If you’re moving to another state, one of the many items on your to-do list may be figuring out how to move your car. Depending on where you are moving to and how you plan to get there, you may not be able to drive your vehicle because of logistical issues or distance. Several other ways exist to move an automobile (or two) across state lines.

Here, we’ll break down what you need to know about shipping a car to another state, the steps you will need to take to prepare your vehicle, and how much it would cost to hire a vehicle transportation service.

How to Ship Your Car to Another State

Shipping your car to another state may seem daunting but relatively straightforward.

  • Identify the Type of Transport

The first decision you’ll have to make when shipping your car to another state is whether to send the car in an open car carrier or an enclosed transport. An open carrier is usually much more affordable. Still, your car will be exposed to the environment when traveling across the country and may be damaged by severe weather or road debris. An enclosed carrier is significantly more expensive but will protect your vehicle from the elements. This is recommended mainly for luxury or collector vehicles.

  • Pick a Transport Company

Once you have chosen the type of auto transport that’s best for your car, it’s time to choose the best auto transport company. An extensive range of services is available from including both local companies and nationwide chains. You’ll want to collect quotes from several companies to determine the best price. It is important to note that while some companies handle the actual booking and shipping of a vehicle, others are merely brokers who find your vehicle a spot on a truck.

While brokers can help you reduce the cost of shipping a car, involving them could add an unnecessary intermediary if complications arise.

You’ll also want to ensure that the transport companies you are researching offer the services you need. Some companies do not provide enclosed carrier transport. Others may be able to ship your car to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories, while some may only ship in the contiguous United States. If your car doesn’t run or can’t move on its power, some companies may not be able to move it, and some may charge additional fees.

Finally, it is essential to look for companies offering guaranteed pricing upfront. Check out Forbes Advisor’s Best Car Shipping Companies for more help choosing the best auto transport.

  • Book Your Shipment (Early)

The earlier you can book an auto transport, the more likely you will receive the best prices and avoid any schedule or availability issues. Many companies also offer flexible scheduling to save customers money. With flexible scheduling, the company waits to fill up a whole carrier from one or more locations. This guarantees pick-up and drop-off of an entire car carrier can be as efficient as possible for the driver and company. If you want to ship a car at the last minute, expedited shipping options exist. You should expect to pay a significantly higher rate for these speedy transport services.

Cost of Shipping  a Car

Having an understanding of the steps involved in shipping a car is only the first step. The cost of shipping can also be taken into account when deciding which auto transport company is right for your needs. A coast-to-coast journey across the United States will likely cost you between $1,000 and $2,000, while shorter journeys will likely cost you between $500 and $1,000.

In some cases, services, including enclosed auto transport, expedited shipping, and door-to-door delivery, will incur higher costs. The best way to find the most affordable car transport is by comparing free quotes from several different auto transport providers before deciding.

How to Prepare Your Car for Shipping

Once you have selected a vehicle shipping company, you’ll want to prepare your car for its journey. Shipping a car is not as simple as just handing the keys to a carrier. Instead, there are often strict protocols that you’ll have to follow. While your shipping company should provide you with a list of any mandatory procedures and regulations, here are a few recommended steps before sending your car off.