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Ship Overseas Reviews


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If you are a first-time importer, there are many mistakes you can make when shipping and importing your car to a European country from the USA. First and foremost, you have to bear in mind that, although certain international regulations apply to all countries, you shouldn’t neglect the requirements specific to individual countries.

Here are some of the mistakes to avoid when you want to import a car to Europe.

Choose the wrong shipping method

When importing your car to Europe, you can choose between a number of shipping method, two of the most commonly used ones being RoRo shipping and container shipping. RoRo shipping is excellent because of its cost-efficiency, but your car has to be in running condition to be shipped via RoRo. Otherwise, you will have to choose between shared and exclusive container shipping.

Shared container shipping is also budget-friendly because the total cost is divided among the owners of cars that are shipped in the same container. However, this method means that you have to wait until the container is full to ship and ultimately import your car to Europe. If you are traveling from the USA and have a clear schedule for your stay in Europe, RoRo might be a better option, provided the ports nearest to you support this method.

Exclusive container shipping is probably the most attractive option because it entails your car being shipped exclusively in a single container, without other cars. However, this method is also the most expensive.

Also, if you want to ship some of the personal items along with the car, RoRo shipping is not an option. Container shipping allows for some personal items to be shipped with the vehicle.

Use your car as a suitcase

Even if you choose container shipping, which allows for the shipping of personal items, you still shouldn’t pack your car tight. Mind you, freight companies will determine the cost of the shipping service based on the weight of the car, so the heavier you ‘’pack’’ it, the more you will have to pay.

Delay the transport to the port

Did you know that transport to the departure port can take up to 2 weeks, depending on what type of shipping you chose? To make sure your car arrives from the USA at approximately the same time as you arrive in Europe, don’t forget to arrange for transport to the port in advance.

This particularly applies if you choose shared container shipping. Truck carriers have to pick up several vehicles on their way to the port, which can span for more than a week. Account for the lag time and see if this shipping method will work best for you.

Not purchase marine insurance

Marine auto insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense, but purchasing it will give you added protection against any loss or damage during the overseas transport. Regardless of how reliable the shipping company is, small damages are still possible. Why not have it all covered by insurance and prevent any unexpected import costs?

Choosing the freight company based on price

Before deciding on the freight company, you should know that the cost of shipping a car from the US to Europe starts at around $750 for a compact and runs up to around $2,000 for a full-sized SUV. With that information, you can base your decision on other factors which can prove to be much more important. For example, it’s vital that the company is insured by the Federal Maritime Commission and complies with rules and regulations set by international regulatory bodies.

A reputable company should also hire only FMCSA-licensed motor carriers to transport your car to the port. These seemingly insignificant factors can determine the level of safety of your car during transport to the port and also during shipping.

Important info to Ship a Car Overseas:
  • No car can leave USA if it has a lien on it. What does this mean? Your car must be paid in full. The only people who can ship a car overseas and still carry a lien on the car are US Military and Government employees/contractors. For those people a letter of authorization from the lender will need to be issued to pass US Customs. Otherwise the car may be considered stolen.
  • A clear Title of Ownership with no Liens on the Title.
  • If you bought a car new, then your name must be listed on the front of the Title as the registered owner.
  • If the vehicle has been sold, then both the Seller and Buyer have to sign the back of the Title in the spaces as detailed on the back of the Title.
  • For safety reasons, the vehicle cannot have more than a ¼ tank of gas.
Travel & Living Abroad:
  • Most countries will allow a traveler to temporarily import their car for up to 6 months. After the 6 months is up, import duty will be charged. For many travelers going to Europe and taking their car, a deposit is paid up front. When the car goes back to it's destination country, the deposit is refunded. If a person has lived in USA for 1 or more years, most countries will allow that person to bring their car back duty free! The car must not have any liens on it. Please check with your Customs Department first.
Import Duty for Destination Country:
  • Import duty is NOT collected by Ship Overseas. It must be paid at the arrival port by whoever is picking up the car. We wrote a blog post about vehicle import duty here. It talks about how to find out import duty for your country.