Buying a Car Out of State and Having it Shipped

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You may be considering buying a car outside of where you live. Long distance car buying is very popular and there are plenty of benefits that come with buying a car out of state. It can be a new car you want shipped, or a used one. In many cases it's a vehicle that you have been waiting for that has the right options, low mileage, and the right price.

Why Buy A Car Out of State

You might have already guessed the first advantage of buying a car outside your state lines: capitalizing on price differences. Car prices are higher in some states than in others due to a number of reasons. For example, in places like Miami, there’s a large supply of cars, but the demand is hardly enough to match the supply. So you will find that the car prices in there are much lower than in other states because of that supply-demand imbalance. On the other hand, in Los Angeles, the demand for cars is very high due to the large affluent population there. And the supply trails on the low side, not quite able to satisfy everyone’s car needs. So the car prices tend to be a little higher on this side of the country than other places.

Also, because the internet makes the distance between buyers and sellers so much smaller, you might find yourself catching sight of the best car for your budget and needs on eBay or Craigslist and the seller of that car might be a couple of states away from you. And sometimes, you may find yourself wanting a very specific car that happens to not be available in your home state. In those cases, the distance between you two would remain insignificant as you would only have to get an auto transport quote to ship your car to you so you can start driving your new ride as soon as possible.

These days many car manufacturers are jumping on the electric vehicle bandwagon and coming out with their own ranges of these plug in EVs. Often times, these cars will be available in some states only before they get distributed to the rest of the country. And you may want to be the first in your clique to get that new Honda Clarity, even if it means going through the extra trouble of buying it out of state and having it shipped back home.

Staying Safe When Buying a Sight Unseen

If you're worried about scams and other risks when buying a car without being able to physically inspect it beforehand, your concerns are completely valid. It is risky to make such blind purchase and this will probably be the one time you need to go out of your way to make sure your purchase is as safe as possible. There might be a couple of things that may help ease your concern though.

Before planning your auto transport, you should always do your research on the car you are buying. There are things you need to do to protect yourself.  You can start with a VIN number checker to make sure it is valid and describing the vehicle you are looking at. You should always take a look at vehicle history reports. In the case of a dealer, most will instantly show access to reports for free. If they are not available or you are going through a private seller, you can get them by going to Carfax or Autocheck, for example. In some cases private sellers know buyers want them. Ask if they got one before shelling for one of these reports. With auctions like Ebay and Bring a Trailer, you may be dealing with an established seller that has several positives. You can then you can proceed with a little less caution knowing others have not had issues, however, it does not mean you should skip any steps.

Buying a Used Car Out Of State From a Dealer

There are plenty of reasons to buy with a dealer outside of your state, not just the prices. You may want to get a loan to buy.Some offer great financing options. You can use's loan calculator to get an idea of what you will pay for a car loan in general.

Remember to review vehicle history reports! Ask for them before beginning any negotiation for the vehicles. That will save you a ton of time and weed out undesirable vehicles. Nearly all reputable dealers will show you them for free.

There's also a little more certainty with a dealer as they will do a lot more to present the vehicle. They will have high quality photos, a long list of features, and free car history reports at your disposal. You should review them carefully.

You can head to your favorite review sites and easily verify their reputation. Especially if they are a very popular dealership. There will be plenty of reviews for you to look at to make your decision. You should always do your own due diligence, however you get extra security when you go with someone reputable.

The dealer will be able to easily process paperwork and get you on your way. However, the drawback is sales tax. Although the rules on this vary from state to state, buying from a dealer means there is tax to pay. Fortunately, they also can assist in collecting it. They can collect the taxes are for your state.

Buying a Used Car Out Of State From a Private Seller

With private sellers the process can be more complicated than buying from a dealer so there is much more detail involved  If it's a regular listing on Auto Trader from someone selling their personal car, this will be a learning experience for both of you.

Talk to the seller on the phone. An easy way to assure you are dealing with a real person that actually has the car is by talking to them. They will be open to phone conversation, questions, etc. Shady sellers that are selling cars that don't exist will hide behind emails and or texting to avoid direct contact. You don't know the seller, and they don't know you.

When it's time for money to exchange hands take extra steps to ensure a safe transaction. When dealing with both an honest seller and buyer, you are afraid to pay and have them run, and they are afraid you will take the car and the title without paying them a cent.  How do you get around this? Many buyers give in and mail a cashier's check and hope for the best. You do not need to do this. is a great and trusted source. They will hold the funds and pay the seller after you get title.   Examples of another trusted escrow company is CarChex.

WARNING: Do not let them push you to some escrow service you've never heard of or may not exist. Verify everything.

Before you even begin considering long distance car buying, it’s a good idea to get a full set of photographs from your seller. Get as many as possible Do not be shy, ask the seller to take pictures of all angles around the car, interior, engine compartment, undercarriage, etc. If they can send a video, even better.You will need photos that give you in-depth information about the car and if your seller isn’t hiding anything from you, he won’t have a problem providing you with these. Photos of areas that are most likely to be damaged or worn out will be very important. Ask to see if the leather on the driver’s seat is worn out, if the front end is pitted or dented, or if the underside is scraped. And make sure that the photos you’re sent are recent so they show the current state of the vehicle and not how it looked like in its better days.

You also want to use and online tool like Carfax or Autocheck to find a car's Vehicle History Report before you sign off on anything. Most car sellers will give you a VIN or vehicle identification number when they're pitching their vehicle to you. You can run this number through these websites to find out about previous accidents, odometer rollbacks, or anything else that might make you halt the purchase.

Consider an Inspection

Whether dealer or private seller, you might want to invest in a mobile inspector. This is an extra step but but could save you much more in the end. This is a professional that will go over the car on your behalf and give a report on it's condition usually within 24 hours. The cost will usually be just one or two hundred dollars. Alliance Inspection Management is one of the most trusted for this. This is a hands on bumper to bumper inspection.

Although by now you should have a good feel for the seller or dealer, this also is a great way to assure the car is where they say it is and actually exists or is not falsely advertised. The added advantage is that a mobile inspector will be a trained mechanic that will be able to spot damages on the car that are not visible in pictures.

You can still find a way to send a pair of eyes to inspect the car before you finalize the purchase.

Costs of Shipping a Car Your Purchased Out Of State

The easiest and best way to find out is by getting the cost to ship from our calculator.  For the most part, car shipping will range from $450 to $1300 when buying a car or about $.75 cents a mile for neighboring states, and as los as $.45 cents a mile when going from one side of the country to another. You save money per mile the farther you go but the miles add up the longer the out of state transport is.

Use a trusted auto shipper like National Express Auto Transport . We have great ratings and specializes in moving all types of vehicles. Pick up for ASAP will be within 1-3 days for most areas, and if you give us at least a week in advance, you can plan for a specific day.

Arranging The Shipping Of Your Car

If you're satisfied with everything, and have decided to go ahead with the purchase, the next thing you will have to worry about is the shipping. Shipping your car should be fairly easy if you know what steps to follow in the process. The first step you want to take is to understand what shipping companies are available to you. The best way to do this will be to contact an auto transport company that can connect you to the most affordable and the safest shipping for you. In addition to finding the best carrier for you, will make sure that all the logistics involving the shipping are handled so that you have as little to worry about as possible. Carriers will have adequate insurance, be booked and arranged around your preferred shipping dates. Once you have looked at the rates for the different types of auto shipping, you will need to choose the best method of shipping for your car.

The type of hauling you choose will most likely depend on whether your car is new or used, as well as how much change you have left after the purchase of the car. If your car is used, you might be fine going with open transport despite the slightly higher risk of damage involved compared to the alternative of actually driving it.

Open transport or open carrier is the term thrown around in the auto shipping industry to refer to the shipping of cars on trailers that are exposed to the elements, and usually two-tiered. As you might guess, with this method of transport, your car will be exposed to incidental bad weather or even road debris. This risk might not be of much concern to you as damage is pretty rare and definitely if the car you are buying has already seen better days.

By contrast, if the car you are shipping is brand new and very valuable, you will want to minimize any potential damage to it by going with enclosed transport. With this method of shipping, your car will be protected within a trailer that has all four walls intact. Come hail or snow, your car will be safe inside the trailer. Enclosed transport is usually a little more expensive that open transport though.

On the topic of costs, another thing you might want to do if you have a little more to spend on the shipping, is to go with door-to-door shipping over terminal-to-terminal shipping. As the name suggests, with door-to-door shipping, your car will be entrusted to the hands of the carrier at the sellers door, and it will be dropped off right at your curbside when it reaches the destination. You might find this to be the most convenient method, and since you get to avoid your car being left in a storage facility that may or may not be secure, it might be safer as well. On the other hand, with terminal-to-terminal transport you and your seller will both have to do some driving. Your seller will have to drop off your car at a the carrier's storage facility where it will be loaded onto a departing freight. And when it reaches your end, you will have to drive to another storage facility, somewhere close to your home, to pick up your car. But with what seems to be added inconvenience, you get to save some money with terminal-to-terminal shipping as it's the cheaper option among the two.

Receiving Your Car and Signing Off On The Delivery

When your car reaches you, you will finally get the chance to inspect it right before you sign off on the delivery. You want to be careful with how you handle this step because it will be the only time when you get to note any damages or discrepancies about your car. Examine the car adequately in an open space and under bright lighting, making sure that you check the engine and the entire body. If there is anything you find amiss, note it on the bill of lading. That way, you might be able to take it up with the seller if anything about the car's condition was misrepresented, or you might be able to make a claim with your carrier if the car incurred any damage during the transport. These days, distance is hardly a barrier to connections. It shouldn't be a barrier to your car purchasing decisions either. Hopefully, the tips here will make it easier for you to find your perfect car in a different state and have it shipped back home.

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