Moving to another state is incredibly stressful on its own, let alone also figuring out how to move a car to another state! And if you’re like most households today, you have more than one car to move so it makes things even more daunting.
Getting your car transported to another state doesn’t haven’t to be a headache. There are a handful of options available to make the move as easy as possible. Let’s take a look at each one to help you determine what’s best for your situation.
Option #1: Drive it Yourself
This is the most obvious option. Yet it’s often not the cheapest, safest, or most convenient option many people assume it is.
If your move is just a few hundred miles across state lines, then driving your car is probably the most convenient and cheapest way to move a car to another state. Once you approach 500 miles or more, then the costs of driving yourself might not add up in your favor. You’ll have to consider the following:
- How much will gas cost?
- How many hours can you realistically drive in a day?
- Will the drive take one day or five?
- How much will hotels cost?
- How much will food cost?
- Will you have the money and time to handle an unexpected breakdown?
- Where are you moving to and what time of year are you moving? Driving in the northern states during the winter can be treacherous at times!
- How much wear-and-tear (and miles) will the trip put on your car?
After you consider all those questions, you might realize you’re better off delegating the task of moving your car to someone else, which leads us to the next option.
Option #2: Hire a Driver
Another option you have to get your car moved to another state is to hire a driver. This “hired driver” can be a family member, friend, or even a professional driver.
This option requires a great deal of trust. Who are you putting behind the wheel of your car? Do they have enough driving experience to safely drive your car to another state? Will they be respectful of your car and drive it “normally” or will they “drive it hard”? Are they going to be careful not to spill anything in your car and refrain from smoking in it? These are all considerations you’ll need to tackle before you hand someone your keys.
Regardless of who you hire, keep in mind that hiring a driver will still put extra miles (and wear and tear) on your car and you incur the risk of them getting into an accident with your car.
You’ll also want to confirm what the total cost is going to be. What will the driver charge for the job? Will the driver cover the cost of gas, food, and lodging or will you be responsible for those expenses as well?
There are many things to consider and questions to ask when hiring a driver to transport your car to another state, but it can be a viable option.
Option #3: Tow or Trailer Your Car
If you rent a moving truck, you can often hitch your car to it using a car trailer or tow dolly.
This option is best for those that have experience and are comfortable towing trailers and vehicles. If you don’t have the skill to tow a vehicle or trailer it can be extremely stressful and even dangerous!
Option #4: Transport Your Car with Your Moving Company
If you’re hiring a moving company check with them to see if they offer car transportation services as well. This will make your entire move easier as there is one less item to worry about on your to-do list. If they do offer the service, they may provide the car transportation service themselves or they may broker the auto transport for you.
Option #5: Ship Your Car to Another State by Train
This option is only available for those on the East Coast. Amtrak Auto Train allows you to transport your car with a passenger train through the direct-to-consumer freight train option. However, you do need to be on the train with your car. Traveling from Virginia to Florida can take a lot longer than flying, and it can cost close to $150 for a one-way ticket at the time of this writing.
Option #6: Ship Your Car by Boat
There are a couple of states where moving a car by boat is the best option (or only option). If you need to ship a car to Hawaii, a boat is your only option. Alaska is another state where shipping a car by boat makes sense. It isn’t cheap, however. At the time of this writing you’ll pay over $2,100 just for the car’s boat ride from the Port of Tacoma in Washington to the Anchorage Port in Alaska.
Option #7: Hire an Auto Transport Company
Instead of racking up miles on your car and exposing it to unnecessary wear and tear, consider hiring an auto transport company such as J&S Transportation. This is a safe, convenient, and surprisingly affordable option.
When you work with an auto transport company, the company may be a broker or carrier (or both). J&S Transportation is an example of a company this is both a car carrier and a licensed broker. Whether you work with a broker or a carrier, you’ll want to make sure they provide door-to-door service, which means they will pick up your car at your home and deliver it to your new home in the state you are moving to.
You’ll also want to find out if they provide open or enclosed car shipping. Open car shipping is the most common and least expensive option, but if you have a very expensive or rare car, enclosed car shipping might be worth the added expense.
How much does it cost to ship a car to another state? Of course it varies on many factors but figure you’ll pay around $1750 for a Coast-to-Coast move, or $1000 for a North to South (or vice versa) cross country move.
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What Other Options Should You Consider?
Here are a couple other things to consider if you need to move a car to another state:
1. Send Your Car to a Storage Facility
Self storage can come in handy if you have more than one vehicle to move to another state. You may not want to deal with getting a second or third car moved immediately, or your new home may not have the garage space to accommodate more than one or two cars. Temporary or long-term storage can come in handy and isn’t terribly expensive either. Renting a self-storage unit in Houston, TX, for example, is only around $96/month.
2. Sell Your Car
This is usually a last resort option, but it is worth considering if your car isn’t worth a lot or if it’s time to downsize and get rid of that extra car that you no longer need. Selling a used car is pretty easy these days given the demand for them. Used car prices are up 30% from 2021! You can use the funds from the sale of your car to offset some of your moving costs, or use the funds towards the purchase of a new car at your new destination.
As you can see, when you have to move a car to another state, you have many options to choose from. You’ll have to assess your own situation to determine which option is going to be best for you.