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Shipping a Car Overseas

Posted Overseas Vehicle Shipping / October 28, 2019

Are you planning on moving and shipping a car overseas? Then you’re probably wondering what the process of international vehicle transport and other related services looks like. If that’s the case, we’ve got the answers. In this detailed step-by-step guide, you’ll learn all about what you need to do in order to have your car transported safely to your chosen international destination.

The First Step to Shipping a Car Overseas – Getting a Cost Quote

When moving across the world, getting a shipping price estimate for cars and other services is the very first step in this process. By doing so, you’ll find out how much the whole thing is going to cost you and you’ll be able to plan your budget. More importantly, the quote will help you decide which auto transport company to choose from.

Compare Overseas Shipping Estimates for Cars

Before you pick a company, you should do your best to get quotes from as many different international service providers as possible. Do your research and compare the prices you’ve been given to choose the best one for yourself.

Choose an International Shipping Company That’s Reliable

However, the cost of transport shouldn’t be the only factor you take into consideration when picking your service provider. In fact, as a rule of thumb, you should never pick suspiciously cheap companies, as they might be frauds. On the contrary, choose a service provider that has reasonable prices, but good reviews and recommendations. Furthermore, the location you are going should be a part of the areas the company serves.

Ship Your Vehicle in a Container or Roll-On/Roll-Off Service

Before transportation, you should check whether the company has the equipment, experience, and skill needed to carry out this job successfully. Whether you’re shipping the vehicle in a container or employing a roll-on/roll-off service, protection, and safety should be a priority.

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Schedule the Date to Ship Your Vehicle

Once you’ve picked your international car shipping provider, give them a call to schedule the pickup and delivery dates. During this call, you should also request any additional information you might need, such as detailed instructions for the pickup, payment options, necessary paperwork, and so on. You should also ask whether it is your job to drop the car off at the port, or if the movers will pick it up.

Gather All the Paperwork

Speaking of the necessary paperwork, there are certain documents any auto transport company will ask from you. These include:

  • Personal identification. A document proving your identity, such as a driver’s license or a passport, will be necessary.
  • Proof of ownership. The company will also need your vehicle title, which proves you are the owner of the car or cars that you want to ship.
  • Client form. You will be provided a form that you need to fill out with all the necessary information.
  • Contract. Needless to say, an agreement between you and the service provider will have to be signed.
  • Miscellaneous. Some providers may request additional documents from you.

Whether the vehicles are going to be shipped by roll service or container, they need to be prepared for customs clearance at the destination port. Sometimes the value-added tax (VAT) should be paid, and that depends on the country where you’re transporting your car. However, using auto transport services will mitigate and simplify the customs process to you.

Pro tip: Keep all the important paperwork, along with several copies, in a single well-organized, sturdy binder to avoid losing anything while service providers ship your car. Bring this binder to the port with you and give the movers documents needed to travel abroad.

Prepare Your Car for International Shipment

One of the most important things you need to do when transporting your car overseas is preparing your vehicle for the container before you drop it off at the port. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide for doing that properly.

Thoroughly Wash Your Vehicle

Before you do anything else, you’ll want to clean your car. This isn’t because companies’ staff don’t like to get their hands dirty, but because clean cars make it much easier to spot any damage.

Record Preexisting Damage

Now that your car is clean, carefully inspect it and write down any pre-existing scratches, dents, rust, or other forms of damage. Taking pictures of anything you find might be a good idea as well.

Fix Leaks

Is your car leaking any fluids? If so, it is crucial that you fix them. Leaks can be a serious fire hazard during transport in the container.

General Checkup

Even if there are no leaks, you should take your vehicle to the shop for a general checkup and let the mechanic know you’re about to ship it. If there are any new, undetected issues you weren’t aware of, make sure you get them fixed before the pickup date.

Top Off Fluids

All fluids should be topped off before you ship the car. This excludes your gas tank, which you should leave at only ¼. A completely full gas tank will only increase the weight of your cargo, and therefore the price. Plus, a lot of gas is always a fire hazard.

Remove Personal Belongings

We all keep some personal belongings in the glove department, the container between the seats, or the little pocket in the overhead sun shield. Make sure you remove all these before you drive to the port. This is especially true for valuable items such as money, jewelry, or documents. Instead, learn how to pack jewelry and other valuables properly.

Final Touches Before Loading

Your vehicle is almost ready to be loaded in the container at the port now. There are only some final touches left, such as folding your side mirrors, retracting the antenna, removing the bicycle holder, and so on.

Wait for the Delivery

Once the company has picked up your vehicle to ship it, all you have to do is wait for the delivery. Ideally, you should be present for the drop-off, but if you can’t make it, don’t worry. You can always assign someone you trust to represent you by authorizing them in writing.

Auto Transport Insurance

During negotiations with your carrier, find out all the details about insurance and what it covers. In case you’re not satisfied with terms and conditions, you should check out for other ways of insurance related to your current car insurance provider.

Car Shipping Services Are for Shipping Cars Only

Keep in mind that an overseas auto transport provider is just that – a company that ships cars. In other words, you shouldn’t try to ship anything else inside the trunk or the container in general, such as smaller pieces of furniture, valuables, and so on. The service provider will not be held responsible if any damage occurs from such practice.

Additional Tips for Shipping Car Overseas Safely

You know what they say about safety: “Safety is a choice you make.” That being said, to ship your car smoothly to the desired destination, you should be familiar with several essential tips needed to perform this process straightforward:

  • Date. Plan your shipment ahead and for the middle of the month. Also, the best periods for shipping vehicles are spring and fall since prices and demands are lower.
  • Trackability. Your transporter should keep you informed during the moving about all conditions.
  • Reliability. Choose only reliable international moving services and rely on their auto shipping assistance.
  • Experience. Due to highly trained and skillful drivers, any kind of problem can be easily overcome, and your cargo will arrive at the desired destination without a scratch. Sometimes, to ship vehicles overseas can be complicated because of customs and port documents requirements. Fortunately, trustworthy auto shippers are proficient in these issues, so they can handle most of the grunt work for you, including dealing with customs.
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

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