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Ship a car or buy on island

 
Dbattersby
(@Dbattersby)
Active Member

Hi! We are moving in the beginning of October- we're doing aPMV in September to get housing but I'm starting to wonder if it's just easier to buy a car when we get there instead of driving out car across the country to Florida and then shipping it.

We have 2kids so I need a car seat friendly car that's preferably a SUV.

Is it hard to Come across a good priced SUV? I understand your getting an island car with some island car problems.

Thank you!

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Topic starter Posted : July 31, 2017 4:53 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

There is no shortage of cars, trucks or SUV's for sale on STX. The term "good priced" is relative to each individual's situation.

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Posted : July 31, 2017 5:05 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

i usually recommend bringing your paid off car that you know the ins and outs of.

seems it is generally cheaper to bring the one you know then to buy one you dont know

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Posted : July 31, 2017 5:46 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Depends on how much the customs duty is if car or any part thereof is not manufactured in U.S.. Generally, if you have a good reliable vehicle it's best to bring it.

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Posted : August 1, 2017 4:10 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

If you don't want to drive your car to FL, you can also get transport from your door to Jacksonville or Miami. I had that quoted through International Logistics on a truck from Huston to Miami and I think it was around $800. Also had it done with a car I bought in Tampa and transported to Miami for about $100.

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Posted : August 1, 2017 6:35 am
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

On average 1-5k more here for used cars unless it's an island beater but assume you won't want that. I would bring one. I regret not bringing one when we first moved here.

The problem with island cars is that the island is so damn rough on them. If you do decide to buy here bring an extra $1,500 for repairs right off the bat. It will most likely need it.

We did recently get a decent little Kia SUV style with only minor fender damage/rust for 3k after our car was stolen from the mechanic. But you have to be FAST! On Facebook buy and sell groups, constantly and be first in line and available to look right after it's posted. Immediately call a mechanic and have them inspect it, negotiate and then go to the bank. We've put about 1k into the Kia now and it's a decent little car still needs rear struts and something wrong with first gear. But that's like 90% of island cars. Don't bring a Honda - apparently high theft. Our 97 CRV was like $4800 I think (almost five years ago) and I got a great deal on my jeep as friends were leaving island and had it financed. I paid off the loan and they signed it over to me.

Our first car on STT was "Cleatus" a real island beater. Two door vitara for $2500 that was a total rust bucket. You could lift up the floor mats and "flinstone" it. It also leaked from every seal and was filled with island critters. The entire car has no clear coat after my fiancé washed it with dish soap or something harsh so then the entire thing MOLDED. It was such a POS but I swear he loved that damn car and all it's glory. Honestly it was pretty fun...nice to not worry about it getting trashed since it already was lol. I will NEVER forget... we always took Cleatus to deserted beaches and just left it unlocked. Really no risk of anyone taking it or assuming anything decent was inside it. Once we parked near little Megan's. Come up and start to head home and it won't make the hill. So we pull over and look under the hood.... someone STOLE half the damn spark plugs out of it. We about died laughing. The walked up to the dairy and had milkshakes. Then had it towed and waited two weeks for new spark plugs. Apparently the ARE a hot commodity here. #youcantmakethisshitup SPARKPLUGS!!! :@)

He totally wanted another POS but the Kia was more... idk.... not junk lol. Probably should have just gotten another old beater, they last a hell of a lot longer than the new crap.

It sucks that hondas are such an issue here. I would suggest a CRV they're perfect for island life and SO roomy inside - maybe a newer one would be ok. The older ones get stolen, engines ripped out and used for racing. Well ours did. Rest of the car is probably burnt in the bush. RIP Betsy. This is what we were told from multiple sources including the police. We see a few driving around so not all get stolen but it's something to note about Honda.

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Posted : August 1, 2017 6:55 am
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

If you don't want to drive your car to FL, you can also get transport from your door to Jacksonville or Miami. I had that quoted through International Logistics on a truck from Huston to Miami and I think it was around $800. Also had it done with a car I bought in Tampa and transported to Miami for about $100.

You're up early... or late? Ugh I'm so nocturnal lol.

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Posted : August 1, 2017 6:57 am
rosesisland
(@rosesisland)
Trusted Member

We brought two vehicles. A truck and a small SUV. Sold truck after one year for more than we would've gotten in the states and even with shipping costs, made a profit as stateside trucks are in demand here, it seems. My American SUV was made in Canada and I paid that fee, but, no, no regrets in bringing my stateside vehicle. I know my car and what's been done and what it needs. An island car I wouldn't know unless I purchased one new again.

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Posted : August 1, 2017 8:49 am
T8kingtheplunge
(@T8kingtheplunge)
Active Member

stjohnjulie- when you bought the car in Tampa and transported it to Miami, did you need to register it in Florida or could you just wait and register just in the VI? I have USAA insurance which I know works in USVI.

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Posted : August 5, 2017 10:06 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

AandA2VI, up early 🙂 to bed at 7:30, up at 3. If I want any 'me time' at my house I have to get up really early to get it!

Because the car was transported from the seller in Tampa, directly to MIA through a freight company, it didn't need to be registered in FL. You will need to get insurance in the Virgin Islands I am pretty sure. But you can't get the insurance until it gets here. Local insurance companies will need the Bill of Lading before they will insure it. About 5 years ago I purchased a truck in the Orlando area and the seller of that truck allowed us to hold his plates, insurance, that sort of stuff while I had a friend drive the truck to Jacksonville for transport. My friend took the plates back to the seller of the truck after he dropped it at the dock. Would't think too many sellers would be comfortable with that though 😉 I used International Logistics both times and had them deal with getting the car registered as well. Costs more to use a service like that, but it was worth it for me at the time so I didn't have to waste a day or two dealing with all of that on STT.

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Posted : August 6, 2017 9:26 am
T8kingtheplunge
(@T8kingtheplunge)
Active Member

Thank you for the info stjohnjulie!

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Posted : August 6, 2017 2:45 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

I'm waiting to see if anyone tries to order a car from these folks

Carvana | Buy Used Cars Online & Skip The Dealership

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Posted : August 6, 2017 4:55 pm
Dbattersby
(@Dbattersby)
Active Member

Is there any regulations on shipping cars? I read somewhere that you can't bring in a car older than 10 years old, and then freight companies won't insure a car older than 5?

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Topic starter Posted : August 6, 2017 5:09 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

I've not heard of any age restrictions for import but the freight companies will not insure it over a certain age.

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Posted : August 7, 2017 1:08 am
Wolverine888
(@wolverine888)
Advanced Member

For those of you who have shipped vehicles from Miami to STT/STJ, how long before your vehicle arrived and anything seem out of order upon arrival?

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Posted : August 7, 2017 7:32 am
Ca. Dreamers
(@ca-dreamers)
Advanced Member

We left our cars @ VI Cargo 8am October 22, 2012 and they arrive here on STX October 31, 2012. No problems.

CD

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Posted : August 7, 2017 11:08 am
ernieandmaryjo
(@ernieandmaryjo)
Advanced Member

USAA insurance is good here. And my premium is less than half what it was in Colorado.

There are no age restrictions, I saw a '59 Beetle come through the port last year.

Don't know about the others, but Tropical Shipping's insurer goes back ten years. Anything older, they may negotiate a special rate.

Takes about a week from Miami to St Croix, not sure about STT. Vehicles arrive here Sunday or Monday depending on which company you use, but Customs only clears vehicles on Wednesday. That may be changing.

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Posted : August 7, 2017 2:27 pm
rosesisland
(@rosesisland)
Trusted Member

Is there any regulations on shipping cars? I read somewhere that you can't bring in a car older than 10 years old, and then freight companies won't insure a car older than 5?

We brought a Ford-F150 that was a '97 in 2012, no problem. Sold for way more than it would've in the states. I never heard of what you just said.

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Posted : August 7, 2017 4:59 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

From MIA, it takes about 3 days. From Jacksonville it takes 10 days. My most recent car shipped down was in January using International Logistics/Crowley. The boat was full and it got bumped off the shipment. So it sat for an extra week where it picked up lots of dings. The car was too old to be covered by the shippers insurance so I just have to deal with it.

Just a note, even if you make a booking, there is still a chance that you can get bumped off because food shipments always takes priority. And just to reiterate, nothing can be in the car and the car has to have less than 1/4 tank of gas in it. And just like with anything, there can always be a snag. The big food shipment the week of Thanksgiving that was due to arrive on a Saturday/Sunday was on a boat that broke down and was stuck in the Bahamas? and they had to send another boat to off load/load it onto to make it down. Ended up coming really early Wednesday.

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Posted : August 8, 2017 7:06 am
Wolverine888
(@wolverine888)
Advanced Member

Thanks everyone for your input, am engaged now in discussions with Blue Ocean Transport so will probably go with them.

StJohnJulie, that's disconcerting about the "extra dings," I just assumed these shippers would take better care of our cars once in their hands...anybody else experience handling damage?

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Posted : August 8, 2017 7:24 am
rosesisland
(@rosesisland)
Trusted Member

I'm waiting to see if anyone tries to order a car from these folks

Carvana | Buy Used Cars Online & Skip The Dealership

I've actually ordered two vehicles online. Not from above mentioned company. I did my homework and got car reports on each with the VIN number and checked the companies I used through the BBB. One was even delivered to my driveway. Why pay for the extras that a brick and mortar store charges if the company has just the car you are wanting?

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Posted : August 8, 2017 11:27 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

I wasn't too happy about the dings, but I wasn't that upset either. I bought an older car so I wouldn't get mad when that sort of thing happened when it got on island, which it will 🙂 I would recommend documenting with pictures just before it gets left with the transport company. And then inspecting when you pick it up. I am not sure what they would have done since I didn't have insurance (because of the age of the car) but they might have done a little something. Once you sign the release form though, they aren't going to do anything. My husband picked up the car and mentioned the dings to the agent, but signed the release form. I had the car for a month before my friend backed into it in my driveway and added a much bigger ding to make all of the little dings seem like nothing at all. :-/

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Posted : August 9, 2017 6:50 am
NorthsideKevin
(@northsidekevin)
Advanced Member

I just got quotes to get my RAV 4, which was purchased at Caribbean Auto Mart STT, back to St. Thomas. Something just shy of $3,000.00 from the Northeast to get it to Fort Lauderdale and down. No import duty because it originally came from there. I'm sure there would be an argument at Customs, but there you go.

I'm now looking at buying something used in FL, carefully, and shipping it down from there. I figure if I can get 10 day plates in FL (or whatever), I can run out the jumbies and get it to the dock.

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Posted : August 9, 2017 3:27 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

If you buy it from a dealer in FL, they can get it to the dock without registering it. Might take some explaining when working with the dealer, but if they make a couple of calls they will find out that it doesn't need to be registered if it's transported to the dock. They can get it there with their dealer plates if they are willing to drop it off.

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Posted : August 9, 2017 6:02 pm
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