Tips for Buying and Shipping Cars Overseas

Buying cars to ship them overseas can be challenging, especially when you're not in the country where the car is located. Not only are you faced with the risk of buying a lemon, but purchasing stolen vehicles is also possible. Shipping cars abroad is a lucrative business, especially to many African countries as there's a huge market for fairly used and new cars in Africa. Whatever your reasons are, for business, personal use, or just to gift to a friend or relative, here are a few tips for buying and shipping cars overseas.

Do your research first.

If you're in the country of the car’s physical location, things can be a bit easier. You can physically inspect the car you want to buy before making a payment. So, buying from an individual may not be a bad idea. However, if you're overseas, it helps to conduct proper research so as to avoid buying a bad car from an individual when you can't physically inspect the car.

Use a trusted local auction house.

If you're on a budget or looking to buy many vehicles brands, like Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen, Honda, Peugeot, etc., another source of used or second-hand cars is from a trusted auctions house like “USA car auction.” You could save thousands by going the auction route.

Many of the used cars for sale in Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, and other countries in West Africa, are bought through legit auctions and shipped overseas. Note that many auction cars may have salvage titles, but a good investigation of the vehicle helps you get a good deal.

Many deals with salvage titles have superb engines and may only require bodywork. You can avoid cars with flood damage titles as the electrical operation of the car may be significantly impaired. To get a good deal, you can contact a trusted local car dealership to help with the bid and buying process involved in auctions.

Be sure to protect yourself.

Whether you're purchasing a used car from an individual or a car dealership, you should protect yourself by asking for a vehicle's history. Many dealerships in the U.S. have a CarFax report, which shows title problems, ownership history, car service, and accidents. If you're not sure if the car is stolen, contact the police with the car's details. The police department will be more than happy to confirm.

If you're buying from multiple vendors, it also helps to use an inventory check out sheet to keep track of the various goods. This way, you'll know which items have arrived and which haven't.

Check all the import/export laws in both countries.


Whether you live in another country or where the car is located, you'll want to ship the car you purchased overseas. One of your worries is how the vehicle will get to its destination overseas. The import and export law in different countries varies. So you should get all the import duties and other tariffs sorted. Remember that buying a vehicle is one thing, but getting it to the port or shipping company is another ball game. It's often advisable to buy cars that are in close proximity to ports. If you buy in a state that you have to transport the car to another state, you'll be incurring more cost.

Ship with a reputable dealer.

One of the advantages of buying from reputable dealers is that they could assist in transporting your car to the shipping company. Sometimes, the shipping company may also offer a pickup service, making it easy to get your car to the port. Keep in mind that this service is not free. But first, you want to contact a shipping company willing to transport your car overseas. Shipping companies must have insurance. However, if you don’t want to assume, contact the shipper’s insurance company to ensure your goods are covered in the event of an unfavorable scenario.

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