Shipping A Car To Hawaii

So you’ve decided to make your home on the Big Island. Let the planning begin!

Chances are you probably have a lot more questions than answers at the moment, but rest assured that everything will come together in the end. As a relocation expert, one of the most common questions I hear is about what is easy to move over from the mainland … and what isn’t.

When it comes to shipping a car to Hawaii, there are many things to consider before finalizing your decision. In some cases its easier to ship your car, motorcycle, boat or other “toy” to the Big Island, and in some cases its better to sell it and replace it once you are living here.

That decision is based on several factors.

Where will you be shipping your car from?

If you live on the west coast of the Mainland, it costs around $1,000 to ship an average sized vehicle from one of the ports. If you don’t live on the west coast, you’ll have to factor the additional costs of getting your vehicle to one of the ports into the final cost.

What will you be shipping?

While an average sized car costs around $1,000 to ship, other vehicles can add additional charges. If you have a large truck, a SUV, a RV, or watercraft such as a boat, you can expect to pay more than the standard shipping rate.

Do you own the vehicle or is it leased?

If you are financing your car, you might be required to get a letter from your credit provider granting permission for it to be shipping to Hawaii. If you are leasing your vehicle, you may have difficulty getting permission; you may have to pay off the lease or buy it in order to ship it. (The one exception is if you are a military member.)

What is the value of your vehicle?

And finally, consider the value of your vehicle. New cars generally are more expensive in Hawaii, so if you have a newer car, it may be worth shipping it over and using it for a few years. If the value of it is anywhere near the shipping costs, you may think twice about the process.

Once you make a decision to ship your car to Hawaii, there are several shipping companies to choose from. With a quick search, you will not only find a variety of shipping companies, but a plethora of review sites to determine which offers the best service for your needs. No matter which company you choose, the shipping procedure will be the same:

  • Make a reservation to drop off your car at the port. Keep in mind that car shipments can take several weeks, depending on shipment schedules.
  • Be sure your car is in good working condition, and isn’t leaking fluids. Shipment companies may refuse your car if it isn’t working properly.
  • Remove everything from the vehicle that wasn’t factory installed. You can not ship other items in your car, such as packed boxes or other valuables.
  • When dropping your vehicle off, make sure you have your booking agreement, valid drivers license, vehicle registration, proof of ownership, lien holder permission if applicable, proof of insurance, and copies of all keys for every part of the car. You will be leaving the keys with the car, so its advisable to have an extra set with you.
  • When picking up your vehicle, bring all documentation with you once again to prove ownership of the car.

Once your car arrives in Hawaii, you’ll have 30 days to register it with the county in which you are now living. From there, its time to explore!

Annette Mejia, Realtor Broker
Annette Mejia, Realtor Broker

"Everything Annette did for me was from the heart"

As someone that has spent her whole life feeling lucky to work with people in customer service, I vowed then and there to help people like you and me have the experience they deserved when moving to The Big Island. Because let’s face it, this should be the start of the happiest, proudest, and most peaceful period in your life!

For 15 years I have been helping people make the most out of life and real estate on The Big Island and I would be honored to do that for you too. I look forward to meeting you!

Warmest Aloha,
Annette Mejia

Live On The Big Island