Shipping a car internationally can be a complex process, filled with various regulations and logistical challenges. However, with the right guidance and expertise, it can be a smooth and hassle-free experience. At American Auto Transportation, we specialize in international car shipping and are here to help you understand and navigate this process with ease. This guide will provide you with a step-by-step approach to shipping your car overseas.

Understanding International Car Shipping

International car shipping involves transporting your vehicle from one country to another, which can be done in several ways:

Container Shipping

Your car is secured inside a container and loaded onto a cargo ship. This method is ideal for high-value vehicles or if you want to ship personal belongings along with your car.

Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo)

Cars are driven onto the ship, securely parked, and then driven off at the destination. This is often a more cost-effective option but doesn’t allow for additional personal items.

Air Freight

The fastest but most expensive option, suitable for extremely valuable or time-sensitive vehicles.Each method has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on your budget, timeline, and specific needs.

Choosing the Right Shipping Company

Selecting a reliable shipping company is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:

Experience and Expertise

Look for a company with a solid track record in international car shipping. Experience in handling customs and various shipping routes is vital.


Get quotes from multiple companies. Be wary of quotes that seem too low, as they may not include all costs.

Reviews and References

Check customer reviews and ask for references. A reputable company should have a history of satisfied customers.

Insurance Coverage

Ensure the company offers comprehensive insurance for international shipping. Understand what is covered under their policy.

Preparing Your Car for International Shipping

Proper preparation can prevent many common issues during transport:


A clean car allows for a more thorough inspection before shipping. It’s also often required by customs.

Maintenance Check

Ensure your car is in good working order. Check fluid levels, battery charge, and tire pressure.

Securing Loose Items

Remove or secure any loose items inside your car to prevent damage during transit.


Have all necessary documents ready, including registration, insurance, and photo ID. Some destinations may require additional paperwork.

Navigating Customs and Legal Requirements

Dealing with customs and legalities can be the most challenging part of international car shipping:

Understand Export/Import Laws

Each country has its own set of rules regarding vehicle import and export. Familiarize yourself with these regulations to avoid surprises.

Required Documentation

Typically, you’ll need the original title of the car, a bill of sale, and proof of identity. Some countries might require additional documents.

Paying Duties and Taxes

Be prepared to pay duties and taxes, which vary depending on the destination country. Research these costs beforehand to budget accordingly.By understanding these initial steps and preparing accordingly, you can ensure a smoother process for your international car shipping needs. Remember, choosing the right shipping company and preparing your vehicle properly are key to a successful overseas transport.

Insurance and Protection

One of the most critical aspects of international car shipping is ensuring your vehicle is adequately insured and protected throughout its journey.

Understanding Insurance Options

Your shipping company should offer a range of insurance options. These can range from basic coverage, which may only cover certain types of damage, to comprehensive policies that provide full protection.

Choosing the Right Coverage

Assess the value of your vehicle and your risk tolerance to determine the right level of coverage. For high-value or luxury cars, it’s advisable to opt for more comprehensive insurance.

Documentation and Verification

Ensure you have all insurance documentation in order and verify what is covered. Be clear about the process for filing a claim in case of damage.

The Shipping Process: From Pickup to Delivery

Understanding the shipping process from start to finish can help set your expectations and prepare you for each stage.

Pickup and Loading

Your car will be picked up from your designated location, or you may need to deliver it to a port. It will then be loaded onto the ship or aircraft, depending on your chosen method of transport.

During Transit

The transit time will vary based on the destination and shipping method. Container and RoRo shipping can take several weeks, while air freight is much quicker.

Customs Clearance

Upon arrival, your vehicle will go through customs clearance. This process involves the inspection of documents and the vehicle, and payment of any applicable duties and taxes.

Tracking and Communication

Staying informed throughout the shipping process is crucial for peace of mind.

Tracking Services

Most shipping companies offer tracking services, allowing you to monitor your vehicle’s journey. This could be through an online tracking system or regular updates from the company.

Communication with the Shipping Company

A good shipping company will keep you informed at each stage of the process. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.

Receiving Your Car at the Destination

Once your car arrives at its destination, there are a few final steps to complete the process.

Inspection Upon Arrival

Inspect your vehicle thoroughly upon arrival. Check for any signs of damage that may have occurred during shipping.

Customs and Collection

After clearing customs, you’ll be able to collect your vehicle. This might involve paying final fees or duties.

Post-Shipping Maintenance Check

It’s a good idea to perform a maintenance check before using your vehicle, especially if it has been in transit for a long time.


International car shipping doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right preparation, understanding of the process, and a reliable shipping company, you can ensure a smooth experience. Remember, the key to successful international car shipping lies in careful planning, understanding the legalities, and choosing the right insurance coverage.We are committed to providing you with a seamless international car shipping experience. Our team of experts is here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring your vehicle reaches its destination safely and efficiently.

Ready to ship your car internationally? Contact American Auto Transportation today for a hassle-free experience. Our experts are here to provide you with a personalized quote and answer any questions you might have. Let us take the worry out of your international car shipping needs.