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Moving Abroad? Take Your Vehicle or Sell

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Moving Abroad? Take Your Vehicle or Sell

Our beloved cars can be more than a means to move about.

They can be the pride of our collection and a symbol of our love of all things automotive. That’s why the prospect of parting with your car when moving overseas may seem a little daunting, if not downright difficult.

However, taking a car overseas is not like taking your furniture, or packing up excess baggage. The reality is that transporting your car abroad can have huge financial ramifications and create quite a lot of preparation time before you move.

Here are some of the points you’ll need to consider when deciding whether to take your car with you when you move overseas.

Remember you will need shipping insurance when your car is exported so you will be financially protected in the event it is damaged or stolen while in transit.

How Cars are Transported

Cars are not cheap to transport. You can expect to pay as much as several thousand dollars in transportation-related costs.

Melanie Wright, a writer at MoneySupermarket.com, advises comparing quotes from a wide range of shipping companies to make sure you are getting a good deal.

“Remember you will need shipping insurance when your car is exported so you will be financially protected in the event it is damaged or stolen while in transit. Take photographs of your car before it is shipped, so that if it arrives with any new dents, you will be able to show that these weren’t around before it was moved,” she writes.

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Most movement of cars from one country to another is conducted via one of these three options:

Single Container

In a container service, a car makes use of the entire container and is restrained to prevent rolling with the natural motion of the ocean. This is the most expensive and safest option. Your car is not driven during the transportation process, which minimises the chance of human error.

It’s the only way to get a non-driveable car into another country.

You can also make use of the container space to store furniture and other items. This is ideal for expensive and performance cars.

Shared Container

This is usually a 40-foot container where cars are stacked together. Shared containers are a cost-effective alternative to the single container, however they do have a significant drawback.

In a shared container situation, you’ll need to avoid companies that use timber ramps as they have an increased risk of damage during loading and unloading, much of which isn’t covered under insurance. You can store a reasonable amount of personal belongings within the car.

There are different levels of safety between cars sold in emerging markets and in advanced economies.

Roll in/Roll out

This form of transportation is ideal for anyone on a budget. It is however riskier and not covered by insurance with most transportation companies. The car is driven onto the ship. So must be in working condition, even if it is not registered. The car cannot be used to transport other items.

High value cars or cars with drivability quirks are actively discouraged from RIRO transportation as the risk is too great.

Choose coverage and reliability over price point every time to minimise the risk.

Compliance & Safety Issues

Safety and feature standards for cars are not universal. What is approved here may not be suitable in the country you are moving to, and vice versa.

While Australian car standards are highly regulated, those of many other countries aren’t. According to an April release from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Information Unit: “There are different levels of safety between cars sold in emerging markets and in advanced economies.”

What’s more, a study recently released by the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) showed that millions of new cars sold in middle and low income countries fail to meet the UN’s regulations for front and side crash tests.

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One very obvious problem that’s unavoidable is left-hand drive versus right-hand drive. The steps required to modify a car’s drive can be costly. Seat belts, lights, the car parts used in the engine, bumper standards and exhaust emissions are also heavily scrutinised. You could be up for tens of thousands of dollars if you are moving to Europe, U.K. or U.S.

The U.S. has certain safety, bumper and emission standards and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website actually advises that vehicles obtained abroad are unlikely to meet its standards.

Making your car roadworthy in another country can be an expensive red-tape minefield. There is no guarantee roadworthiness will be achieved.

Making your car roadworthy in another country can be an expensive red-tape minefield. There is no guarantee roadworthiness will be achieved.

Plus, you may face issues with a modified car if you later attempt to sell it in your new home country or if you bring it back to Australia.

Ultimately, you need to tread carefully.

Importation Duties & Fees

Outside transportation and roadworthiness, the fees and charges you face when transporting a car to another country will be influenced by a few significant factors.

For example, if you have owned your car for less than 12 months, taking a car to the UK will attract additional fees. Cars with a year or more of ownership are often duty free, but they can still face taxes and charges to ensure they meet the specific environmental standards that European countries require.

The U.S. has certain states where environmental protection laws make importation of personal cars almost impossible. Making sure you not only comply with the American customs standards but also know the law of your future host state is essential.

Australia too has fees for owners who are moving cars in and out of the country. If you’re going to be doing this, you will need to apply for an import license to ensure a vehicle is legally allowed on Australian soil.

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Temporary Usage

If you’re moving overseas temporarily and wish to take your car with you, you could actually avoid registration and taxation fees.

In the U.K., for example, you can usually use a vehicle with non-U.K. number plates without needing to tax or register it in the U.K. if you’re visiting and don’t plan to live there permanently.

You can use the vehicle up to 6 months in a 12-month period (one single visit, or several shorter visits adding up to a 6-month period).

Many owners of garden-variety cars will choose to sell their vehicle as opposed to paying for expensive modifications, shipping and taxes.

In these situations, your car will remain registered and taxed in Australia.

The Cars We Leave Behind

Moving a car from Australia to another country is expensive and involves many processes. Many owners of garden-variety cars will choose to sell their vehicle as opposed to paying for expensive modifications, shipping and taxes. And then buy something once they get to their new country of residence.

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But what about storage options? Well, even placing a car in storage for more than 12 months comes with its own set of challenges. You will need to consider storage costs, depreciation and the mechanical fitness of a non-driving car over a long period of time.

Taking a car from one country to another is usually the domain of true car enthusiasts and requires a lot of research to find the right information and support. Most people opt for selling their cars, rather than attempting to take them on their travels, for these reasons.

Sources
http://www.moneysupermarket.com/car-insurance/blog/moving-abroad-heres-how-to-take-your-car-with-you/
http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=39429
http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car
https://www.gov.uk/importing-vehicles-into-the-uk/temporary-imports