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Can I ship personal belongings with my car internationally?

Published by Joe Webster.

Can I ship personal belongings with my car internationally?

When it comes to the question, "Can I ship personal belongings with my car internationally?" the answer is not straightforward. It largely depends on the policies of the car shipping company you choose and the regulations of the destination country. Some car shipping companies may allow you to ship personal items in your vehicle, while others strictly prohibit it due to safety, insurance, or customs reasons. Additionally, even if the shipping company permits it, the customs authorities in the destination country might have restrictions or require specific documentation and duties for the personal belongings. Therefore, it's crucial to verify both the shipping company's policy and the import regulations of the country you are shipping your car and personal items to.

While shipping personal belongings in your car might seem like a convenient way to move your items, it's not always straightforward. The policies regarding shipping items within a vehicle differ among shipping companies. Some may allow a limited amount of personal belongings, while others may have strict regulations against it due to potential complications during transit, such as security risks or damage to the vehicle and the items. Moreover, the customs authorities in various countries have their own set of rules and regulations about importing personal belongings, which can affect your decision and the process of shipping your car with personal items.


Factors to evaluate

Before deciding to ship personal items with your car internationally, it's essential to contemplate several critical factors that can influence the process and outcome.

  • Customs and Import Regulations: One of the most significant considerations is the customs and import regulations of the destination country. Each country has its own set of rules regarding what can be imported and under what conditions. Some countries may allow the importation of personal belongings along with a vehicle, but they might require detailed inventories, impose taxes, or demand specific documentation. Failing to comply with these regulations can result in delays, additional charges, or even confiscation of your items. Therefore, it's crucial to research and understand these regulations or consult with a professional shipping company that is familiar with international customs laws.
  • Shipping Company Policies: The policies regarding shipping personal belongings with your car can vary significantly from one car shipping company to another. While some companies may offer the option to ship personal items in your vehicle, others might prohibit it due to liability concerns, insurance restrictions, or the potential for damage to the vehicle and the items during transit. It's important to inquire directly with the shipping company about their specific policies and any additional costs or requirements associated with shipping personal belongings.
  • Safety and Security: Shipping personal belongings with your car also raises concerns about safety and security. Items left in the vehicle may be at risk of theft or damage, especially during long transit times and multiple handling points. Shipping companies often advise against shipping valuable or fragile items in the vehicle for this reason. If you decide to ship personal items, it's advisable to pack them securely and consider using locks or security measures to protect your belongings.

Ultimately, while it's possible to ship personal belongings with your car internationally, it requires careful consideration of various factors, including customs regulations, shipping company policies, and safety concerns. Thorough research and consultation with your chosen shipping company can help ensure a smooth and successful shipping process.

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Pros and Cons of Shipping Personal Belongings with Your Car

Shipping personal belongings with your car internationally can be a double-edged sword. It's essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.


  • Convenience: One of the most significant advantages is the convenience of transporting both your vehicle and personal items together. This can simplify the moving process, allowing you to receive all your belongings at once.
  • Potential Cost Savings: Shipping items with your car might reduce the need for additional shipping services, potentially lowering overall shipping costs. However, this is highly dependent on the policies of the auto transport company and the nature of the items you intend to ship.
  • Immediate Access Upon Arrival: Having your personal items shipped with your car means you'll have immediate access to them upon the vehicle's arrival, which can be particularly beneficial for essential items or if you're on a tight schedule.


  • Risk of Theft or Damage: Personal items left in the car are at risk during transit. Despite the best efforts of auto transport companies and their crew members, the risk of theft or damage cannot be entirely eliminated.
  • Additional Customs Duties: Shipping a car with personal items might lead to additional customs duties or taxes, increasing the overall cost of shipping.
  • Complications with Insurance Coverage: Many auto transport companies' insurance policies do not cover personal belongings inside the vehicle during transit. This means that any damage or loss of personal items is often at your own risk.

Preparing Your Car and Belongings for International Shipping

Preparing your car and personal belongings for international shipping is a meticulous process that requires attention to detail to ensure a smooth transition.

Packing Tips:

  • Ensure that all personal items are securely packed and stowed in the vehicle. Loose items can move around and cause damage during transport.
  • Think about utilizing vacuum-sealed bags to optimize storage space and safeguard your belongings from dampness.
  • Remove all valuable items. If you must ship essential documents or electronics, make sure they are well-hidden and secured.


  • Prepare a detailed inventory of all personal items being shipped in the vehicle. This will be necessary for customs clearance and may be required by the auto transport company.
  • Ensure that all necessary documentation for both your vehicle and personal belongings is complete and accurate. This includes registration, insurance documents, and any required customs forms.

Insurance Considerations:

Discuss with your auto transport company the insurance coverage for your vehicle during transit. Understand that personal items inside the car are often not covered.

Consider purchasing additional insurance for your personal belongings if they are valuable or essential.


Alternatives to Shipping Personal Belongings with Your Car

If the cons outweigh the pros for shipping personal belongings with your car, or if your auto transport company does not allow it, consider these alternatives:

  • International Moving Services: Specialized international movers can handle personal belongings separately from your vehicle. They offer services tailored to your needs, from packing to insurance coverage.
  • Shipping Containers: Renting a shipping container can be a viable option if you have a large volume of personal items. Containers provide a secure and private space for both your vehicle and belongings, though this option can be more costly.
  • Air Freight: For urgent or valuable items, air freight offers a faster, though more expensive, alternative.

Regardless of the method you choose, it's crucial to weigh the costs, security, and convenience of each option. Always ensure that you work with reputable companies and understand the terms, especially regarding insurance and liability for your belongings during transit.


The decision to ship personal belongings with your car internationally is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It hinges on a variety of factors, including the policies of the auto transport company you select and the customs regulations of the destination country.

While it can offer convenience and potential cost savings, it also carries risks such as theft or damage to your personal items. Additional customs duties and potential complications with insurance coverage further complicate the matter.

If you're contemplating international car shipping or have questions about shipping personal belongings, don't hesitate to reach out to us at A1 Auto Transport. Our experienced team can provide you with expert guidance, personalized advice, and a free quote for your shipping needs. Your satisfaction and the safe transportation of both your vehicle and personal items are our top priorities. Contact us today to learn more and start a hassle-free international relocation.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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