Insurance costs for shipping or moving a single automobile across the country or internationally depends on 2 factors, namely the:
- Insured value of the vehicle, and
- Premium rates for the cargo insurance policy selected.
Obviously, insurance premiums for a fully featured Luxury Mercedes-Benz SL-Class retailing for US$180,000 will be higher than the policy rates to insure the shipment of a BMW Z4 sports coupe with a $50,000 retail sticker price.
Types of Automobile Cargo Insurance
Premiums will also vary by the type of shipping insurance policy and how comprehensive the underlying coverage is. For example:
- Total loss coverage is only payable if the automobile is fully destroyed during a move.
- Basic insurance covers full or partial damages and losses to the shipped automobile.
- All risk insurance policies cover the widest range of risks and losses during cargo shipments.
While all risk coverage is the most comprehensive, that term is somewhat misleading because only risks not specifically excluded are covered.
Compared below are the cargo insurance rates for land, ocean and air shipments. Dollar amounts shown are in U.S. currency.
Insurance Rates for Car Shipments within USA or Canada
The following list reveals the lowest premium rates per $1,000 of an automobile’s insured value. Costs are for shipping a single vehicle within American or Canadian borders under three different types of cargo insurance policies, starting with the least comprehensive total loss coverage. For each policy type, insurance rates for shipping the automobile cargo by land, ocean and air carrier are presented.
- Total loss … US$5.50 per $1,000 for land shipments ($9.50 for ocean, $7.50 for air)
- Basic … $8 for land ($12 for ocean, $10 for air)
- All risk … $8.80 for land ($12.80 for ocean, $10.80 for air).
Generally, insurance rates for land shipments of automobiles are the lowest for domestic transportation. Ocean shipments are the most expensive. Under a total loss policy, land cargo insurance is 73% less costly than coverage for an ocean shipment.
Import Insurance Rates for International Car Shipments
When importing a vehicle from outside North America, direct land shipments are not an option. Rate comparisons below are for ocean or air deliveries from a foreign country to the U.S. or Canada, and also apply for a shipment from U.S. or Canada to the foreign country.
The foreign country rates per $1,000 below are from 72% to 116% higher than the quoted rates for insuring an automobile shipment within the U.S. or Canada.
- Total loss … US$18.70 per $1,000 for ocean shipments ($16.20 for air)
- Basic … $21.20 for ocean ($18.70 for air)
- All risk … $22 for ocean ($19.50 for air).
How much does it cost to insure a $50,000 BMW imported from Germany? Premiums range from $810 for an air cargo shipment under a total loss contract to $1,100 for an ocean carrier delivery under an all risk policy.
Insurance Quotes for Mexican Auto Shipments
Insurance premiums per $1,000 to cover transportation of a vehicle from Mexico to the U.S. or Canada varies from $7.50 for an air cargo shipment under total loss coverage to $19.30 for an all risk marine policy.
- Total loss … US$14 per $1,000 for land shipments ($16 for ocean, $7.50 for air)
- Basic … $16.50 for land ($18.50 for ocean, $10 for air)
- All risk … $17.30 ($19.30 for ocean, $10.80 for air).
Land insurance rates from Mexico are much higher than premiums quoted for a domestic shipment via truck or rail within America or Canada. However, rates to insure a vehicle imported by air from Mexico are the same as if delivered from a U.S. or Canadian location. This applies regardless if the insurance is for total loss, basic or all risk coverage.
Evaluating Domestic and Import Insurance Rates
While savings on cargo insurance rates are an important consideration, they should not be the deciding factor when choosing either the mode of transportation or the type of insurance policy.
For example, an air cargo shipment may result in the lowest insurance rate per $1,000. Yet the shipping costs via aircraft may be prohibitively higher and involve more risk. Alternatively, clients who want to maximize both the speed of delivery and insurance coverage may be willing to pay a higher insurance premium in order to fund those requirements.
Before deciding on car shipping insurance, readers are encouraged to speak with a reputable freight forwarder. That professional should have a demonstrable commitment to client services and have a proven ability to resolve cargo insurance issues.
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