Guidelines for Transporting a Car Across States for a Horse Race Event

Horse racing events are thrilling, filled with the excitement of cheering crowds and thundering hooves. However, driving your vehicle around the world to these events isn’t always practical. To ensure your prized car is ready to support your racing endeavors, consider partnering with a reputable car transport company

In this guide, we provide a comprehensive overview of transporting a vehicle across states for a horse race event. From selecting the best transportation method to navigating legal regulations, we cover every aspect of the journey. 

Without further ado, let’s delve into the details!

1. Research Car Shipping Companies

Before selecting a car shipping company, conducting thorough research is essential to ensure a smooth and reliable transport experience. Here are key steps to guide your research:

Identify Car Shipping Companies

Start by identifying car shipping companies operating in both your current and destination states. Seek referrals from friends, colleagues, or social media platforms such as Facebook community groups, X, or LinkedIn. Additionally, consider weighing factors such as company reputation, experience, and specialization in handling specific vehicle types.

Read Customer Reviews and Ratings

Once you’ve identified potential car shipping companies, delve into customer reviews and ratings. Platforms like Google Reviews or Yelp can provide insights into past customers’ experiences. Pay attention to feedback regarding punctuality, communication, customer service, and overall satisfaction.

Assess Auto Shipping Company’s Licenses

Ensure the car shipping company holds the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally. Verify their MC or USDOT number on the FMCSA website for compliance with federal regulations. Remember not to engage with car shipping companies that operate without proper licenses. 

2. Obtain Necessary Permits and Documentation

Before arranging car transport to another state, obtaining the necessary permits and documentation is crucial. These may include:

Interstate Transport Permits

Depending on the states involved, you may need specific permits to transport your vehicle across state lines. It’s advisable to check with the Department of Transportation (DOT) or relevant authorities in each state to ensure compliance with their regulations. 

Additionally, your chosen car transport company can also assist you in gathering all necessary permits and ensuring smooth legal transit.Screen Shot 2024-06-27 at 15.22.37.png

Regulatory Compliance Documents

Ensure your vehicle meets all regulatory standards for interstate transport. This includes:

  • Emissions Compliance: Some states enforce strict emissions standards that your vehicle must meet. Before shipping, assess whether your vehicle complies with the destination state’s emissions regulations.
  • Weight and Size Restrictions: Verify if your vehicle or the car carrier exceeds state-set weight or size limits. Depending on dimensions, additional permits may be required, which might increase the auto shipping quotes.
  • License Plate Requirements: Many states mandate vehicles to have state-specific license plates during transport. Ensure your vehicle’s plates comply with visibility and legal requirements in the destination state.

3. Assess Insurance Policies

Ensuring proper insurance coverage for your vehicle during transport is crucial to protect against unforeseen circumstances. You can start this process by:

Reviewing Existing Insurance Coverage

Before transporting your vehicle, review your current auto insurance policy. While most insurance providers cover minimal damage to the car, this coverage often excludes damages incurred during transit. To ensure clarity, carefully read your insurance policy and discuss any uncertainties with your provider.

Verify Car Transport Company Insurance Details

Ensure that the insurance offered by your chosen car transport company is adequate. Additionally, inquire about the coverage details, including deductibles and exclusions. Moreover, try to address with the insurance provider how claims can be processed in case of damage or loss during transport.

Considering Additional Shipping Insurance

While many car transport companies provide basic insurance coverage, it may not cover the total value of your vehicle. When shipping your car over long distances, consider purchasing additional shipping insurance to safeguard against losses that may occur during transit. This additional coverage might increase auto shipping quotes but will provide peace of mind.

4. Prepare the Vehicle for Shipping

To prepare the vehicle for shipping, start with:

Assessing the Car’s Mechanical Condition

Before shipping your vehicle, ensure it is in good mechanical condition. This includes checking for leaks, ensuring tires are inflated properly, and assessing all fluid levels. If there are any issues, consider having them repaired before contacting car shipping companies.

Additionally, it is advised not to fill the fuel tank beyond a quarter. This reduces the vehicle’s overall weight during transport and minimizes potential safety hazards. A quarter fuel tank is sufficient for loading, unloading, or driving upon delivery, so you don’t have to worry about running low on gas. 

Removing Personal Belongings

Remove all personal belongings from your vehicle before shipping. This includes items in the trunk, glove compartment, and any aftermarket additions like GPS devices or toll tags. Personal items are typically not covered by car transport insurance policies. If left inside the car during transit, they can pose a threat to the vehicle’s interior and increase the risk of theft.

Disable Alarms and Secure Loose Accessories

If your vehicle has an alarm system, disable it before transport to prevent unnecessary disturbances during loading and unloading. If the alarm system cannot be fully turned off, consider providing instructions to the car transport company on managing it.

Besides, if your car has loose accessories such as antennas or spoilers, secure or detach them before transport. This prevents them from being damaged or harming the vehicle during transit.

Documenting the Vehicle’s Current Condition

Once you have removed personal items from the car, note its current condition. You can do this by taking pictures of your car from various angles, highlighting any existing scratches, dents, or other visible damages. These pictures will serve as a reference point for filing insurance claims if any new scarring occurs during transit.

5. Choose the Right Transport Method

Typically, there are two types of transport methods that most car shipping companies offer:

Open Transport Method

The open shipping method is the most common and cost-effective method of car transport. Here, vehicles are loaded onto an open car carrier, which typically holds multiple cars at once. While this method is generally safe and reliable, your vehicle will be exposed to the elements and potential road debris during transit.


  • More affordable than enclosed transport.
  • Flexible shipping schedules.


  • Exposure to adverse weather conditions and road debris.
  • Less protection for high-value or luxury vehicles.

Enclosed Transport Method

In the enclosed transport method, a vehicle is transported in a fully enclosed car carrier, providing maximum protection from external elements. A lot of car shipping companies employ this method for high-performance, classic, or luxury cars that require extra care.


  • Complete protection from weather and road debris.
  • Greater security for high-value vehicles.


  • Higher cost compared to open transport.
  • Limited availability.

6. Discuss Scheduling and Timing

Book your car transport well in advance to secure a spot and avoid last-minute hassles. Early booking is especially important during peak seasons or around major events, when car shipping companies may experience higher demand. Consequently, this may not allow you to secure economical as well as timely deals.

Additionally, when discussing delivery and pickup options with your car transport firm, consider your convenience and the event location. Depending on your preferences, you may choose between door-to-door service or terminal-to-terminal service.

For example, door-to-door service may offer greater convenience, as the car is picked up and delivered directly to specified addresses. Conversely, terminal-to-terminal service might be more cost-effective but requires you to drop off and pick up your vehicle at designated terminals.

7. Calculate Auto Shipping Quotes

The cost to ship a car can vary significantly due to several factors, such as:

  • Distance: Longer distances generally result in higher shipping costs. Moreover, challenging terrains may require specialized equipment, further increasing the cost to ship a car.
  • Vehicle’s Make and Model: Larger or specialized vehicles often require special handling, such as custom-built carriers for luxury or vintage cars, which can increase shipping costs.
  • Season: Costs may rise during peak seasons or special events due to increased demand for car transport services.
  • Transport Method: The choice between open and enclosed transport methods also impacts costs. An enclosed car carrier, offering higher security and protection, typically commands a premium price compared to open transport.

8. Evaluate Post-Transport Checklist

Upon delivery, conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle to identify any potential damages incurred during transport. If you discover any damages that were not documented before transport, initiate a claim with your car transport company’s insurance provider. 

Additionally, ensure that you receive all necessary documentation upon delivery. This includes the bill of lading and any receipts, which serve as official confirmation of the completed transport service. 

Choose Nexus Auto Transport for Your Next Horse Event

It sounds like you’re ready to transport your vehicle smoothly for the next horse race event! Ensure a successful process by thoroughly researching car shipping companies, maintaining transparency about your requirements, and preparing your vehicle appropriately for travel. 

Always look for vehicle transport firms with positive customer reviews, a solid track record, and clear pricing structures. Nexus Auto Transport exemplifies these qualities as one of the most reputable auto moving companies. 

The experts at Nexus prioritize timely delivery of your vehicle, ensuring it reaches its destination safely and promptly. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive services, or use our online car shipping cost calculator for a quick estimate!

Safe travels!