10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping Your Car Overseas

Cars For Export at Seaport Terminal

Are you planning on moving elsewhere? Perhaps to a different country? Other than the worries of selling your house and moving your furniture, you’re probably thinking of a safe way to transport your car. When it comes to navigating a new country or city, you will obviously need your car. To move your car overseas, you’ve probably looked up car shipping options on the internet but don’t exactly know how to choose the right shipping company.

To make your vehicle moving process safe and smooth, we’ve discussed some common mistakes to avoid when shipping your car overseas. Keep these useful tips in mind to safely move your car from one location to another!

1. Not Choosing a Reliable Freight Company

You should verify the authenticity of the freight company you choose to ensure that your car is in safe hands at all times. If the verification is not done properly, you can easily fall prey to scammers. Not only will you be at the risk of losing hundreds and thousands of your dollars, but your car too. How can you check the credibility of your chosen freight service, you may wonder?

See if the company is licensed, bonded, and insured. Generally, authentic freight companies are licensed with the FMC (for ocean freight forwarders) or the TSA and IATA (for air freight forwarders). A reliable freight service will also be happy to fill you in about their company’s history and other details. They should also be willing to share testimonials from exporters that trust them.

2. Not Going for a Last-Minute Mechanic Check

This is a crucial step that many people skip, usually due to a lack of time. However, it’s always wise to get your car checked or fixed before it is ready for shipping.

Take your car to a mechanic so that you are certain that there is no looming problem that may damage your car during the move. Make sure that none of the car parts are hanging loose or are ready to come off. Most importantly, don’t forget to check that your vehicle is not leaking any fluid.

3. Hiring the Lowest Priced Shipping Company

Choosing a shipping company solely based on its price rate is a foolish move. Shipping an expensive asset such as a car is usually costly, and more so if it is an international shipment. Therefore, you should not hire a shipping service just because it’s charging you less money than other shipping companies.

Sometimes, these companies trick their customers into buying cheap services, at the expense of less effective shipping procedures and unprofessional workers.

4. Not Considering Import Taxes

This is usually not even thought of when choosing a car shipping company. However, you should definitely keep this in consideration when you’re looking for a reliable transport service. You may not know this, but import taxes are generally higher than the overall shipping cost. Therefore, you must check the import tax in advance so that you are not caught off guard after you learn the overall car shipping cost. Considering import taxes beforehand will also allow you to arrange the necessary amount of money in time.

5. Skip Reading the Entire Quote

It is important to read the entire quote, no matter how long it is. You should read it to understand what items are included or excluded. This will give you a comprehensive idea of what services the freight company will offer.

Some of the items that are not included in a quote are:

  • Packing material
  • Custom clearance
  • Port dues
  • Shipping terminal charges
  • Delivery of the vehicle after reaching the destination

6. Not Providing All the Necessary Documents

A reliable car shipping company will issue important documents before they transport your car. These documents include car registration, the bill of lading, and the certificate of insurance – all of this will prove that you are the owner of the car and have the right to ship it. Ensure that these documents are in order, and check with the company to see whether they need any other important document.

It is also important to fill out the car inspection report in which the company will inspect your car and note down all the damages the car has already sustained. You must be present at the time of the car inspection and ensure that the report is thorough and precise.

When your car is back from inspection, you should inspect your car once again to double-check the shape of your vehicle. If you spot any signs of damage that weren’t there before, you should point it out in the inspection report.

7. Not Looking Into Auto Safety Standards

Your vehicle must meet certain legal guidelines to be accepted in the new city/country. Keep in mind that your car won’t be allowed to enter the country or city it is headed to if it doesn’t pass the safety regulations of the jurisdiction.

The best thing you can do in this regard is to look up the auto safety requirements of the state you are planning on moving to.

8. Not Emptying Your Car of Personal Belongings

It may seem a wise idea to load your car with your personal items to save some space for other items (such as your furniture and other things) in the moving truck. However, you should know that shipping companies are strictly prohibited from transporting any vehicle that contains household items. At times, the Department of Transportation seizes all the belongings during the inspection.

That being said, some shipping companies still allow loading a maximum of 100 lbs of personal items. However, they do not guarantee the safety of your items. They won’t take any responsibility if your items get damaged, misplaced, or stolen. If any of your personal belongings are damaged or stolen, your insurance won’t cover it as your car was packed with your personal items, which is technically your fault.

9. Underestimating the Shipping Time

You have booked the best shipping company – one that is licensed and experienced, too. You have also gotten a rough estimate of the shipping charges, and your car is in the perfect condition to head to the new destination. In times like these, you may think that you can sit back and relax but don’t. Sending your car to another state can be slow. So, don’t procrastinate and hurry up.

10. Forgetting to Disable the Alarm System

Before you hand over your car to the vehicle shipping company, ensure that you have disabled the alarm system. If you skip this step, your car may pose a disturbance on its way.


Hundreds of people transport their cars to a new location every day. This procedure is safe, simple, and quite effective if you are wary of the mistakes to avoid when shipping your car overseas!