If you are interested in purchasing a vehicle and then transporting it to Germany, then would ideal choice may be to buy a salvage car through auction. This will save money and be lower in cost to purchase and ship overall. However, before you decide to do this, there are certain things you need to know and be fully aware of before you ever bid on a vehicle. Ideally, you need to know exactly what a salvage title car is, what it will take to get the vehicle to Germany, and the auction process too. So, let’s go over these details now.
What Is a Salvage Title Car?
Essentially, this is a designation by the insurance companies referring to vehicles that have sustained 75 to 90 percent damage, usually due to an accident. At some point after the damage, an insurance company will decide that the damage to the vehicle is too extensive to make repairs worth the cost. So, the car is then declared a total loss. At this point, a salvage title is issued.
The damage that usually results in the issuance of a salvage title include things such as:
- Collision – This is the most common, by far.
- Hail Damage – In some states, the salvage title will actually specify hail damage on it in these cases.
- Flood Damage – Again, how this will be designated is based on the state. In some states, the title will simply list as salvage while other states require a flood designation.
- Theft – If a car is stolen and a claim is made, and then the car is found again, insurance companies in a select few states will issue a salvage title in this instance too.
- Vandalism – Certain types of vandalism can warrant a salvage title too, such as if the vehicle is overturned.
If you purchase a vehicle with a salvage title on it, you can save a great deal of money, but keep in mind that it can be very difficult to get any sort of insurance on it – in fact this is nearly impossible. However in some cases, you could purchase a salvage car and then repair it to get this changed to a repair title, which is more easily insurable.
Working with an Export Auction House
If you have ever attempted to export a car to Germany on your own, then you know there can be a number of different hoops you have to jump through. Doing this on your own can be a big headache, and can delay getting your salvage car to Germany anytime soon. However, when you use an auction service that does the exporting too, then they will follow through will all of the export steps, meaning they handle the headaches and you simply wait for your vehicle to arrive to its destination.
You usually have two shipping options when transporting a salvage title vehicle from the United States to Germany: air or sea. When you choose to work with the right auction house, they will give you these two options and you will better determine which you should choose based on cost and time frame.
Importing into Germany
There are two ports of entry for imported vehicles in Germany: Hamburg and Bremerhaven. You will need to provide the following documents:
- Application form to the German Department of Motor Vehicles
- Proof of identity and residence, e.g. passport and residence registration receipt.
- The vehicle’s title
- Customs clearance certificate (Zollbescheinigung) stating payment of or exemption of relevant taxes and duties.
Remember that only residents and companies registered in Germany are allowed to register a car. If you are in Germany temporarily (up to 12 months), you can import your vehicle on a temporary capacity. Otherwise, with some exceptions, you will need to have your vehicle registered in Germany.
Foreign vehicles in Germany for up to 12 months do not need to be registered. However, a German translation of the vehicle’s certificate of ownership has to be provided.
After 12 months, the vehicle must be registered at your local Vehicles Registration Office (Kraftfahrzeugzulassungsstelle). It must also pass a roadworthiness inspection and an emissions control test. You will need to provide the following documentation:
- passport or other identification
- proof of official address registration in Germany
- customs clearance papers
- export permit
- proof of ownership
- original vehicle registration papers
- certification from the German Federal Motor Vehicle Registry indicating the vehicle has not been registered in Germany before
- proof of insurance
- proof the vehicle has completed the safety and roadworthiness inspection and emissions control test.
Import Duties and Taxes
Normally, any vehicle imported from outside the European Union into Germany is subject to a 10% import duty plus 19% value added tax. Vintage and collector’s cars are charged only a 7% duty.
If you are to become a resident of Germany, you can get a duty exemption for importing your personal vehicle. You’ll have to fulfil several conditions, though, and actually prove that you have given up your residence (longer than 12 months) in a foreign country, and that you are going to permanently reside in Germany.
The car must be registered in your name, and have been used at your previous residence for at least six months before you moved to Germany. The vehicle must be for your personal use and arrive in Germany roughly at the same time as you.
Once in Germany, the vehicle will be subjected to Motor Vehicle Tax. The actual amount will vary, depending of the vehicle’s age, fuel, horsepower, and other factors. An online calculator is made available by the Federal Ministry of Finance.