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

Getting The Mazda 3 In Germany

This picture was originally to show the extent of ‘fall’ I’d seen in FL but I guess it works just as well to illustrate this post.

My husband got an email December 8th that the car was available for pickup at the port. It said only my husband could get the vehicle unless he gave Power of Attorney to me. I thought this was a little silly considering the car is in my name. But at the time, neither of us had a license in Germany, so we had to wait. My husband scheduled us to take the written driving test, which is preceded by a review class, for December 13th. He had an orange booklet with the laws and signage which I read through and answered the practice questions for. The day before the test, he found out that they won’t allow spouses to take the same class, so mine would have to be scheduled separately. He has his license; I still haven’t tested for mine.

He wanted to go and pick up the car December 16th, but when he checked USAA to print off proof of our international auto insurance, it still showed our coverage for Georgia. He asked me if I had ever set the international insurance up. I told him that I had called USAA about the international auto insurance in October, and that was how we even got the letter from them to send to Chase so we could take the car overseas. I remember the woman had said we need to call back when we had a port date to apply it. I could have sworn I told her to just put an effective date a couple days before we were scheduled to fly out so we wouldn’t have to do that, or that one of us had called back to apply it, but wherever the disconnect had happened, they were not showing that we had international coverage.

When my husband called USAA, he mentioned the letter we had gotten to send to Chase which stated:

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is to confirm that USAA is protecting your interests in the above referenced vehicle under Comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible and Collision coverage with a $500 deductible.

The effective date of the new policy is July 22, 2011. The expiration date is October 26, 2012. This policy will cover the vehicle during shipment and while it is in Germany.

Thank you,
USAA

The lady he spoke to said there was no record of that letter. I pointed out where the page preceding the letter says, “This electronic communication is considered an original document and will be part of your record at USAA.”  So why was she not tracking it? After much go round, he was able to get the international auto insurance policy to take effect on Monday the 19th with the same price I had been given in October. He requested to speak to the supervisor who seemed to genuinely empathize that there had somehow been a mix up and made sure that everything would be straight from there.

My husband didn’t get a chance to get the car until December 27th. He had a friend drive him to Mannheim (where the port is) to get the car and then followed his friend back to Heidelberg. They took the autobahn on the way back, which my husband said was not as intimidating as it looks.  It will probably be awhile before I can find out for myself. I am glad he has his license though because it makes it easier for us to explore, him to get to work, and us to get groceries instead of walking lugging backpacks.

How can one little car be so much trouble?

Unfortunately, the car did not pass the safety inspection. The only reasons were that we didn’t have a first aid kit in the car (although we had to take everything out of the car to take it to the port) and we had tint on the windows. The first part was not a big deal as it was a matter of putting one in before we had it inspected again when we got the permanent plates (for the time being we had temporary ones). The fact they wanted us to remove the tint annoyed me a little considering that it’s not very dark and I bought the car from the dealership with it already installed. But rules are rules, so we had to find a way to get it off. I’ll tell you how we did that as well as a bit about getting the plates and required safety stuff next time.

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8 Thoughts on “Getting The Mazda 3 In Germany

  1. Oh, German bureaucracy! I am so sorry that you are having so many problems!
    But you really don’t have to fear the German Autobahn! Don’t worry!

    • Thanks. If it’s not one thing it’s another lol. At least it all works out in the end (knock on wood). Yeah it’s not as bad now that I’ve been in the car with my husband on it, but before we had a car I had the trip from Frankfurt (which I fell asleep on) and the view of people zipping down the autobahn from an overpass near post, so it looked more intimidating than it probably is. Hopefully I can get a license soon to drive on it myself but I don’t know when.

  2. Wow! Seems like a nightmare! The tinted windows have always appeared to be a problem, but I still see Americans drive around in them in Germany. I wonder how they managed to bypass inspection. Also,the mix-up seemed very time-consuming and frustrating. So much trouble because of a car, indeed.

    • Yep. By this point in the moving process I was kind of used to snags though so it was just one more thing lol. I haven’t seen anyone with tint, but I wonder how as well. Mine wasn’t terribly dark. I found out they do allow tint on the back windows of a certain percentage but no colored tint on the front, so if they have it on the front windows I’m not sure how they got registered, unless you’ve seen people driving with temporary plates. We didn’t take the tint off until right before the inspection to get the permanent plates. Yeah it was frustrating (although it might have been part my fault lol) but at least we got it worked out.

  3. Lukasz on June 25, 2012 at 10:59 pm said:

    I found this blog to be really interesting due to the fact that I will be sending my Mazda 3i sport shortly to Germany for my upcoming delegation. If you would not mind I would like to ask you some questions about the process to hopefully get some pointers. Thanks.

    • Sure, you can ask them here or feel free to contact me via the contact form at the top of the blog

      • Faith Tate on August 31, 2012 at 11:09 am said:

        OMG! So I probably did THE dumbest thing possible. I owned this raggedy little chevy and decided I wanted something nice and reliable in Germany. So I traded it in and got a Honda Accord coupe. It never crossed my mind that the insurance would be so exorbitantly high! I got a quote and literally wanted to cry. This is one of the worse decisions I have ever made. I don’t even know if the company I have financed with will let me take the car with me to Germany. The insurance will be $300! That’s more than the car note. I don’t know what to do. I don’t think I will be able to afford that, I’m only an e-4. Do you have any advice? TIA

        • It’s a good idea to have something reliable, but it being new will be costly. (On the upside if you have a good warranty you may find any problems covered if there is a dealership here. I haven’t written about it yet, but we ended up having some recalls on my Mazda which the German Mazda dealer was able to get authorization to fix here). Most likely you’ll be able to take the car as long as you have proof that your car will be insured overseas, but I would call your lien holder early to find out what you need to do. Our insurance is also about that amount. When I called USAA about the prices they let me know it would go down with a second, older car and recommended buying a junker when we got here just to have the insurance go down because then the accident liability is put on the older car. We didn’t end up doing that, but that is one option. If you want to read more about the steps we had to take to get our car over here, I wrote about what I needed to get the letter of permission from my lien holder and what I learned about international insurance here: http://embracingadventure.com/2011/10/19/moving-my-mazda-3-to-germany/. I wrote about some problems we had getting the letter from the lien holder as well as some things we learned we needed to be able to ship the car out at the port here: http://embracingadventure.com/2011/12/05/moving-my-mazda-3-to-germany-part-ii/ Finally, I wrote about passing our vehicle inspection and getting the car registered here: http://embracingadventure.com/2012/06/07/passing-germanys-vehicle-safety-inspection-registering-the-mazda-3/. Best of luck!

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