Auto Transport Checklist

Moving Checklist

If you are planning on shipping your vehicle and you need to know what steps you should take to prepare for the move then you’ve come to the right place. Our auto shipping checklist can assist you in budgeting, getting quotes, and making sure your vehicle is ready to be shipped.


  • Budget Accordingly

    Don’t wait until the last minute to budget for auto transport. At the beginning of the move planning process, decide how much money you’re willing and able to spend on shipping a car to your new home. If you’re leaning towards hiring a professional car shipping service and moving a long distance, you should budget around $1,000.


  • Decide Method of Auto Transportation

    Figured out your budget? Now it’s time to decide which auto transportation method best fits your needs. Those with a limited budget may want to consider driving the car themselves or enlisting a friend to deliver the car to the new home. If you have money saved away for auto transport, you’ll need to choose between having your car shipped via an open-air trailer or an enclosed truck. Shipping your car with an enclosed truck will likely cost more. However, if you’re concerned about weather causing damage to your car, opting for an enclosed truck shipping service may be your best bet for keeping it safe from the elements. Read more about the best ways to move a car to a new city.


  • Contact Car Shipping Companies for Quotes

    Get free auto transport quotes on Every auto transport company we partner with is licensed and insured, so you can rest assured that your car will be in good hands. All you have to do is submit an auto transport request to receive a no-obligations estimate on your car shipping costs, as well as more information about each company’s standards. We’ll take a look at where you’re moving to; the make, model, year, and condition of your vehicle(s); and your planned move date to put together your estimate.


  • Ask for Proof of Insurance

    Before hiring an auto transport company, ask them for proof of insurance. The car shipping service should be able to provide you with a valid insurance certificate. Be sure to also ask questions about their policy, including whether or not the company covers damage that occurs while the car is in transport.



  • Book Auto Transport Company

    At least a month before the move, go ahead and book an auto transport company to ship the car to your new home.


  • Carefully Look Over Contract

    Once you have a shipping order, look over all contractual agreements carefully. In addition to double-checking that the information is correct, you should also make sure that you have any and all agreements in writing. This could include door-to-door service, insurance options and pickup times. Bottomline: be sure to read your contract carefully before signing it.


  • Have an Extra Set of Keys On Hand

    Make sure you have an extra set of car keys to give to the auto transporter. If you only have one set, head to a local dealership to request a copy. Ordering a new set of car keys can cost around $100, so be sure to consider this expense when figuring out your overall car shipping budget.



  • Start Using Up the Gas in Your Car

    When shipping your car, you should have no more than a quarter of a tank of gasoline left in your vehicle. Auto transporters claim that this helps their trucks stay under the required weight limits when on the road. A quarter of a tank also leaves just enough gas in your car for loading and unloading purposes. Read more about preparing your vehicle for auto transport.


  • Remove Items From Vehicle

    Since most auto transporters are concerned about weight restrictions, you may be required to remove all items from your vehicle. When cleaning out your car, be sure to remove any valuables, electronics, CDs and chargers as well. This will prevent theft during the trip and keep your car safe from damage.


  • Check Your Own Auto Insurance Policy

    Call your auto insurance provider to check whether or not your policy covers your vehicle while it’s in transport. If it doesn’t, you may need to consider purchasing additional insurance.


  • Confirm Pick Up and Drop Off Locations

    Before handing your car over to an auto transporter, confirm all pick up and drop off locations. If opting for door-to-door service, you’ll need to make sure the car shipping company has the correct addresses and times. If you’re driving your car to a drop off location and picking it up in your new city, be sure you have all the right information as well.



  • Take Photos of Car to Document Its Condition

    The day before your car is shipped, be sure to document the current condition of the vehicle for insurance purposes. Take as many photos as possible of all angles of the car – inside and out. Also, gather paperwork and information about the condition of your vehicle from your most recent car service tune-up. This way, if your car is damaged while in the auto transporter’s hands, you’ll be able to prove that they are responsible.


  • Remove Car Accessories

    In addition to cleaning out the inside of your car, be sure to remove all exterior accessories. This includes luggage racks, bike racks, long antennas, spare tires and any other extra items attached to your vehicle.



  • Clean Car

    If you chose an open-air transport service, your car is sure to have accumulated dirt and dust along the way. After your vehicle is returned to you, give it a good wash and a thorough cleaning. If you don’t have time to wash it yourself, try dropping it off at a professional car washing service.


  • Obtain New License Plates

    Moving to a new state? You’ll need to register the car with your new state and obtain new plates. To do so, visit your local DMV’s website for more information about forms and fees. You may need to visit your DMV within a month of moving to establish domicile, register to vote and obtain a new driver’s license as well. Read more about car registration and moving.


  • Take Your Car in for Service

    The last thing you want to deal with when moving to a new place is car trouble. To avoid this, take your car in for service at your local dealership or auto repair shop as soon as it arrives.


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