Shipping your Personal Vehicle Overseas

indexYou’re getting ready to organize your personal effects shipment overseas and have inventoried all of your household goods.  An international freight forwarder has visited your residence to provide an estimate and routing advice to dispatch your goods so they’re available to collect when you arrive in your new country.  But what about your vehicle?

Some people may choose to sell their vehicle locally and purchase a new one at destination.  Others may insist that their car or truck be shipped along with their household goods.  Perhaps you own a classic car and can’t entertain the thought of selling it.

In any case, you have several things to consider before making a decision:

  • Verify that your vehicle is eligible to be exported from the US and that the receiving country will allow the importation.  The rules for every country are different, so check this out in advance.  For instance, cars of a certain age may not be allowable at destination.  If they are, customs duties and taxes vary based on the value declared, age of car, engine size and whether it is environmentally compliant.
  • Are you able to produce copies of proof of ownership or registration and other documentation required for export and for the customs importation at destination?
  • Remember that your vehicle will consume a significant amount of space in the container based on its cubic measurement and weight. If your household contents and your vehicle warrant a full container load, your costs are more controllable. If it’s less than a container load, your ocean rate is based on the cubic measurement or weight of the vehicle.
  • Gasoline, oil and other fluids in your vehicle may be considered hazardous. Most ocean carriers will demand that you drain these fluids from and disconnect or remove the battery to prevent any chance of accident.
  • Insurance is available for your overseas vehicle shipment, but with certain limitations. Carriers have limited liability that will likely pay a small fraction of what your car is worth.  Purchasing a marine insurance policy will cover most perils, but will include several exclusions such as marring, chipping, scratching, discoloration and mechanical derangement.  Therefore, it’s advisable to have the insurance company inspect your vehicle with you to identify any previous damage and make notations on the policy.  If your car has a high value, consider a professional appraisal that you can submit to the insurance underwriter prior to shipping.
  • Check with your international moving company to determine if you’re allowed to use the vehicle as extra packing space. However, loose items packed in a car for transport are a risk and may be prohibited.  And your marine insurance policy may not cover those loose items.
  • There are international freight forwarders who specialize in moving vehicles but not necessarily your household goods. Chances are you would prefer all of your goods to enter the country of destination as a single shipment which results in freight cost savings as well as reduced customs clearance fees on import.
  • Finally, make sure that your chosen international freight forwarding company is properly certified and recognized by the Federal Maritime Commission.
Source: Accelerated International Forwarders

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