What Does Shipping a Piano Overseas Really Cost?

shipping-piano-spratt-personal-shippingShipping a piano is a big undertaking whether you are going across town or to the other side of the globe. If you have a piano, you probably feel like it is an irreplaceable item and moving it can be a hard decision to make. 

Perhaps it is a family heirloom, or perhaps you’ve been teaching music or performing on it for many years. If your piano is priceless to you, moving without it is unthinkable. Once you’ve decided to move it overseas, you have some research to do to bring your piano with you.

Often, shipping a piano overseas costs less than replacing a good piano, but transport is not the only cost to consider. Whether it is an ordinary upright piano, a grand piano or a baby grand, you will need to factor in three additional costs:

  • Ivory Ban;
  • Specialist packing materials;
  • Insurance; 
  • Tuner upon arrival.

Ivory Ban and the documentation needed

The first thing you need to check is your piano’s keys. If they are made with ivory, you might not be able to bring into your new country. That’s because of the international ban on ivory trade, a decision taken by a group of nations to protect elephants from Asia and Africa. Some nations will remove the ivory from the piano as a condition of letting it pass through the country. To avoid that, you will need to prepare the appropriate documentation, stating that your piano is more than 100 years old or to re-top it with plastic. Allow yourself at least 90 days before moving overseas to sort all documentation needed to move your piano abroad. 

Packing Your Piano for Overseas Shipping

This amazing concoction of wood and wire is incredibly delicate for something so large. Wood can warp if exposed to moisture. It can also crack, chip and splinter. A piano’s metal strings can stretch or even rust, as can the tuning pegs. So it is critical to pack it appropriately.

In general, regardless of how you protect the interior, you must protect the exterior with well-secured moving blankets. String is the best option here because it does not stick nor does it stretch. Once it is wrapped, add a layer of cardboard like a shell. Then your piano should be attached to a skid board for moving.

The exact details of how to pack a piano vary by the type of piano it is, and it is best to consult with the maker, if possible. They might be able to recommend someone locally to disassemble and pack your piano, if that is necessary.

It’s important to check the price of this and include it in your budget for shipping a piano overseas.

Shipping Insurance for Your Piano

Don’t assume whatever insurance you have will cover your piano. Depending on your policy, it might need to be specified. It could add to the cost of your insurance, or you may need to take out a separate policy. Each situation is different depending on what you are shipping, where it is going and what insurance company you use.

Getting Your Piano Back in Tune

We offer door to door deliveries throughout the world, and that will make getting your piano to your new home easiest. It is a good idea to line up a professional piano tuner to unpack your piano, set it up and tune it when you arrive. Because pianos are affected by temperature and humidity, it is best not to rush to get them back in action. Let them acclimate before having the tuner come over. It is a good idea to check with local piano experts about how long your piano will need.

Contact us to find out what shipping your piano overseas will cost.


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