Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can I bring my car registered in another country to the US and drive it around during my visit?
Answer: You can and it's easy. As long as you enter the US legally for a visit or business the US Customs Service regards your car as "personal effects", letting it in without any duty or payment of bond. All that is required is the completion of a Customs form (#3299).
The individual states do not get in the way. California, the most rigorous state as to emissions, will let your car in and on its roads so long as it is properly registered in another country. You are viewed as a "tourist" and the car is part of your touring. You should talk with your insurance company and bring documentary proof that your insurance at home will cover you in the US.
All this changes if you try to sell your car here or register it in one of the states. Then the usual requirements of importation apply... the most rigorous being for autos younger than 25 years. Emissions, bumper standards, and payment of duty based upon value all come into play.
Question: What are the ways I can bring my car to the US?
Answer: The most popular ways are in a sealed container and on what is called a "roro" (roll on-roll off) ship. The first, in a container, requires preparation of the car, loading and bracing in the container, and frequently, the addition of silica to keep the humidity down. Most cars will fit into a 20' dry steel container; two cars or even three will often fit into a 40' box. As the 20' container has more than 1/2 the shipping cost of a 40' container the most creative use of a 40 footer is the cheapest way to bring cars in. The car or cars in a container are absolutely safe. The container is bolted shut as it is loaded on the ship and is not unbolted ( bolt has to be cut off) until it is opened at its destination. We provide a soft cotton wrapping to those customers who want it although this is not necessary.
The second way, "roro" is just what you think; your car is driven onto a special ship, like a big ocean-going ferry, and parked. It is then tied down securely and braced so it never leaves its "parking place." This method avoids terminal handling charges at both ends of the trip and is therefore somewhat cheaper overall. The procedure for using this service is simpler and you can do more of getting the car into the ship. The downside is that "roro" vessels often sail less frequently and from fewer ports so it is not always convenient for you.
Question: How can I insure my prized car best on such a trip?
Answer: There is usually insurance carried by the trucker that picks up your car. Then there is insurance carried by the shipping line that carries the container or operates the "roro" service. At the destination there is also insurance carried by the destination trucker and by most ports handling your car. However, you can imagine that there are holes between coverages and if something happens somewhere along the way, there will be a lot of
finger pointing and delay as every party tries to escape liability. Further, the limits on such policies are usually too low and are to us, inadequate.
We recommend a short term, door to door policy for the duration of the trip. Even though it may duplicate coverage already mentioned it removes the issues of where the damage occurred and who is responsible. While we work with Hagerty Insurance ( www.Hagerty.com) on such policies, there are other companies willing to write short-term blanket policies. Such coverage is not expensive and removes all worry about your one-of-a-kind car.
Question: How do I get started with shipping my car around the world?
Answer: All you need to do is to contact us. We will do it all, for the amount quoted initially to you, and on the schedule we set out at the start.