Shipping RV to Europe & Insurance- details

Texas Travel Blog

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Just called Seabridge International (410.633.0550) who is a Freight Forwarder, which is essentially like a travel agent for shipping.  For $125 they arrange the paperwork and the carrier and make it happen. Worth every penny!  Jennifer was very kind and patient.  She also mentioned that Delores in the office handles the shipping of many RV's to Europe.

Here's what I learned:

If we were shipping now (which we're not), it would run about $4500 (including their $125 fee) from Jacksonville, FL to Livorno, Italy (an hour west of Florence, north of Rome). 

As expected, fuel pricing and inflation caused steep increases over the $3000 prices of people's prior years experiences.  While this is expensive, I can only imagine the cost of 4-5 people using transporation, hotels, and restaurants over 4 months.  Too, we plan to store the RV in Europe for subsequent trips. 

Renting or Buying over there:  No, it isn't cheaper to rent or buy an RV in Europe for longer than 6 to 8 weeks of touring.  Even in good ol' days a few years ago.  And now the eroding value of the dollar makes purchasing or renting a European RV even more costly.   Update:  I just checked online for renting in Italy for 4 months (2 weeks less than we plan to be over there) and the price for rental was:  $24,709.35 USD.  PLUS $.96 per km!  Makes $4500 shipping fee look like a bargain, doesn't it?

If you want to compare to your rig's measurements for shipping cost estimates, Ciao Baby is 26'6" feet long, 10'1" high, and 8' wide.

It would cost less  in general to ship the RV to Belgium's Port of Antwerp  or France's La Havre, but she didn't have exact figures.  But the difference would be maybe $200 less, not enough to make up for the gas or time to get to Italy from there.  I will check Portugal and Spain as well when the time comes.

It would cost a bit more to ship from Galveston, but the exact figures were not available.  Not many shipping lines route from Galveston to Europe.

I should arrange shipping about 1 month in advance.  It takes just a few days to create a "dock receipt."

It takes about 10 days to ship.  If the rig sits at the port waiting for us, approximate port charges are $8-$10 per day.

Ned can deliver the RV to the shipping port even though his name isn't on the title.

I asked about locking supplies in the outside compartments, since some people have said to ship the RV empty and then proceeded to put it all in locked outside compartments, with some bedding and dishes still inside the RV.  She said that is left to the discretion of the owner, but they recommend shipping empty because there is the possibility of Customs not clearing the RV because it has stuff in it. 

Another option is to crate and ship the extra supplies. Or I can buy whatever we need over there.  See Papillon's experience:  and Adelle & Ron's in Chapter 6 of this book:

Here's more shipping info on Seabridge's website.

As for the "Green Card" of Insurance while we're over there:

I've emailed Andrea at Thum Insurance (800.968.8486) and email and Gail at Motorcycle Express, who also insure motorhomes abroad: (800-245-8726) and email  both of whom were very helpful.

I estimate about $200 a month for liability insurance and once Ciao Baby is over 20, Gail said, "When it is over 20 years old, you will need a letter from a certified mechanic stating that it is in good operationg condition."  Easy enough!

They suggested contacting them a couple months before needing the insurance so that underwriting has time to approve before the trip.  Also, they emailed me the applications to complete and fax back to them.  Seems like a simple process- here's hoping!

I still need to determine registration and insurance and inspection requirements for the rig while it is in Europe long-term.  I wonder how that works.

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