Military Relocation: A Comprehensive Guide to Car Shipping for Service Members

Moving to a new permanent duty station (PDS) can be a challenging process for military personnel and their families. One of the most critical aspects of a military relocation is figuring out how to ship your car to your new assignment. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every step of the car shipping process for military personnel, including eligibility, finding a reputable shipping company, and tips for a successful PCS move.

Understanding Military Acronyms

One of the first things you need to familiarize yourself with when planning a military relocation is the various acronyms used in the process. Here are some common acronyms you’ll come across:

  • POV (Privately Owned Vehicle)
  • TO (Transportation Office)
  • CONUS (Continental United States)
  • OCONUS (Outside Continental United States)
  • PCS (Permanent Change of Station)
  • PDS (Permanent Duty Station)

Be sure to keep these acronyms in mind as they will be used throughout this guide.

Step 1: Get Your Orders and Talk to Your Transportation Office

Before making any car shipping decisions, you must receive your military relocation orders. These orders will determine which entitlements you qualify for and when you need to start the process. It’s essential to meet with your TO counselors early and often, as they have the most comprehensive knowledge about your specific move details.

Step 2: Determine Your POV Entitlements

When planning your military relocation, take full advantage of any available government funding. Generally, the government will cover the cost of shipping one POV for OCONUS moves. However, if you’re moving within the CONUS, you may need to meet specific criteria to qualify for reimbursement:

  • Be married: The Department of Defense requires two drivers, and they must be married to each other.
  • Have more than one POV: To be eligible for military PCS vehicle shipping reimbursements in the CONUS, service members must have two or more POVs.
  • Travel together: Everyone in the family must ride in the same vehicle – not fly.

Step 3: Research Military Car Shipping Companies

If you qualify for government funding, the military will handle all the logistics of your transport. If not, you’ll be responsible for finding a reputable company specializing in military car transport. Fortunately, many car shipping companies, such as ShipYourCarNow, provide military relocation services and offer shipping discounts for members of the military.

Step 4: Gather Necessary Documents

Before initiating the car shipping process, gather the following documents to have them readily available:

  • Vehicle details (year, make, model, VIN, and proof of operability)
  • Proof of vehicle ownership (registration or title)
  • Car insurance policy records
  • A driver’s license or passport
  • PCS order documentation

Step 5: Obtain Shipping Quotes

Once you’ve identified suitable car transport services, use each company’s website tool or shipping calculator to receive free quotes. Comparing quotes will help you choose the best provider for your needs and budget.

Step 6: Choose a Shipping Method

There are two primary methods for shipping your car during a military relocation: open transport and enclosed transport. Open transport is more affordable and the most common option, but your vehicle will be exposed to the elements during transit. Enclosed transport is more expensive but provides additional protection for your car.

Step 7: Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping

Before shipping your car, take the following steps to ensure a smooth and successful transport:

  • Remove all personal items and valuables from the vehicle
  • Address any outstanding recalls or repairs
  • Ensure the car is clean, both inside and out
  • Document the vehicle’s condition, including any existing damage, with photos
  • Leave only a quarter tank of gas in the vehicle
  • Disable alarms and secure any loose parts

Step 8: Coordinate Pickup and Delivery

Work with your chosen car shipping company to coordinate pickup and delivery dates and locations. Be prepared to be flexible, as unforeseen delays can occur during transport.

Step 9: Inspect Your Vehicle Upon Delivery

Upon receiving your car at your new PDS, thoroughly inspect the vehicle for any potential damage that may have occurred during shipping. Compare the car’s condition to the photos you took before transport. If you notice any new damage, report it to the shipping company immediately.

Step 10: Keep Receipts and Documentation

Retain all receipts, paperwork, and emails related to your car shipping process. These documents may be needed for reimbursement claims or if any disputes arise with the shipping company.

Additional Tips for a Stress-Free Military Relocation

  • Utilize resources provided by ShipYourCarNow, a company that proudly supports the military and assists in their relocation efforts.
  • Stay in close communication with your TO counselors, as they have the most up-to-date information about your move.
  • Reach out to fellow service members who have completed PCS moves for advice and insights.
  • Be prepared for potential delays in vehicle delivery and have a backup plan in place if necessary.

By following this comprehensive guide and the steps outlined, you can successfully ship your car during your military relocation and focus on the other aspects of your move. Remember to utilize available resources and support from companies like ShipYourCarNow that are dedicated to helping service members and their families during this often stressful time.