How to Ship a Car Overseas?
Everything You Need to Know about International Car Shipping
Shifting to another country? Whether you’re doing it because you’re retiring or for educational, family or work-related purposes, you might have thought to take your car along. Many people make this decision regardless of how many months or years they’d be moving for.
Whatever future you decide for your car, the international car shipping company you choose will handle the a to z of the matter for you. But you just can’t hand the keys and get going, expecting to meet your car at the other end. In fact, the vehicle shipping process is a bit complicated which requires you to play a role in its planning and execution.
That being said, we’ve compiled a complete guide on the international car shipping process to detail you on all that you need to know.
- Ship your car overseas or buy a new one in the new country?
- How to find the best international car shipping company?
- How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?
- What documents will you need to ship your car overseas?
- Types of international car shipping methods
- How to prepare your car for overseas shipping?
Ship your car overseas or buy a new one in the new country?
One important question that you need to ask yourself is this - is it even feasible to take your old car to a new country? Or would it suit you better to purchase a new one there? You need to decide on this after considering several important factors. Let’s dive into these below so that you can make an informed decision:
- Sentimental value. Many people want to ship their car when they move because of sentimental attachments. Question is, do you have many memories, or a family history attached to your car? Along with considering the emotional aspect, you also have to take into account the logical side of the decision.
- Time. The second factor to consider is time. What do you have more time for? Do you have enough time to smoothly get your car shipped? Being too urgent here may require you to sacrifice its sales value. On the other hand, would you have enough time to adjust in a new country, know abouts its processes and purchase a new car there in time?
- Shipping cost. Take the costs into consideration too. What would be better for your pocket - to purchase a new car in the new country or to get your current one shipped? Your old car is worth shipping overseas if it is in good condition. You need to calculate the costs and see what works best. Next up, you have to consider storage costs, if any. While you relocate, where will your old car stay? Can a loved one park your car at his place? Or would you have to invest in a storage facility? If you don’t have any way to store your car while you are gone, then you simply cannot leave it behind without having to make an investment for storage.
- Car maintenance costs. Maintenance costs also count. If they’re too high it is best to purchase a new car rather than get tangled in repair processes at a new place. Depending on the model of your car, will you be easily able to find repair parts and services is the new country you move to?
- Duration of your overseas stay. Lastly, the duration of your stay is also a deciding factor. If you are going to stay there for long, say years, it may be a good idea to ship your car. Particularly, if you’re very fond of its model and it would be unlikely to find the same one there. If you’re only shifting for a few months, then its best to leave your vehicle behind.
If you end up deciding that shipping your car overseas would be the best choice, you’ll need to find a reliable company for the international shipping of your car.
How to find the best international car shipping company?
Since its obvious you cannot ship your car overseas on your own, working with a trustable company in this regard is what you’ll have to do. How to find the right company for this service though? Here are some steps to help you out with this:
Step 1. fill out our form on international car shipping cost estimates.
Step 2. You will get contacted by a number of expert and renowned auto car shippers. We have prescreened all the auto shippers in our database and they also have been licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).
Step 3. Request overseas vehicle transportation quotes from all the companies so that you can compare costs.
Step 4. Compare the prices that you get. Along with considering overall rates, consider prices of separately transporting the car, and the shipping conditions of each company.
Step 5. Visit our auto transport help center to learn more about transporting vehicle overseas. It will give you all answers of the question you may have and will help you know what you can expect from each in terms of professionalism and customer experience.
Step 6. Choose the company that offers the best rates, most suitable shipping conditions, and has the most positive customer reviews.
How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?
This is a very significant question. In fact, without knowing how much the process would cost you, you can’t come to a decision about whether or not you should get your car shipped internationally.
The best way to know how much it will cost you is by requesting quotes from different companies that provide the service. Sometimes, it can be economical to purchase a new car in your destination country or not have a car there at all and rely on public transport instead.
Either way, the cost of shipping your car overseas depends on these crucial factors:
Distance from your home to a major seaport
When you plan on shipping your car overseas, but your home is located at a distance from the C terminal you have two options. You can either hire a local auto shipper for the transportation of your car to the nearest shipping dock. Or, the overseas shipper can also cover this part of transportation which will streamline the process for you.
How much it would cost you to get your car shipped from the marine terminal depends on the specific location it is at. Rates start from $100 and can even amount up to $1000 or more. The cost will be higher for larger vehicles for being transported from a us state to its terminal (approx. $150 to $250).
To inform you, car shippers in the US move cars from several ports in the country:
- Los Angeles and San Francisco, California
- Miami and Jacksonville, Florida
- New York City, New York
- Norfolk, Virginia
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Baltimore, Maryland
Distance to the destination country
The distance between your current country and your destination country will also decide the cost. Generally, legal shipping costs start at approximately $700 and can go up to $4000 or more. As expected, the greater the distance the higher the cost of transportation would be.
For instance, the shipping of a small car from US to Europe would cost about $700. However, the shipping of an SUV can cost you around $2000 for the same distance. Moreover, shipping of the car from the US to Australia would cost more, about $3000.
Overseas destination taxes and charges
Import duties and taxes are also imposed on the international shipping of your vehicle. Furthermore, unloading and delivery fees in the destination country also apply. Your auto shipper will inform you about the total of these charges. On average, you are charged overseas destination charges of around $550 per vehicle. This, of course, varies from one country to another and is not included in the total shipping costs.
International car shipping insurance
it is important to purchase insurance for the vehicle that you're transporting to another country. In most cases, the international auto shipper that you work with will offer you insurance for shipping your car overseas. This it will do either through its own insurance program or by the insurance company that it works with.
Insurance costs on the international shipping of your car will cost you around 1.5% to 2.5% of the estimated value of your car. This means they will be around $300 to $5000 for a $20,000 valued car and around $450 to $750 for a $30,000 valued car.
Size, weight, and condition of your car
The size and weight of your car will also have an impact on the total international car shipping costs. If your car is not in running condition for whatever reason, then you will be charged an extra sum for the loading and unloading difficulties that would arise with it. This is because a car that is not in running condition will need to be towed.
What documents will you need to ship your car overseas?
You’ll need quite a few documents for processing the internal shipping of your car. Typically, the auto shipper company you work with will handle all this for you. You’ll only have to submit the documents in a timely manner, and your international car shipper will gather and go through customs offices’ procedures.
Here are the documents that you’ll be required to submit:
- Your car’s original Certificate of Title and two copies of its notarized title
- The Bill of Sale or a notarized Bill of Sale (depending on the port of origin)
- The original Certificate of Origin if your vehicle is a brand-new purchase
- A Shipper Export Declaration
- A Declaration of Dangerous Goods
- A copy of your US passport
Depending on your destination country or a particular maritime port, some additional documents and forms may also be required. To inform you, the charges of notaries are around $10 for each signature.
Important: To prevent any delays get in touch with your auto shipper and ask about which forms and documents the process would require. Submit these at your earliest to the company.
Types of international car shipping methods
There are three international car shipping methods. These are Roll on, Roll Off (RORO), Shipping Containers, and Air Freight. The former two methods involve the shipping of your car by being shipped across the seas on a freight ship. The last of the three methods mentioned, on the other hand, involves the international flight of your car in a cargo aircraft.
Below is a deeper look at all three methods of shipping your car overseas:
Roll On, Roll Off (RORO)
This is the most cost-effective method of getting your car shipped internationally. In this method, your car is driven onto the ship where it is secured. Your vehicle is also immobilized with devices like a ratchet, straps, and clamps. Essentially, it is like your car is waiting in a large parking lot.
For safety reasons, there should be no extra items in your car. Apart from safety, the absence of additional items is necessary to prevent charges and inspections from piling up. Your car needs to be in a good condition if you choose this method. If your vehicle is not in a running condition it will need to be towed which will incur extra charges.
While this is a very cheap method of getting your ship car shipped internationally, it is definitely not the best method to choose. This is because your vehicle will be out in the open and would be exposed to the elements of nature such as the wind and rain. This will keep you in constant worry as you cannot ever be sure that your vehicle will be shipped to the destination safely.
Car Shipping Containers
This is the second and most popular method of shipping your car overseas. The shipping of your car in a shipping container is costlier than the first option, but it is also comparatively safer. This is because your car is stored in protected metal container.
To reduce the transatlantic or transpacific costs of this shipping method, you can go for a shared storage container. Such a container houses many vehicles. You can contact your auto shipper to know whether there is the option of going for the 40ft shared container over a 20ft sole container.
The third and final option to get your car shipped internationally is onboard a freight aircraft. However, shipping your car through this method is often very costly, in most instances even more so than the cost of the vehicle itself.
One pro of this method of car transportation is that it is the safest of all. It does not involve much handling of your car apart from the standard loading and unloading. Furthermore, this method is also the speediest of the three. Your car will reach you in a couple of days rather than a few weeks which is the time typically taken when you go for the shipping options.
How to prepare your car for overseas shipping?
You will need to ready your car for pickup by your auto shipper or by the transportation company which will drop it at the maritime terminal. Here are some steps that you can follow for preparing your car for overseas shipping:
Step 1. Get your car checked and serviced at an authorized garage. This is to make sure that it is in good technical condition for the trip.
Step 2. Remove all personal items from inside the car. Apart from a child seat and any standard car equipment, your vehicle must be empty. Remember, you cannot remove the license plate.
Step 3.Get your vehicle cleaned on the inside.
Step 4. Remove any exterior car accessories such as antennas, roof racks, etc.
Step 5. Inspect your car thoroughly and take high resolution pictures of its current condition to be able to notice any signs of damage once it reaches you. Take close up photos of pre-existing damage such as scratches, dents, paint chips, etc.
Step 6. Get the exterior of your car washed.
Step 7. Ensure the battery of the car is charged and secured properly.
Step 8. Inspect the pressure of the tires.
Step 9. Make certain the emergency brake is functioning as it should.
Step 10. Make sure there's not more than 1/4 fuel left in the tank of the vehicle.
Step 11. If possible, either remove or disable the alarm system of your car.
Step 12. Make sure you have an extra set of car keys because your auto shipper will need one.
You can find out more information about shipping your vehicle overseas on the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) website.
We have a detailed checklist for shipping your car internationally to prepare your car for being shipped to another state within the US. Don't hesitate in using it when you're readying your car for international shipping.
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