What Boxes Does the Best International Car Transporter Need to Check?

What Boxes Does the Best International Car Transporter Need to Check?

What Boxes Does the Best International Car Transporter Need to Check?

Shipping a car overseas can be scary. Not just because of the distance involved, but because of the overwhelming number of carriers and international shipping information available. Finding the best fit can be hard if you don’t know what to look for.

So, what boxes does the best international car transporter need to check for you to feel confident in choosing them to take care of your vehicle?

There’s a lot involved with international car shipping, so when hiring someone to transport your car internationally, make sure they have the expertise explained in the following paragraphs.


A Good International Car Transporter Record

Many international auto transporters claim they have the best international car shipping company. But can they back up their claims?

Before you entrust your vehicle to a carrier, research is critical. Researching international car haulers is perhaps more important than digging into a domestic shipper’s track record. Due to the complexities of moving international cargo, it’s best to be absolutely sure others have had good experiences with the company.

You can get some information from testimonials and reviews listed on the company’s website. However, you should spend some time looking at Google, Facebook, and even BBB reviews. The more resources you find listing positive reviews, the better.

Another way to ensure you’re working with a reputable company is to check the SAFER system. SAFER stands for Safety and Fitness Electronic Records. It’s a database containing all licensed motor carriers, and is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA.)

The database can give insight into a carrier’s history and tell you if you’re looking at a reliable international car transporter.

You’ll want to ask the carrier to share their credentials and licenses. Usually, you won’t have to do this because most reputable shippers display them on their websites. But just in case not everything is available, ask for proof of legitimacy before even bothering to ask for a quote.

Companies with good reviews will gladly disclose their histories with other clients and share credentials and certifications, thus showing they are more trustworthy than others.


International Shipping Experience

Many international car transport companies will also offer domestic shipping services. Due to domestic orders being more common, these services could be advertised heavily on a company’s website. That doesn’t mean a shipper can’t fulfill international orders. But it’s worth noting that the more information a company freely offers about international shipping, the higher the likelihood that it handles these orders more frequently.

Naturally, you can also look for international shipping-specific information in reviews, testimonials, or by asking a carrier representative to explain the process.

It’s best to avoid companies that don’t think of international transport as an upsell or add-on service. The best international car shipping company can prove that it regularly moves vehicles overseas.

A good indication of their level of experience is the number of routes they cover or possible destinations. Some shippers offer limited car shipping overseas. Companies may do this due to limited expertise, a small network, to reduce operating costs, and many other reasons.

But the top international auto transporters should be able to deliver in multiple countries across all continents.

Quote Breakdown

So much goes into calculating the cost that you sometimes can’t get an instant quote. Car shipping international logistics are complex and have to account for many factors.

  • Distance
  • Pickup
  • Mode of transport
  • Delivery method
  • Packaging
  • Vehicle size and weight
  • Vehicle value
  • Special shipping requirements
  • Different jurisdictions
  • Customs laws

These are just a few of the shipping cost variables. But here’s how this information can help you weed out the average carriers and scammers from the reputable and best international car transport companies.

Everyone should be able to give you an instant quote. It’s a starting point for you to get an idea of how little you might pay under specific circumstances.

What many companies won’t do is offer a quote breakdown. For a carrier to be the best or a top contender among international car carriers, they must explain where every penny from your pocket goes.

This doesn’t indicate that international shipping is cheap, by any means. But you should at least know how much you can expect to pay to ship your vehicle. In addition, full disclosure of fees and quote calculations reduces the chance of hidden charges, which is something that any carrier with the claim of being the best international shipping company should practice.

Multiple Transport Options

Shipping your car to another country can involve land, air, or ocean shipping, or a combination of these transport methods. It all depends on the pickup location, method of transport, and the final destination. A great international carrier will offer multiple transport methods.

Of course, enclosed shipping is a given. But how do you want your car shipped?

Do you want it shipped via air freight, so it gets there sooner? Maybe you want to save money and your delivery time is flexible. In that case, shipping your car on a boat might be the answer.

When talking about loading methods, the roll-on roll-off (RORO) is usually the most efficient, despite not all carriers using it.

Then you might discuss special assistance for non-operational vehicles and equipment that can safely load and unload your car from point A to B.

The point is that the best international auto shipping companies should be able to accommodate every popular and safe mode of transport.

Again, this can be the mark of a good international shipping experience. Carriers that provide more methods of transport are likely more dedicated to fulfilling their customers’ orders safely and efficiently.

Real-Time Cargo Tracking

Tracking an Amazon order or your food delivery is so prevalent that most people would find it suspicious if they couldn’t do that when using a similar service.

Despite the complex logistics involved in international car shipping, real-time cargo tracking is a must, and should be offered by the best international car shipping company.

Delayed updates, slow servers, and minor GPS inaccuracies are part of the game. But you must be able to track your order from the moment the international car transporter picks up your car until it reaches its destination.

Some companies will give you periodic updates. While that’s better than nothing, it’s not a mark of excellent service.

You shouldn’t have to ask where your car is and wait for a reply. You should be able to log onto a platform and see for yourself whenever you want.

It’s not the most important box an international carrier must check, but it’s essential nonetheless. Cargo tracking will give you peace of mind and help avoid unnecessary back and forth with the customer service representatives.

Price Matching and Free Quotes

Sometimes if you want to ship with the best international car shipping company, you might have to pay a premium. Higher quality of service and expertise can be pricier. But here’s something to look for when comparing different carriers.

Some of the most reputable shippers stand by their services by offering price matching. This can be encountered on a case-by-case basis and will leave extra room for quote negotiations.

Something else the best shippers must offer is free quotes. Of course, this could be said about any carrier, domestic or international.

Free quotes have become standard industry practice. If a carrier doesn’t want to give you a free or no-obligation quote, they are probably wasting your time.

Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for international shipping services if someone tries to rope you into paying or signing a deal before giving you a clear breakdown of the quote and shipping process.

Sufficient Insurance Coverage

Insurance is a complex topic when it comes to car shipping. International auto shipping companies and domestic carriers must have insurance coverage. They can’t operate without it legally. That said, not all international car haulers have an insurance package that’s right for you.

Many can get by with minimum federal or state-mandated coverage. But that doesn’t mean damage or instances of total loss will guarantee you full monetary reimbursement.

Some luxury or vintage cars can be very expensive. And when companies ship multiple vehicles, the liability coverage generally accounts for the entire cargo, not one car.

This means that when insurance companies have to reimburse the vehicle owners, the amount due to each owner is a portion of the total liability coverage, split between multiple cars. It’s particularly concerning when trying to ship a costly car overseas.

You could always try to negotiate with a shipping broker to get extra insurance, and perhaps compensate for the carrier’s low coverage. But that can pose many challenges too, and is rarely ideal.

So, one of the must-tick boxes for the best international car shipping company is its insurance coverage.

The carrier must be prepared to cover the loss of an expensive, vintage, or classic car. It’s best to ask for information about their coverage before signing a contract with a carrier. Explain your vehicle’s value, age, and other defining characteristics, and ask for proof of coverage.

Specialized Packaging and Transit Security

A lot can happen while your car is being transported. To ensure it arrives without a scratch, it needs to be fully strapped down and secure. It should also have plenty of space between it and other cargo, to avoid impact.

Furthermore, the car’s suspension system shouldn’t be overworked during transport. It should be a smoother ride than actually driving it to its destination.

This is another area in which the best international car shipping company will differentiate itself from others.

Top international carriers have a variety of containers and crates that can accommodate vehicles of every size. Some can even create custom crates from pallets to ensure your vehicle is as secure as possible during transport.

The best shippers will have their own containers. There’s a lot of value in owning containers instead of renting them or sharing them with other companies. These containers will be well-maintained and structurally sound because the carrier is directly responsible for their performance.

You can also ask international shippers about how they actually pick up a car, how they move it, and what methods they use to ensure it remains stable and safe during overseas shipping. The more detail a carrier provides, the more trustworthy they are. You’ll want your car to get as much attention as possible during this process and arrive in the same condition it was shipped in.

One last thing to consider regarding transit security is the post-arrival conditions. If you don’t opt for door-to-door international shipping, you probably want a personal pickup. Whether it’s you or someone else, you need to know your car can be stored safely until you arrive.

The best international shippers have the connections necessary to make such arrangements, although it might cost extra.

Managing Paperwork

Shipping a car overseas can be a nightmarish bureaucratic experience. Firstly, you have to deal with the U.S. side of customs law. Secondly, you have to handle whatever customs regulations the country of destination has.

This is perhaps the biggest reason to never rush your decision when picking an international car carrier.

You’ll need someone with experience in multiple jurisdictions. Companies specializing in international shipping are constantly up to date on documentation, fees, restrictions, and other factors influencing moving vehicles overseas.

So, here’s a box that carriers must tick: the ability to quickly explain the shipping process and paperwork requirements to easily clear customs for whatever destination you have in mind.

This should include how to handle customs on the U.S. side and how to prepare all the documents needed to move your car across the border.

Find the Right Partner for You

The best international car shipping company for you will be the carrier that can satisfy all your unique requirements and offer the best guidance regarding clearing customs and getting a good rate.

Since everyone has different needs, timelines, and destinations in mind, make sure you know exactly what you want before you start researching international car carriers. You’ll save yourself a lot of time.

When you’re ready to know more about shipping your car overseas and you’re looking for a memorable, repeatable experience, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote