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Dos and Don’ts of International Vehicle Shipping

Have you been transferred overseas and want to bring your vehicle? Or are you planning an extended vacation and prefer driving your own car or motorcycle over renting one?

Whatever your situation, the challenges of planning, organizing and forwarding your vehicle are the same. From shipping costs and import taxes to paperwork and insurance, there are many important considerations when it comes to international car and motorcycle shipping.

International Vehicle Shipping: Dos and Don’ts

Transporting a car or motorcycle to another country is never easy. And if you’re doing it for the first time, it might seem especially confusing.

Here are a few important dos and don’ts of international vehicle shipping to help make the process smooth.


  1. Never Choose a Shipper Based on Price Alone

When you’re sending your vehicle overseas, hiring an international shipping company is the best decision. But, how do you judge their reliability?

Some freight forwarders may offer a lower quote than their competitors but charge you more than their estimate without explanation once you confirm your booking. Such scams are rare but require you to be cautious when picking a shipping service. While price is an important factor, you also need to check their credibility. Before signing any contract, ask for references from past clients. You can also see what they think of the company and its services by reading Google review.

  1. Read the Entire Quote

No matter how lengthy or time consuming, you should always read every detail of the quote to understand what services they do and do not provide. Found something difficult to understand? Ask questions. They should answer them willingly and promptly. Also, make sure everything is written down.

For your reference, some of the most common points excluded from a quote are:

      • Packing materials and equipment used to secure your motorcycle in the shipping container
      • Destination port fee
      • Customs clearance
      • Shipping terminal charges
      • Delivery of the motorcycle after reaching its destination

If you find that one or more of these points are missing, get it in writing.

  1. Never Stuff Your Car

No matter how tempting it may be to ship items in your car, don’t. Since shipping companies usually charge based on vehicle weight, you pay more if you store valuables or luggage in your car. As it must remain unlocked during transit to accommodate multiple inspections, there’s the possibility of theft or loss of belongings.

Most international car shippers won’t insure your vehicle’s interior or any goods left in them during transit. That includes the glove compartment, trunk and any other latched section that could open accidentally and cause injury to your belongings. You are completely responsible for any damage or loss of items left in your car.

While you are not allowed to pack anything in your car with RO/RO shipping, container shipping does allow some belongings. However, the cost is often very high and FedEx is safer and cheaper.


  1. Always Insure Your Vehicle

One of the most important things to do when shipping your car overseas is to make sure it’s properly insured. While all vehicle transportation companies must provide coverage for all types of damage or loss during transport, some may only cover a portion of the full amount. It’s important to ask about the type of insurance they offer and the total amount of coverage before finalizing any deal. Extra car insurance is advisable.

  1. Keep All Your Documents Together

For security purposes, your shipping company will ask you to submit photocopies of certain documents. These include your vehicle registration paperwork, insurance certificate and credentials proving ownership. Keep these papers on hand to avoid any problems, delays or inconvenience.

You should also read the report drafted by the shipping company after inspecting your automobile. Save a copy of this document and run a thorough manual check once you receive your vehicle at your new destination. In case of in transit damage, inform the freight forwarding company immediately and claim compensation.

  1. Consider Auto Safety Standards

Every country has its own vehicle safety standards and your car must meet certain criteria to be allowed in. If it doesn’t comply with the country’s regulations, you may not be able to drive there. Research the auto safety standards of the place you’re relocating to and get your car serviced accordingly.

Just because you’re travelling overseas doesn’t mean that you have to leave behind your favourite car or motorbike. With research and preparation, transporting a vehicle overseas doesn’t have to be a headache. Follow these important dos and don’ts to ensure safe, smooth and timely delivery to your new destination.

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