Cars face numerous hazards during overseas transit. Here are 7 mistakes to avoid when shipping your car overseas and how to be a responsible shipper.
- Not properly vetting vendors could prove costly
- Consider the destination’s climate to protect you and your car
- Pre-departure inspections prevent liability in the event of transit damage
- Evaluate the tax burden and destination and arrival paperwork
- Adequate insurance is essential and may require supplementing the auto carrier’s policy
Shipping a car any distance can be worrisome. Sending it abroad can increase that stress exponentially. Decisions influenced by stress, inexperience, or hurrying can lead to poor decisions that compound your problems. Reviewing customer mistakes is a good way to develop smart shipping habits. Our guide will spotlight 7 common mistakes to avoid when shipping your cars overseas.
Table of Contents
1. Hasty Auto Vendor Selection
Sometimes you must ship your car internationally in a hurry. This urgency could cause you to choose the cheapest auto carrier or be too quickly satisfied by what appear to be good reviews. The cheapest vendors can sometimes be the most expensive, and 5-star testimonials aren’t always what they seem. Learn the telltale signs of fake carrier reviews: suspicious usernames, repetitive language, and use of insider jargon.
A cheap first quote could mean falling victim to auto-transport scams. These can involve criminals using a legitimate company’s details to pose as them, or pulling a bait-and-switch where the originally quoted price keeps climbing.
Be sure to research carrier registration and licensing from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). You can search using different carrier criteria, such as its name, state of operation, or USDOT number to verify a vendor. Carriers lacking a USDOT number should be avoided.
2. Neglecting Climate Considerations
Your car operates comfortably within its local environment. Any significant shift in those conditions can negatively impact it when it arrives at its destination. A colder climate can require several pre-departure purchases, such as cold weather tires, tougher wiper blades, and a new battery able to withstand consistently low temperatures.
Shipping to a warmer climate will require checking all levels, including transmission and brake fluid, and especially coolant. It’s wise to assess and upgrade your vehicle’s air-conditioning system if necessary to avoid an uncomfortable drive when you get there.
You may also want to install a set of summer tires. These are designed for optimal performance on-road conditions found in hotter locations. Moving to a destination with a different climate requires tires that are in good condition and pressure set to manufacturer specifications.
Contacting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a good way to find out what your destination country will require and demand for your car in terms of performance, safety, and emissions levels. Failure to meet a country’s standards can endanger your safety and violate the law.
3. Avoiding a Mechanic
Your car may have known and unknown issues. Even the smallest problem can be exacerbated during overseas shipping, leading to a compromised or possibly unsafe vehicle upon arrival. Don’t ship internationally without giving your car a thorough inspection and recommended repairs.
4. Storing Loose Items in the Car
An international journey could leave a car badly beaten and scraped inside unless all loose items are removed before departure. Storing items in vehicles increases the odds of break-ins and theft and may violate carrier policies. Extra items also add vehicle weight which increases shipping expenses.
5. Not Taking Extensive Interior and Exterior Photographs
Not cataloging every inch of your vehicle before it’s shipped leaves you very little defense if an auto carrier damages it during overseas transit. Giving the car a thorough cleaning inside and out before photographing it is a good way to reveal any wear and tear that exists before it goes abroad.
6. Overlooking Paperwork
CBP requires all owners shipping vehicles overseas to complete a vehicle-export cover sheet, which must be provided at the export point with other required paperwork. This should also include the vehicle’s registration, its VIN or bill of sale, and the owner’s photo ID. All required paperwork must be submitted at least 72 hours before shipment.
The CBP provides a detailed breakdown of overseas shipping terminology providing further details on factors that might impact your transport experience, including third-party ownership, government employment status, or untitled/foreign-titled vehicles.
Planning to ship your car without a title? Read our informative article “What to Expect When Shipping Your Car Without a Title” to understand what to expect during the process.
7. Ignoring the Importance of Auto Insurance
Your chosen auto shipping company must show proof of marine shipping insurance. Lack of insurance or inadequate coverage makes it difficult, if not impossible, to successfully file and receive a payout from a damage claim. It can also leave your car vulnerable to damage in the on- and offboarding process; some carrier policies only protect the vehicle while it’s in transit.
One of the most common misconceptions made when moving automobiles overseas is assuming that the carrier’s insurance would cover all eventualities. Consider buying your own insurance even if your carrier’s insurance meets legal requirements. This is particularly prudent if you’re shipping a luxury, classic, or otherwise collectible car where an auto carrier’s maximum payout may not cover the expense of repair or replacement.
Review your current auto-insurance agreement with your provider to clarify how much more shipping insurance you should add, if any.
Read our article “A Look at the Insurance Required When Shipping a Car Overseas” for a detailed look at the insurance coverage you need to safeguard your vehicle during transit.
Let Us Take Care of Your Auto Transport Needs
Mercury Auto Transport is an auto transport broker that presents offers from FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration) licensed and insured carriers. We have access to a wide range of car transporters through National Dispatch Boards, and together with you, we can often strategize and negotiate far better rates.
Get in touch with Mercury Auto Transport to receive your personalized quote or speak with one of our professional auto transport representatives and experience seamless and reliable auto transport services.