How to Move My Car to Another State and Take All the Stress Out of the Process

March 9, 2023Car Tips and Tricks
Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

Moving can be overwhelming, especially when questions like, how do I move my car to another state pop up in your head. But with the right preparation and planning, you can take the stress out of the process. We’ll cover everything to know about moving safely and efficiently, from choosing a reliable car transport company to preparing your vehicle for the ride.

To move your car to another state and take all the stress out of the process, choose a reliable car transport company, prepare your vehicle for transport, and track the shipment progress. That’s ideal whether you’re relocating for the first time or need professional moving services after years of relocating alone.

How to Move My Car to Another State? Research the Laws and Regulations of Shipping Cars in the USA

You probably read plenty of moving day tips daily to prepare for relocation. It’s easy to figure out how to ship your belongings to another state, but it’s not that easy to fully grasp the benefits of car shipping with a professional moving company.

However, a professional auto transport company understands what it takes to move – including laws and regulations. You can research them yourself, but it’s best to get advice from someone like USA Auto Transport to understand what shipping entails.

  • Firstly, research the laws and regulations that govern car transport in the USA. These can vary depending on the state, so familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to your specific situation.
  • Ensure your car insurance is up-to-date and that you have adequate coverage for transport. You may need to purchase additional insurance, which you can get from the auto transport company.
  • When choosing a car transport company, make sure they are licensed and insured. They must comply with necessary regulations and have the proper coverage in case of any damage or loss during transport.
  • Check the company’s credentials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to verify their operating authority, safety rating, and insurance coverage.
  • Understand the process of car transport, including different types, the estimated timeline, and potential delays or issues that may arise.

Gather All Necessary Documents That You and Your Car Shipping Company Will Need

Besides understanding the laws and regulations of car shipping across the US, transporting cars from state to state also means being familiar with mandatory documentation. Your car bill of lading, registration, title and ownership papers are just some of the necessary documents to have during auto transport.

Ensure You Have Proof of Ownership and a Bill of Lading

Proof of ownership establishes the legal ownership of a vehicle. It serves as evidence that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle and have the legal right to transfer or sell it. The most common ones include the vehicle title, registration, and bill of sale.

The vehicle title is a legal document that shows the current owner of the vehicle, while the registration proves that the vehicle is currently registered with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The bill of sale is a document that proves the sale or transfer of ownership of the vehicle from one party to another. Other documents that may serve as proof of ownership include a lien release or loan payoff statement, which shows no outstanding debts or liens on the vehicle.

Finally, a bill of lading is a contract between you and the car transport company outlining the terms and conditions of the transport, including the pickup and delivery locations, estimated timeline, and service costs.



Your Insurance Policy Is Crucial

A car insurance policy protects in case of damage or loss that may occur during transport. Even with the most reliable car transport companies, accidents can happen, and insurance coverage ensures you aren’t responsible for damages or losses.

During transport, your car is exposed to various risks, such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. If your car is damaged or lost during transport, your insurance policy will cover the costs of repairs or replacement, depending on your level of coverage.

By having proper car insurance coverage, you can have peace of mind knowing that your car is protected during transport and that you won’t face unexpected financial losses.

A person going through some documents
Don't forget to gather and sort the documents that will help you ship your car

Decide Whether to Drive the Car Yourself or Ship It With an Auto Transport Company

By far, you understand that, with moving your car to another state, you have two main options: driving yourself or shipping your vehicle with a company. Factors like distance, time, cost, and conditions will heavily influence this decision.

For example, the distance you have to travel can be a major factor. If it’s short, driving the car yourself may be a more convenient and cost-effective option. However, if the distance is long, shipping the car with a company may be safer and more efficient.

Driving can also take a while, especially if you make frequent stops or encounter traffic. But you don’t have to read tips for driving at night or invest in a driverless car to be clever – shipping it with a company can save you time and allow you to focus on other aspects of the move.

Many people worry about costs. The cost of driving yourself can add up quickly, especially if you must pay for gas, food, lodging, and other expenses. A company can be more expensive upfront but save you money in the long run.

People often neglect the car’s condition as part of the equation. But, if your car is in good condition and can handle a long drive, driving yourself may be a good option. However, if it’s older or has mechanical issues, shipping it with a company is safer.

Ultimately, the decision may come down to personal preference. Consider your comfort level with driving long distances and any logistical challenges that may arise.

Open Carrier Auto Transport

Read More

Enclosed Auto Transport

Read More

How Can I Move My Car to Another State by Myself?

If you plan to drive, here are some ways to ensure a smooth and successful trip:

  • Plan your route and familiarize yourself with the roads and highways you will be driving on. A GPS or a map will help you navigate and avoid getting lost.
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws and regulations when driving the car across state lines. This includes speed limits, seat belt laws, and others.
  • Pay attention to speed limits and other safety rules, and adjust your driving accordingly. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, and avoid humoring the road rage of other drivers and distractions.
  • Get enough rest and prepare for the journey. Take breaks along the way to stretch your legs and rest if you feel tired.
  • Prepare your car for the trip. Check the oil and other fluids, make sure the tires are properly inflated, and ensure your car is in good working order.

If you decide not to drive the car yourself, many reliable and reputable car transport companies can handle it for you. Research them carefully and choose one that is licensed, insured, and has a good reputation.

If you do plan to drive, make sure you’re aware of the frequent traffic mistakes people make and how to avoid them – the video below explains that in short.

YouTube video

Make Sure Your Vehicle Is in Good Condition Before Leaving

Did you know that even if you give your car to movers, you’ll have to prepare your car for shipping? Well, if you didn’t, now’s the time to prepare. That and the things you keep in your car could impact the shipping quality provided by movers of any caliber.

Check Tire Pressure and Condition

Proper tire pressure is crucial for safe and efficient driving. Low tire pressure can affect fuel efficiency and handling, while over-inflated tires can be more prone to blowouts.

Also, check the condition of your tires for any signs of damage, such as cuts, bulges, or punctures. Pack a tire repair kit and learn how to change a flat tire to avoid big issues along the way.

Ensure Oil Levels and Other Fluids Are Topped Up

Your vehicle’s fluids, including oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant, all play a critical role in keeping your car running smoothly.

Check the levels of these fluids and top them up if needed; just make sure you don’t put the wrong gas in the car. If your oil is dirty or hasn’t been changed in a while, consider getting an oil change before your trip.

A Healthy Car Battery Can Improve Your Trip

To ensure your car’s battery is in good condition before your trip, have it checked by a professional mechanic. They can test the battery’s voltage and check for signs of wear and tear.

If your battery is old or weak, consider replacing it before your trip to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey.

Additionally, pack jumper cables or a portable jump starter in case of emergencies, and learn how to dispose of a car battery safely.

Brakes and Lights Need to Work Well

Your brakes and lights are essential safety features of your car. Before hitting the road, ensure your brake pads are in good condition and there are no signs of brake wear. If necessary, adjust the parking brake.

Check that all your lights, including headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals, are working properly. Learn how to change the tail lights and do it yourself if necessary.

Pack Essential Items for the Journey, From a First-Aid Kit to Snacks

When preparing for a road trip, it’s best to pack essential items to ensure your safety and comfort. Here are some things to consider:

  • Snacks/Foods that won’t spoil easily: Pack a variety of non-perishable snacks that are easy to eat on the go. Examples include granola bars, nuts, dried fruits, and jerky. You can also bring along fresh fruits like apples and bananas.
  • Water: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your trip. Consider filling a reusable water bottle or bringing bottled water.
  • First-Aid kit: A basic first-aid kit can be a lifesaver in an emergency. Be sure to include bandages, gauze, antiseptic, and pain relievers.
  • Emergency numbers: Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers, including roadside assistance, your insurance provider, and other important contacts.
  • Maps/GPS devices: Whether you prefer paper maps or GPS devices, make sure you have a way to navigate during your trip.
  • Smartphone charger: Bring a cell phone charger or power bank to ensure your phone stays charged in emergencies.
  • Warm clothes if traveling during winter months: If you’re traveling during the winter months, pack warm clothes, blankets, and extra layers to stay warm in unexpected weather.
  • Consider packing entertainment like books, games, or music to make the journey more enjoyable.

Check if Your New State Requires Additional Forms or Documents for Registering Your Vehicle

When moving to a new state, you must register your vehicle with the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, before you move, check the local DMV website to see what documents and forms you need to register your vehicle. Some states may require additional forms or documentation, such as a smog check or emissions test.

Ensure you have the necessary paperwork for your vehicle, including the title, registration, and insurance information. You may also need to provide proof of residency and identification. These documents are typically required and rarely vary between states.

Additionally, some states require a vehicle inspection before registration, which may include an emissions test or safety check. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and meets the state’s requirements.

Finally, some fees are associated with registering your vehicle in a new state. Be prepared to pay these fees, including registration, sales tax, and applicable inspection fees. Complete the registration process promptly to avoid penalties or fines.

Ask USA Auto Transport Anything You Want to Know About Different Types of Car Shipping

When shipping a car, a few different options are available, each with pros and cons. Here are some details about the types of car shipping USA Auto Transport offers.

Open Trailer Shipping

Open trailer shipping is the most common method and involves your car being transported on an open trailer with other vehicles. This is typically the most affordable but also exposes your car to the elements and potential road hazards.

Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed auto transport involves your car being transported in a fully enclosed trailer, providing more protection from the elements and potential damage. This is more expensive than open trailer shipping but can be a good option for classic and luxury cars.

Door-to-Door Auto Transport

With this option, the carrier will pick up your car from your home or other specified location and deliver it directly to your destination. This can be more convenient, but it may also be more expensive.

Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping

With this option, you will drop off your car at a designated terminal, and it will be transported to another terminal for pickup. This can reduce car shipping costs but may not be as convenient as door-to-door shipping.

Give USA Auto Transport a Call And Ship Your Car Without a Fuss

When you are ready to ship your car without any of the hassle or stress look no further than USA Auto Transport! Our team of experts has the experience, equipment, and know-how to transport your vehicle safely and efficiently, no matter where you need it to go. We pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service, competitive pricing, and commitment to making the process as easy and stress-free as possible.

Whether you’re relocating for work, moving cross-country, or simply needing to transport your car for any reason, we’re here to help. Give USA Auto Transport a call today and let us take care of all the details, from pick-up to delivery, so you can focus on what matters most.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Move My Car to Another State

How Do I Register My Car in the New State?

To register your car in a new state, you must provide proof of ownership, insurance, and identification and pay applicable fees and taxes.

You will also need to turn in your old license plates if required by the new state. The specific steps and requirements can vary between states; check with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your new state for detailed instructions.

What Documents Do I Need to Bring When Registering My Car in a New State?

The documents you typically need to bring when registering your car in a new state include proof of ownership (such as the title or registration certificate), an insurance policy, a driver’s license or other government-issued identification, a completed application for vehicle registration, and proof of payment for fees and taxes.

Should I Get the Car Inspected Before Transporting It?

You should get your car inspected before transporting it. This will help ensure it’s in good condition before loading it onto the carrier, and it can also provide documentation of any pre-existing damage. If your car has issues, best address them before transportation to avoid complications or disputes with the auto transport company.

Are There Special Requirements or Regulations for Moving a Car Across State Lines?

Each state has rules regarding vehicle registration, insurance, and safety inspections, so it’s important to check this in your current state and the one you’re moving to.

Additionally, if you’re using an auto transport company, they must comply with federal regulations from the Department of Transportation, which includes having proper licensing and insurance.

Is It Illegal to Drive a Car With Out-Of-State Plates in My New Home State?

This depends on the state. Some allow drivers to use out-of-state license plates for a certain period, while others require new residents to register their vehicles within a certain timeframe (often 30-90 days).

What Paperwork Do I Need to Fill When Shipping My Car to Other States?

The paperwork you typically need to fill out when shipping your car to another state includes the bill of lading, the shipping order with specific instructions, insurance forms, a vehicle condition report, and others.

What Should I Do With the License Plate From My Old State After Transferring It to the New One?

Typically, you must return the license plates from your old state to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or another designated agency. Some may require you to surrender the plates in person, while others may allow you to mail them in.

How Long Does It Take for a Transferred Registration to Reach Its Destination Address?

The time it takes for a transferred registration to reach its destination address can vary depending on the state and the transfer method. It can take a few days to a few weeks for the new registration documents to arrive by mail. Some areas may offer expedited services for an additional fee.

Do I Need an Appointment to Transfer My Vehicle Title When Moving States?

Some states may require you to make an appointment to transfer your vehicle title, while others may allow you to walk in during regular business hours. It’s best to check with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your new state to determine their specific requirements and procedures.

Will I Still Be Able to Receive Vehicle Registration Renewals From Both States if I Move and Change Addresses?

No, you will only receive vehicle registration renewals from the state where your vehicle is currently registered. Once you move and change your address, you must update your vehicle registration with the DMV. Your old state’s DMV will no longer send you registration renewals or other notices related to your vehicle.

Are There Any Car Weight Restrictions From a Car Shipping Company?

Car shipping companies do typically have weight restrictions for vehicles they transport. The specific weight limit can vary depending on the company and the trailer being used. Check with the company if your vehicle falls within their weight restrictions and try to avoid additional fees or complications.

Do All States Require Emissions Testing for Cars Being Registered in That Particular State?

Not all states require emissions testing for cars being registered in that particular state. Some have strict requirements, while others don’t ask for any testing at all. Check the emissions testing requirements in the state where you’re registering your vehicle to ensure that you comply with all applicable regulations.

What Are the Penalties for Not Properly Registering and Insuring Your Vehicle When Moving to a New State?

The penalties for not properly registering and insuring your vehicle vary depending on the state and the specific circumstances. However, common ones include fines, vehicle impoundment, suspension of your driver’s license, and even criminal charges in some cases.

Get a Quote

    check mark
    Download as PDF

    Moving Checklist

    Get a Free Estimate 855.675.3451