Insurance for Shipping a Car Overseas

The two types of international car shipping insurance are total loss, for replacement, and all risk coverage, for other damage. Take pictures of your car to make filing an international car shipping insurance claim easier.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • While shipping your vehicle overseas, it is important to get coverage that protects it along the way from events such as fire, theft, or wrecking of the ship
  • Before shipping your car, you may consider speaking with your insurance agent and ask for advice on the best coverage
  • Always obtain and read the policy from your insurer to get a good understanding of the clauses
  • Remember to take photos of the car before releasing it for shipping; pictures help while filing a claim in case the need arises

You may be traveling to a different country for work or holiday, and you may need to take your car with you. Most of the travelers would consider shipping their vehicles rather than flying them into the country of destination to save on the costs.

The shipping officials require you to provide the necessary documents before shipping your cars out of the country.

It is not a legal requirement to obtain an insurance policy while shipping your vehicle, although obtaining one would be a wise idea. An insurance coverage while shipping overseas covers for the damage and theft of the vehicle while on transit.

If you are traveling overseas soon with your car, start comparison shopping today for better auto insurance rates to protect you and your car along the way! Enter your ZIP code above!

Risks Involved


Cars on a ship are susceptible to damage from inclement weather in the sea as well as attack from the pirates. Flooding may also occur in the ship causing damage to the upholstery on the car and other parts of a vehicle.

Additionally, a car may not be properly stowed causing damage to the other vehicles, especially if the vehicles are on roll-on-roll-off vessels during shipping.

A policyholder should get compensations for damages while on transit, such as:

  • Fires
  • Breakages
  • Dents on a car

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Methods of Car Shipping

There are two common methods of transporting vehicles in a ship. They include the containerized shipping and the roll-on-roll-off vessels.

  • Containerized Shipping – The shippers place the vehicles in containers to ensure maximum security of the vehicles. Up to six cars fit in a 40-inch container.
  • Roll on-Roll Off Method – The workers secure vehicles inside the ships to their car decks. Although this is an easy and cheap way, it is highly prone to theft and damages. An insurance company would consider the method of shipping while calculating the premiums.

Insurance Coverage


There are fewer risks involved while shipping your vehicle to another country. However, it is important to be safe than sorry in the case of an accident.

An insurance company would cover any damage that occurs to a vehicle right from when it moves out of the warehouse on its way to the terminal. Coverage is still in effect during the transportation, and it ends the moment you pick up the vehicle.

The insurance policy does not cover the personal effects loaded in a car, and they would not compensate in case of loss or damage.

Insurance companies provide two types of coverage to the policyholders shipping their cars overseas. The difference depends on the losses that you need coverage for the vehicle in transit.

The two kinds include all risk and the total loss, and the premiums for all risks are slightly higher than the former. In both types, the vehicle owner has to pay a deductible, which has an influence on the premiums that one should pay.

  • Total Loss – Covers for theft, fire, or complete loss of the entire shipment. In this case, the insurers replace the car with another one or offer cash settlement of the total value.
  • All Risk Insurance – Covers for all the damages that occur from the moment of loading, through transit, and ends at the arrival to the final destination. The settlement may either cover the repairs or offer cash settlement (which is based on the current product value in the market) to cater for the cars destroyed.

Keep in mind that the coverage for all risk insurance only applies to the cars packed by a professional worker in the ship.

Talking to Your Insurance Provider

You should consider speaking to your insurance provider before getting insurance for shipping a car overseas. An insurance provider would advise you on the way forward in case they do not provide the coverage.

Additionally, your insurer may not provide coverage when driving your car in another country.

You will then need to get an international insurance policy in addition to the shipping insurance that expires the moment your car leaves the dock. The international coverage allows you to drive in the country of destination.

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Before Purchasing Insurance Coverage

You should consider completing the following relevant procedures while shopping for an insurance cover.

– Shop for Quotes

Before buying an insurance company, you may take into account comparing different prices from at least three insurers. The insurance rates vary from one company to another with the difference ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 percent of your car’s total.

– Obtain and Read the Insurance Policy

Understanding the insurance coverage is the only way to know what the insurer covers and what they do not. You may consider checking whether the policy covers the damages that occur during loading and offloading of the vehicle from the trailer.

Avoid purchasing an insurance coverage from a company that fails to provide an insurance policy upon request. Remember to sign a contract only after understanding the full details of coverage.

– Take Photos

Take pictures of the vehicle before the releasing it for shipping.

In case you need to make a claim, the photos stand as evidence of the car’s condition during the time of release. Your car may get some dents or chipping of paints from impact from a car that did not have a proper towing.


While shipping is a safe method of transporting vehicles, purchasing an insurance policy is quite essential for the protection of the vehicle.

Remember that even the builders of the Titanic stated that the ship would never sink, so you may want to consider having coverage for your car while out at sea.

Some insurance providers may require you to pay for the minor damages on the vehicle such as dents and chipping of paint which helps in retaining the low rates of the insurance premiums.

Looking for better auto insurance rates before hitting the high seas? Enter your ZIP code below to start comparison shopping today!

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