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Overseas Car Shipping: All You Need to Know

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Whether you are moving overseas temporarily or permanently, you may want to bring your car with you to your new home. However, shipping a car overseas is a complex process which requires proper planning and preparation.

Overseas Car Shipping: All You Need to Know

If you have decided to transport your vehicle using a professional international car shipper, here's something you should know about the process of international car shipping: Starting from how to ship a car overseas to how to prepare your car for overseas shipping? We have got everything that you need to help make your move easier and more organized.

How to ship a car overseas?

As you know overseas car shipping is the most tedious process that is expensive and complicated. So obviously you'll be in a dilemma to decide whether to ship your car overseas or not. However, the decision will greatly depend on how long you plan to stay overseas. If you do plan to stay in the new country permanently, then taking your car with you is the best option. But if you only plan to stay abroad for a few months, then it's better to hand over your vehicle behind with your family or a friend.

In case your final decision is to transport your car to the country you're relocating, then there are two things you need to consider: how to find a reliable international car shipping service provider and what's the best and the cheapest way to ship a car overseas.

Types of international car shipping methods

To find the right auto transport that can ship your vehicle properly to another country, you should first figure out the kind of car shipment method that would sufficiently suit your needs. When you first visit an auto transport company, they will suggest a couple of options that are available to ship your vehicle. Primarily there are two methods for shipping cars overseas. They are:

  • Roll-on and roll-off service: This is a process where your automobile is directly driven or rolled on to the ship and it is protected by a deck. It is usually the safest and the cheapest way to ship your car overseas.
  • Container service: This method is the most common way to ship a car overseas. It usually costs more than the roll-on and roll-off service, but it provides much safety to your vehicle. Your vehicle will be placed in a separate container, and it is rolled on to the ship.

Find the best international car shipping company

Once you know the kind of car shipment method that suits your needs, then the very next step is to find a reliable and trustworthy international car shipper. Here's an advice to find a reputable and experienced auto transport company:

  • Do the background check on the company to avoid any potential for moving scams or frauds and make sure that they are registered with the FMSCA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The coveted BBB (Better Business Bureau) accreditation is also a sign that the company is trustworthy.
  • Ask your international car shipping company about the laws and regulations that exist for shipping automobiles to your destination country. There will often be very different laws for how to transport automobiles to certain countries, and a reliable car shipper will be able to answer these questions for you.
  • Ask the company to provide you with an agent to take care of your vehicle when it arrives at customs in the destination country. It is always a good idea to utilize help from the car shipping company to resolve things at customs easily and quickly-- they usually have a lot of experience in handling customs clearance.

Note: Learning as much as you can about customs duties and taxes would be an added advantage that will likely improve your international car shipping experience.

How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?

Of course, you may be very much interested in learning the cost to ship a car overseas. However, that price can be estimated based on the size of the car, its operating condition and the distance between the source and the shipping destination. Before shipping a car internationally, you should ask the company about the price in detail, and don't be afraid to ask as many questions as necessary. Customs clearance fees should be included in the quote as well.

What documents are needed to ship a car?

The process of shipping a vehicle internationally involves a lot of paperwork. You will have to submit all the documents that are requested by your international auto transport company. Here are some international car shipping requirements:

  • Personal information: copies of your government issued ID and driver's license
  • Vehicle information: make, model, VIN number and estimated value
  • A proof of ownership or a bill of sale
  • A declaration form of Dangerous Goods and a Shipper Export declaration must also be submitted
    Note: If you bought a new car that you are shipping, then you need to issue a statement of origin from the manufacturer, plus the letter which contains your permit to transport it overseas.
  • Also, remember to print a copy of your contract, keeping one copy and giving another to the car shippers.

Tip: Contact your international car shippers and ask them what documents required to transport a vehicle overseas. This will help make the relocation go as smoothly as possible.

Insurance coverage for car shipping overseas

Another important thing you should know when shipping your car overseas is insurance. There is always the chance that your vehicle may incur some damage, and you are not going to want to pay for it. Make sure to ask your international auto transport company if they offer full insurance coverage, and remember these points as well:

  • Your international car shipper has to provide minimum insurance for the safety of your vehicle. As different companies follow different guidelines and offer varying degrees of insurance, ask them about the details of the coverage they offer. You can obtain an increased rate of insurance at a higher price.
  • Make sure to have the full insurance policy documented thoroughly to avoid any misunderstandings in the unfortunate event of damages after the delivery of your vehicle.
  • Asking for full coverage marine insurance would cover 1.5% of your vehicle's estimated value.

Finally prepare your car for overseas shipping

Clean your entire car thoroughly and get it washed and prepared before it is handled by the car shipping company. All of the items inside of the car should be removed or the car shippers may charge extra for the items. Remember that some items may not clear customs in the country of your destination.

Find out more information about car shipping checklist by reading our guide 10 Easy steps to prepare a car for shipping.

To have the safest overseas car shipping experience, your knowledge on the process of international auto transport is necessary. Make sure you need to know everything about the process and conduct thorough research before selecting the company of your choice.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on January 28, 2013

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