From Christmas decorations to furniture and boxes of old pictures, you probably have a truckload of stuff to move. This can be tedious to organize and pack in any situation, but it can be completely overwhelming when moving across the country.
But not to fear, the best interstate moving companies offer a variety of services that can make your endeavor much easier.
Read on to see what you should consider when selecting the company that will handle your most prized possessions.
Our Top Picks for Best Interstate Moving Companies
- JK Moving Services: Best Rated
- International Van Lines: Best for Long Distance
- National Van Lines: Best for Specialty Moves
- 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best for Self-Packing
Best Interstate Moving Company Reviews
- Great customer reviews
- Worldwide moving assistance
- Full-service packing
- No online quotes
- Very little information on their website
- Limited local services
Why we chose it: JK Moving Services offers full services nationally and can also assist on moves worldwide; they’re also highly rated in an industry that’s notorious for low customer satisfaction.
JK Moving Services offers full-service moving across the entire United States. It also partners with international companies to provide moving assistance worldwide.
The company offers full-service packing, as well as the option to customize the packing service if you want to either save money or handle some precious possessions yourself. You can also specifically request items to be packaged and handled with special care.
It runs background checks on their employees and gives them annual training in handling fragile and valuable items, such as antiques, pianos and art collections.
JK Moving Services is also the highest-rated interstate moving company in multiple consumer review websites. Its ratings are high not just for a moving company, but in general, consistently scoring over four out of five stars. In an industry that struggles with customer satisfaction, maintaining one of the best customer service records is no small feat.
On the downside, it doesn’t offer a lot of information or quotes online — instead, the company will set up a visit or video call before giving you a quote. The upside is that the estimate might end up being a lot more accurate.
- 100% refund if you cancel up to 48 hours before the move on domestic moves
- Detailed pricing information available on website
- One month of free storage at place of origin
- Relatively high deposit of 25% of total price
Why we chose it: International Van Lines’ long list of services, interstate and international availability and pricing transparency make it a solid option for long-distance moving.
With over 20 years of experience, IVL is a highly rated moving company that can provide service locally, nationally and internationally. It can also transport cars on land as well as overseas.
International Van Lines stands out for its transparency in pricing. Its website has detailed information on how they charge each additional service. It provides clear information on how they price even very specific extras, such as moving pianos of different sizes or if there’s some distance between the moving truck and your house.
With that said, those prices are relatively high and some of the extra charges can seem a little excessive. The deposit is also quite high at 25%, as opposed to other companies that charge somewhere in the vicinity of 10% or charge low flat rates.
However, International Van Lines is a company that can provide anything you need from the local to the international level, and considering the secrecy of many long-distance moving companies regarding their prices, transparency itself can sometimes be worth the price.
- Highly rated for customer satisfaction
- Very specific moving packages and services
- Specialized transportation for healthcare goods
- No online quotes
Why we chose it: National Van Lines has 90 years of experience in the moving business. They cover from the shortest move to international relocation while maintaining high customer satisfaction ratings.
National Van Lines is another full-service moving company that works with local and international moving, and offers quite a variety of service options in between.
The company has packages for different types of moves: small apartments, senior citizen moving — which could mean downsizing before moving or moving into an assisted living facility, for example — and specialized moving for items such as cars, pianos, antiques and entire art collections. It also offers industry-specific corporate relocation, including healthcare item transportation, exhibit booth transportation for out-of-state shows and even installation services when transporting store fixtures.
National Van Lines boasts a fairly high level of customer satisfaction and over 15 years of BBB accreditation, where it scores well above four out of five stars.
The company also offers a lot of helpful information on their website to help customers in their moving process, as well as shipment tracking, moving checklists and more.
- Weatherproof storage containers
- You can store items inside the container ahead of time and at your own pace
- Frequent complaints about tardiness and postponed appointments
Why we chose it: Among self-packing companies, 1-800-PACK-RAT stands out for the high quality of their containers and overall satisfaction ratings, which tend to be higher than many direct competitors’.
Self-packing services provide almost all the benefits of full-service moving companies without the packing. This is left to the customers, with the advantage of doing it at their own pace.
1-800-PACK-RAT gives customers the containers for 30 days so they can pack at their leisure. The company then picks up the container and drives it to the new destination or to one of their warehouses for long-term storage.
According to the company, you don’t need to worry about the container being outdoors, as it is entirely weatherproof and can withstand even heavy rain and snow. There have been some complaints about containers having leaks upon arrival, however, so make sure to check the container as soon as you get it.
You can get all of the packing supplies you need from 1-800-PACK-RAT as well, so there’s no need to go to the store for boxes, tape, wrappers and other necessities.
Other companies we considered
Safeway Moving, Inc. is mainly a broker with a very small proprietary fleet. This, as well as its short time in the industry — which results in little customer satisfaction data — are the main reasons it stays off our top list. However, the small amount of reviews give it a very high customer satisfaction rating, and the website shows a good deal of transparency.
- High customer satisfaction ratings
- Informative website
- Broker instead of actual moving company
- Only 8 years in business
AVL is a full-service moving company that delivers from the local to international level. It has experience with specialty moving such as antiques and fine art collections, and much more. While it’s a solid company with a full range of services, low customer satisfaction ratings, along with a high deposit pushed it off our list.
- Great reviews on Google
- One month of free storage
- Flat rate offers for a variety of cities
- Very low rating on the Better Business Bureau website
- Deposit can be as high as 50%
Allied Van Lines is a large, full-service mover that works all across the country. Despite its large scale, it didn’t make our list due to frequent complaints about mishandling customers’ belongings, especially furniture.
- Large proprietary fleet of vans and moving trucks
- Instant online quote available
- Ample information on moving and housing trends
- Consistent complaints about mistreatment of belongings
Nationwide Moving Services is an interstate broker. Customer reviews are mixed, which kept it off our main list. This is a frequent issue with brokers since customers will encounter different moving companies and quality may vary depending on the one they use.
- Instant online quote available
- Flexibility to hire companies according to your needs
- No fleet
- Some complaints about highly inaccurate estimates
If you plan on doing your own packing and simply have a company take care of transportation, PODS is a company to have in mind as they ship containers and packing materials straight to your door. It has an informative website with clear pricing information and instant quotes, along with the usual moving checklist, insurance information and more. However, a high number of complaints and some reported issues with automatic payments kept it off our list.
- Clear information on website
- Offer car shipping
- Ship to some areas of Canada
- Consistent complaints about not canceling auto-pay
Interstate Moving Companies Guide
Not all moves are the same, and not all companies provide the same level of service. Here are the factors you should consider before choosing a company and paying that initial deposit.
What is an interstate move?
An interstate move is exactly what it sounds like: a move from one state to another. Whether the state you’re moving to is two miles away or three whole states away, there are changing laws, certifications and parameters both you and the moving company need to abide by.
For example, local moving companies are regulated by their state; when a move crosses state lines, it is then regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Regardless of state law, moving companies require a U.S. Department of Transportation identification number if they are to move between different states.
This also applies to insurance. For out-of-state moves, moving companies are required by law to offer insurance to clients.
What factors affect interstate moving costs?
Many factors can impact a moving quote, from how great a distance you’re moving to how many steps there are in your home. Here are some of the things you should consider.
Distance is obviously one of the most important aspects of pricing. Gas and time cost a lot, and that cost will be passed on to you. Also, crossing state lines will typically mean a price increase or fee, regardless of distance.
Other than the space required to store your possessions, companies also calculate quotes according to home size — both the home of origin as well as the destination. Companies will charge, for example, $0.50 per cubic foot.
Weight is actually one of the main factors when calculating price. Home size isn’t directly correlated to the space necessary to transport your possessions, neither does it account for how much it all weighs. Say, for example, you collect copper antiques. That’s a lot of work for the movers, which, in turn, increases the cost of your move.
Summer is peak moving season. It makes sense, changing kids from school is a lot smoother when done over the break, for example, and moving itself is easier with friendly weather. This might make it difficult to find a company for a summer move date, and it can also raise the price.
You can add a myriad of things to a moving service. From antique handling to piano moving and different insurance policies, you can customize your service to your moving needs. Of course, this will have an impact on cost.
Binding estimate vs. non-binding estimate
Moving estimates can be tricky. Since providers might find it hard to gauge the extent of your move without an in-person visit, you can end up with a simple ballpark number if you request a quote online or over the phone.
If you get a non-binding estimate, it means the price initially given can and will change in real time due to changes in weight or circumstances.
On the other hand, a binding estimate — which is the most common type of estimate given in interstate moving — establishes a fixed price on the transportation costs despite changes in weight once everything is packed. It will be a higher estimate from the start, but if you want to avoid unexpected increases once the move has started, it’s a good idea to get a binding estimate. Keep in mind, however, that the movers will still charge you more if you add items not agreed upon or request additional services.
There are also binding “guaranteed not to exceed” estimates, which will not raise the price if there’s more weight, but can reduce it if it ends up being less. This also excludes non-accounted for items, though, so if you add something last minute, it will indeed raise your price.
Do I need moving insurance?
In short, yes. When moving outside of your state, movers are obligated by federal law to offer two kinds of insurance: released value protection (which is normally already included) and full value protection. While it’s not legally required that you pay for full insurance coverage or third-party insurance, you might want to consider those options since moving can come with a lot of complications.
Full value protection
Full value protection is one of two policies offered by moving companies doing an interstate move. This covers all your possessions up to their current market value. While it’s costlier, it can definitely come in handy if expensive items suffer some damage throughout the process.
Released value protection
This type of coverage is almost always included in the initial contract. While it can cover some of your prized possessions, light but expensive devices might get the short end of the stick. This insurance covers only 60 cents per pound on each item. For example, a 200-pound dining table is covered for $120 — which might be enough to cover that table from Ikea, but that conversation-starting piece hand-crafted by a woodworker, not so much.
Third-party moving insurance
You can also get insurance yourself from a third-party insurer. This will cover your possessions in addition to the 60 cents a pound and can also reimburse you for perils not covered by the moving company, such as storms.
How to choose an interstate moving company
Decide if you want to hire professional movers or pack it yourself
This is the first step since it will determine which type of company you’re going to look for during your research.
DIY type companies provide you with transportation, either by them or by renting out a vehicle or container. They can also provide equipment to pack, such as boxes, wrapping paper and more. The most consistent trait across all these companies is that they don’t touch your possessions, they just provide the tools and, in most cases, the transportation.
On the other hand, a full-service professional moving company sends trained teams to pack and unpack everything. This can be the most stress-free, although more expensive, option. There are customizable options, of course, in case you want to pack part of your belongings yourself, whether for practical or personal reasons.
Research moving companies
Research all the possible companies that provide the level of service you require and that cover your area and your destination. Once you have the top interstate moving companies that could work for you, look at their offerings and, most importantly, look for their certifications, read reviews online and look for any legal issues they could have.
Look for their company’s U.S. Department of Transportation license number and their FMCSA registration and make sure the company is authorized to transport household goods. You can also look up other possible non-mandatory certifications, such as the General Services Administration (GSA) certification. While not necessary, they can provide you with additional information and security about each company.
The moving industry is filled with sketchy practices and unhappy customers. In some cases, it’s due to stress or unfortunate accidents; in others, it’s due to actual incompetence or worse. Reading reviews on reputable websites like the Better Business Bureau can help give you an idea of how trustworthy a company is and how they respond to issues. Look for the most frequent complaints and how the company has or hasn’t resolved these issues.
You can also take the company’s DOT number and search some of their history on the Department of Transportation’s SAFER System, which provides information about crash history, inspections and more.
Compare quotes and prices
Don’t be afraid to get free quotes from different companies in order to compare them effectively. While online quotes are fast and convenient, not all companies offer them and they’re not very accurate. If you have the chance to get a free in-home quote, get it from all your options.
Also, compare the deposits (they can be a percentage of the total or a flat rate). A less expensive company could charge, for example, upwards of 50% of the total price, while a more expensive company could charge a low flat rate of $300.
Finally, be sure to research or ask about add-ons and special services, such as antique care, moving from or to houses with two stories or more, awkwardly shaped items and more. These charges could sneak up on you if you’re not aware that certain items or actions from the movers — such as elevator usage and furniture disassembly — cost extra.
Know your rights
When you’re delegating the handling of your belongings to a group of strangers, it’s important to know exactly what your rights are — and which aren’t — and how they are protected. The best way to research these rights is with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
How to avoid moving scams
The moving industry has been plagued with scams for some time, and these have increased a lot in the past few years. These could include stolen deposits, hostage loads (withholding your property until you pay up) or simply stolen goods. However there are some steps you can take to avoid them.
- Look for the company’s Department of Transportation and FMCSA number and registration. This is, arguably, the most important step.
- Research the company’s history as well as recent reviews posted on reputable publications and platforms. Reviews on the company’s homepage (even for a reputable company) are usually not the most trustworthy; make sure to look for reviews on third-party websites.
- Keep your eyes peeled for “too good to be true” offers and lowball prices. If the average cost ranges around $4,000 and one single company offers the same full service for $2,300, you should be skeptical t.
- If a company insists on a deposit too early on (especially a particularly high one) or charges you for a quote, it’s best to stay away or, again, research the company further. Another big red flag in this situation is a company that doesn’t take credit cards. Never give any money if you feel even the tiniest bit of suspicion.
- Ask for a binding estimate. Even legitimate companies have been known to play the system, especially with hostage loads, so make sure you have a contract with the agreed-upon price. If the move actually costs more than estimated due to unforeseen circumstances, it should be notified before packing, not once you’ve reached your destination.
- If you fall victim to a moving scam, notify law enforcement immediately and file a complaint with FMCSA.
- If you’re planning an interstate move, it’s important to remember that mortgage rates can vary depending on the state. Read more on how Mortgage Rates Vary from State to State. Here’s How to Get the Best Deal if You’re Moving
- One of the big reasons Americans are moving out of their states is because remote work has taken over many industries. Take a look back at the trend: A Quarter of High-Paying Jobs Will Be Remote by the End of 2022.
- Being able to move wherever you want — whether it’s due to a lower cost of living or more beautiful surroundings — is a big draw of remote work. If it sounds like it might be for you, take a look at The Top 10 Companies for Remote Jobs in 2022.
- If you’ve been wanting to move but have yet to find what would be best for your career,check out our article on The Best Place to Live in America for Job Growth.
Interstate Moving Companies FAQ
How much does an interstate move cost?
How do I know if a moving company is reputable?
How much do you tip interstate movers?
Who regulates interstate moving companies?
How We Chose the Best Interstate Moving Companies
- Customer satisfaction: When it comes to moving companies, customer satisfaction is a big issue. The moving experience is stressful and having strangers handle your possessions can add to that stress. We looked at reviews and overall ratings on reliable websites such as the Better Business Bureau and others.
- Pricing and transparency: We made sure companies were upfront about their pricing, or at least their pricing methods, and that they provided binding estimates and refunds. When that wasn’t the case, we evaluated ways of contacting them and how willing they were to give information on their pricing and overall offerings.
- Services and features: While interstate moving companies normally offer full-service packing and additional services, we still made sure our picks did so. We also checked whether they offered some specialized services such as fragile item packing, auto transport, storage options and more.