This is perhaps an even bigger decision if you’re moving to Australia. The sheer distance from the UK means shipping furniture there is expensive, and can take a long time – up to around 12 weeks is fairly standard. Taking both cost and speed into account, it’s worth carefully considering how much, if anything, you need to ship and what might be best bought new or second-hand after you arrive.
International moving costs
If you engage a reputable international removals company, base shipping costs will be transparent and generally based on the cubic volume of goods that need to be shipped. Prices will vary between firms and depending upon any special requirements, but expect costs to start in the region of £3,000 to £5,000 to ship the contents of an average 2-3 bedroom family home. Our international moving cost calculator will help you to work out an approximate base price.
Note that additional fees may apply over and above any moving quote you receive – for example any applicable custom fees or duties, or import taxes. Bear in mind that Australia has extremely strict border and custom controls with regards to certain materials. Some natural fibres, such as bamboo and wicker, cannot be brought into the country, and quarantine inspectors may require other items to be fumigated or treated to prevent the risk of introducing exotic pests and diseases – this will result in additional charges so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with Australian import restrictions beforehand.
If you do decide to ship your valuable belongings to your new home in Australia, it’s important to ensure that they are sufficiently protected against loss or damage in transit. Some removals firms may have liability cover as standard, but this is often limited and is unlikely to cover the cost of your belongings. It’s usually recommended that you take out a marine shipping insurance policy – and in fact some companies require you to take out such a policy as a condition of contract.
As with any other type of insurance, prices can vary between insurers and depend on the level of cover you decide to take – some may offer limited cover against loss only, while others provide more comprehensive cover for loss, theft or damage. Premiums are usually based on a percentage of the total value of the insured items (typically between 1 per cent and 5 per cent) and policies may be arranged either through the removals firm, via a third-party broker or directly with an insurer.
Choosing an international removals company
In common with any decision about which provider to go with, it’s important to compare removals companies not only on price but also on standards of service. Pay attention to what is included in the price, and look online for reviews and testimonials from previous customers. We also recommend using a company that is registered with an established trade association such as the British Association of Removers (BAR). There is a particular advantage in using members of the BAR Overseas Group, as it provides additional financial protection (the Advance Payment Guarantee) in the event of your mover suffering financial failure or going out of business.