How Much Does It Cost to Transport Your US Car to Europe?

So, you’re moving to Europe. That’s exciting, but it may be too hard to leave your car behind. Instead, you could decide to bring the car with you and drive on the Autobahn in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. However, what are your transport options, and how much does transporting cars overseas cost?

How to get your car over to Europe

Cars driving into a large shipping container for overseas transportation
Sea Shipping Container | Wang Chun/VCG via Getty Images

Since you certainly can’t drive over there, there are two options for getting your car to Europe. You can send it by ship or by plane, explains Carfax. Sending the car by sea is usually less expensive. Ships leave the East Coast every day, and it takes about 10 days to get to Europe by ship from Baltimore or New York. Meanwhile, sending the car from San Francisco or LA takes about 20 days instead. Delays are possible through this method, but not common.

If your car goes by sea, it can go by the Roll on–Roll off method or by a shipping container. With Roll on–Roll off, a ship only carries vehicles driven on and off the ship. This method is a little less expensive than a shipping container; however, not all ports can dock these sorts of ships, and you can’t pack your car full of your belongings. However, it is a great method for vehicles too big for a shipping container, like RVs.

Sending your car to Europe in a shipping container is a little more expensive, but you can pack it with belongings, and there are several options. The cheapest is to send your car in a 40-foot shipping container along with other vehicles. For a bit more, you can ensure that only two cars are in the container. Another option is shipping your vehicle in a 20-foot shipping container to ensure that your car travels alone. This option is the most expensive of the three, but it is the safest. It’s also the fastest since the container doesn’t need to wait for any other vehicles to be added.

It is also possible to send your car to Europe by air, but this method is much more expensive. However, if you need your car to arrive quickly, this is the best option. By air travel, the car will arrive in Europe in about two days.

How much does it cost to transport a car from the US to Europe?

Sending a car from the US to Europe by ship ranges between $850 to $5,000, depending on the size of the vehicle, says Consumer Affairs. If you want the car to travel alone in a shipping container, the cost could double. However, traveling in a solitary container could be the best option if you’re transporting a classic or antique car.

If you first need to transport the car to a port in the US, that will be an additional $100 to $1,000, depending on how far the car is from a major coastal port. Upon arrival, if you’d like the car delivered from the European port to another location, there will be additional costs. However, different ports and different shipping companies offer different prices, points out Carfax. Meanwhile, sending a car by plane is much more expensive. It starts around $5,000, but it could reach up to $40,000 to send an SUV to Europe by air.

There is also a cost to get shipping insurance to cover the car, but check your current car insurance to see if shipping is already included. If not, you can get coverage from the shipping company. You can pick between all-risk insurance (which covers any damage) or total-loss insurance (which covers the car only if it’s destroyed). The insurance will likely cost about 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent of the car’s estimated value.

Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to pay import duty and also an import tax. The import duty in Europe is 10 percent for passenger cars and 22 percent for trucks, and the import tax is between 19 percent and 22 percent, but the taxes are affected by the age of the car and the country. There may also be costs for registration, an International Driving Permit, a road tax, and any alterations the car needs, depending on which country you’re going to.

The rules for taking left-hand drive cars to countries with right-hand drive cars


New Cars Stuck In Ships At Ports: Nobody Wants Them

One thing to be aware of is that not all countries in Europe drive left-hand drive cars on the right side of the road the way we do in the US. The United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus drive right-hand drive cars on the left side of the road, reports Statista.

You are permitted to drive a left-hand drive car on the left side of the road in the UK. If you’re moving to the UK, the car will need to be registered there. If you’re visiting, the car can be driven in the UK for up to six months without being registered, says Kat’s Gone Global. Be sure to have your driver’s license, registration, proof of insurance, and some proof of when you and your car arrived in the UK. Depending on your car, some additional modifications may be needed to register the car. That could include headlights, brake lights, emissions, and window tinting, explains ShipMyCar.

With this all covered, it will likely cost you several hundred to several thousand dollars to send your car to Europe, but you’ll be all set to explore the continent while behind the wheel.