Perhaps you’re planning to take an extended vacation and want to bring your classic car with you, or you’ve found love abroad and want to arrive in style with your vintage wheels. Either way, the car shipping process can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure of what to expect.
Whether your international relocation is permanent or temporary, the challenges of organizing, planning, and prepping for auto transportation are often the same. While your auto transportation company will cater to almost any special request, it’s imperative to understand critical details about the shipping process.
For more information on what you should expect with international auto transportation, read on. Not doing your due diligence may lead to more incurred costs or possible vehicle damage.
Research car shippers
One of the worst mistakes you can make when shipping your vehicle overseas is to finalize your purchase before conducting proper research. When doing your research, there are crucial elements you need to consider, such as the company’s background and cost of shipping.
To partner with a reputable shipping provider, prepare a list of international shipping companies you’d be willing to use, and check their certifications and credentials. These certifications can help you verify the company is insured, bonded, or even licensed. Hiring an unlicensed shipping provider can result in shoddy workmanship or may force you to assume liability for any sustained damages.
While the price is not the sole determinant, it’s essential to collect quotes from different shippers so you can compare providers and settle on the most competent and cost-efficient auto transportation company.
How to find reliable international auto transport providers
Are you having trouble distinguishing between potential scams and reputable auto transporters? Well, look no further. Amid the research phase, keep your eyes peeled for these green flags.
Glowing online reviews
Don’t question the validity of previous client reviews. Although it may be tempting to turn a blind eye to negative customer feedback once you’ve located an affordable auto transportation service, factor these testimonials and critiques into your final decision. If previous clientele mention overpriced services, damage sustained during the shipping process, or questionable insurance policies, run the opposite direction.
A tell-tale sign of scammy vehicle shipping providers is upfront payment requests. Any reliable auto transportation service should oblige a customer’s quote inquiry free of charge. Once a carrier dispatches a carrier for your order, a shipping provider is entitled to demand payment. Before that point, label any demands for wire transfers as suspicious activity.
Pick an affordable international shipping company
While it’s essential to select a shipping company based on its credentials and qualifications, some vehicle owners may need to opt for an auto transport provider with the most affordable rates when adhering to a budget. Although, you won’t want to compromise on quality in the interest of savings.
During the research phase of the auto transportation process, assess which company can offer you the ultimate car shipping experience for a reasonable price. To ensure you make the right decision, you can check the company’s website to see if other customers were satisfied with the shipper’s services.
Factors that affect price
When scouring the Internet for reputable car shipping companies with competitive prices, understanding the pricing process’s intricacies can help a vehicle owner slash the cost of auto transportation services drastically. So, what factors do shipping providers take into account when setting their prices? In summary, a shipping provider will account for the service requested, destination fees, inland transportation, destination fees, etc.
Whether you opt for door-to-door or port-to-port services will, unsurprisingly, affect your shipping costs. Due to the added convenience of on-site pick-up and drop-off, shipping providers hike up their prices to cover gas and labor costs associated with door-to-door services. Should you choose to drop-off your vehicle directly at the shipping port, you can expect to save hundreds of dollars.
Similarly, your preference for sole-container or consolidated-vehicle shipping will directly impact the total shipping cost. Logically speaking, packing your automobile into a shipping container containing several other vehicles will incur lower expenses than sole-container shipping. Unlike sole-container shipping, consolidated-vehicle shipping options allow shipping providers to maximize profits by loading several paying customers’ cars onto a vessel bound for nearby destinations. For those savings-oriented vehicle owners, opt for consolidated shipping methods.
If you’re looking to rack up savings whenever possible, strategically selecting your departure port can serve a vehicle owner in the long-run. Instead of shipping your car from the port nearest you, choose the domestic port nearest the vehicle’s final destination.
For example, if you plan to ship your vehicle internationally from California to the United Kingdom, choosing a New-York-based shipping location over a California-based departure port can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, given the quicker sail time.
Finally, much like with any decision, timing is everything. A frugal vehicle owner should avoid shipping their car during peak season. If you aren’t abiding by a deadline, opting for roll-on/roll-off shipping, known for its frequent stops, can reduce international vehicle shipping costs.
As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the expected travel duration, the more expenses you’ll incur. To save money while simultaneously limiting possible inconveniences, plan accordingly, and ship your vehicle ahead of your arrival date.
Prepare relevant documents
The next step is to gather the necessary documents for your international trip. Unlike when moving within the country, international transportation usually involves extensive paperwork. After completing and compiling essential documentation, you may need to send the required export documents to the relevant authorities.
Some of the documents you need to present will include an original certificate of the vehicle, proof of car ownership, and a completed U.S Customs & Border Protection vehicle export cover sheet. Additionally, if there is a lien on your car, you may need to provide a formal letter from the lien holder, permitting you to transport it abroad.
Get your car ready
Sometimes, it can be tempting to use your car as an additional storage space. Remember that most shipping companies charge for transportation according to the load’s weight, so if you pack your vehicle with personal items, you may end up paying more. Furthermore, items in your car are often not insured by freight companies, so by storing items in your trunk or backseat, you may be subject to fines.
With these penalties in mind, after cleaning your car, remove personal belongings or valuables. The last thing you want to deal with is an unexpected robbery when settling into your new home.
Remember, the only items you should leave in your vehicle include jumper cables, spare tires, or other emergency equipment. If you’re not sure how to properly prepare your car, the shipping company you hire can help you understand what to remove or leave in the vehicle during transport.
A reputable auto transport company will always answer your questions in a timely fashion and address any concerns you may have. If a shipping provider takes days to return your calls or dismisses your anxieties, contact a different car shipping company.
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