How to Ship A Motorcycle Across the Country: A Step By Step Guide

jesika jesika · Updated February 23, 2024

Ship Your Motorcycle with Ease!

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book

Did you know that motorcycles are about twice as fuel-efficient as cars? This is just one of the reasons why younger generations are becoming interested in owning a motorcycle — but the joy of riding is for anyone! If you are planning on purchasing a new motorcycle or selling an old one, you can benefit from hiring a transport company to ship a motorcycle across the country.

Using a motorcycle transportation company opens up a much larger selection of bikes if you’re buying, and also helps you to potentially sell your bike to a much larger pool of potential buyers. Read on to learn how to find a business for shipping a motorcycle across the state or even the country. 

Choose a Shipping Method

When shipping a motorcycle cross-country, you’ll want to consider the shipping method that a carrier uses. Most motorcycle transporters offer two shipping methods: enclosed and open trailer shipping.

The enclosed option offers more protection for your motorcycle as it is secured in a closed carrier, shielded from the elements. In contrast, open shipping means your motorcycle will be placed in an open-air carrier truck. It’s subject to rain, snow, dust, bugs, rocks, and anything else that might be going on with the weather and conditions.

Ensure the company you pick has the proper equipment to safely transport your vehicle with the shipping method of your choosing.

If you want to opt for the cheapest motorcycle shipping, open shipping is usually the go-to. However, you should make a decision based on the value and condition of your motorcycle.

Check for Licensing and Registration

Motorcycle carriers should have the correct licenses and registration to safely ship bikes nationwide.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that every motorcycle transport company needs a U.S. Department of Transportation number. You can check for this on the FMCSA website.

Without the proper licenses and registration, you risk possible shipping problems during transit.

Consider Your Options for Shipping

Professional companies have two options for shipping as mentioned above, but they also offer two types of transport services: door-to-door shipping and terminal shipping.

If you’re asking yourself how much it costs to ship a motorcycle, you are probably concerned about the price. In general, terminal shipping is less expensive, but door-to-door shipping is more convenient.

Terminal shipping is the cheaper option because it takes less time as the distances are shorter. This option also does not require city street travel.

If you choose terminal shipping, you’ll choose a terminal location to drop off or pick up your new motorcycle. You’ll have your choice of terminal locations. In contrast, door-to-door shipping will bring the motorcycle right to your home.

If you are buying a motorcycle and opt for terminal shipping, you’ll want to pick it up right away; otherwise you’ll likely have to pay additional storage costs.

Along with choosing one of these two options, you’ll want to understand the delivery timeframe for your motorcycle. More often than not, a company won’t give you an exact date in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Don’t take this as a red flag. As long as a shipping company can commit to a date within a 3-5 day window, you should be in good hands.

Check Cost

A lot of factors influence the cost you’ll pay for a motorcycle transport. Once you decide on the services you need and want, you can compare prices from different companies.

If you need cross-country or long-distance motorcycle shipping, you’ll spend a lot more money than you would on local shipping. To make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck, get multiple motorcycle shipping quotes to compare.

Consider Additional Insurance

A motorcycle shipping cost estimator should include the cost of insurance that a company provides. Although many companies include insurance coverage in their fees, it might not be enough to cover the value of your bike.

Whether you are purchasing a new motorcycle or selling and shipping one that you currently own, considering additional insurance coverage is a good idea. If your bike is especially valuable, you won’t want to take the risk.

To decide if you’ll need additional insurance coverage, check the insurance policy of the company you are looking into. Ask about the liability of the company in regards to coverage from the beginning to the end of the shipping process.

If a company provides full protection when delivering your motorcycle, you probably won’t need additional coverage. Yet most companies won’t cover it if an accident does occur during transit.

Don’t hesitate to ask for proof of insurance to ensure their certificates are valid. If an incident were to occur, you’ll also want to know who to contact to receive insurance money.

Check Online Reviews

For peace of mind, you’ll want to choose a company that has significant experience in motorcycle shipping. Along with checking how long they’ve been in the business, you can get a good idea of their knowledge and quality of service through online reviews.

When you check online reviews, the following information will come to light among other things:

  • Experience
  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Safety standards
  • Affordability

Don’t let a bad review deter you away from choosing a shipping company. A business can’t receive only great reviews.

However, if you do see a bad review, note how the issue was resolved. If the business has negative reviews regarding the same problem over and over, start looking at other businesses.

Read Over the Contract

Before signing any contract with a nationwide motorcycle shipping company, read over it thoroughly. The contract should include the services provided and a detailed section on the total price.

This contract should be in writing and include insurance coverage. If the contract does not align with what you were told about services and cost, ask for a new contract or choose a different shipping company.

Best Tips on How to Ship a Motorcycle

After choosing a motorcycle shipping company, there are things you can do to make the shipping process smoother, including:

  • Scheduling services right away
  • Documenting the condition of your motorcycle
  • Cleaning the motorcycle
  • Checking tire pressure and leaks

Of course, these tips are mainly for those shipping an existing motorcycle that they own. If you are shipping a new bike to you, you’ll want to schedule services as soon as you find a company.

The sooner you schedule, the faster you’ll receive your new ride!

Finding the Best Transporter

Finding the best transporter for shipping a motorcycle cross country is key to making the process as simple as possible. When you follow the steps in this guide, you’ll find services that fit your needs and budget.

No matter your reason for shipping a motorcycle, we are here to help. Receive your free quote now to get started.