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What I Need To Know When Shipping Cars to Europe?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 10/15/2015

After you’ve purchased your vehicle in the United States, you still have to think about how you will be bringing that vehicle to your country. Naturally, you need to find and work with a shipping company that can take care of the heavy lifting for you. It is not as simple as choosing the first shipper that you find on the Internet, though. You need to consider a number of things first.

Can the Company Transport the Vehicle to the Port for Shipping?

When you purchase your vehicle through an online auction or any other method, for that matter, you need to make sure the car or truck can get to the port or airport that will ship the vehicle to Europe.

In some cases, an international shipping company that specializes in auto export will be able to provide the land transportation to the port, as well as across the sea. If they don’t, it means you will need to find another company to handle this for you. It’s generally cheaper to work with a company that can offer both.

Check the Company’s Cargo Insurance

When you buy a vehicle you want to make sure that it is safe during transport. While the shipping companies do their best to keep the vehicle safe and secure during the shipping process, accidents can and do happen from time to time. You need to make sure that the company offers insurance that can cover the value of the vehicle, just in case.

Understand the Fees

How much money will the entire shipping process cost for the auto export? Get an estimate from the company, and always read all of your paperwork to determine whether there are any hidden fees and charges that could surprise you later. Going with the cheapest company is not always the right decision, though. You have to consider their reputation and the type of service they are able to offer.

Get the Documents in Order

An auto export will require that you have all of the necessary paperwork for shipping. This will include the title of the vehicle. In some locations (such as Florida), you might need to have a power of attorney. This will allow the agents to clear paperwork for you. In some cases, you may also need a bill of sale for the vehicle.

After the customs office is through with the paperwork, they will send it back to you. Make sure that you provide them with the proper overseas address so you will have the paperwork when the vehicle arrives in your country.

Make Sure the Company Has Clearing Agents

Another thing to consider when choosing a shipping company for your auto export is whether they have a clearing agent at the destination port. This agent will be able to help to clear the vehicle and get it through customs.

Keep in mind that you will likely need to pay duties and taxes when the vehicle is going through customs in your country. As there are different duties in various European countries, you will need to check with your local office to determine what fees you will have to pay when you pick up the vehicle.

Try to Get an Arrival Date

While a shipping company in the auto export business can’t likely provide you with a firm, ironclad date of arrival because there are so many variables such as delays at the US Customs office, cancelled sailings, and weather, they should still be able to give you an expected date of arrival.

Is the Car Ready to Drive?

When you are buying through an auction, many of the vehicles for sale are salvage titles. This means that until they’ve been repaired and have a rebuilt title, you are not going to be able to drive them. You will not be able to get insurance until they are repaired and have the new title either.

Understand the rules for getting an auto export from the US with a salvage title and have everything in place to get it fixed, registered, and insured as soon as possible.

Check the Reviews of the Shipping Company

Even after you’ve completed your own basic research on the company, it would not hurt to find some reviews from others who have used the company in the past. Check to see what they have to say about their experience, and look for any potential red flags that might make you want to choose a different company instead.

When you do your research for an auto export company, you will find that the process of shipping the vehicle is actually relatively easy. Just don’t make the mistake of leaping before you look.

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