Are you planning to move, either for your home or business? It’s an exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when choosing the right moving services. One important thing to think about is whether you’re moving to a Interstate or staying within the same state. Understanding the main differences between these two types of moves is important so that you can make good decisions and smoothly move to your new place.

Interstate and intrastate moves may sound similar, but they are quite different and can greatly impact your moving experience. Let’s take a closer look at each type of move and why it’s important to understand these differences for your move.

Interstate Moving

An interstate move means moving from one state to another within a country. It happens when people or businesses move their things across state lines. Interstate moves usually cover long distances and have to follow special rules set by the government for moving and shipping. To do an interstate move, you might need to hire a moving company that has permission to work in different states.

Intrastate Moving

An intrastate move means moving your things within the same state, without going to a different state. It’s different from an interstate move, where you cross state lines. In an intrastate move, you stay within the borders of one state. These moves usually cover shorter distances compared to interstate moves. The rules and regulations for intrastate moves are made by the state government, not the federal government that handles interstate moves.

Key Differences Between Intrastate And Interstate Moves

Aspect Intrastate Moves Interstate Moves
Geographical Scope Occur within a single state, without crossing state lines. Involves relocating belongings between different states.
Regulatory Compliance Governed by state-level regulations. Subject to federal regulations enforced by agencies like the FMCSA.
Licensing/Certification May require state-specific licenses and certifications. Require specific licenses and certifications for interstate operations.
Cost Factors May be more cost-effective for shorter distances within a state. Often involve higher costs due to longer distances and federal regulations.
Logistics/Transportation Require logistics planning but simpler transportation routes within one state. Require careful coordination of logistics for compliance and timely delivery across state lines.
Transit Time/Delivery May offer quicker transit times for shorter distances. May have longer transit times due to greater distance traveled and potential delays at the state borders.

Regulations and Licensing

When choosing a moving company for your move, it’s important to understand the rules they have to follow. Here’s a breakdown of the rules for interstate and intrastate moving companies, and why it’s important to check their licenses and certifications:

Interstate Moving Companies

Interstate moving companies are regulated by the federal government, specifically the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules make sure that goods are transported safely when crossing state lines. Interstate movers need to get a unique number called a USDOT number to show they follow federal rules.

Why Licensing and Certifications Matter?

Before hiring an interstate moving company, it’s crucial to check if they have the right licenses and certifications. Make sure they have a valid USDOT number and are registered with the FMCSA. Look for certifications like the ProMover certification from the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), which shows they are professional and ethical.

Legal Requirements and Restrictions

Interstate moves have specific legal requirements and restrictions. These include limits on weight, insurance coverage, and ways to resolve conflicts set by federal rules. Not following these rules can lead to penalties and legal trouble for both the moving company and the customer.

 Intrastate Moving Companies

Intrastate moving companies follow rules made by state governments. These rules can be different in each state and cover things like licenses, insurance, and laws to protect customers. Some states might require intrastate movers to have special licenses or permits to operate legally.

Why Licensing and Certifications Matter?

Just like with interstate moves, it’s important to check the licenses and certifications of intrastate moving companies before hiring them. Make sure they have the right licenses and permits for the state where you’re moving. Also, ask about insurance to protect your things in case of any damage or loss during the move.

Legal Requirements and Restrictions

Intrastate moves may have specific legal requirements and restrictions set by state governments. These can include vehicle size and weight limits, mandatory insurance, and ways to handle customer complaints or conflicts. Knowing and understanding these rules can help make your move go smoothly and follow the law.

      Factors affecting the cost of interstate and intrastate Move

Cost factors can significantly impact the total expenses for both interstate and intrastate moves. Here are the key factors that influence the cost of each type of move:

Interstate Moves:

  • Distance: The distance between the origin and destination plays a significant role in determining the cost of an interstate move. Longer distances typically result in higher transportation costs.
  • Weight of Shipment: Interstate moving companies often charge based on the weight of the shipment. The more items you have to move, the higher the cost.
  • Additional Services: Optional services such as packing, unpacking, disassembly, reassembly, and specialty item handling can add to the overall cost of an interstate move.
  • Fuel Prices: Fluctuations in fuel prices can impact transportation costs, especially for long-distance interstate moves.
  • Seasonality: Moving during peak seasons or busy times of the year may result in higher costs due to increased demand for moving services.
  • Insurance Coverage: Opting for additional insurance coverage or valuation protection for your belongings can increase the overall cost of an interstate move.
  • Access Challenges: Factors such as difficult terrain, narrow streets, or limited access to the property may require special equipment or additional labor, leading to higher costs.

Intrastate Moves:

  • Distance: While intrastate moves cover shorter distances within a single state, the distance traveled still influences the overall cost, with longer distances generally resulting in higher expenses.
  • Weight of Shipment: Similar to interstate moves, intrastate moving companies may charge based on the weight of the shipment, with heavier loads leading to higher costs.
  • Hourly Rates: Some intrastate moving companies may charge hourly rates for labor, with the total cost depending on the time taken to complete the move.
  • Truck Size: The size of the moving truck required for the intrastate move can affect the cost, with larger trucks typically costing more to rent and operate.
  • Additional Services: Optional services such as packing, unpacking, and furniture assembly may incur additional charges, contributing to the total cost of the intrastate move.
  • Insurance Coverage: Like interstate moves, opting for additional insurance coverage or valuation protection for your belongings can increase the overall cost of an intrastate move.
  • Accessibility: Challenges such as stairs, elevators, or narrow hallways at the origin or destination may require extra labor or specialized equipment, resulting in higher costs.

Challenges for both types of move

Whether you’re moving to a different state or within the same state, there are some risks you need to be aware of. One common risk is the possibility of things getting damaged or lost during the move. Even if you pack and handle everything carefully, accidents can still happen and cause damage to your furniture, electronics, or other valuable items. 

Another risk is delays in the moving schedule. Bad weather, traffic jams, or problems with the moving truck can cause delays and mess up your plans. Delays can lead to extra costs and inconvenience for you. There’s also a risk of hiring a moving company that is dishonest or not reliable. They might cheat you or give you bad service. To reduce these risks, research and choose a trustworthy moving company. 

Get insurance to protect your things, and have backup plans in case unexpected problems come up during the move. By being prepared and careful, you can minimize the risks and have a smoother moving experience, whether interstate or intrastate.

Insurance Options for Intrastate and Interstate Moves

When you’re planning a move, whether it’s within the same state or to a different state, it’s important to think about insurance to protect your things. Here are some insurance options you can consider:

  • Basic Carrier Liability Coverage: Most moving companies offer basic liability coverage. This coverage gives you some compensation if your things get damaged or lost during the move. The compensation is usually based on the weight of the item, but it may not cover the full value of your belongings.
  • Full-Value Protection: Full-value protection is a more comprehensive insurance option. It covers the full value of your belongings if they get damaged, lost, or stolen during the move. The moving company is responsible for repairing or replacing the damaged or lost items.
  • Third-Party Insurance:  You can also buy insurance from a separate insurance provider. This third-party insurance can provide additional coverage beyond what the moving company offers. It can cover valuable items like antiques, artwork, or jewelry.
  • Homeowners or Renters Insurance: Check if your current homeowners or renters insurance policy covers your belongings during a move. Some policies may have limited coverage for items in transit, but there may be limits and exclusions.
  • Valuation Options: Moving companies may offer valuation options, where you declare the value of your belongings for insurance purposes. This doesn’t replace insurance, but it affects the compensation you receive if something happens to your things. Make sure to read the terms and limits of any valuation option carefully.

Before choosing an insurance option for your move, carefully read the details of each option. Check the coverage, limits, and exclusions to make sure your belongings are well protected. You can also talk to an insurance agent or moving specialist for advice. By selecting the right insurance options, you can have peace of mind knowing that your belongings are covered during the move.

Process of Hiring a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company for your interstate or intrastate move involves several important steps. Here’s a simple guide on how to hire a moving company:

  • Research and make a list of reputable moving companies that offer the services you need.
  • Check their credentials and read reviews to make sure they are licensed, insured, and reliable.
  • Get quotes from multiple moving companies, providing them with detailed information about your move.
  • Consider scheduling in-home estimates for larger or unique moves to get accurate cost estimates.
  • Carefully review contracts, services, pricing, insurance coverage, and any additional fees.
  • Ask questions and clarify any doubts or concerns you may have about their services or contract terms.
  • Make your decision and book the moving company early to secure your preferred moving date.
  • Communicate with the moving company leading up to the move and pack your belongings securely.


What is the difference between interstate and intrastate moves?

Interstate moves involve relocating belongings between different states, while intrastate moves occur within the borders of a single state.

How are interstate and intrastate moves regulated?

Interstate moves are governed by federal regulations enforced by agencies like the FMCSA, whereas intrastate moves are regulated by state-level authorities.

What licensing and certifications are required for interstate and intrastate moving companies?

Interstate moving companies need specific licenses and certifications for interstate operations, such as a USDOT number. Intrastate movers may require state-specific licenses or permits.

What factors influence the cost of interstate and intrastate moves?

Distance, shipment weight, additional services, fuel prices, seasonality, insurance coverage, and access challenges are key factors affecting the cost of both types of moves.

What insurance options are available for interstate and intrastate moves?

Insurance options include basic carrier liability coverage, full-value protection, third-party insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, and valuation options.

What challenges should I be aware of when planning interstate or intrastate moves?

Risks include potential damage or loss of belongings, delays in the moving schedule, and the possibility of hiring unreliable moving companies.

What steps should I follow when hiring a moving company for an interstate or intrastate move?

Research reputable companies, check credentials and reviews, get multiple quotes, review contracts thoroughly, ask questions, and book the moving company in advance.