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6 Things To Know about Exporting Your Car for Auction 

By Mike Richards Updated: 08/07/2017 Posted: 10/15/2015

You’ve just got a great deal buying a salvage car at auction, and you’ve repaired it to the point that it’s roadworthy (and can be retitled in the US). However, you decide that selling it might be a better option, or putting it up for auction in another country, particularly considering the significant international demand for cheap used cars.

Fortunately, exporting your car overseas for auction isn’t too complicated, but there are several key things that you’ll need to know. We’ll cover a few of the most important of these below.

You WILL Pay Import Duties

First and foremost, before we touch on any other aspect here, understand that when you consider exporting your car overseas for auction, you will be responsible for paying the associated import costs.

Some countries call these tariffs, while others call them duties or fees, but they all add up to the same thing – an additional cost that will have  to be paid before the vehicle is released in its destination country. This needs to be taken into account when deciding on your selling price, or auction starting price.

Each country has its own import costs, so you’ll need to find out what your destination country charges, and remember that the import fees will be in addition to the cost of shipping involved. You can do that relatively easily online, or you can work with a shipping company that offers this information.

The Shipping Company Matters

This brings us to our next point – the shipping company you use to get your salvage car overseas. As in every business, not all companies are the same. Some have outstanding reputations while others are brand new and largely untested.

The place to start will be comparing prices for shipping that car to its destination country with several different providers. The cheapest rate doesn’t necessarily mean the best deal, or the most security for your car, though. You’ll want to compare other aspects of each salvage car shipper, including the following:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Are they licensed and bonded?
  • Do they specialize in shipping cars, or are they a general freight company?
  • Do they offer competitive pricing?
  • Do they offer transparent terms to ensure that you know exactly where your money is going? (Shipping costs, import fees/taxes, etc.)

Permits and Regulations

Most nations won’t allow you to just ship whatever car you want to their shores. In addition to import fees, you’ll also encounter the need to have various permits and regulations that must be followed. Perhaps the best advice here is to contact the destination country’s embassy in Washington D.C. A quick phone call or email will give you all the information needed.

However, working with an experienced car shipping provider will also yield the information needed, and these firms can generally ensure that the permits you require are obtained before your salvage car even leaves port for its destination.

The Costs of Shipping

Exporting your car overseas for sale or auction will come with a cost from the exporter or shipper, although that cost can vary significantly. There are several factors that go into the amount you’ll be charged, including the year, make and model (due to size), the distance to the destination country, the shipping method used (which we’ll cover in greater depth below), and whether the vehicle will be stored or delivered to a new location after it arrives.

Whether the vehicle must be shipped from one country’s seaport to a landlocked nation will also play a role in the price you pay for shipping. For example, Switzerland is completely landlocked and has no seaports of its own. Shipping to a Swiss buyer will be more expensive than shipping to one in a country with its own seaports. Finally, don’t forget to calculate the insurance involved. Marine insurance is a must in order to protect your investment if something untoward were to occur while exporting your car overseas.

Vehicle Condition

It’s important to note that not all countries accept unrepaired salvage cars. While some will allow vehicles that aren’t yet roadworthy into their ports, under the assumption that repairs will be made in that country, that’s not true in all cases.

Some nations require the car to be roadworthy before it enters the port. The degree of repair needed can vary from nation to nation, as well. The country’s embassy in the US is a great place to start finding this information.

Container Shipping or Roll On Roll Off Shipping?

When choosing a car shipping company, you’ll need to determine exactly how you want to ship your car. For instance, you can choose to ship your car via a roll on/roll off (or RoRo) vessel. You can also choose to have it shipped via container.

Roll on/roll off shipping is generally the more affordable of the two. Roll on/roll off shipping is actually the method used by automakers to send new cars from one country to another. However, the vehicle must be in drivable condition, or be able to be towed, to use this method. If your salvage car is not drivable, and cannot be towed, container shipping will be the only option available.

These are just a few of the many important factors that must be considered when exporting your car overseas for auction. Perhaps the best advice here is to work with a company that offers significant experience and expertise in all areas of the process, from the auction itself to shipping and everything in between.

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