What to Expect When You Move In-State vs State to State

What to Expect When You Move In-State vs State to State

Are you moving within your current state, or will your upcoming move take you over state lines?

As you get ready for your next move, it’s important to know the difference between interstate and intrastate moves, and the different regulations and pricing that go along with each. Where you move and how far away it is are both important factors when deciding on a moving company and preparing your budget. Being clear on the regulations also clarifies whether state or federal agencies have jurisdiction over your move. 

Preparing yourself for these factors before your big day will save you from hassles and surprises on your final bill, and ensure your moving company is correctly registered and licensed. 

What is the difference between an interstate and intrastate move?

An intrastate move occurs within the borders of one state. For instance, if you are moving from Miami to Orlando, this is within the same state, and is therefore an intrastate move.

An interstate move occurs when you move from one state to another. For instance, if you moved from Chicago, Illinois to San Diego, California, this requires you to move across state lines.  

Cost and regulation differences between interstate and intrastate moves

Now that you know the difference between an interstate and intrastate move, it’s time to understand their differing costs and regulation.


Intrastate moves –Intrastate moves are state-regulated. Intrastate movers are usually paid according to an hourly rate that has been filed with the state regulatory body, or by weight and miles.

The manpower and time it will take to move your items from your old home to your new one will determine the overall cost of an intrastate move. That usually means that the larger your home and number of possessions, the larger the moving crew you’ll need, and the more expensive the move will be. An intrastate move is typically solely handled by one company. 

Interstate moves – Unlike state-regulated intrastate moves, interstate moves are federally-regulated and operate using tariffs. These tariffs provide the terms and conditions of your contract with the moving company, as well as the schedule of rates and charges that your movers use to determine your final cost.

The total weight of all items and the distance travelled are also factored into your final invoice. National moving companies usually handle interstate moves. 

Legal considerations before your moving day
Before you put down a deposit or commit to a moving company for your interstate move, you need to assess the following:


  • Check their paperwork – When moving interstate, ensure that your mover has a USDOT number and is registered with the FMCSA. They must also have the correct level of insurance to carry out your move. If they do not, they’re breaking the law, and you need to find a different company to work with as soon as possible.
  • USDOT number – A USDOT number is required of all companies that move cargo over state lines. It also serves as a unique identifier when analysing a company’s safety information, which is collected through audits, compliance reviews, inspections, and crash investigations. 
  • FMCSA – This acronym stands for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which works to prevent commercial motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. The FMCSA requires that all interstate drivers be registered with them. 

Whether you’re moving within one state or making the big move from state to state, now you know some of the legal considerations it pays to think about. This will help you identify the right mover, how moving costs are determined, regulations, and legalities.

Always double-check with your moving company that they have the proper registration and paperwork for your intrastate or interstate move. If they don’t – it’s time to find a different company.