Cross-Country Move: The Complete Guide to Shipping Your Car from Hawaii to Florida

Transporting a vehicle across such a great distance, especially from Hawaii to Florida, requires careful planning and consideration. Whether you’re moving for work, family, or simply a change of scenery, ensuring that your car arrives safely and efficiently is a top priority.

Step 1: Choose the Right Shipping Company

  • Research and Compare: Start by researching various auto transport companies that specialize in long-distance shipping, particularly those with experience in Hawaii to mainland routes.
  • Check Credentials: Ensure the company is licensed and bonded. Verify their credentials through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) where you can find more information here.
  • Read Reviews: Look for customer reviews and testimonials to gauge the reliability and quality of service of the shipping company.
  • Get Quotes: Contact several companies for quotes. Prices can vary based on the size of your car, the type of transport, and the time of year.

Step 2: Choose Your Shipping Method

  • Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) vs. Container Shipping: RoRo is often more affordable, where cars are driven onto the ship and parked for transport. Container shipping offers more protection but is typically more expensive.
  • Open vs. Enclosed Transport: For mainland transport, choose between open (more common and cheaper) or enclosed (more protective but costly) transport.
  • Door-to-Port vs. Port-to-Port: Decide whether you want the shipping company to pick up your car from your home (door-to-port) or if you’ll drive it to the port yourself (port-to-port).

Step 3: Understand the Cost

  • Shipping Costs: Costs can vary widely, usually between $1,000 to $5,000, depending on factors like the shipping method, type of vehicle, and time of year.
  • Additional Fees: Be aware of potential additional fees, such as fuel surcharges, insurance, and port handling charges.
  • Insurance: Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for the transport. Your personal auto insurance may not cover long-distance shipping damage.

Step 4: Prepare Your Car for Shipping

  • Maintenance Check: Ensure your car is in good working condition. Check the battery, tire pressure, and fluid levels.
  • Clean Your Car: Clean both the interior and exterior. A clean car makes it easier to spot any potential damage that might occur during shipping.
  • Document Existing Damage: Take photos and document any existing damage. This will be crucial if you need to file a claim for any transport-related damages.
  • Remove Personal Items: Remove all personal items and custom accessories. Personal items are not typically covered by shipping insurance.
  • Disable Alarms: If your car has an alarm, ensure it’s disabled before shipping to avoid it going off during the journey.
  • Leave the Gas Tank Quarter Full: A quarter-full tank reduces weight and limits potential hazards.

Step 5: Shipping Process

  • Drop Off or Pickup: Depending on your chosen service, drive your car to the port or have it picked up by the transport company.
  • Inspection: A representative from the shipping company will inspect your car and note any pre-existing damage. Ensure that this inspection is thorough and all findings are documented.
  • Loading and Shipping: Your car will be loaded onto the ship or transport vehicle. For RoRo, it will be driven onto the ship. In container shipping, it will be secured inside a container.

Step 6: Track Your Shipment

Most companies offer tracking services, allowing

you to monitor the progress of your vehicle as it makes its way from Hawaii to Florida. This can be reassuring and helps you plan for its arrival.

Step 7: Arrival and Pick-Up

  • Notification of Arrival: The shipping company should notify you when your vehicle arrives at the destination port.
  • Inspection Upon Arrival: Once your car arrives, inspect it thoroughly for any damage that may have occurred during shipping. Compare the vehicle’s condition against the pre-shipment inspection report.
  • Finalizing Paperwork: Complete any necessary paperwork with the shipping company, including signing off on the delivery if everything is satisfactory.
  • Pick-Up or Delivery to Final Destination: If you’ve chosen a door-to-port service, arrange for transport to your final destination in Florida.

Step 8: Post-Shipment

  • Vehicle Registration: Remember to update your vehicle’s registration if you’re relocating permanently. Each state has different requirements for vehicle registration and insurance.
  • Maintenance Check: It’s a good idea to perform another maintenance check after your vehicle has arrived, especially if it’s been in transit for a long time.

Additional Considerations

  • Timing: Be aware that shipping a car from Hawaii to Florida can take several weeks. Plan accordingly and consider renting a vehicle if needed upon your arrival in Florida.
  • Weather Factors: Shipping routes can be affected by weather conditions. Be prepared for potential delays, especially during hurricane season.
  • Legal Requirements: Familiarize yourself with any legal requirements or restrictions for shipping vehicles from Hawaii to the mainland.
  • Cost-Saving Tips: To save costs, consider flexible shipping dates, choosing port-to-port services, and opting for open transport.


Shipping a car from Hawaii to Florida requires careful planning, from selecting the right shipping method to preparing your vehicle for transport. By understanding the steps involved and the costs associated, you can ensure a safe and efficient transport process for your vehicle. Always prioritize choosing a reputable shipping company, ensure your vehicle is adequately prepared and insured, and stay informed throughout the shipping process. With these measures in place,

your car will arrive safely at its destination, ready for you to drive on the roads of Florida.

Remember, the key to a successful car shipment lies in preparation and research. Taking the time to understand each step of the process, from initial preparation to post-shipment procedures, can save you from potential headaches and ensure a smooth transition for your vehicle. It’s also important to maintain communication with the shipping company throughout the process, as they can provide valuable updates and assistance.

Final Tips

  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about the progress of your shipment and be proactive in communicating with the shipping company.
  • Plan for Delays: Always have a backup plan in case of delays, which are not uncommon in long-distance shipping.
  • Budget Accordingly: Ensure that you have budgeted for the total cost of shipping, including any unexpected expenses.
  • Post-Arrival Inspection: After your car arrives, take it for a quick check-up, especially if you plan on immediately using it for long drives.

Wrapping Up

Shipping your car from Hawaii to Florida doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these detailed steps and tips, you can navigate the process with confidence. The key is to be thorough in your preparations and to choose a reliable shipping partner who can guide you through the intricacies of such a long-distance move. Once completed, you can enjoy the convenience and familiarity of having your own car in your new location, ready to explore the sunny state of Florida.

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