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Should you take your car abroad?

Why it’s cheaper to ship your car than sell it

By Zeenat Moosa Hassan

, |

Should you take your car abroad?

Why it’s cheaper to ship your car than sell it

By Zeenat Moosa Hassan

, |

3 min read

Many people end up selling their vehicle way below what it’s worth just to get rid of it before moving abroad, thinking it’s too much hassle to ship it over.

However, taking your car with you might be cheaper – but only if you do your research. Here’s some advice from the experts.

Take a pragmatic approach

Start by thinking about whether your decision to take your vehicle abroad is financial or sentimental. ‘If you have a special bond to your vehicle, then you’re likely to take your prized procession with, regardless of cost and effort,’ says Antony Ashley, CEO of Freight Factory.

If you’re undecided, then considering the road network at your destination country might help.  ‘Some cities have very small roads so taking a big SUV would be tricky.  In other countries, the classic car market carries a far higher value so if you have one of these, your auto investment is likely to move to a more lucrative market,’ continues Ashley.

Whatever your reason for sending your car abroad, consider getting a proper costing from a specialist shipping agent, before you make a final decision. The cost will depend on three things – the car’s age, the type of the car and the requirements at your destination country. A newer or more expensive car will need more testing which will cost more, and the shipping costs will also be higher due to insurance.

If you’re steering towards selling, then think about how long it will take you to purchase a car on finance in your new home and the costs of public transport in the interim.

‘The shipping agent should be able to offer advice on the financial viability of taking your car abroad, provided that they are qualified, registered and insured. They will also provide transit and marine insurance cover which might be harder to obtain on your own,’ says Leon Isaacson, CEO  of Global Immigration SA.

Do the maths

Shipping your car can be a lot cheaper and easier.. For example, if you have lived in South Africa for at least 12 months and owned an older car for at least six months, then you can bring the car to the UK without paying any taxes or duty says Nick Roach, company director of ShipMyCar. ‘This makes it a very economical method to buying a car in the UK,’ he explains.

South Africa’s vehicle market has taken a sharp nose dive thanks to the pandemic and as a result sellers are being offered a lot less than the current value of their vehicle. In some cases, your vehicle might be worth more at your destination, making the cost of shipping minimal to what you may lose if you sold it before you left.

‘In general the more you put in a container the more cost effective per item it is versus shipping in separate containers.We have the ability to ship vehicles with household items so you only need to worry about a single shipment,’ says Ashely.

Get the paperwork done

Be prepared for a lot of paperwork if you do decide to take your car with you. As well as providing evidence of vehicle ownership, you will also need to complete paperwork certifying that you won’t be selling/trading it once at the destination.

‘It is also a general prerequisite that the vehicle owner has the appropriate residence permit to be in the new country at the time of booking transportation for the vehicle,’ says Isaacson. ‘Any deviations from paperwork or appropriate residence permits will expose the owner to additional duties and taxes which are non-negotiable,’ he continues.

Finally, every country will have their own processes to ensure the vehicle is registered with the local municipality and this comes with added paperwork and costs.

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