost-effective and easier if you consider the following tips:
Do Plenty Of Research
Take time to thoroughly research vehicle transport providers and various car shipping options. This increases the likelihood that your vehicle will be safe from start to finish and makes sure that you’re receiving the best rate. Some carriers offer discounts on military car shipping and services for other groups, so check to see if you qualify for them.
Also take note of whether a provider follows the shipping and insurance laws established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can verify that your carrier has an identification number with the Department of Transportation on the FMCSA website, though reputable companies will usually display this on their websites as well.
Be Flexible On Services And Dates
If you have your heart set on door-to-door car shipping services, you’ll pay more overall. If you can be flexible and opt for terminal-to-terminal shipping, you could save money, since it’s a less personalized service. However, note that not all car shippers offer terminal-to-terminal transport.
On top of that, flexible pickup dates and delivery locations could lower your car shipping costs. Flexible dates open up the bidding on your vehicle to more providers, which could bring your final price down due to greater competition.
Be Patient When Shipping A Car
Jack Savov, CEO of SGT Auto Transport, says that “patience is key when it comes to car shipping. Customers should understand that it is not a trivial delivery, and there may be unexpected delays or issues that arise during the transport process.” He urges customers to “stay in communication with the shipping company and follow their advice” in order to receive high-quality auto transport services.
If you’re considering cross-country car transport, it will likely take between seven and 10 days to reach its destination. Expect an even longer time frame if you’re shipping a car to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or an overseas location. Carriers run into bad weather, heavy traffic, and even road closures that can prevent your vehicle from arriving at its destination on time. Find a company that offers online tracking if you think you might worry during the process otherwise.
How Much Does Long-Distance Car Transport Cost?
Long-distance car transport will almost always cost more than shipping your car a shorter distance. In our research of car shipping costs, we found that the price to ship a car 1,500 to 3,000 miles ranges between $1,100 and $3,400 depending on your chosen provider.
Car Shipping Cost Estimates
See the table below for a few average rates for shipping cars long distance. These average costs were calculated through extensive research and requesting quotes from various shipping companies.
|Type Of Transport||Shipping Distance||Average Total Cost|
Keep in mind that auto transport costs can vary depending on factors like the time of year, type of vehicle, and shipping distance. For example, expect to spend more when moving an SUV from Las Vegas to Florida than if you were to ship a motorcycle from Massachusetts to Illinois. Inoperable vehicles also cost more to ship since it takes more work to load them for transport.
We recommend getting quotes from several reputable providers to find the best price for your budget and needs.
Best Shipping Companies For Long-Distance Transport
It’s best to choose wisely when it comes to auto shipping services. After extensive research into 25 leading car shipping providers, we suggest that you get free quotes from Montway Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, and uShip.
Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall
Montway Auto Transport is a shipping giant that works with over 15,000 carriers across the U.S. to ship cars to all 50 states. While all shippers that work with Montway are insured, the company tacks on an additional $250,000 of coverage to supplement your car carrier’s policy. Montway Auto Transport holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has over 2,300 customer reviews, the majority of which are positive.
Read more: Montway Auto Transport review
Pros & Cons
Pros Zero upfront payment Network of over 15,000 car carriers Competitive prices Military, return customer, and pay-in-cash discounts available Strong customer reputation Cons No guaranteed pricing $199 cancellation fee
Montway Auto Transport tops our list of the best car transport companies in 2022. The company works with over 15,000 carriers across the nation and can ship a car to anywhere in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. According to our consumer vehicle shipping survey, Montway Auto Transport had the highest satisfaction rating of any major provider.
SGT Auto Transport: Best Price-Matching Guarantee
SGT Auto Transport has a wide range of shipping services vehicles that are available in every state but Alaska. It has an A rating from the BBB and earns largely positive customer reviews. Also, SGT Auto Transport offers an instant quote tool and has a price-matching guarantee. If you find a lower written quote from any of SGT’s direct competitors, it will match that price.
Read more: SGT Auto Transport review
Pros & Cons
Pros High customer satisfaction scores Easy online quotes process Huge selection of car shipping services Cons Initial quotes on the expensive side No Alaska shipping option
As a broker, SGT Auto Transport can find shipping options for nearly any need. However, the initial quotes we received from the company came in just about average in comparison to other providers on this list. SGT Auto Transport’s rates include full coverage insurance, however, so that’s something to take into consideration.
uShip: Best Car Shipping Marketplace
With 20 years of experience in the auto transport industry, uShip receives both accreditation and an A+ rating from the BBB. The marketplace works much like eBay, allowing you to post your shipping job as a listing that car movers then bid on. If you’re able to plan ahead for your car shipping needs, the uShip marketplace can be a great way to save money.
Read more: uShip review
Long-Distance Car Transport: Conclusion
Long-distance car transport can save your vehicle from wear and tear and could reduce the stress of a cross-country move. You’ll likely find a smooth, easy, and cost-effective process If you plan ahead, stay flexible, and do your research on various auto shipping companies.
Long-Distance Car Transport: FAQ
Below are a few frequently asked questions about long-distance car transport: