Moving can be stressful and expensive, especially when it involves seemingly impossible things like cars to be shipped overseas. However, the expense is less when you consider the cost of buying or renting a new car from your new home. To keep matters simple and easy to calculate, let us assume that the point of origin is from the US.
Calculating the cost of shipping your car overseas may be a little tricky but you can make it easy by making a list of things to get an accurate idea of the cost to ship your car overseas and the list will also help you to be prepared for the otherwise, unexpected expenses. The following points can be tabulated as a list so that you do not miss out on anything and keep it with you till the car is handed over to you safely.
Things to be taken into consideration while calculating the cost to ship a vehicle overseas are:
- The Size and Weight of the War - While one cannot generalize, usually a compact car will cost less to ship than a large car. The smaller the car, the lesser the cost, especially if it should need packing materials that will keep the car safe during transport. Also if the car is an SUV, you can expect to get a bill of $2000 if the destination is Europe. However, when it is Australia that you are shipping to, even a standard size car can cost you $2,950. Most of the shipping companies use a standardized rate which takes into account the overall volume of the car measured in cubic feet (CBF), the year of manufacture, the model and the make of the car. So a car measuring 600 CBF with a height of 1.6 m can cost $1,300 along with other charges.
- Condition of the Car - When the car is in running condition, you can lower the expenses by not having to use a truck to haul it to the ship and back again into land. In case the car has to be in drivable condition for transit, then add the amount that you will have to pay for repairs and servicing. Cars that are non-operational will cost you more for loading and unloading from the ship as you might need to hire trucks. Most of the time, movers use a Ro-Ro method where the car will be rolled onto the ship and again rolled off which decreases the cost greatly as you do not need any special equipment for this method.
- Transportation – this consists of three things:
- The starting location till the shipping terminal
- While on the ship
- From the shipping terminal till the destination
There are some companies that will deliver only from port-to-port and not from door-to-door where the cost will be significantly less. Choose the latter if you can transport the car to the port yourself and also if you have arranged for transportation from the destination port. If your car is in good running condition then all that you will have to pay for is gas till you get it to the shipping terminal and again from the port to your new home. Otherwise, it is best to let the transportation be taken care of by the moving company themselves.
The transportation charges if it is door-to-door will vary if the route is as the following:
- Within the US from one major city to another where you can add $100 more to the total cost as the transportation cost from the location to the shipping dock. So the total cost of shipping a sedan from New York to the state of Florida can vary from $650-$800.
- Within the US from a remote location to a location in the Midwest where you can expect for the cost to be as high as $900 more. The general rule is that if you come from a remote place then the charges will be more to get it to the shipping terminal and again the geography will come into play when you deliver it to the destination after the voyage. You will have to pay more for transporting it to villages and remote areas.
- From the US to any major city in the world. If the destination is in a city in Europe then the average cost will be around $750 more. Also, the size of the container that you hire also raises the price but then you can also ship other items along with your car in the space allotted to you. So if you have hired a 20-foot space on the ship for a shipment to Australia, then you can expect to pay around $3,200 and the cost will be more if the space you need is more.
- From the US to a remote or unusual place anywhere in the world where you can expect the rates to be higher.
- Services provided – Generally, it will include everything from transporting and handling charges. Services might include hauling the car into the ship, being driven and even being secure to the ship to avoid being tossed about. Again the charges will differ if the vehicle used to haul the car to the ship is closed or open with the closed ones being more expensive.
- Insurance - The coverage should be nominal and at the same time cover everything. Moreover, try to get insurance for marine transport so that anything that gets damaged while in transit can get replaced. Marine insurance will usually be 1.1% - 2.5% of the entire shipping cost but is necessary to protect you from unnecessary expenses as the maritime law specifically stipulates that any ship is liable only for $500/car regardless of its make and worth. There are two kinds of insurance when it comes to shipping and the one that is more expensive is the All-Risk one where you have to insure for the actual value of the car and you can claim for damages while in transit. The other kind is the Total-Loss-Only where you cannot claim for damages but will get the cover for your car in case the car disappears overboard. For more information on insurance, read this article.
Now common sense dictates that you cannot do it all by yourself and you need the help of professionals such as car transporters.You might find good deals with several car transporters who might have a lot of experience transporting cars overseas. However, choose one which has a good reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Also, never settle for the first company that you come across but get quotations from at least 4 or 5. This will give you an idea of how things are charged and it might give you points for bargaining. One of the charges that you can expect from the company is administrative charges.
Check whether the transportation company knows about the duties, rules and customs restrictions that you might encounter in the destination country. Otherwise, you can do your homework by calling up the consulate and asking them yourself. A few things that you will need to know are
- How much will it cost to bring a foreign car into the country?
- What are the duties and taxes that you will have to pay?
- How should the car be delivered and where?
- Can you sell the car in the foreign country if need be?
- Does the car qualify as a luxury car and hence subject to pay the luxury car tax (LCT)?
European ports might charge you $200 for entry taxes but it is advisable to know beforehand the rates so that you will not be caught unawares in a strange land.
Now, this is very important as you cannot make a mistake when you are thousands of miles away from home. So the money that you pay for them is important as the documents will help you clear customs easily, both at home and in the destination port. You will have to take the originals as well as a certified copy which you can get from the Department of Motor Vehicles. In case, your car is new and it does not have a title, get the Manufacturer’s Statement along with two copies. You will also need a letter of permission from the lien holder in case of any liens against your car, along with two copies of the same. Check with the transportation company for any other documents that you will be required to carry with you such as Shipper Export Declaration Form and a Dangerous Goods Declaration Form which come with a small fee.
Final Step before the Journey
Clean the car and empty it of all things including
- Personal items
- Repair equipment and tools
- Loose objects that can cause damage to the car during transportation
You are allowed to leave spare tires, seat covers, and mats inside the car. This will ensure that your car does not get damaged as insurers may not pay for carelessness.
Read the instructions carefully before the journey starts so that you comply will all the instructions and will not have to pay any fine for any oversight. Also, make sure that you are informed of all payments before the transportation starts so that you do not get any nasty surprises on your final bill.
Cost While in Transit
- You might have to pay the shipper when your car gets picked up for the overseas transport.
- A voyage might take a few days or even a few weeks, where again the cost to ship your car overseas will include the number of days traveled.
- You can keep tabs on your car by calling them up regularly. So include the cost of calls also and you might also have to make international calls to the transportation company in the other country in case the car arrives before you do.
Time of Travel
Just as the length of travel is a criteria, so is the time of travel where the cheaper months to ship a car will be during the winter months when business is slow and the costlier time will be during the busy summer months.
All’s Well that Ends Well
After you pick up the car in the destination, give a thorough inspection for any damages. Pay the final amount only if you are satisfied that your car has arrived in the same condition that it was in, at the beginning of the journey.
Related Information & FAQ
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.