Prepare your Vehicle
* Get all service records for your car going back to the day you bought it. If a recall was issued on a part in your engine, get documentation showing when it was fixed and include this with your records when giving them to us. Automobile Service History Records are also known as “Blue Books” or “Certificates of Authenticity.”
* Car must be in running condition with no mechanical problems that would prevent it from driving onto a truck. The vehicle will often have to be driven up ramps into a semi or onto a rollback truck, so it needs to crank and have brakes.
* Vehicle must be insured for transport.
* Glass, light bulbs, reflectors, windshield wipers and tires should all be in good condition as this affects the car’s handling and safety. The lights need to work for your vehicle because professional drivers will drive them. If you are shipping a classic or antique car, the company will most likely require it to be shipped in an enclosed trailer rather than an open truck.
* The gas tank should be full of gas before leaving your home country; some companies require this for safety reasons, while others prohibit cars from being loaded if they have less than a quarter of a tank.
* If your car is not in running condition and needs to be towed, make sure you also include the cost of the towing in your estimate.
* A fire extinguisher or two are required per vehicle, and they need to be easily accessible; we use them when cleaning cars!
* Shipping companies require that your car be at least 150% the size of the shipping container. So, for example, if you plan to ship a 20 foot (6m) container, your vehicle needs to be 1.8 meters long (a little over 6 feet). If it’s too short, you’ll need to ship it on an open truck.
* If you have a car alarm, disable it. Cargo companies will often disconnect them since they can cause damage to the vehicle if accidentally set off.
* Place a “Wrecker Required” sign on your rear view mirror so that you can be towed or moved in case of an emergency or accident preventing you from driving to the terminal.
* Get a quote from each company as the cost to ship with different carriers varies.
* When you talk to a representative, make sure they ask if you want “All Risk” or “Cargo” insurance. All risk policies cover all damage that occurs during the car transport process, while cargo policies typically only cover damage resulting from a carrier’s negligence. We always recommend
All Risk insurance as it covers all damage done to your vehicle, whereas Cargo only pays for damage that is the fault of the carrier, not including “Acts Of God.”
* If you are required to have insurance but don’t have any, some companies will still allow you to ship your car, but it will have to be on an open truck. If insurance is required, it does not matter what country you are in or where your car was purchased.
* If you don’t have All Risk insurance and the company won’t let you ship with Cargo coverage, you can purchase a “Collision Damage Waiver” (CDW) from rental companies in most countries. Renters must be at least 21 years of age and have a valid driver’s license to purchase CDW from rental car companies when renting a car.
* Even if you have insurance, you will need to present your documentation when dropping off your vehicle and picking it up. In addition, some companies ask for a copy of your policy to keep on file.
* If you purchase a car export service from a shipping company, they will usually offer insurance as well. If you use this service and then go with an open carrier or choose All Risk insurance, the price will increase.
* When you drop off your vehicle, you’ll need to provide your original title, registration and driver’s license.
* You should also obtain an estimate (invoice) for the transport; be sure to get it stamped by customs as proof of export if leaving countries like Canada or Mexico. This is free of charge at the border but must be requested because not all agents offer it. Ask them to stamp your customs form.
Getting to the terminal
* You can tow or push your car in most cases; in some countries, the company will provide a vehicle with which you’ll do this.
* If you don’t have a flatbed truck or trailer, ensure that you know how to load and tie down your vehicle properly before you arrive. Most companies will show you how to do this and may provide straps and ropes if needed.
* If you’re not sure about the condition of your car, take it to a mechanic first and get a written opinion before signing anything. It’s much harder to claim that your vehicle has pre-existing problems once you’ve already signed a contract.
* If you’re taking your car out of the country yourself, read through any documents, forms or contracts carefully before signing them. Be sure to keep copies for yourself. Also, keep in mind that there will be a cancellation fee if you need to cancel service early.