Shipping Your Car to Italy

Car Transporter, by Ian Britton, freefoto.comWhether you are a civilian employee or military, the military pays to ship one car to Italy for you.  The process of shipping a car is not really difficult, but will take you a bit of time.

What is the required paperwork?

Before you ship your car, you will need to prepare a few things. First of all, you need the title and registration to your car. If you still owe money on your car, you will need to get permission from your lien-holder to ship it overseas. The same goes if you are leasing a car you plan on bringing to Italy.  Find an insurance carrier to insure your car. As far as I know, USAA and Geico insure autos in Italy. You will need to insure the car to ship it. As with any other activity involving military moves, you will need copies of orders and your military identification card.

Our insurance carrier was not among those that insured cars in Italy. We changed to USAA, because of this. We had difficulty with the company that financed our car giving us permission to ship it. So, we ended up refinancing with USAA, as well. If I must say, USAA gave us great customer service. I appreciated it when I was stressing out about the move.

Where do I take my car to have it shipped?

After you have the initial paperwork process started, you will want to figure out where in the heck you have to take your car to ship it. Depending on where you live, this can as simple as a short drive. For others, it may need a day of travel and figuring out the logistics of the return trip. Go to the website VPC Locations to decide the nearest drop-off site.

My family lived near Fort Riley, Kansas. To drop the car off, I drove it to Pontoon Beach, Missouri (outside Saint Louis.) The Army then paid to fly me back to Kansas City. No closer flight was available, nor would the Army pay for a hotel to spend the night. Because the car back to Kansas would have been a one-way rental, it was cheaper for them to pay for the flight. So, I could take a shuttle for the 2 hour ride to Fort Riley or finding someone to pick me up at the airport. Not exactly convenient, but I made it work.

Prepare your car for drop-off.

Your car will need to be clean to drop it off. The shippers do not want dirty cars. If your car is not clean inside and out, they may ask you to clean it up before they accept it for shipment. Remove everything you can before you arrive at the drop-off location. You can leave things like tools, snow tires and jumper cables in the car, but they will need to be secured. To see a list of what you can keep in your car during shipment, check out the American Auto Logistics website Vehicle Turn-In page. Make sure you have less than a quarter of a tank of gas left in your car. If you have more, you can’t ship it.

I am a bit paranoid and had a very clean car when I arrived at the vehicle turn-in place. Unfortunately, I had more than a quarter of a tank of gas. I drove and drove around. Finally, I took my car to a local repair shop and paid someone $20 to have it drained. They put my gas in a gas can and got my twenty bucks.  (Sounds like a racket I should get into…)

What to expect when dropping your car off?

When you arrive at the drop-off site, someone will most likely meet you and then take a look at your car. If your car is not clean or if it has too much gas, the staff person will ask you  to clean it or burn up your gas and come back later. You will fill out some paperwork and the staff will look at your orders, title, registration, proof of insurance and ID card. Once everything is in order, you wait in line for inspection. Once the inspection is complete, you will sign a form that you agree with it and you are on your way.

The process was pretty streamlined for me. The waiting in line took longer than the actual inspection. I did have a few items they would not let me ship, like the car manual. Take your key off of any key ring, because they don’t want that either. As long as you prepare, the actual drop-off is easy.

When will my car get to Italy?

Good question. Usually, shipping a car to Europe takes at least six weeks, but sometimes longer. We shipped our car in mid-June and it did not arrive until the second week of August. I have heard others have taken longer. The good news is that you can use the “Where’s My POV?” function on the website to track your car. It doesn’t help much when it just says “in-transit” but it will give you a heads up when your car arrives at port.

In another post, I will talk about sending a second vehicle and registration.

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5 Comments on “Shipping Your Car to Italy”

  1. Katie says:

    Hi I am supposed to drop my car off at the St. Louis location for transport to Hawaii (husband is in AirForce). We got married while he was on leave so he had to go ahead without me. Anyway I will be driving by myself from Michigan to turn in my vehicle. I am wondering about the location of this particular POV station safety and East St. Louis in general. I have traveled many times alone before but checked crime stats online. It seems as though this location has one of the highest crime rates in the US. Leaving me feeling uncomfortable and nervous especially since I have never been to St. Louis and not sure what to expect.

    • Peg Crippen says:

      The shipping site is actually on the Illinois side of St. Louis. The town is called Pontoon Beach. It is not near downtown St. Louis. I drove my car from Kansas to St. Louis to drop off my car. I did the trip in one day by myself. I did not feel threatened at all by the location. It seems to me it was on the outskirts of the city. I was more nervous when I took a cab to the airport to catch a flight back home than when I was driving.

      I’d probably not stay in St. Louis. Maybe you can drive part way one day and stay somewhere else. Then finish the drive to St. Louis and get your car checked early the next day. Then you are traveling through the parts that you are unsure about during daylight. If you can bring someone along, it would probably make you feel better as well.

      Make sure you gas up far enough ahead of time to have only a quarter of a tank of gas left. They won’t take your car if you have more than that. I learned that the hard way! 🙂

  2. jen says:

    hi my question is: what if you ship your car early and your not there when it arrives? will they hold it for you or send it some where to be held?

    • Peg Crippen says:

      Jen, As far as I know they will. It takes so long to get a vehicle here, that usually everyone has arrived weeks before the vehicle. To be safe, I would ask the Vehicle Registration office. You can reach them at DSN 534-2413 or international at 011-39-0444-71-2413. Good luck!

  3. […] at her blog what you may expect when you get there. Do you want to know what you need to do to get your car shipped to Italy? Maybe  you’ve always wondered why in the world you would need a tourist passport […]


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