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How much does it cost to ship a car overseas

Today in this modern age, transportation across countries has never been easier. There are logistics companies galore that provide shipping services of excellent quality. Not only that, they also provide their clients with a wide range of commodities that can be transported as long as these things are legally permitted. They can ship your chairs, your couches, your computer and even your car. When you wish to move abroad for a fresh start, some of you may want to bring your car with you to the new location. There are many reasons to do this. Your car is such a good one that it’s hard for you to sell it or it has been your buddy for quite a long time that you can’t stand the thought of saying goodbye. It all makes sense. However shipping a car internationally is for sure a big deal. There are loads of questions that can pop in your mind and the first one is usually about the price: How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?”

In this article, we will walk you through the answer to that question and we will also provide you with some must-know information when you want to get your car shipped across the border.

What documents do you need to have to ship your car overseas?

The first thing you need to care about apart from how much does it cost to ship a car to another country. Just like shipping other commodities, there are certain documents you are required to provide to get your car shipped to the given destination. Because it’s not just about moving your car from one place to another, it’s also about customs declaration, tariffs and many other things. So if you wish to have a transportation agency ship your car internationally, make sure that you have all these following documents in your hands.

  • Original registration/Title

This is fundamental. You need to prove that the car you wish to ship is yours and you have the right to do anything with it. In case you have pawned your car, it means that the car is no longer under your control. You will need to get the permission note from your lien holder to legally get your car transported to another country.

  • Photo identification

When you want to ship something overseas, you will have to provide the shipping agency with all the information about you. It’s for security purposes. Your shipper needs to know who you are and when your car reaches the destination you need to prove that you are the one who has the right to receive it. Your legal driver’s license or your unexpired passport of your country of origin will do just fine. Remember that the shipping process can’t be done without this type of document.

  • Insurance policy

Shipping a car over a long distance is a huge task full of risks. It could be storms, bad weather, strand or sinking and you can’t foresee any of them, then warn the captain so that he or she can change the direction. That’s why you need to have your car insured just in case it may be damaged during the transportation. If you don’t, the risks are on you only.

  • Bill of sale

This serves the purpose of proving that you are the rightful owner of the car and that you can legally receive the car after it has been permitted to pass through the border and can be released. You can provide the original or the notarized bill of sale.

  • Import duty
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Import duty is inevitable when shipping internationally. The tariff varies from country to country and it depends on the relationship between your country of origin and the country you wish to get your car transferred to, whether the two countries levy import duty on your car or not. That’s why you need to provide this document just in case that your car is taxed as imported goods. If your car is, then the answer that we give to the question what is the cost of shipping a car overseas below will be a bit different.

  • Sales tax proof

You have to prove that you have cleared all the sales taxes if you wish to get your car shipped to another country. This is mandatory and the shipping process can’t be carried out if you have a pending state sales tax report.

  • Power of attorney

If you are mandated to ship a car to a different country, you must provide a power of attorney letter to prove that you have the right to transport that car. If you fail to do this, no shipping company will provide you with the transportation service.

How long does it take to ship a car overseas?

There is no specific answer to this question as there are many factors considered. If the distance between your country and the destination country is not long, then the amount of time from the point you officially get your car shipped to the point you receive your car is short and otherwise. It also depends on the mode of transport that you choose to get your car shipped overseas. Each mode of transport costs differently. But there is one thing for sure: the quicker you get a car shipped, the more it costs to ship a car to a different country.

And we will give you some information on the estimated time it takes to ship a car overseas in terms of mode of transport. There are 3 popular modes of transport

  • Air transport

This mode of transport is favored when your car is an expensive one and you need to get your car in the possibly shortest amount of time. And this is also the safest mode of transport in the world. On average, it takes one or two days to transfer your car from one country to another.

  • Sea transport

Of all 3 popular ways of transport, this is the one that takes the longest time to get the shipping done. The time ranges from 10 days to 100 days depending on the distance between two countries. So if you are in no rush, then sea transport is a good choice as it’s pretty cheap.

  • Road transport

It depends on the route you choose to get your car shipped. Usually, it does not take much time like sea transport does but it also can’t offer the short amount of time that air transport can.

How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?

Now let’s find out the answer to the question “How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?” In fact, it should be “answers” because there are a lot of factors that need taking into consideration when it comes to shipping a car overseas. But it’s definitely costly. These are factors that pay tribute to the cost of shipping a car overseas.

  • Type of transport

There are two types of transport. They are open transport and enclosed transport. For those who don’t know what open transport and enclosed transport are, open transport is the type of transport that provides no protection to your car and enclosed transport is the one that provides your car with protection. On average, open transport costs you about $1,080 per ship while enclosed transport costs $1,500 per ship for the same type of car and the same distance. Enclosed transport is usually suitable for shipping pricey cars so if your car is not a costly one, open transport will be the best option.

  • Distance between 2 countries
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As we have mentioned before, the longer the distance between two countries is, the higher the cost of shipping a car is as more time is needed and more fuel is consumed.

Here is the table of average car shipping cost by distance

Distance Average cost
<500 miles $780
500 – 1,000 miles $960
1,000 – 1,500 miles $1,290
1,500 – 2,000 miles $1,530
2,000 – 2,5000 miles $1,600
>2,500 miles $1,590
  • Size of your car

Shipping agency will charge differently for different types of car. The bigger your car is, the more it costs to ship your car overseas as it takes more space and it gets heavier. On average, a small car costs $1,150 per unit while it costs you $1,280 per unit to ship a SUV overseas. For a truck the price is a little bit higher, about $1,450 per unit. And the price is for shipping a car for the same distance.

  • Mode of transport

Your choice of mode of transport also decides how much it costs you to ship your car overseas. As we have mentioned above, if you choose to get your car shipped by a plane, it’s pretty costly. The price ranges from $5,000 to $40,000 depending on the type of your car and the distance traveled. However, if you choose to get your car shipped by a ship, you will save quite a lot of money as it only costs from $1,000 to $4,000. And you know, you will have to wait for a while if sea transport is your choice.

  • Pickup point

The point you choose to pick up your car in the destination country also decides the shipping cost. If you go for a door-to-door service then you will receive your car at the place that you want. It will cost more than port pickup service as you don’t have to pay for the freight to ship your car from the landing port to your place. The freight usually falls at least $100 per ship depending on the distance from landing port to your place.

Note: the price is collected from

What are the other costs that need considering when shipping a car overseas?

Shipping a car from one country to another one is way more complicated than shipping a car within the territory borders. There are other things that you need to think about and they will add up to the cost that we have claimed in the previous part, which means that the answer to the question “how much does it cost to ship a car overseas” will change.

  • Shipping insurance

As we have said, shipping overseas is very risky as over a long distance, you can’t predict what will happen to your car. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your car insured before transporting. Of the worst case scenario, your car is damaged during the journey, you will be compensated with an amount of money at which your car is valued if you purchase an insurance policy. On average, it will cost you 1.5% to 2.5 % of the total cost of your car to get your car insured.

  • Taxes for port entry

You could be charged as the entry fare when you wish to get your car shipped overseas. The tax depends on where you want to ship your car to. For example if you want to get your car transported from the US to Europe, then you may be levied about $200. However in some cases, if you have your car shipped by air or road, the tax is free.

How to prepare your car when you wish to ship it overseas?

This is really important as you need to make sure that you know the exact condition that your car is in before handing it over under the authority of the shipping company. It would be much easier for you to make claims in case there was something wrong on receiving your car. So remember to:

  • Have an authorized service company to testify the condition of your car before shipping
  • Collect all the car accessories or personal equipment inside your car
  • Take photos of your car interior and exterior as proof of the car condition
  • Check the tire pressure, brakes to make sure that they work properly
  • Fill your car with no more than a quarter of the fuel tank capacity
  • Have another set of keys just for caution.
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Author’s view

To sum up, shipping a car internationally is a huge task. There are a lot of things that need thoroughly considering apart from the question “How much does it cost to ship a car overseas?”. “What are the required documents?” and “What preparations should you make before shipping a car to another country” are other questions that you should take into consideration too.

My two cents are if you believe that you can buy a new car of the same good quality as your old one in the country you’re about to move to or your car holds no special position in your heart or if you have no reason to keep it, you should probably sell it before moving to another country. It’ll make it easier for you to move.

Finally, please stay tuned to update more useful information on cars. It’s our pleasure that you send us some questions or leave some comments about our article so that we can improve our writing next time.


Which way is the cheapest one to ship a car overseas?

If you are looking for the cheapest way to ship a car overseas, then sea transport is what you are looking for. Specifically, you should choose the Roll-on Roll-off method. In this method, large vessels are used for transporting so it’ll be roomy enough for big objects like cars. But this method has one setback is that this method is only practical when the destination country has major ports. In this case, you should use the car shipping container method as you can share the cost with other people who wish to get their goods to the same destination as you. Not only that, you don’t have to pay for taxes, customs clearance or other things along those lines when you choose this method.

In case your car is damaged during transport, what should you do?

In case your car is damaged during transport, the first thing you need to do is to see whether the damage is huge or not. If you think that it’s just a minor scratch or something just like that, it’s best to deal with it on your own. However if the damage is huge, then you should have an authorized company or agency to testify and evaluate the damage. After that you provide the certificate of damage together with the photos that you have taken of your car before shipping or anything required to make claims not only with the insurance company but also with the shipping agency. Normally, shipping agencies won’t fully pay for the damage but some do with higher freight. So you should have second thoughts about choosing a shipping agency so you can make the most out of it.

Is it worth shipping a car overseas?

It depends on what meaning does the car hold to you and is that meaning more important than the freight. If that meaning is much greater than the money then it’s worth the cost of shipping a car overseas but if it isn’t, you should buy a new car when you get to the new country.

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