Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Moving My Mazda 3 to Germany

My husband and I have two cars. Fortunately, we at least get to take one over to Germany with us. My Mazda 3 is newer and smaller than his Honda Accord, so in theory it will be more reliable and better suited to the streets in Germany, which tend to be narrower than in America. Plus, we both prefer driving the Mazda to the Honda, so it wasn’t hard to decide to which to take. Initially we also thought his being paid off while I am still making payments would make for less hassle to ship mine and sell his.

My Mazda 3

The reality of the situation trying to sell his car is a story for another post. What complicated things with moving my car while I’m still making payments is that we need a letter of permission from the lien holder for the car to be exported. We didn’t find this out until October 11th, about a month before my husband’s report date. When I called Chase to get that letter and told them it was due to a military move, I was transferred to a special department they have for military services. They advised me I would need:

• A letter stating we are moving to Germany due to military orders with both of our signatures.
• A copy of my husband’s orders
• A copy of our marriage certificate since his name is not on the loan
• A copy of proof of international auto insurance showing we’ll be covered overseas
• A copy of shipping insurance showing Chase as the lien holder
• Two references who live in the United States and their addresses and phone numbers

I was given the option to fax or mail the information and was told once it is received they will send out a letter of permission to take the car overseas within 7 to 10 days.

We had previously been advised by USAA that we could keep them for our auto insurance and just have it updated to an international policy when we moved. I called USAA on October 12th to find out that, fortunately, they would cover the Mazda in transit as well as while we’re in Germany, which meant I didn’t have to worry about separate shipping insurance. That was a relief.

Unfortunately, that relief was followed by being told that Germany requires 7.5 million euros in liability coverage. That’s the price of a Super Sport Limited Edition Aston Martin! It also requires 1 million euro to cover property damage and 50,000 euros in coverage for other damages.

Due to Germany’s minimum coverage requirements, the international auto insurance policy for my car will run just over $300 a month, much more than we pay for both our cars to be covered in America. Also, unlike in America, we cannot have a six month policy; it must be year to year. Since a move could occur at a time between yearly renewals, I asked about that. The woman told me if that happened, it would be prorated when we switched back, so we only have to pay the international price for whatever time we use internationally.

We had already planned to get a second, cheaper car once there, and the woman even suggested to do so because international auto insurance it is usually much cheaper with two cars. As an example, she used my husband’s Honda as a “junker” model, estimated 5k miles of travel a year—10k is average use which she estimated for the Mazda and indicated that can be adjusted if we think we’ll use it less or more—and said that would bring it down to about $250 a month. That’s still a little more for both cars per month than we pay in America, but at least it will be less than with the one car.

She told me if we buy the junker while the Mazda is in transit, they can put the other car on as soon as we call, so the policy will take effect the next day. While it may seem silly that two cars costs less than one, her explanation was that if we have a second, cheaper car, the liability risk for accidents and so forth is put onto that car, which would not be replaced in an accident, so the cost goes down. She said she preferred that she got to explain it while we had one car and may want to add one rather than having to explain to people who sell a car, call to take it off their insurance, and then get upset that it was cheaper having two.

International auto insurance takes effect from the port date, so we will need to call USAA when we have a date for it to be applied. However, since we need proof of coverage to get permission to export, she emailed a letter for us to send to Chase advising that we will be covered during a time period to include the shipment of the vehicle and while it is overseas. She told me next time to finance through USAA because it’s not this complicated. While she then said she was joking, had I been eligible for USAA at the time I bought my car it would have been a good idea. So far, USAA has been very good to us as far as making sure we get everything we need and providing knowledgeable service on all the products we have with them. She even told me if Chase gave us any hassle to call USAA with Chase on the line and they will help iron it out.

I also asked in the phone call about our renters insurance with them and was advised that, while the Army does cover damages of household goods in shipment, sometimes it’s hard to get a claim for loss or theft. She told me that they will cover everything in our household goods in transit as long as we leave the policy in place, and then we only need to give them our APO box when we get to Germany to have it transferred over to an international renter’s insurance policy. Unlike the international auto insurance, she said that the renters insurance will not be much more expensive.

Not too long after getting the information about what we would need, we found out that once we have the permission letter from Chase, all we have to do is take it and the car to transport to have it shipped whenever we are ready. Sound too easy? We found out a little later we won’t be using Port of Savannah. We’ll be using Port Charleston about 110 miles away. But that’s an adventure for another day.

Have you ever exported a car overseas? If so, what was your experience?

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6 Thoughts on “Moving My Mazda 3 to Germany

  1. This sounds like such a headache. It’s trying to organize all those “little things” before a move that is so time consuming. I sold my car when I moved to Germany and we only have 1 car here (as do most of my friends) which works surprisingly well. Public transportation here is much better here than it was in my home city of Calgary, Canada where a car is virtually a necessity.

    • Nearly everything in this move has been a headache. Every time it seems like something is set, it either changes or something else comes up. And we have the Army handling a good bit of the technicalities and cost (although we have to pay for the dogs’ transport and I think there are a few things coming up where we’ll be paying and then getting reimbursed). I can’t imagine the headache people must go through who move on their own (although I know a lot of them would sell the majority of things to avoid the hassle and expense).

      Having a car has been necessary everywhere I have lived as well. None had good public transportation. A friend who lives near Bitburg recommended we get two cars. She said she lives pretty far from anything and had to wait for her husband if she wanted to go to the store. Then when they got in an accident it took a long time to get reimbursed and he had to get rides to work while she was stuck at home. On top of that we found out it’s cheaper to have two cars for the insurance. So we will probably still try to do that, but at least the public transport is good if that can’t happen right away which it may not since our buyer for his car backed out with three weeks left til we move. :-/

  2. Sounds like one big mess, I agree with Laurel! Gee, I don’t ever want to deal with these problems!

    • Pretty much. I’d rather have them and be moving to Germany than not have them and not be lol. But it would be nice if things had gone smoother. At least it’s giving me something to blog about though. I originally hadn’t planned on starting the blog until we actually moved.

  3. Yep. I originally started it so I can write about life in Germany and our travels. 🙂

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