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How to Get Your Car Home after an Accident Out of State

What's in this article?
  1. Your Go-To Option For Getting Your Wrecked Car Home – Car Shipping Companies 
  2. What You Should Do Immediately After The Car Accident 
  3. Salvageable And Non-Salvageable Cars Understanding The Difference
  4. Do You Have To Surrender Your Vehicle To The Insurance Company?
  5. Equipment You Need To Ship Your Salvage Vehicle 
  6. Salvage Car Shipping Cost Why Is It Expensive?
  7. Getting Your Car Ready For Transportation After The Accident 
  8. Why Diy-Ing My Car Back To Home Is Not A Smart Choice 
  9. Conclusion
How to Get Your Car Home after an Accident Out of State

Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. According to the statistics from CDC, approximately 6 Million car accidents varying in severity occur annually. But, car accident situations become even worse and more frightening when you are away from home or probably out of state.

After getting into a car accident, the first thing you should do is make sure your safety, of course. 

After you and your car are in a safe place and there's no risk of any further mishap, the first glaring query that would cross your mind is how are you going to take your car back, right?

Here's how you can get your car home after a collision out of state, including your car's condition (salvageable/unsalvageable), equipment required to transport your vehicle, the potential cost, and preparing your vehicle for shipping.

Below, we will shed light on everything you must know about shipping your car after an accident. 

Let's get started!

Your Go-to Option for Getting Your Wrecked Car Home – Car Shipping Companies 

No matter if you've just had a fender bender or a serious accident, one thing is for sure that you need to get your car home somehow.

And, in such circumstances, DIY'ing or driving your car home can add up to the stress you already have had with the accident. That's where car shipping companies come in handy.

Looking for an auto shipping company to handle your car transportation after an accident is no different from finding a car shipping company in a normal situation. Because, in both scenarios, you are on the lookout for an auto transport service provider that is affordable, reliable, and has glowing reviews.

However, there's one complication.

Since no two-car accident situations are the same, you might have to face a tad bit of difficulties while shipping your car home. Like, say, you can't get a lightning-fast quote from the car shipping companies and move your vehicle immediately, or maybe you won't find an auto transport service dealing with a particular car accident situation that you've just experienced.

What You Should Do Immediately After the Car Accident 

First off, you'll have to call the shipping company and tell their representative about the condition of your cars, such as if it's salvage (damaged) or non-salvage. 

By talking to the representative of a car shipping company, you can:

  • Get a car shipping quote for your operable car
  • Check if they provide shipping services for an inoperable car 
  • Learn more about their services

It would help if you were as detailed as possible. For instance, you should provide them with the answers to the following queries:

  • State precisely what's wrong with your car?
  • Are its brakes working?
  • Are you able to steer it?
  • Have all the fluids drained?
  • Has your vehicle lost its shape?
  • Is there still some excess gas in the tank?

And more!


Salvageable and Non-Salvageable Cars: Understanding the Difference

A salvaged car is an official declaration that the vehicle has been damaged to the extent that the company insuring the car has confirmed repairing it is uneconomical.

In other words: Repairing a car would cost more than its worth.

However, the criterion to be declared as "salvage" varies in different states.

When your car is salvaged, your car's insurance company issues the car owner a payout in the amount of the vehicle's pre-accident value minus the deductible on the comprehensive or collision coverage and then takes possession of the car.


In other cases, when the insurance company doesn't offer a payout, the insurance company will replace a vehicle (with one of equal value). 

Insurance companies declare cars non-salvage to save money. Insurers know that cars repaired after undergoing heavy damage will possibly not last as long as they would have otherwise. 

Hence, they may be less reliable due to the injury. They may even be unsafe to drive after repairs. So, they declare a car non-salvage when the chances of the car getting back to functionality are almost zero.

Do You Have to Surrender Your Vehicle to the Insurance Company?

When your car's insurance company deems your vehicle as totaled, they'll sell the vehicle to a salvage yard. That'll further scrap the vehicle, repair it, and auction it.

In that case, it's your car insurance company that has to take care of all the shipping needs to relocate it to the salvage yards.

However, giving your car to the insurance company is not the only solution you have. You may choose to repair your car, or maybe you know someone who'd be interested in paying good bucks for its parts. The decision is all yours!

Here's a catch, though.

Still, you must declare your car as "salvage" and file for a payout. Then, later on, you can repurchase your vehicle from the insurance company for the same amount a salvage yard would pay for the scrap. And you are good to go. But from there, the responsibility of shipping your car to its next destination would be on your shoulders.

Equipment You Need to Ship Your Salvage Vehicle 

Typically, it only takes a carrier and an extra set of keys to ship your normal car. But, car shipping gets complicated when it comes to moving salvage cars because:

  • They can't be driven
  • They won't even roll. 
  • They can't be pulled using a roller winch. 

A tricky situation indeed!

The only way out here is to put a forklift to load and unload the cars. Some other special equipment includes flatbed truck, winch, trailer, and rollback tow truck, to name a few.

But, keeping in mind that every wrecked car's situation differs, you need to seek help from auto transport companies specializing in hauling the distressed vehicles. They have special equipment to carry totaled cars. However, you'll have to pay extra bucks to use special equipment in the vehicle hauling process.

Also, it might take longer for you to get the car hauling process done because the number of flatbed shippers is quite limited in the auto transport shipping industry.

NOTE THAT: Any special equipment required at pickup will also be mandatory at the drop-off destination.

Salvage Car Shipping Cost: Why is it Expensive?

When shipping your damaged car back home after an accident out-of-state, expect to pay MORE. And the reason why shipping salvage cars is an expensive undertaking is a no-brainer. However, we'll explain it further but first, let's understand what factors contribute to deciding the shipping cost of any damaged car.


It's simple. Just like any car relocation, the overall cost of your damaged car's move will depend on the following factors:

  • The distance it's covering 
  • The pickup and delivery location 
  • The size of the vehicle 
  • The type of the carrier 
  • The difficulty of the transport 

If your vehicle is inoperable, you should expect to pay $100 more. Furthermore, the chances of paying a higher amount for car shipping increase if your car has sustained structural damage, as it would take more effort to fit in the carrier.

Another reason salvage car shipping companies charge you a good amount is because they employ trained drivers. These truckers are adept in operating the particular types of equipment, dealing with the vehicles that are leaking fluids, and tackling the unique needs of your car's wreckage.

Pro tip:  Ensure that you are upfront about the condition of your car. You can even try disclosing the image of your vehicle's condition, and it can help your trucker know what to expect when they reach out to you for the pickup.

Otherwise, your shipper might end up reaching you without sufficient equipment.

Moreover, you might have to wait for hours until they get back with the proper equipment and proceed with the procedure. And, in the worst scenarios, you might have to pay for the whole shipment charges for your miscommunication.

Getting Your Car Ready for Transportation After the Accident 

We know your car has already undergone destruction, but you still have to prepare your vehicle before shipping it to the next place. Here's what you can do to prep your car for the move:

  • Remove all the personal items from your car. 
  • Drain any remaining fluids in the car (if you can do it safely).
  • Make sure you have everything settled with your insurance company before you get to shipping.

Why DIY-ing My Car Back to Home is NOT a Smart Choice 

Wondering why spend a lot of money shipping your damaged car to an auto transport company? Well, that might seem lucrative. But, believe it or not, it might cause more harm than good. We'll tell you why…

Imagine loading and unloading a car that:

  • Lost its shape 
  • Has no tires
  • Can't roll 

It would be more than challenging and a tricky undertaking. Pushing or dragging vehicles can cause extensive damage to your car. Moreover, the people involved in this DIY can also get hurt. Though shipping a salvageable vehicle is expensive, it's worth paying some extra money to get your damaged car delivered home professionally and more safely.


With that, we've come to the end of our blog post. Remember, every wrecked car is unique in its case, and so are its shipping requirements. Therefore, you must decide on only the perfect auto transport company to safely move your vehicle (with its special conditions). 

Out-of-state accidents are harsh on your nerves. But, the golden rule is to keep cool and do the RIGHT things. Only then you can bring your damaged car home without causing any further harm to it.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

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Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
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We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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NO. 018191NF
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15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
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Boca Raton, FL 33487
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