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Should I ship my car when I move abroad?

Posted by By Kirsty Parsons - November 19, 2014

loading bentley resizedIt’s just one of many questions you’ll face when going through the process of an international move – but should you ship your vehicle as part of your move or buy a new one out there? And if you do ship, what do you need to do to prepare your vehicle for the move and arrange car shipping?

These are just some of the things to think about when deciding 'should I ship my car when I move abroad?'

Cost: The ultimate question in any move is, simply, can you afford it? Every move is different and the circumstances surrounding your choices are completely unique, but before you even think about searching for a shipping company sit and ask yourself some basic questions - are you paying for the whole move or are you lucky enough to be part of a corporate move and your company are footing the bill? Do you need a car immediately to commute to a new job or does your partner/spouse need it for school runs/errands, etc? Are you moving somewhere with excellent transport links both around your new town and to the outer suburbs and you can live without a car entirely?
Whatever the situation may be, sit down and weigh up your options. It may work out cheaper in the long run to start from scratch and buy a new car once you reach your other destination, or you may not need one at all.

Compare the market: Once you’ve made the decision to go ahead with the shipment of your vehicle, you’ll need to start compiling quotes from shipping companies. Make sure you do this well in advance of your move date – around 3 to 4 months should suffice – as it takes a while to organise the necessary paperwork. Leave yourself plenty of time!
Check whether the companies on your shortlist have any accreditations - BAR is one to look out for in particular as this will show they are well equipped to handle an international move.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork: It might sound boring and you could be tempted to skip this part but always make sure you check the rules and regulations for importing vehicles to your chosen country. These can usually be found on Government or Embassy websites. You’ll need to make sure your car is roadworthy and up-to-scratch – just because it’s passed an MOT and is safe to drive here doesn’t necessarily guarantee it complies with the legal requirements of your chosen destination. For example, certain countries have far heavier laws surrounding vehicle emissions than we do, so be very careful.

Make the change: Once you’ve worked out what needs to be done…do it. Take your car to a garage and explain your situation – where you’re going, what needs to be done, etc. This could be very simple – for example some countries may only require you change your speedometer from m/ph to k/ph – or could be far more complex, but whatever the scenario make sure you get paperwork to confirm that all the work has been completed to the correct standards.

Spick and span: Many countries are very particular about the cleanliness of items imported. This isn’t being picky – environmental conservation is a big thing and just as your furniture or garden wares need to be clean and free from soil, dirt or grass, so too does your car. Make sure your car is clean and tidy before it’s shipped and don’t forget to check the restrictions surrounding how much fuel you can carry in the tank.

At the other end: There’s a LOT more to shipping a car than meets the eye. It’s far harder to organise the shipment of a vehicle than it is anything else, so make sure you are 100% prepared from start to finish – and that includes checking and double checking all stages of the process. In particular, you need to make sure you know in advance whether you’ve got to pay any duties or taxes once your vehicle reaches your destination country. During your move make sure to keep all paperwork relating to your vehicle to hand, making it easier should any problems arise.

Some countries will insist on your vehicle being checked over once it reaches them – often, this is something you have to arrange pre-move, so do your homework and make sure you know the exact protocol for your vehicle once it gets to your final destination; failure to comply could result in your car being held at customs – a lengthy, not to mention costly, process!

For more information on shipping your vehicle internationally, please click here.

Topics: Vehicle Moving

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