We earn a commission from brands listed on this site. This influences the order and manner in which these listings are presented.
Advertising Disclosure

How To Get Your Motorcycle Shipped Cross Country

Emma Street
Motorcycle Shipped Cross Country
Whether you're buying or selling a motorcycle, relocating, or need your bike shipped for any other reason, auto-shipping services can help make the process easier.

Auto-shipping is a service that simplifies the process of moving vehicles from one location to another. Specialized auto-shipping companies have the necessary equipment, training, and know-how to ensure that your vehicle is safely transported and arrives at its destination in perfect condition.

While some companies ship multiple kinds of vehicles—including cars and motorcycles, others might specialize in one type of vehicle. Motorcycle auto-shipping requires different equipment than car shipping. Specialized skills are also necessary to ensure proper packing and secure loading onto transportation trailers. 

Although you could opt to do it yourself,  there are many advantages to using a professional auto-shipping company. These include convenience, safety, cost-effectiveness, and assurance that your belongings will arrive on time.

How To Choose the Right Auto-Shipping Company for Your Motorcycle

You should take the time to research and compare a variety of auto-shipping companies that offer motorcycle shipping services to find the one that best fits your needs.

Read reviews

To get an idea of the quality of service a particular company can provide, read online customer reviews and ratings to see what others have said about their experience with them. It’s also helpful to search for any consumer complaints that may have been filed against them. 

Check licensing and regulatory compliance

When selecting an auto-shipping company, ensure they have the appropriate licensing and adhere to all relevant regulations. This includes being licensed with The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is responsible for overseeing and regulating the auto-shipping industry. You can check FMCSA licenses online.

Ensure that the company holds valid insurance, as this will protect you and the auto-shipping company in case of any accidents or damages during transit. You should also find out about their processes for resolving disputes, such as filing claims for damages incurred during shipping.

Look at tracking and delivery procedures

Depending on the option you choose, your motorcycle may be delivered to your doorstep, or you may need to arrange for pickup at a designated drop-off spot. Tracking should also be available so you can monitor the progress of your shipment.

Decide on a budget

Determine how much you can afford to pay for auto-shipping services and look for companies that offer competitive rates within your budget. Some options like enclosed shipping are more expensive. Open-air transportation is usually more affordable. You can sometimes save money by opting for a shared trucking service, where your motorcycle will be shipped in the same container as other vehicles. 

Look into payment options

Check what payment options are available with your chosen auto-shipping company. Some companies may require up-front payment, while others offer different installment plans or financing options. It’s important to find out how you will be expected to pay and make sure that any additional fees or taxes are included in the overall cost. 

Types of Auto-Shipping

Truck freight

The most common option for auto-shipping is to use a truck freight company. This is when your motorcycle is loaded onto a flatbed truck and transported by road. This method is usually the quickest for short to medium distances.

Ocean freight

Ocean freight is an option if you are shipping your motorcycle between two locations where there are ports. It costs less than shipping by road and can be a good choice for larger distances. However, transit times can be longer depending on the length of the journey and the availability of ports of entry. 

Enclosed shipping vs. open-air transportation

Opting for enclosed shipping means that your motorcycle will be loaded into an enclosed container for protection from the elements and other outside factors. Open-air transportation allows for multiple vehicles to be loaded onto a single truck. Your motorcycle will not be enclosed in a container and is instead protected with tarps, straps, and blankets for added security.

Enclosed shipping is more expensive but provides more protection for your motorcycle. Open-air transportation is more affordable, but your motorcycle will be exposed to the elements during transit.

Door-to-door service vs. terminal-to-terminal shipping

Door-to-door service is when the auto-shipping company picks up your motorcycle from your home or specified address and delivers it to another designated address—usually your final destination. 

With terminal-to-terminal shipping, the auto shipping company uses designated pickup and drop-off points. You will be responsible for arranging the collection of your vehicle from the drop-off location. Door-to-door service is more convenient and saves time but is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping.

How Does Auto-Shipping Work?

Auto-shipping typically involves a few basic steps. First, you will need to contact the auto-shipping company and provide them with details about your bike and the location it needs to be shipped to. The company will then provide an estimate for shipping costs based on the weight, size, and type of motorcycle being shipped.

Scheduling your shipment

Once you’ve agreed on a price, the auto-shipping company will help you set up a pickup and delivery date. Before your bike is shipped, it’s important to ensure it's in top condition. You should check the tires and brakes, add any necessary fluids like oil or coolant, and drain the gas tank. An empty gas tank is especially important if you are using an enclosed container.

Before shipping

Prior to the day of pickup, you should take pictures of your motorcycle for documentation purposes. This will be useful if your bike is damaged in transit. It is also important to ensure that you’ve removed any personal items from the vehicle, as the auto-shipping company will not be responsible for them. 

Shipping day

On the day of shipping, a driver will arrive at the pickup location to collect your motorcycle and load it onto a transporter. Before they leave, they will provide you with a copy of their auto-shipping agreement and receipt for payment. After that, your motorcycle is on its way!

Delivery day

Once your motorcycle has arrived at its destination, it’s time to inspect it for any potential damage caused during transport. Take lots of photographs of your bike to document its condition before signing off on the delivery paperwork. After you’ve taken care of any inspection and paperwork, you can finally enjoy having your motorcycle at its final destination!


Shipping a motorcycle cross-country doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Auto-shipping companies provide an efficient and cost-effective way to ship your vehicle with minimal hassle. It is important to make sure that you choose the right type of shipping for your needs, set a budget, and prepare your motorcycle properly before it’s shipped. By taking these simple steps, you can get your beloved bike from A to B without difficulties. 

Emma Street
Emma Street holds a BSc in Computer Science and has worked in software development for 15+ years as a support analyst, developer, and technical writer. Emma writes for Top10.com and has extensive experience in the fields of InsureTech and FinTech, with strong understanding of the intersection of personal and corporate finance and technology.