Moving Resources Tips & Tricks for Renters

What to Do with Your Car When You Move Out of State


When the apartment that you are moving into is out-of-state, the moving process is definitely more complex. Squeezing your furniture into a buddy’s truck or van and finishing the whole move in a day or less is not a realistic possibility. Odds are you will need to rely on a moving company if you plan on moving larger furniture items like a bed frame or couch for a long-distance move.

If you plan on getting new items, you might need to pick everything out online and get it delivered to your new place, but not before your move-in date. Otherwise, you will need to take a trip to your new state and visit a local furniture store prior to your move, which can be costly. But one of the most important things to think about when moving to a different state is what to do with your car. Before we do that, let’s start with the basics:

Moving out of state

When you move to an apartment in a different state, preparing for the actual move will also take more time and effort. First of all, you need to figure out and coordinate the dates of the move. Make sure that your move-in date for your new apartment does not start after the end of your current lease. Also, check that your belongings arrive the same day you do, so you won’t end up having to spend a night in an empty apartment.

Next, try and get rid of items that are not a necessity. You can start by making a list of what you definitely need and what is disposable. Once you have finished the list, get rid of all the things you don’t need, even if it can be tough. Some of them can be thrown out, while others can be donated.

If you have a car, then you’ll find out that one of the least discussed details of moving to an apartment in a new state is what to do with it. Should you sell it? Should you ship it? Should you put it into storage? Below, we explore all of these options.

Selling the car

Selling your car can be stressful and complicated, especially if the move happens on short notice. Before you move you need to figure out if you are going to buy a new car when you arrive at your new apartment or if you will rely on public transportation such as buses and trains.

If you decide to sell your car, you should plan a timeline for it. Typically, it will take at least a month or two to sell. The actual amount of time will depend on your asking price, the type of car, and the condition that it is in. In the end, you should plan to finalize the process at least a week or two before you move. So, plan to be without a car for a little bit prior to the move.


You also need to figure out how and where exactly you will advertise the sale. You can list it online on several platforms, such as Craigslist, eBay, and Autotrader. When you list your car on these sites, you will need to take pictures of it to make sure that anyone viewing the ad can properly see the exterior and interior of the car, and under the hood as well.

Once you have your advertisements posted, you will need to field the e-mails and calls regarding the car. Some of these inquiries will lead to interested people meeting you and taking the car for a test drive.

Shipping the car

Shipping your car to a new location is considerably easier than selling it.  The availability of carriers to pick up and deliver your vehicle, on the dates that you want, will vary. So, be sure that you book your shipment at least a month in advance just to be safe.

When you ship your car to your new apartment, the first step is to get a free quote from any company that you are considering using, to plan your budget accordingly. You can do this by visiting an auto transport company’s website or by calling them. You will need the approximate dates of the shipment, as well as the make, model, and year of your vehicle.


Once you have quotes, you should contact any companies you’re considering using and ask them any questions you might have. From there, you will also be able to book your car shipment. When you are booking the shipment, you’ll need to give the car shipping rep the exact dates you want your car to be picked up as well as delivered.

These dates are considered “windows”. This means that you will get a range of two or three days where your car will be delivered. That is because there are too many variables that affect car shipping for any company to be able to guarantee an exact date. These factors include, but are not limited to: the distance, the time of the year that you are shipping the car, and the weather at the time of your shipment. Most of these types of variables are too unpredictable for anyone to guarantee an exact delivery date.

Once you book your date, you will need to prepare a little bit for your shipment. You’ll need to get your car washed, make sure that you have your unexpired license available, and have a key to give to your auto transport driver.

Tips for shipping your car to your new apartment


Here are a few quick but important tips for shipping your car to your new location:

  • Make sure that you remove any personal items from the vehicle. Your car shipment, if you choose so, will be covered by insurance provided by the auto transporter you use. However, any personal items such as sunglasses, gloves, jewelry, etc. will not be covered if they are lost or damaged during transport.
  • Your current apartment and/or your new apartment might be on a street that is too small for an auto carrier truck to drive on, or local laws might forbid these types of trucks from driving on your street. So, when you are booking your shipment, make sure that you ask your auto transport representative about this.
  • If you typically use off-street parking and usually end up parking a few blocks away, make sure you have your car close-by on the date of your pickup. Your auto transport driver will call you when they are getting close so that you can have your car ready to be loaded onto the auto carrier when they arrive. Keep in mind you might need to meet your driver somewhere close by, such as a shopping center parking lot.

If you’ve decided on taking your car with you to the new place, shipping it is the easiest option since it requires the least amount of preparation and work on your part. This will allow you to focus on the rest of the move into your new apartment and have everything ready for a new start.

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About the author

Mihaela Buzec

Mihaela is an online content developer for RENTCafé.com. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and is now studying for an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer, and researcher, with a background in academic writing. You can get in touch with Mihaela at

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