Shipping a Car Overseas – How Does It Work?

Posted Overseas Vehicle Shipping / February 18, 2020
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

Shipping a car overseas might seem like a complicated and stressful effort, but it doesn’t have to be if you get to know the whole process a little bit better. One of the essential steps is choosing a reliable and skilled international auto transport company. Your precious vehicle should be loaded safely, adequately protected for the overseas journey, and transported unscathed. It might be a scary and challenging goal to achieve, but if you prepare everything in time, it can be a no-brainer.

It doesn’t matter whether your vehicle is a limousine or a regular passenger car; the process is straightforward, and you shouldn’t worry about a thing. With our guide on how to ship your car to another country and what the process actually includes, you’ll find out all the necessary details and facts necessary to avoid unpredictable situations.

The First Step in Shipping a Car Overseas – Research International Car Transport Companies

If you want to ship your car overseas without a scratch or some more severe damage, then picking a professional company that can take care of your vehicle from the beginning until the end is undoubtedly a thing of great importance. Choosing a wrong team to help you out could result in storage fees or delays, so make sure your first step is doing thorough research and searching for a trustworthy mover.

Shipping Company Research

An excellent starting point when making a shortlist of international auto transporters is an online search. Consider the most commonly used browsers, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, but don’t ignore review websites, forums, or the Better Business Bureau. Also, one more option that can help you is to ask your friends for references.

Although it may take a while, you should look at the credentials and certifications of each mover. Don’t forget to check whether they are licensed, insured, and bonded. Also, if any dilemma or suspicion pops up into your mind during the research, don’t hesitate to call the company and ask about everything that seems unclear to you.

Cost Research

You shouldn’t expect to get the final price after your first call. If you want to get an idea of how much your international transport is going to cost, you’ll be asked to fill out an online quote form. This free estimated price is an excellent way to find out more details about the transport services because the form contains additional info on the necessary papers, port of departure and arrival, overall costs, etc.

Another way to get a clearer picture of the shipping cost is by visiting forums dedicated to that topic. You’ll notice that prices vary depending on the company, vehicle type, departure location, and the chosen transportation method.

Ask for a Quote and Select Auto Transport Services at a Reasonable Cost

After getting several quotes, you may be surprised by the results. Some prices will be lower, some higher, but don’t make premature conclusions and pick the most affordable ones. Before making the final decision, check what factors are included in the price.

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How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car Overseas?

Take into consideration several key factors that have a direct impact on the total cost. Try to clarify them to yourself before hiring a shipper and avoid possible disappointments in the future:

  • The type of services
  • The method of transportation
  • Inland transportation
  • Destination fees

Don’t Forget About Insurance

If you’re not sure what the insurance covers, you should ask your company. Find out when your coverage starts. The rates can vary between 1.5% to 2.5% of the total value. Also, make clear should you purchase a policy for total loss or any more significant risk.

Choose the Right Method to Ship Your Vehicle

Depending on your needs and wishes, you can choose among the most affordable, most reliable, and the most pricey but the quickest way of transportation. Of course, there is also a difference between inland transportation (moving limited to land) and by air cargo freight. To get an accurate picture of the international car shipping options, you should become familiar with them. These are the most common solutions:

  • Container transport overseas
  • Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) method
  • Airfreight

International Shipping in an Ocean Container – Reliable and Affordable

If you choose container transport, you should know it’s one of the most popular services among customers. Furthermore, you can pick between a consolidated container and a sole-use container. The former provides you with the possibility of splitting costs with different clients that are shipping their vehicles to the same destination port. Besides taking longer, this way of transportation is more demanding, because it requires more set up and doesn’t cover all destinations.

Single-use container services are ideal for people who prefer to ship their cars expediently in their own 20 or 40-foot container. Of course, the price is higher than using a consolidated one, but you can expect a proper balance between the cost and delivery time.

Shipping Cars Using Roll-On/Roll-Off Method

RoRo is a service where your car is rolled onto a boat in a US port and rolled off at the desired destination port. It’s intended for shipping oversized cargo, such as trucks or large cars, but it can be used for regular passenger cars and motorcycles, as well. This happens when they need to reach some of the less common destinations.

Bear in mind that there are two sides to every coin, meaning this method is the cheapest but has one drawback you should keep in mind. It lacks the added protection and security that containers offer. Its exposure to moisture and other external weather elements could affect your vehicle’s condition after reaching the final destination.

For Secure Loading and Transporting, Choose the Air Freight Method

If you’re a proud owner of a super-luxury or race car and don’t want to take the risk of exposing it to unpredictable circumstances, you should pick the air freight method. As the fastest way possible toship your vehicle overseas, you should expect a much higher price, too.

Submit Necessary Documents

After selecting your shipper, the next step is to gather all the documentation and send it to them as soon as possible. Required paperwork for transport includes the following:

  • Clear original title
  • Copy of bill of sale
  • Copy of your US passport
  • Anything else the shipper requests

Depending on your starting port and the final destination, you may be asked for an additional form or document. However, since these rules are not predetermined and can vary from company to company, the best way to prepare all papers ahead of time is to contact your shipper and ask them for clear instructions.

Check Your Car’s Condition

Last but not least, check your car’s condition. Wash it, check the brakes, and then you can hand it over to your transporter. An excellent piece of advice you shouldn’t ignore includes writing your report and taking a picture of the vehicle’s condition – that’s how you could easily spot any exterior damage after shipment. But don’t worry about the overall process. You can rest assured that you’ll be kept in the loop about the shipping process from loading until arrival at the port, thanks to online shipment tracking.

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