Are you planning an international move? If so, you might be interested in bringing your car along, in which case you would need to utilize international car shipping services. It is important to begin planning and preparing well in advance so you can come up with a transportation plan that best fits your needs and budget. Though it may seem overwhelming, shipping a car overseas is actually a straightforward process. Here we will take a look at everything you will need to know in order to make the process as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
How Much Will it Cost?
Perhaps the biggest consideration will be the price of having your car shipped overseas. The price will depend on several factors. First, you will need to consider the distance from your home to the nearest seaport. The U.S. Ports of entry are located in L.A., San Francisco, Miami, Jacksonville, New York City, Norfolk, Charleston, Wilmington, and Baltimore. It could cost you several hundred dollars or over a thousand dollars depending on how far you are located from the closest seaport. Next, you will need to consider the distance to the foreign country. Obviously, the greater the distance, the higher the shipping cost.
Overseas Taxes and Charges
When estimating the cost, don’t forget to take into consideration import duties and customs taxes, along with delivery fees in the foreign country. There will be different tariffs and duties that are calculated based on the value of the vehicle and the size of the engine. An experienced international shipping company should be able to inform you about these additional costs.
Know the Laws and Regulations Regarding Importing Vehicles
Every country has different laws regarding what types of vehicles may be imported and exported. Keep in mind that many countries will not allow the importation of cars over a certain age. Prior to scheduling shipment, you should check with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements for importing and exporting motor vehicles.
Finding the Right Shipping Company
The last thing you need is to feel rushed to find an international car shipping company. There are quite a few different companies out there that offer this service so you will definitely want to do plenty of research to find the right one for your needs. As with most things these days, your search will likely begin online. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a reputable car shipping company:
- They offer services from your current location to your new one
- They are properly licensed, bonded, and insured (The company should be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission. You can verify licensure on their website.)
- They only work with third parties who are also licensed, bonded, and insured
- They have several positive reviews (check online as well as with the Better Business Bureau)
- Their price is reasonable. (be cautious of prices that are too low, as this can sometimes be a red flag)
Gather Your Documents
Next you will need to consider what documents are required for international car shipment so you can be sure you have everything ready to go. As with most other international shipments, there is paperwork involved. You will need to provide the following documents to the U.S. Port of Entry at least 72 hours before the date of transport:
- Original Title along with two notarized copies of the original document
- Bill of Sale
- A Shipper Export Declaration
- A copy of your U.S. passport
Keep in mind that different ports have different paperwork requirements so check with your shipping company to ensure you have the required documents.
Types of Overseas Car Shipping Methods
You will need to consider which method of shipment will work best for you. There are two main car shipping methods for overseas transport. The first is Roll On, Roll Off (RORO) in which your car is driven onto a ship, secured, and transported. This is the cheapest method of transport, but your vehicle will be in the open and exposed to the weather elements. The second mode is a shipping container. It costs more, but is the preferred method because it offers much greater safety and protection because your car is securely fixed inside a metal container for the duration of the journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.
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