A Look at the Insurance Required When Shipping a Car Overseas

a woman reading about the insurance required when shipping a car overseas.

Learning how much coverage you need before beginning the process will save you time and hassle.

Key takeaways

  • You could have many reasons for needing to ship a vehicle overseas
  • Insurance is essential
  • Various shipping and insurance types exist
  • A shipping broker can streamline the entire process for you

Many reasons for shipping a car overseas exist: moving to another country, selling a vehicle to someone abroad, purchasing a car you can’t find locally, or taking your car with you on a lengthy vacation.

However, shipping a car overseas sounds overwhelming; many people won’t even try. You’ll have to locate a carrier, get the vehicle ready for departure, plan for pick-up, and pay for the service. 

The logistics of shipping a car this far are challenging to comprehend, but the job is possible, and some carriers specialize in this. Car shipping brokers are also available to assist.

If you proceed with overseas car shipping, you’ll need to consider insurance. This coverage protects your vehicle should something go awry, and helps you avoid additional costs caused by unique maritime laws.

Here’s information about the insurance required when shipping a car overseas. 

Overseas shipping methods

You’ll have a couple of shipping options available to you for shipping a car overseas, both of which involve putting the vehicle on a boat. While it’s sometimes possible to ship a car on an airplane, finding carriers offering that service is far more challenging, and the service is more expensive.

Assuming you go with boat shipping, you can choose between containerized and roll-on, roll-off methods. Containerized shipping involves carriers placing your vehicle in a shipping receptacle. Each container fits about six cars, allowing you to split the cost with others.

The other common shipping method is roll-on and roll-off, which involves shipping via the boat’s car decks. It’s similar to boarding a ferry with your vehicle, except you won’t be present, and it’s a much longer trip. Containerized shipping is the more expensive option, although it’s also safer and more secure.

What can go wrong while shipping overseas

If you’ve ever been on a boat in the middle of the ocean, you know what can happen. Storms and high winds can quickly cause flooding on a ship, damaging a vehicle’s upholstery and other components. Damage can occur if the carrier doesn’t adequately secure the car. In this scenario, the vehicle could roll into other automobiles or objects and do significant damage. 

Dents and broken windshields could occur while the car is in transit, and there’s a small risk of a fire breaking out on board. A sometimes forgotten risk when shipping any cargo overseas is a General Average ruling. The gist: where the entire ship is in trouble, the crew could dump some of its load to save the boat. 

However, every cargo owner must then chip in to compensate for the lost cargo. The result is an additional port expense before the crew releases your car. A recent example of a General Average declaration occurred when the Ever Forward was stuck in shallow water in the Chesapeake Bay for over a month.

These scenarios do occur, and there’s no predicting them, making your insurance policy very important. 

Insurance types

Your existing car insurance policy won’t provide coverage while shipping your vehicle overseas. You’ll need additional coverage to ensure your car has protection. Ask your carrier about any insurance they provide. From there, you can fill in the blanks. 

In many cases, marine-cargo shipping insurance provides coverage between ports. You can speak with your car insurance provider about this additional policy and get quotes from various sources. Depending on what your insurance agency has available, you might have to seek a third-party provider. 

Without shipping insurance, the Carriage of Goods at Sea Act limits compensation. This law caps your coverage at $500 if your vehicle incurs any damage while on the ship.

Your insurance company will likely provide two options: total-loss insurance and all-risk shipping insurance. Total-loss insurance only provides compensation if damage renders the vehicle a write-off during transit. It doesn’t provide coverage for minor damage, nor does it offer protection against General Average charges.

All-risk shipping insurance covers any damage that occurs when shipping a vehicle by sea, rail, air, or road. All scratches, dents, and water damage are included, and the policy protects against charges due to a General Average ruling.

How much insurance should you purchase?

Speaking with your insurance agent before signing up for any policy is essential to ensure you have adequate coverage. You’ll need an international car insurance policy, too, if you plan to drive your car in an overseas country after shipping it. Your U.S. plan will be acceptable in Alaska or Hawaii.

It’s generally advisable to go with an all-risk policy, especially since you could incur additional charges if the ship runs into trouble during transit. You’ll also want to verify your policy includes coverage while loading and unloading the vehicle from the vessel. 

There are many variables involved when purchasing overseas car shipping insurance, so ask a lot of questions to avoid surprises.

Finding an overseas shipping provider

Locating a company that provides overseas shipping can be a challenge. Many auto transport carriers don’t offer this service, so you’ll have to look to vendors specializing in it. 

Mercury Auto Transport is a car shipping broker that connects with carriers who can ship to Hawaii or Alaska. We offer free, customized quotes on this service, streamlining the entire process and ensuring you have all the information necessary to make your decision.

Contact Mercury Auto Transport today to learn more or receive your free quote


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What Our Customrs Are Saying


We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.