When moving abroad, many people simply sell their car and buy a new one on arrival. That’s often the most sensible option – but not always. If you own a classic car or a high-end sports model, for instance, you’ll probably want to hang on to it but if yours is just a family runabout then it’s worth checking second-hand prices in your destination country before deciding.
If you decide to take your car with you, there are many companies out there to help. Using a specialist car shipping company like AutoShippers will make the process easier, but there are still some things you, the vehicle’s owner, will need to do and be aware of.
Firstly, get several quotes, and read them carefully! This document should spell out exactly what is and is not included in the price quoted, so drill down into that small print. Note that such quotations will usually NOT include any port fees and handling charges applicable at the port of destination.
Secondly, research the company online. Look for customer feedback on their social media pages, read third-party reviews, and check that the company is registered with the British International Freight Association.
Thirdly, understand the different shipping options. Cars are shipped in one of three ways – Ro-Ro, Sole Use Container and R-Rak – and the costs involved can vary considerably.
• Ro-ro (“roll on, roll off”) means your car is driven onto a ship, lashed down for the voyage and then driven off again. This is the cheapest method but is no use for cars that can’t be driven.
• Shipping your car inside its own freight container offers more protection, and is standard for vintage cars, but it’s usually the mostly costly option.
• R-Rak shipping, which packs several vehicles into special containers with an interior rack, is a fairly recent innovation, but the safest and often the most economic method.
Fourthly, once you’ve made a booking – double-check all your paperwork!
• If you’re taking your car overseas permanently, you’ll need a Certificate of Permanent Export (V561) from the DVLA. This replaces your Registration Document (V5) or Registration Certificate (V5C); if your relocation is only for a year or two, take the latter with you.
• If there’s outstanding finance on the vehicle, you may need a letter from the loan company confirming it’s okay for the vehicle to leave the UK.
• Have your driving licence, registration and insurance documents and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to hand at all times.
• Most shipping companies will be able to offer some kind of insurance cover. This isn’t obligatory but is highly recommended – accidents happen!
Done all that? Great – now all you must do is make sure the car is ready for shipping on the day of collection.
Clean the car inside and out, leave the fuel tank a quarter full, disable the alarm and take out any removable items (your stereo, sat-nav or dashcam). And remember you’ll be handing over your keys to the shipping company, so hang on to a spare set just in case!
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