You are embarking on an exciting journey in a new country but you are faced with a dilemma- how to ship your car overseas? Whether you are moving temporarily or permanently, you might want to bring your car with you to your destination country. The good news is that there are plenty of options available when it comes to international auto shipping. While the shipping company will take care of most of the logistics for you, it’s still helpful for you to understand how the process works so you can plan accordingly. Here are some important tips and things to know about having your car shipped overseas.
Start with Research
There are quite a few different companies that offer international car shipping services. However, you want to be careful to select a company that can meet your needs and has a strong reputation. When you begin your research, you need to be sure that the company is properly licensed, bonded, and insured. You can check this information along with complaint reports by going to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. Not only do you want to ensure the shipping company is properly licensed and insured, but you also want to confirm that any third parties involved (such as freight carriers) are also licensed, bonded, and insured. You also want to take the time to check customer reviews online and check with the Better Business Bureau for any possible complaints. If a company does not meet all of these requirements, you should check them off your list right away.
Once you have narrowed down your search to a handful of companies, you want to request a quote from each one. Be sure and ask about any additional fees and charges so there are no surprises on your final bill. Also, be wary of any quote that is drastically cheaper than the rest. This is usually a red flag that something is not right.
Check Insurance Coverage
Since your car is one of your most valuable possessions, you want to be sure it is protected during this overseas shipment. Most reputable companies will have some liability coverage, but it's always good to confirm this information on the front end. You also want to check with your own insurance provider about possible coverage.
Car shipping takes a lot more time than shipping a package and this is especially true when shipping a car internationally. The exact time depends largely on where your car is going but it could take several weeks for your car to arrive. The fastest way to ship your car is by booking a sole shipping container, but this will cost you more as well. If you want to save a little money, you should go with a consolidated shipping container where your car is shipped with others. However, this option will extend the timeline of your delivery.
Gather Your Documents
As with anything related to international shipping, there is paperwork involved. You will need to provide export documents to the U.S. Port of Entry where your car will be leaving from at least 72 hours before the date of transport. These documents include a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Vehicle Export Cover Sheet and original Certificate of Title for the vehicle plus two additional copies. Additional paperwork is required if there is a lien on your vehicle. To ensure you have all the necessary documents,contact your Port of Entry so you know exactly what you will need.
Prepare Your Car for Shipment
As with any auto shipment, you want to make sure your vehicle is in proper working condition prior to shipping it internationally. You also want to clean it and take pictures of your vehicle’s condition and make note of any scratches, dings, or dents. Finally, resist the temptation to pack personal items in your vehicle when you ship it. Customs agents will be inspecting your vehicle upon arrival and you are not permitted to ship any personal items inside.
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.