Moving across the country is an exciting endeavor — and to many, it also means it’s time for a road trip! But should you drive or ship your car to your new home? Especially if you’re a multi-vehicle household, this question could be quite the head-scratcher. Here are the factors you should consider when considering the best ways to transport your car to your new home state.
There are a lot of factors that impact cost
How far are you actually moving? From Maine to California, or half that distance? Many quotes suggest that a true cross-country move will cost between $700-$1200 depending on the size of the vehicle. That’s another factor to consider: how big is your vehicle? A compact car will, of course, cost less to ship than an SUV or truck. Lastly, your preference for how the vehicle travels can greatly impact the price tag. Are you protective of your car, meaning you’ll need it to be shipped in an enclosed trailer? Be prepared to likely double your budget for that option. How much it costs to move a car cross country can range widely depending on these factors.
Choose your moving company wisely
You only want to entrust your possessions to a well-qualified company, right? So do your homework to investigate the various state to state moving companies out there and find out which ones are highly qualified. They should provide you with information about their insurance, what sort of permits will be needed for interstate car transport, how they will prepare your vehicle for travel, and lay out all the fine print for you to understand clearly. Ask whatever questions you have well in advance to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road. Also, look for their registration with the FMCSA. Avoid doing business with any auto broker or auto carrier company that does not have their MC Docket number prominently displayed online as there is no way to guarantee they are legitimate.
What is your timeline?
If you are moving to a small town and aren’t going to immediately need your car upon arrival, it may be worth it to have your car shipped to a nearby major metropolitan area where it can wait for you to pick it up. Home delivery, rather than terminal to terminal, generally increases the cost of shipping a car, though some facilities will charge a fee for storing your car over multiple days. Also, most companies will give you a three-day window for your vehicle’s arrival to give themselves a little flexibility. If that doesn’t work for you, there may be extra charges for “rushed” delivery. Investigate your options for timing. If you realize you’ll need your car immediately upon arrival, or will end up paying extra in storage costs, it may just be worth it to drive.
What are you willing to spend?
Though rates vary depending on car size, the distance of transport, and method of transport, shipping your car will inevitably cost at least $600- $1000 according to market averages — that’s for a four-door sedan traveling coast to coast. For a van, truck, or SUV, that range goes from $800-$1070. If you opt for an enclosed carrier, expect to see that rate increase by as much as 60%.
If you decide to drive…
If the cost of shipping your car just doesn’t add up, it’s time to take that road trip! It is recommended to get your car tuned up before your move. That does a couple things: prevents unfortunate breakdowns on the road, improves your gas mileage, and helps your car weather the long days of travel better. Before you go, make an estimate of your car’s average miles-per-gallon and the current gas prices so you can budget appropriately for fuel. Keep in mind that a full car will use more gas than one that is only carrying passengers, so a little cushion in your budget will be important.
However, you choose to go, happy moving!