Out-of-State Accidents: How to Get Your Vehicle Back Home

close-up of crashed vehicle being lifted onto a tow truck

There are physical, legal, and financial concerns involved when finding a smart resolution.

Key Takeaways:

  • All accidents have best practices to follow regardless of location
  • Vetted local vehicle repair shops are helpful when out of state
  • State at-fault laws could have big repercussions
  • Car towing and car shipping companies differ, so make an informed decision

Home can seem very far away no matter where you’ve had an accident. The stress and responsibility on drivers are even greater when they run into car trouble out of state. There are some added considerations involved in getting a vehicle back home across state lines. These steps don’t take long to implement, but they could save you a lot of time, trouble, and money.

Consider local vehicle repair

With any luck, your out-of-state accident will be a relatively minor one that can be fixed up easily. The internet makes it quick and easy to find local vehicle repair shops. More importantly, it puts the power in the customer’s hands to vet businesses before selecting them. Here are some tips to quickly check if nearby technicians are worth your consideration:

  • Read customer reviews and average repair rates: The more reliable repair shops will have reviews on their website and on other popular platforms like the Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews, Yelp, and others. The web is also a great source for quick stats on how much your repairs cost on average at the national and state-specific levels.

  • Call your insurance company: Many insurers have a network of mechanics, repair shops, or dealerships they’ve already approved. Choosing one of these can be the quick route to reliable service. This could also be the cheaper option if your auto policy can help with repair costs.

  • Ask about warranties and certifications: Don’t consider any repair shop that isn’t willing to stand by their work. You may be heading out of state and back home after your car has been repaired, that’s no reason not to hold mechanics accountable. Using an auto-repair chain gives you the ability to visit a branch in your home state if the repairs prove sub-par. An ASE-certified shop is likely to be a safe bet. Seeing the AAA-Approved Auto Repair sign is another strong indicator of quality service.

  • Get model-specific: Looking for repair stores with experience in handling your type of car, or are even solely dedicated to that model, can help you avoid clumsy repair work. A dealership can often be a good choice, as they’re likely to have specialized technicians on hand. This will ensure design-specific knowledge that could prove crucial in successfully getting you back on the road.

Don’t make a bad situation worse by paying the first mechanic you find because you’re in a bind. Take a little time to review these steps, and you may be on your way home much faster than you expected.

Best practices after an out-of-state accident

There are golden rules that every driver should follow regardless of where an incident takes place such as getting out of the way of further collisions, calling the authorities, and documenting things for insurance purposes.

Another very important tip is being aware of the at-fault laws for the state where you had your accident. They could differ significantly from your home rules by being either a tort (which most states are) or a no-fault state. Having an auto accident in the latter means your insurance will pay for your medical bills regardless of who caused the accident. The “no-fault” term doesn’t apply to every incident, since property damage payments are decided based on who was responsible.

Insurance And Lawsuits

Remember that never admitting fault after an accident is recommended. This is because you may be under the false belief that you’re to blame. A hasty admission in a tort state could make you pay the second party’s expenses out of your own pocket. This represents a potentially astronomical sum if vehicle repair or replacement is coupled with an injured driver and passengers (not to mention the insurance rate hikes you’ll suffer).

An out-of-state accident could cause you to file a lawsuit that can only be prosecuted in one of two places. The two places are the state where it happened or where the defendant (a person or business) resides. Someone who lives in New York and had a car accident in Texas caused by someone from California would have to go a very long way to show up in court.

Shipping the car home is always an option

Towing your car home could be the answer for you. It may also be out of the question depending on how far away the accident took place. This is when it pays to understand the difference between auto towing and auto transport.

The latter is the more reliable and ultimately cost-effective solution when taking a vehicle long-distance (more than 50 miles). Paying for enclosed transport could help prevent further damage to an already compromised car, plus it can help avoid the risks of a shoddy tow, such as mechanical or cosmetic damage to the vehicle.

Shipping a Damaged Vehicle

It’s strongly advised not to forego towing or shipping in favor of trying to make it home in a damaged vehicle by yourself. This is because the usual risks are still present over longer distances, and you may have suffered injuries or car damage that could impair your on-road abilities and make things even more hazardous. You may even be driving illegally if the damage to your vehicle has exceeded a certain threshold.

You’ll want to consider this situation if your out-of-state accident has stopped your car from running entirely. This makes things a little different from shipping a functional vehicle. Nevertheless, our blog will help you learn how to best prepare.

Speak to the auto transportation professionals with any questions

Mercury Auto Transport is a full-service auto shipping company specializing in connecting customers with carriers nationwide. Fully licensed and affiliated with the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, we put you and your vehicle first. Call us toll-free at 800-553-1828 or email info@mercuryautotransport.com for more information.


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What Our Customrs Are Saying


We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.