How to ship a car abroad

You’re moving abroad and you want to bring your car with you. Although shipping your car abroad can be expensive, challenging and time consuming, the benefits of having your own car when you make your new home overseas far outweigh having to sell it and buy a new one in a foreign country. Take these steps to ship your car abroad, and you’ll have your car to pick up and enjoy at your final destination.

Choose a shipping company. Gather shipping quotes from a car transport website such as Call more than one to compare prices and services. Find out how long it will take the company to get your car from your starting location to your final destination. Ask if they'll pick your car up at your home or if you'll need to drive it to a port. Decide if you want to have your car rolled on and off or shipped in a container.

Figure out your budget ahead of time before choosing a shipping company. As of 2010, the cost of shipping a car abroad could range from £487 to £1,300, depending on the size. Weigh the pros and cons of having the shipper transport your car to a port or driving it there yourself. It may be worth paying the extra cost of having the shipping company do all the work, as there may not be a shipping port close to where you live.

Buy shipping insurance before you ship your car. Most companies require it and can provide that as part of your contract. Insurance costs may run about 1.5 to 2.5 per cent of the estimated value of your car. Check your personal car insurance policy to see if it covers shipping your car before buying additional coverage you won't need.

Inspect your car and make note of any scratches or dents so you can easily recognise new damages that may occur during shipment. Make sure a shipping representative walks around the car with you and documents everything in writing. Make sure you thoroughly review all paperwork you're asked to sign and get detailed answers to your questions before signing on the dotted line.

Remove all personal items from your car that aren’t affixed to it, even your floor mats. Shipping companies usually require this to avoid possible theft and any extra charges for damages that may occur because of loose and shifting items.

Show the shipping company proof that your car is running, such as a declaration from your auto mechanic. Most shipping companies won’t ship a car that’s disabled. Avoid shipping your car with more than a quarter tank of gas, as you may have to pay more for the weight and it may be unsafe.

Clean your car inside and out before shipping it. Most shipping companies may ask you to pressure wash your engine and vacuum the interior. This will eliminate any potential diseases being transported abroad.

Provide your shipping company with a notarised copy of your vehicle title. If you don’t have a title, get a certified letter from your car loan company that says they’re aware that you're shipping your car abroad and that they're OK with it. You’ll also need to hand over a copy of your registration and insurance documents.

Pick your car up when you arrive at your final destination. Bring your extra set of keys, your shipping company paperwork and your driver’s license. Inspect your car again and make note of any damages that may have happened during shipment. Make sure any discrepancies and damages are put in writing. Pay whatever balance is required, and you’re ready to take ownership of your car again.


Rolling a car on and off a ship is less costly than container shipping. The shipping company will be liable for any damages to your car during shipping as long as you have insurance. Keep a set of keys with you in case the other set is lost during shipping. Shipping companies usually have weight limitations. Some shipping companies offer discounts for shipping more than one car.


Be prepared to drive long distances to drop your car at a shipping port. Roll on and roll off services aren't available at every port. Cars that don’t run will be charged extra to load and unload. Cars must meet the safety standards of the destination country. You may need to complete a Shipper Export Declaration and a Declaration of Dangerous Goods before shipping your car abroad. Replacement and repair parts for your car may be hard to get in a foreign country.

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Things Needed

  • Two sets of car keys
  • Notarised title
  • Certified letter from lien holder
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance
  • Auto mechanic declaration

About the Author

This article was written by the Pocketpence team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about Pocketpence, contact us here.

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