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Comparing International Moving Quotes

Moving overseas and deciding which company to relocate with is by far the most time consuming part of moving abroad.

It also happens to be the most important, not just for the obvious reasons of costs, i.e. overpaying, but it is also important to make sure you are comparing relevant services.

This is why it's vital to know what to look for when comparing international moving quotes.

What to Look for In a Moving Quote

As most consumers are price sensitive, your first instinct is to be favorable on initial price (when it is the lowest!)

So, based on our 38 years of experience in the relocation industry, here are the four most important things to look for when comparing international moving quotes.

  1. Right Accreditations/Licenses
  2. DTHC - Destination Terminal Handling Charges
  3. Additional Packaging Charges
  4. Cubic Volume / Weight

**Before we first dive into each one, the easiest way to avoid hidden moving costs are to READ SUBSCRIPTS and everything carefully and completely.

How Much Does it Cost to Move Overseas?

As with any relocation, international moving costs are based on multiple factors. These include the volume of your shipment, desired service, physical location and destination country.

This helps protect you even if the company that is trying to gain your business is vague or lacking in professional integrity.

Looking for the Right Accreditations

There are many different memberships that you could look for, but the most important in terms of choosing an international moving company are:

  • FIDI/FAIM - Federal Association of International Movers
  • FMC Licensing
  • IAM - International Association of Movers
  • AMSA - American Moving and Storage Association

In terms of licensing, make sure with absolute certainty that the company is fully licensed, insured and bonded with the proper authorities.

Every quote you get should be from an international relocation company licensed by the FMC, Federal Maritime Commission. That is the first one to look for or ask about.

You may wonder how this affects your moving cost. Well if you decide to ship with an unlicensed and uninsured carrier, then if something does happen to your effects the company will avoid any responsibility and you'll be left with the damaged goods and be paying out of pocket for new items/repairs.

The second and third thing to look for in your international moving quote is where most people discover hidden costs.

As an example, if you compare quotes and one is hundreds of dollars less than the other and one salesperson says his includes everything that his competitor's does, you should investigate further.

It is most likely because one of them doesn't include the destination terminal handling charges, has additional packing fees or is not comparable.

Destination Terminal Handling Charges

The most important bit of advice we hope you consider is to make sure every moving quote you receive includes the Destination Terminal Handling Charges (DTHC).

Unfortunately, a lot of relocation companies do not include them and do an even worse job of explaining them.

When this happens, they just leave these additional charges for the overseas handling agent, who then sends you a bill and won't return your belongings until you've paid.

Sometimes, it can be challenging to locate these charges on quotes because companies will often use very vague language or completely different verbiage.

Some other terms to look for:

  • Destination Port Charges
  • Terminal Port Charges
  • Destination Fees

Additional Packing Charges

These can also turn out to add more unexpected costs to your international move. If a quote doesn't explicitly state that there is NO FEE for packing per box or per wrapped piece of furniture it is best to ask directly. This could add hundreds of dollars to your move in addition to the initial quote.

Cubic Volume / Weight

When comparing quotations, it's not just about the bottom line but more importantly about the cubic volume / weight.

You need all quotes to be based on the same volume / weight for the purposes of comparing quotations.

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