A large freight filled with shipping containers.

Guide to international car shipping

Last Updated: June 6, 2021By Tags:

Shipping your car from a different country is often seen as a complicated process. With all the legal aspects that you need to handle and potential issues to consider, it does seem that driving the car yourself is always preferable. Well, if you know how to prepare properly for international car shipping, you can tackle it with surprising efficiency. So, let’s take a closer look at what it takes to ship a car from a foreign country.

Different ways to ship your car internationally

When it comes to transporting your car from a foreign country, it is essential to note that there are different ways you can handle it. If you plan on shipping a classic car, the safest and most straightforward way is to use a sole shipping container. Unfortunately, this way isn’t always budget-friendly. Other methods, like consolidated vehicle shipping and roll-on roll-off, can be much cheaper. But, they do carry certain risks that are not present when using sole shipping containers.

Sole shipping containers

There are shipping companies out there whose primary service is car shipping through the use of containers. So, if you are looking for an easy, stress-free way to get your new car to your home, they are here to help. Keep in mind, though, that car shipping companies can be expensive. As you will soon see, there is a lot to do in order to ship a car. Both when it comes to preparation and the actual shipping process. So, don’t expect the car shipping companies to deal with these various issues free of charge.

Storage containers used for car shipping.

The main benefit of hiring a company to transport your cat is that they use containers that provide adequate protection. Therefore, they can pretty much guarantee that your car will remain in pristine condition throughout transport. Your vehicle will remain safe from bad weather, moisture, and various environmental hazards. Furthermore, because your vehicle is stored on its own, it will be shipped to you in the fastest way possible. Therefore, if money is not a major issue, we strongly suggest that you opt for a car shipping company.

Consolidated vehicle shipping

If money is an issue, you can consider consolidated vehicle shipping. This is when the shipping company stores your car along with others cars heading in the same direction. Since they share storage space, you can understand why the entire process is cheaper. But, the potential downside is that it is going to take longer. With sole shipping, your car is headed directly towards you. But, with consolidated vehicle shipping, you may have to wait until the vehicles before yours are dropped off. Still, consolidated vehicle shipping is pretty safe as your car remains protected from elements.


The Roll-Off Roll-On is when your car is driven into a hull of a RORO vessel. The biggest downside to this method is that your vehicle isn’t covered. Therefore, it will be at the mercy of elements throughout the shipping process. The RORO method can also take a while, as it usually has big loads of cars to ship. But, it is usually the most cost-effective method to consider.

How to prepare for international car shipping

Shipping your car from a different country is all about proper preparation. If you ensure that everything is in order before shipping starts, you can rest easy and wait for your car to arrive. So, here is what you’ll need to do.

A girl researching how to prepare correctly for international car shipping.

Make sure that you find the right company

No matter what shipping option you chose, you need to ensure that you hire the right company to help you. To do this, you first need to look online and see which companies are available. Then, proceed to check their reviews and ratings. You should get estimates from the top five companies you pick. This will allow you to compare their service with their price and see which ones give you the best value. The one thing you should never do is to put money in front of quality. Keep in mind that the company in question will handle your car, which is likely quite expensive. So, you should do your best to ensure that the people handling it are reliable, competent, and trustworthy.

Get proper insurance

Even if you have the right company by your insurance, consider talking to a third-party insurance company.side, you should still look into getting proper insurance. No matter how careful your shipping company is, accidents and mishaps happen. And if they do, you want to have some coverage. Most companies will give you some form of insurance. But it might not cover the entire cost of your car. And, if your vehicle is particularly expensive, the standard insurance might not even be close to covering it. So make sure that you read and understand what you are signing and don’t shy away from getting legal counsel. If you feel that you need better.

A person signing a contract.

Final thoughts about international car transport

Before you start looking for a shipping company, we suggest gathering all the paperwork related to international car shipping. The documentation is usually pretty straightforward. Here is what you will need:

  • Original title.
  • Copy of the bill of sale.
  • Copy of your passport.

Additionally, there will be paperwork required by the country you are situated in and the country you plan to get your car to. Even more, if you plan on importing a used car. Sometimes, there can be delays in getting the necessary paperwork. And the last thing you want is to put your shipping process on hold while you acquire them. So, ensure that you have the required paperwork before you start looking for a company.

Also, it is always a good idea to inspect your vehicle before shipping it. To claim your insurance (if something does happen), you need to be able to prove that your car was in proper condition when the shipping company took over. This is only possible if you inspect your vehicle beforehand.

International car shipping is not a simple process, but if you do your homework and prepare well, there should be no or few issues.

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