How to Safely Ship Your Car Overseas

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How to Ship Your Car Overseas

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Second to homes, vehicles are usually some of the most expensive things that an average person can possess. When changing those expensive homes, transporting your car can become complicated. If you are moving internationally, things get even more complicated. You need to ship your car overseas if you want to keep it with you when you move abroad. Here is a guide for making sure your car safely moves to another country with you.

Know if you are allowed to ship your car to your destination

Some countries have restrictions on what types of vehicles are allowed to be shipped into their borders. Before you do anything else in preparation for shipping your car overseas, you should probably review the destination country's shipping policies. Some common vehicle restrictions include:
  • Steering wheel alignment- As you may be aware, vehicles in some countries operate on the other side of the road than what you  may be used to. Cars in these countries are designed with the wheel set up on the right rather than the left side of the car, which is appropriate for giving the driver a central view of the road while driving on the left side of the highway. These countries will often not allow you to ship or drive cars designed for right-side driving. 
  • Weight/size- Some countries simply do not like larger vehicles. Countries that are very crowded, have smaller roads, or are trying to regulate pollution may limit the size of vehicles that can be shipped into them. Be sure to see what size limits your destination country has or if they put any fees on heavier vehicles.
  • Age- Many countries will not allow older cars in their borders. This may be due to safety or environmental concerns. Each country is different, but the magic number is somewhere around five years old. That is relatively restrictive, considering that the average age of a car on the roads of Canada is roughly nine years old.
Be sure to research these policies before you try to ship your vehicle. Have a little extra room in your moving budget to pay for possible fees if your car is only allowed to be shipped with some taxes on it.

International movers

Finding the right moving company for an international move is difficult and making sure they can handle shipping your vehicle overseas is a big deciding factor in which international mover you should choose.

Certifications: There is no worldwide organization that oversees moving regulations for international movers. This means that you need to screen international movers very carefully before handing your car over to them. Look for certifications from trusted countries or independent alliances. The Federal Maritime Commission is an American government agency that hands out numbers to reputable movers allowing them to ship cargo. You may also want to look for a company aligned with FIDI, a well-known international moving alliance.

Services: Full service international movers should be able to handle all aspects of shipping your car overseas. Not only will they ship the vehicle, but they should also be able to get customs clearance in the target country. Make sure the moving company is experienced with the particular country you are shipping your car to. Good movers will also have an insurance policy for their shipment. In additional to your normal car insurance policy, be sure to review the claim and insurance policies for the moving company. You can ask for more insurance if you are unsatisfied with the base plans.

The next step is to choose a type of shipping service for your movers to provide.

The two types of international car shipments

Roll-on Roll-off: This is the standard type of overseas vehicle shipping. The movers will drive or roll your car up a ramp onto an interior cargo deck of a ship. There, it will be put in park and strapped in place. Once your car gets to its destination, it is unrestrained and workers either drive or roll your car down a ramp and into the port area.

This is the less expensive of the two moving options, but it does expose your car to the conditions of the cargo deck and a little bit of driving from workers. The car is also briefly exposed to the open air during the roll-on/roll-off process.

Container: Container shipping is more expensive, but it also protects your car more thoroughly. This shipping involves packing your vehicle in its own container and restraining it on blocks. The container is loaded on the ship via a crane, truck, or forklift. It will be very secure and unable to move during transit. These containers remain closed in the cargo deck for the entirety of the trip. They are unloaded in the container as well and are only opened once they arrive at their destination.

Preparing your car for overseas shipping

You must keep in mind that your car, although secured by straps or a container, will be shifting with the ocean while on a ship. You need to prepare your car for this movement and the inspection process that comes before shipping, as well. Here is a list of things to do to your car before you attempt to ship it.
  • Wash your car: This will make the inspection process easier and more accurate. A cleaned car will make it easier to notice any damage to your vehicle that was pre-existing or that occurred during the shipment
  • Empty your car: Remove all loose items from the inside of your car. Most  international movers will not ship a vehicle with personal possessions inside it. Loose items could be tossed around during shipment and damage themselves or the interior of your car.
  • Secure/remove loose exterior items: Antennas, hood ornaments, and luggage racks should be removed prior to shipment. Things that are loose but cannot be removed like mirrors should be secured.
  • Inspect your car: Your car will undergo a pre and post shipping inspection for insurance purposes. Make sure your car is in working order yourself before you submit it for the inspection.
  • Nearly empty your gas tank: You should only have enough gas in your car to drive it to wherever you plan on taking it after it is shipped. A gas tank that is too full can spill during transport.
Once you have researched your target destination's automobile regulations, found a good international mover to ship your car, and prepared your car for shipping, you are ready to ship ship your car overseas.

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on July 21, 2014 - Moving Expert
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