Frequently asked questions for moving your car overseas

When moving home across the country or overseas it can be difficult to know what to do with your car, some people will sell it, others will opt to put their cars into storage and some may choose to drive their cars thousand of miles to their new homes.

All of these options can work and everyone is going to see advantages and disadvantages in the choices they make. In this article today we will look at another choice that is common and that is shipping your car.

For most people shipping a car will be new to them so we will look at some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to shipping your car overseas.

How much does car shipping cost?

Shipping your car isn’t cheap but it is convenient so have that in mind when looking at car shipping prices.  

Many factors come into play when shipping your car and everything from the weight, size, condition and distance will affect the price. A smaller car for example is going to be cheaper to ship than a larger one.  

Most shipping companies will also give you a range when you discuss the price with them. One tip we can give you with that is to make sure you can afford to pay at the top end of the range because more than likely that is going to be the price they will quote you at the end of the shipping.

To get an estimate of rough costs before committing to a shipping company you can use a car shipping calculator at least then when you phone up a shipping company you know roughly how much you should be paying so you know if you are getting a good deal or not.

What documents do you need when shipping a car?

The documents you are going to need when shipping your car will differ depending on the countries you are shipping to or from. Generally, you will need a copy of your passport details, your log book or proof of ownership of the vehicle.  

Your car shipping company will know more about this so ask them if there is anything you are unsure about.

Can I place items in my vehicle so they can be shipped too?

Different countries will have different rules on this but generally, this isn’t possible to do. You can get fined for placing items in your car when shipping them and the items can be confiscated. If you want to move other items across the country using a moving company rather than a shipping one.

How long does shipping take and should I book in advance?

Shipping your car overseas or across the country can take weeks. On average most shipping companies will take 2-4 weeks to ship your car so if you do want to have your car ready for when you arrive at your new location you should book your shipping in advance.  

Booking your shipping in advance also makes sure you get a reputable shipping company rather than leaving it to the last minute and having to use whoever is available.

Can I ship a vehicle that doesn’t work?

Some shipping companies will require that your car is in full working order while others will require that it can roll and the break can be used. You will have to check with the shipping company and let them know that your car doesn’t work before paying for the service as they may not be able to help you otherwise.

Can you ship to my new location if I’m not there?

Not everyone can arrive at their new home in time for car shipping so this can be a problem for some. However, most shipping companies should have storage facilities that can be used to temporarily store your vehicle until you arrive.

If they don’t you can also contact an independent self storage company to see if they would be happy to accept the vehicle on your behalf until your arrival.

What is a bill of landing and how does it affect me?

Your shipping company will provide you with a bill of landing when your vehicle has arrived that you will be required to sign to show that you are happy no damage has occurred during transit. If you sign this document and then find a scratch or dent at a later date the shipping company won’t be held accountable for the damage.

To ensure the above doesn’t happen you should make sure your car is clean and dust-free. You should take photos of the car before shipping for future proof and then inspect the car thoroughly on landing. If there is any damage you can then put this into the bill of landing so you can proceed with a claim if you need to do so.

How much fuel should I put in my car?

Additional weight will increase the amount that you pay for your shipping so keeping this down is a must if you want to save money. On the other hand, your car will be driven during the loading and unloading so a general rule of thumb is to fill up your tank a quarter of the way.

Is my car insured during transport?

 You will need to check with your shipping company to see if your car is insured during transport. Most transport companies will provide insurance but this is something you will need to find out as not all shipping companies are the same.

Should I choose open or closed transport?

Open transport is cheaper as your car is left open to the elements and it could get scratched if it’s being transported thousands of miles across the country. Closed transport is a safe option but it’s also more expensive. The choice depends on your risk tolerance and budget.

If you’re leaning towards closed transport, you may opt to get your own shipping container, especially if you’ll be shipping a luxury car. Companies like CBOX Australia should be able to help you with that.


Shipping a car can be confusing, but when in doubt ask your shipping company as they have the experience to help you with any queries you may have.

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