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Planning for International Move Costs


by: April Dykman
01 Dec 2010

Unlike many domestic moves, if you are moving abroad you almost certainly need to hire an international moving company to help pack up your belongings and ship them by air, ground, or sea to your new home country. So you know you need to budget for international movers, but what costs do you need to include?

International moving costs are typically based on the total volume or weight of your possessions. International moving companies should provide an in-house estimate that is close to final cost. To give you an estimate, a representative of the moving company should do a walk through of your home and evaluate the volume and weight of your belongings.

Be wary of any company who gives you an estimate sight-unseen--accurate estimates require having a professional survey your belongings.

Do I Need to Pay Duties and Taxes on My Belongings?

Used goods and personal items are allowed to enter most countries without being taxed. Check with your moving company for general information and contact the embassy or consulate of your destination country for official guidelines.

What Kind of Insurance Is Available for My Belongings when Relocating Abroad?

There are a number of insurance plans, including basic coverage, full replacement value coverage, and additions to basic coverage. Check with your moving company or independent insurer to choose the best option for insuring your possessions. Certain forms of insurance may come with restrictions--for example, if you opt for full replacement value coverage, the moving company generally needs to pack your belongings for you, which can add to the cost significantly.

How Can I Save Money on My International Move?

There are several ways to cut down on your moving costs when relocating abroad. Use the following tips to lower your moving expenses:

  • Sell and donate any items you don't absolutely need to take with you. Sell items on eBay, at a garage sale, or give them away to a local charity. With an international move, weight equals money. The less weight, the lower your moving bill.
  • Get at least five estimates from international moving companies. This gives you leverage to get the best possible rate. To avoid any surprise charges, ask the moving company about possible fees that could be added into the total cost.
  • Organize your belongings. Even if the moving company is packing your items for you, make sure you make a list of things that will be packed. Gather similar items together (breakables, electronics, paintings, etc.); empty all containers of liquids and food; and create a sense of order to make packing more efficient for the movers.

An international move is a big life change. Start off on the right foot by making sure your belongings arrive intact and you fully understand the services and charges related to moving them.

Sources:
International Moving FAQs • http://www.bekins.comhttp://www.bekins.com/moving/Moving-Internationally-FAQs • Bekins Van Lines, LLC