Seamless Wheels: The Expat’s Guide to Moving Your Car Overseas

Want to move countries but want to take your vehicle with you?

Today, A1 Auto Transport, experts in international shipping, will let us know in the below article how to move your vehicle overseas safely and soundly.

Are you ready? Let’s learn more about transport abroad for expats and global nomads.

How to Ship Your Vehicle Overseas as an Expat

1. Choose a transport service

The first step in shipping a vehicle is deciding on a transport service. Considering you’re shipping the vehicle overseas, it’s paramount that your transport service is expert in shipping cars overseas.

The reason is that not all transport services are accustomed to the vast amount of logistical issues that transport companies face when shipping cars overseas. Thankfully, there are plenty of international shippers that would be happy to help.

It’s also important to vet the company you’re working with by looking through online reviews as well as documentation on the Department of Transportation’s website. You want to work with a certified and insured company that abides by federal law, otherwise, you may be prone to scams and a car that never arrives.

2. Decide on the type of shipping

The type of shipping you’re going with will depend on what type of vehicle you’re shipping. If you’re shipping a typical vehicle, then an open type shipping will suffice. This means your vehicle may sit on top of a boat during transit, which makes it more prone to weather damage.

You can also opt for cargo shipping for the most protection. As long as your vehicle fits inside a cargo container, it’s possible to ship it anywhere in the world. If your vehicle is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, the few extra hundred dollars for more protection during shipping never hurts.

It’s also a good time to inquire about the insurance you’re going to receive for your vehicle. If your vehicle is a luxury item, you’ll want to pick up more insurance for the international shipping, otherwise, your vehicle may not be fully insured for the entirety of the trip.

3. Clean your vehicle

Before handing off your vehicle, take some time to clean not only the inside but the outside. This is important so that when your vehicle is inspected, there isn’t any dirt on the outside that may look like damage. You don’t want any discrepancies when you make a claim, so it’s good to prevent any incidents that may cause the inspector to mark down damage that was dirt.

4. Take photographs

Always take photographs of the outside of the vehicle once it’s been cleaned. You want records of the condition your vehicle was in before it was handed off to the delivery company. Write down the date and get your transport company to sign off on the condition of the photos.

5. Remove any belongings inside

Anything that is inside of your car is not going to be covered by insurance. Remove all your valuables as well as any belongings that you have left inside or in the trunk. Remove anything that may come loose and damage the inside of your vehicle as well.


6. Handoff your vehicle for shipping

Once everything is done, all that’s left to do is hand off your vehicle to the transport company. They’ll come to you most likely, so it’s important to be there at the designated meeting location to hand off your vehicle.

They will inspect your vehicle for damage, take the keys, and load it up for shipping. Don’t forget to tip your driver, too!

7. Pick up your vehicle

Once your vehicle has been transported, all that’s left to do is pick it up. Some companies offer door-to-door shipping, and others will have your vehicle in a designed area awaiting pick up from you.

Another option is to leave your vehicle in storage until you or the new owner of the vehicle arrives in the country. For ex-pats, this is a great option as vehicles can take a long time to travel across international waters and with delays, can cause some frustration.

Some Final Thoughts for Expats

Deciding on the type of shipping, whether open or cargo, depends on the nature and value of your vehicle. Taking extra precautions, such as opting for additional insurance for high-value vehicles, provides added peace of mind during the international shipping journey.

Before handing off your vehicle, thorough preparation is key. Cleaning both the interior and exterior, capturing photographic evidence of its pre-shipping condition, and removing any non-insured belongings contribute to a smooth inspection process and mitigate potential disputes.

The final steps involve a straightforward handoff to the transport company, where they inspect, load, and transport your vehicle. Expressing gratitude to the driver with a tip is a courteous gesture. Upon arrival at the destination, whether through door-to-door delivery or storage until your convenience, the last leg of the journey involves picking up your vehicle.

For expatriates, the option of storing the vehicle until arrival minimizes potential frustration caused by international transit delays. By following these steps and entrusting your vehicle to a reputable transport service, you can embark on your new international adventure with the assurance that your vehicle will seamlessly join you in your new destination.

David Tompkins
Author: David Tompkins