Guide to Shipping Your Car Internationally

Written by: AUTO CAR

Guide to Shipping Your Car Internationally

Shipping your car to another country can seem like a huge hassle and make you question whether it’s really worth it. If you take your time and choose the best option, you can make the move seamless, and it won’t even break your bank account. 

Whether shipping your car on a plane, train, cargo ship, or truck, the process of shipping your car does not need to be complicated. The more you prepare, the more seamless the process will be. Have your paperwork ready, a car with a clean title, and you are well on your way to your new destination. 

Starting in a new place can be stressful, so don’t add stress to your life. Follow this guide to shipping your car internationally and eliminate one source of stress. 

Step 1: Do Your Research

As with any big decision, you need to be informed of all the options so you can make the best choice. The right choice for your neighbor that moved six years ago may not be the best option now. Go online and research companies that ship cars internationally and find out how they are shipped and what the results are afterward. 

You don’t want to end up with a company that has a reputation for being late or causing damage to your vehicle that increases costs. Every company will have varying rates depending on the season and their method of transportation. 

Step 2: Comparison Shopping

When you purchased your car, you likely went to multiple car dealerships or websites to find the best deal. The same concept comes into play when shipping your car internationally. Some companies will only have one method of transportation and cater to high-end clientele. 

Be sure to get quotes that are for the same service with the same amenities. If one company is door-to-door service and the other is only port-to-port, there will be a large discrepancy in the cost. Some countries require fees to be paid upon arrival. Check with each company to see if these are covered by the company or included as one of the items in your bill.

Step 3: Meet Your Needs

After you have done your comparison shopping and narrowed it down to a few companies, it is time to make the final decision on which company to choose. It can be a good idea to plan to have your car in your new country before you arrive, so there is no lag time without a mode of transportation. 

Meet Your Needs

If you have the luxury of time, there are cheaper options that wait for a full container or shipment before sending the cars, much like the shuttles at the airport. If ground transportation is available, this can be the least expensive as there are frequent trains and trucks being driven across borders. 

Step 4: Proper Paperwork

A good company will assist you with the necessary paperwork to ship your car internationally. They know precisely what is needed to export a car successfully and have someone to help you with the process. You can move this process along faster if you find out what documents you need during your research step and have them ready for the company when they ask. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. These companies are here to help, and they want your business. If they have poor customer service, you may want to choose another company. 

Step 5: Vehicle Inspection

In addition to getting a proper inspection from a mechanic before transporting your vehicle, you should do a personal assessment and take pictures of the condition of your car before you send it. When you receive the vehicle in your new country, do a similar inspection to ensure that your car was not damaged in the process and is in perfect working order. 

Vehicle Inspection

Small scratches are possible and even probable when shipping your car, but your car should not have any new significant dents or damage when it arrives. Ask about the insurance policy and what is covered in case of damage. The more valuable your vehicle, the more the insurance will cost, but it is recommended to pay for it. 

Step 6: Payment

Before you send your car to the shipping company, have an agreed-upon price. Be cautious of companies that will only give you an estimate but not an exact price, as this leads to open-ended contracts that can be altered upon delivery. 

Prices can vary widely, and if you aren’t careful, you could wind up paying much more than you intended. Make sure you are aware of any hidden fees that could be tacked on upon arrival.

Additional Information:

Some countries require different paperwork or a clean title, while others will have more lenient rules. Every company will require a copy of your current passport, a copy of the sale agreement, and the title documents for the car. Ideally, you should have these documents before contacting companies, as they will likely ask if you have them. 

The ocean can be unpredictable, so if you are shipping your car on a cargo ship over the ocean, be prepared for delays in arrival. Storms and other issues may arise during transport, and there is nothing that the transport company can do to change them. 

Have a contingency plan if your car does not arrive when it is supposed to. Renting a car or borrowing from someone you know can help bridge the gap.

Traffic laws may differ in your new country of residence so take some time to research these laws before you drive. Signs may be in a different language or miles per hour instead of kilometers like you are used to. Drive safely and follow all new traffic laws. 

Take Your Time:

It may be tempting to try to get the process done as soon as possible, but you are likely better off taking your time. Make sure you have the right company and the right cost for you and your family. Shipping cars is expensive and time-consuming, but it is often cheaper and even simpler than buying a new car in a foreign country. 

Take Your Time

Let your car shipping company help you in every way that they can, and let them guide you to success. 

Last modified: April 8, 2021