How to Save Cash When Buying and Shipping Out-of-State Vehicles

A man with a trailer shipping out of state vehicles to new owners.


Out-of-state auto shipping can be more expensive than you think. Here’s what you need to know to get the best price. 

When shopping for a car, there will always be situations where the best deal is in a different city or even in another state. However, this scenario brings about an entirely new set of issues, because you’ll have to figure out how to get your new vehicle home. 

Your first instinct might be to drive or fly to the car’s location because that allows you to move it back to your city on your own. Doing so will take a lot of time, though, so coming up with an alternative solution might be your best bet. 

Buyers are increasingly shipping out-of-state vehicles because of how convenient the process is for them. The gist is that a shipping vendor will grab your car from the seller, put it on a truck, and bring it to you. 

Of course, there is a surcharge for this service, but it’s often worth it for the time savings. Plus, driving cross-country is expensive, too, and can be risky.

Here’s a look at some ways you can save money when buying and shipping a vehicle purchased from another state.

Key takeaways

  • Buying an out-of-state vehicle opens up new opportunities
  • There could be logistical hurdles to overcome
  • Car shipping services can assist
  • Mercury Auto Transport can streamline the entire process


How to save money when buying an out-of-state vehicle

Online car-buying makes it easier than ever to locate your dream car, no matter where in the country it resides. You can quickly search through vehicles for sale in any state and identify the ones that might be worth an offer. 

As you search, you should know that Florida generally has the most affordable cars in the country, while California has the most expensive. But, of course, these prices will vary significantly based on the vehicle you’re interested in buying because specific car popularity, and therefore cost, varies by region.

Saving money on your purchase might also involve some negotiations. Begin a conversation with the seller early to see if there’s any room for movement on the asking price. You’ll also want to explain that you’re an out-of-state buyer who might have to ship the car to ensure there isn’t any hesitancy later when finalizing the deal.

You should also be aware of the sales tax situation, as you’ll still pay tax in the state where you register the car. As a result, there aren’t any savings available when buying in a no sales tax state like Oregon, Montana, Delaware, New Hampshire, or Alaska.

In the end, you can handle your out-of-state car buying experience much like any other vehicle purchase, especially if you’re well-versed in the auto transport industry. 

Determining the cost of your car transport

It’s important to factor in shipping costs before making your purchase to ensure buying an out-of-state car makes financial sense. Although you might pay a bit more upfront for a local vehicle, it could end up costing you less because you won’t have to pay for shipping. 

The cost of shipping a vehicle depends on various factors, including your location, the car’s location, the total distance it travels, and the vehicle’s size. In addition, options like open or enclosed transport, the time of year, and how quickly you want the car to arrive will also influence the price. 

Ways to reduce your shipping costs

There are a few actions you can take to reduce your shipping costs, creating an altogether more affordable experience as you purchase an out-of-state vehicle. 

First, carefully select your transportation method. Choosing an open transport option will save some money because more trucks are available and each carrier can fit multiple vehicles. Enclosed transport will cost you more, but it is safer for the car. The choice is up to you but going with open transport is an easy way to lower your costs. 

Next, think about the season in which you’re transporting the vehicle. Summer is the busiest time of year for auto transport carriers, so they’ll charge a premium during the warmest months. You can save some money by shipping in the winter, but, of course, that might not be possible if the seller wants to complete the deal immediately. 

Finally, you can save some cash by retaining flexibility. This method will depend on the seller, but your carrier might reduce your rates if you create a wider pickup and delivery window. You can also pay for expedited shipping if you want your new car in a hurry. 

Finding the right carrier

Comparing quotes from various carriers before selecting one is the single best way to save money on car shipping. An auto transport broker service will present you with multiple offers based on your parameters, ensuring you find one that meets your needs at a price you can handle. 

Mercury Auto Transport is a car shipping broker that can put you in touch with FMCSA licensed and insured carriers. We guarantee price, door-to-door service, and bumper-to-bumper insurance from the second you accept an offer, providing peace of mind through the car buying and shipping processes. Contact us today to receive your free vehicle transportation quote.


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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.