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Shipping a car isn’t the most straightforward thing to do. And when you need to have it shipped to New Zealand, it’s an even bigger burden. Still, remember that cars and other vehicles tend to be far more pricey in New Zealand, particularly if they’re luxury cars and European models. In general, if your car is worth 10,000 USD or more, it’s absolutely worthwhile going through the entire shipping process to transport a vehicle to New Zealand. So here are the steps you must follow in order to do it right.
Before you plan to ship your car to New Zealand, it’s important first to check that your vehicle is eligible for importation under the standards set by the New Zealand Transport Agency. Some of the factors you should take into account include:
• Whether you are a returning NZ citizen or immigrating to the country
• The age of your vehicle (fewer costs and documents if your car is over 20 years old)
• Which side of the car the driver’s seat is (note that people drive left-hand vehicles in New Zealand, just like in the UK)
• Whether you wish to register your vehicle for road use in the country (your car needs to complete entry certification before you have it registered)
One decision you should make early on in the shipping process relates to how exposed you want your car to be while it’s being transported. There are three methods to choose from:
• Roll-On/Roll-Off – This is the least costly method, given that your car gets loaded into the holding area of a large vessel, which is basically like a big parking garage.
• Shared Container – The most commonly used method has multiple cars placed together for shipping in one single container. Even though there are more fees involved than with “roll-on/roll-off” (such as charges for unloading and customs clearance), these fees are shared between several customers and not just you.
• Full Container – This is almost the same as the “shared container” method, it’s only your vehicle occupying the whole container, and all extra charges are borne by you alone. That said, there is added security in a full container load, which means the customer can opt to store other valuables inside the car for shipment (provided these are packed carefully).
Regarding the total shipping cost, keep in mind that it covers many things, including insurance charges, storage, transport, duties and taxes. However, what most significantly impacts the amount are factors such as where your car is currently located, the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the destination port in New Zealand. Don’t forget that your choice of shipping method also affects it. But you will get a better idea of the exact amount when you visit the website of your chosen company and use their Quote Calculator.
While there are reputable shipping companies you’re likely considering, it’s always best to reach out to them so you can get more reassurance of their competence and credibility. They should be able to provide clear answers to questions of common concern, especially from those who ship with them for the first time. Speak over the phone or send an email to a customer rep of your chosen company and ask questions like the following:
When you’re confident with the abilities of your chosen company and ready to ship your car, you can book through the phone or the online booking system on the company website. Ensure all important numbers and information are ready to be filled out, including your driver’s license and car registration. With the booking confirmed, the shipping company will mention that they’ll contact you with a suitable available slot for shipment. Companies normally give about a full week’s notice before the day your car can be taken for shipping. But you might also try arranging a specific date for pick-up if shipping schedules aren’t flexible for you, provided you’ll be okay with an additional charge.
Documentation is key to a smooth car shipping experience. Note that all used vehicles that enter New Zealand for the first time have to undergo a thorough border check and inspection by Customs and an Entry Certification before people can use them on the roads. As for the Entry Certification process involves an assessment of whether your car met the required standards for safety and emissions while manufactured, whether it needs certain repairs or specialist certification, and whether it meets biosecurity requirements that won’t lead to the introduction of diseases and pests. Therefore, ensure you fill out and have multiple copies of these documents:
Having your car prepared in the ideal condition will be very helpful in minimizing the chance of any issues or accidents occurring as the vehicle is carefully transported. On your end, it’ll also make it easier to spot damages post-shipment and prove that you’re making a valid claim.
In general, try to have your car ready about five minutes before the actual scheduled time for turning it over. If you’re traveling to a location, allow some leeway for slow traffic when you start driving. If the company will pick it up, ensure it’s ready and located in the exact street as mentioned in the details for pick-up.
Upon arrival, the driver will ask you to review and sign documents, including (1) the shipping invoice, (2) forms that list all payments received plus the outstanding balance, and (3) a certificate of origin showing the country that your vehicle is coming from.
When all of that has been settled, leave your car keys with the driver. Take a couple of photos of your car right before it gets taken away. This will come in handy for comparing the conditions of your vehicle before and after the actual shipping stage.
In New Zealand, your vehicle will undergo structural inspection by a NZ Transport Agency staff member. Provided all goes well, a pink Transport Agency sticker will be applied to the wiper arm of the driver’s side windscreen. When both that sticker and the MPI biosecurity inspection sticker are affixed to the car, that’s when it’s ready to be released.
When you finally get to receive your car at the end destination (which the shipping company will give you enough notice beforehand), be ready to sign the necessary papers confirming payments are all finalized and you have now collected your vehicle.
Bear in mind that cars are prone to damages while they’re being shipped due to elements such as gravel or debris from a hail storm. Therefore, it helps to have photos taken of anything noticeable that wasn’t there prior to shipment, which can be validated by pictures of your car on the day it was turned over.
For any damage you file a claim for, call the shipper’s insurance company. Provide them with details on the new damages of your car, and mention the date and time you had it dropped off. Chances are you’ll be asked for a written record of all scratches and damages that predated the shipment, plus pictures of how your car looks right now. Be sure to email these to help speed up the process of filing your claim.
Congratulations – your car has successfully been carried halfway around the world and is ready for new adventures on foreign soil.
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.
Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.
And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.
The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.
When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.
The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.
They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?
So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.
I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!
The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!
There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.
After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.
Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.
By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.
We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!
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