motorcycle shipping

Your Complete Guide to Finding a Transport Company, Having Your Motorcycle Shipped, and Preparing it for Transport

One of the most common requests that customers have when partnering with an auto transport company is to ask whether or not they are capable of transporting motorcycles. This question comes up time and time again and today this guide is going to explore the concept of cross-country motorcycle transport.

It should come as no surprise that a significant percentage of the nation’s population owns at least one motorcycle. The problem is that motorcycles can’t easily be driven across the country. If you have the idea of trying to relocate a motorcycle to a new destination across the country by driving it, then you aren’t respecting the immense difficulty of that challenge. 

Auto transport companies are equipped with the resources to help you to transport your motorcycle across the country. They offer convenient shipping services for many different types of vehicles, including motorcycles. You are going to have an opportunity to learn about the entire shipping process and how much it can cost you if you choose to purchase motorcycle shipping. 

Table of Contents

Find the Best Auto Transport Company for Shipping a Motorcycle

The first step of this guide is to find a high-quality auto transport service provider that can supply you with transparent guidance on how to have your motorcycle shipped across the country to your desired destination. 

This process can take quite a bit of time, especially if you are not familiar with auto transport companies. You should look at online reviews, customer feedback, pricing, and brand recognition to determine if an auto transport company is reliable and reputable. 

It can be a challenge for you to find an auto transport company that works for you. The best thing to remember is to not get frustrated and make sure that you stay patient as you search. Once you find a reputable auto transport provider that offers affordable pricing, you will be well on your way in terms of having your motorcycle shipped.  

Compare Motorcycle Shipping Prices

One of the first things that you are going to want to do while searching for the ideal auto transport provider is to compare prices. You should spend time reaching out for pricing quotes and estimates to determine which company will be capable of delivering the best deal. 

If you receive some ultra-affordable pricing quotes, you should remember to ask about hidden fees and also check their brand reputation and reviews to ensure that their service quality is not abysmal.

Delivery Time for Shipping a Motorcycle

having your motorcycle delivered

There’s a reasonably good chance that you will need your motorcycle transported with a specific delivery window. You should ask the auto transport provider if they are going to be able to have your motorcycle delivered within the desired timeframe. 

By asking this question early on in the process, both parties will understand the importance of your delivery and efforts will be made to ensure that your motorcycle makes it to its destination on time. 

You may also be able to ask for priority handling or expedited delivery for an additional cost. Many reputable auto transport providers do offer expedited services but customers oftentimes don’t want to pay the extra fees that come along with it.  

Take a Look at the Auto Transport Provider’s Reputation When Choosing One to Ship a Motorcycle

It’s so important that you look at the reputation of your selected auto transport service provider. There are so many companies out there that have poor service quality and they hide behind a shield of lower prices and promotional offers to disguise their history within the industry.

Everyone has a different level of expectations when having their motorcycle transported. There’s probably a pretty good chance that you are expecting top-tier quality for your auto transport provider. If this is the case, then you should make every effort to ensure that you’re properly reviewing the service provider’s reputation. 

You certainly wouldn’t want to end up signing a service agreement with a provider that isn’t capable of delivering the level of your desired quality. You also don’t want to have any issues that could damage your motorcycle or have its delivery times significantly slower than anticipated. 

Looking for inspiration for your next ride? Check out our article highlighting the Top Motorcycles Right Now.

Transport Trailers for Motorcycle Shipping

Some auto transport service providers will offer you different types of transport trailers for motorcycle shipping. There is no doubt that you are probably wanting to protect your motorcycle as much as possible while it is being transported and shipped across the country. 

This section is going to focus on the various options that you have in terms of transport trailers. You are going to want to ask the service provider about enclosed and open carriers that support motorcycles. 

Enclosed Motorcycle Shipping

shipping a motorcycle

The highest level of protection is definitely offered with enclosed shipping. This means that your motorcycle will not be exposed to the environment instead, it will be within a hauler interior, which will ultimately shield it from the outside world.

Hiring an enclosed hauler for your motorcycle doesn’t guarantee that your motorcycle will arrive safely but it certainly does increase the chances of it. More incidents occur with exposed open haulers because your vehicle or motorcycle is completely vulnerable to the environment in the outside world. 

Many common issues relate to the weather. If your motorcycle is being transported through harsh weather conditions at high speeds, it’s possible that it could be damaged. This could mean heavy rain, hail, dust storms, or extreme wind. 

Enclosed haulers can protect from most of these elements of nature but accidents still do happen from time to time. If you have a highly-valuable motorcycle that you need to be shipped, it is highly recommended that you spend a little bit of extra money to have it transported within an enclosed hauler. 


  • Protection from Harsh Weather
  • Protection from Debris in the Wind
  • Less Exposure to the Environment
  • No Chance of Vandalism

This convenient list provides you with four great benefits that you can take advantage of when shipping your motorcycle in an enclosed hauler. Enclosed motorcycle shipping isn’t for everyone, but it is a great service option to take a little bit of stress and anxiety off of your mind. 

Insurance to Protect Your Motorcycle During Shipping

Having the appropriate insurance policy is extremely important if something happens to your motorcycle. Many transport service providers will offer a baseline insurance policy that protects you from basic damages that may occur during the loading process, transport process, and other points throughout the shipment. 

Unfortunately, some motorcycles may not be completely covered by the baseline insurance that is provided by the auto transport company. With that being said, it may be in your best interest to acquire an additional level of coverage to protect your motorcycle. You might also want to ask your insurance agent about what you can add to the motorcycle insurance policy you already have in place.

In the event of an incident that damages your motorcycle, you’ll have an additional layer of protection that will likely cover the entire value of your motorcycle. Acquiring extra insurance coverage might seem like a waste of time and money, but you can never be too safe. It’s much better to spend money on coverage instead of losing your motorcycle completely due to some significant accident or incident.

It’s important to remember that every auto transport company is different and may have different insurance plans. You should always spend a little bit of time going over the insurance coverage to determine if you need additional coverage for your motorcycle shipment. 

Motorcycle Shipping Costs 

cost to ship a motorcycle

One of the most important topics to cover is the cost of shipping your motorcycle across the country. The per-mile rate of your shipping will depend on a couple of different things. These factors include distance, delivery windows, time of year, and type of hauler. Expedited services and priority handling will also factor into your shipping costs.

If you are planning on having your motorcycle shipped around 1,500 miles away, then you would probably expect to pay around $1,000 for a motorcycle shipment. Distances below 1,500 miles can vary from around $400 to $750 on average.

Any hidden fees, charges, or promotions may affect the average shipping costs but this range should be pretty close to what you should expect to pay for an average motorcycle. 

A Few Ways to Reduce the Costs to Ship a Motorcycle

You can reduce your motorcycle shipping costs by allowing for your motorcycle to be transported in an exposed hauler. Enclosed haulers almost always cost more money and they might not be worth it unless you have reason to believe that your motorcycle will be damaged during the shipment process.

You may also be able to reduce your shipping costs by providing the auto transport company with a wider delivery window. Not all service providers will be able to offer you a better price for this but it’s worth a shot. 

The final way that you may be able to reduce your costs is to take advantage of coupons and promotional offers that may be available. Auto transport companies do put out discounts from time to time but customers have to come in and claim them or else they won’t be honored. If you think that a discount or promotional program may be available, you can search online to see if you can find additional information.

 Common Ways to Reduce Your Shipping Costs

  • Discounts and Promotional Offers
  • Use Open Exposed Transport Haulers
  • Do Not Use Expedited Shipping Services
  • Offer Wide Delivery Ranges for the Auto Transport Company

By following these steps, you are increasing your chances of saving money when you ship your motorcycle. This can also apply to vehicle shipments as well so it is important to keep that in mind for the future. 

Prepare Your Motorcycle for Shipment

transporting a motorcycle

There will likely be a motorcycle inspection that takes place before your motorcycle is ever loaded onto a hauler for shipment. You are going to want to clean your motorcycle and present it to the inspector in excellent condition.

You should also take some personal photos of your motorcycle and keep those for your records in case some incident were to occur that degraded your motorcycle’s condition. 

Your auto transport company may provide you with a list of things to do before the shipment so it’s also important to follow those steps as well to ensure that there are no delays or issues. Auto transport companies may request that you remove any items and disable alarm systems on your motorcycle before loading the motorcycle onto a hauler. 

Once you have completely prepared your motorcycle for shipment, you can either have it picked up by the auto transport company or you can bring it to their specific location to drop it off. The drop-off process sort of depends on what type of service you purchase and whether or not it includes home delivery. 

Making a Plan to Ship Your Motorcycle

motorcycle tranporting

The motorcycle shipment process might seem intimidating and stressful but there are a lot of benefits that can be reaped when hiring an auto transport company for this purpose. If you are selling your motorcycle and the new owner is a long distance away, it’s much easier to ship it instead of driving it there yourself. It’s also much safer to have it transported. 

If you are simply moving to a new location, you would need to find a way to have it transported in addition to all of your household items and furniture. One way to have it transported is to hire a professional company that offers motorcycle shipping. 

There are several other reasons that you may need to transport your motorcycle as well, and you should consider your options in all scenarios. It may not be appropriate for you to ship your motorcycle if your destination is only a short distance away. Longer distances are much more challenging for individuals to transport motorcycles which is why auto transport companies are such a popular solution.

The best course of action to take is to compare all of the auto transport companies that you are considering to find the best service quality and value. You should communicate with representatives from all of the different transport companies to acquire pricing quotes and additional information about their motorcycle shipping services. 

Ready to hit the open road? Explore our article on the 13 biggest motorcycle rallies in the US for an unforgettable journey on two wheels.


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