After receiving your orders to move to a new permanent change of station (PCS), you’ll have a lot of things to sort out. You’re shipping out to another location, potentially overseas, so you have to uproot your entire life. Naturally, you have to find accommodation for yourself and your family, as well as finding military movers to ship your household goods to your new location.
But what about your car? Can you take it with you?
Yes, you can ship your personally owned vehicle to your new station. But before you start searching for a shipping company, there are some key questions you need to answer. This article provides those answers so you know exactly what to do when searching for military car shipping.
Question No. 1 – Can I Access Car Shipping Military Discounts?
You’ll only need to worry about finding car shipping military discounts if you opt for a personally procured move (PPM). With a PPM, you’re responsible for handling every aspect of the move, including finding an appropriate vehicle transportation company for your POV.
It’s this search that will show you whether you can access car shipping military discounts.
Generally speaking, you’ll find that companies that only provide standard car shipping services don’t offer military discounts. You’ll pay the same price as a civilian who ships their vehicle. If you want a discount, look for companies that have dedicated military car shipping services. In addition to understanding the red tape you have to cut to transport a POV to your new base, these companies tend to charge military personnel less than they charge civilians.
Question No. 2 – What Is a Personally Procured Move (PPM)
You have two options when it comes to military PCS vehicle shipping:
- Personally Procured Move (PPM)
- Military Move
With a PPM, you handle all aspects of the move yourself. That means you’re responsible for finding movers and a shipping company for your vehicle. The good news is that you don’t have to pay the full costs for the companies you find. The military pays 100% of what it would have paid for its own moving services to cover your costs.
Alternatively, you can opt for a military move. Many do so because it requires less effort on their part. The military handles all aspects of the move, including the packing and shipping of your POV. It also accepts liability for any damage that occurs to your items as a result of its work.
Question No. 3 – Why Go the PPM Route to Ship My Car? Military Seems Easier!
Shipping your vehicle via the military is definitely easier than arranging for shipping yourself. The same goes for transporting your household goods (HHGs). You’re assigned a Transportation Service Provider (TSP), which contracts with a local moving company. When it’s time for your move, you alert the TSP and it makes the arrangements on your behalf. Typically, the movers and vehicle shippers that come to you handle the packing of your goods, as well as shipping.
So if you’re asking yourself “will the military ship my car?” the simple answer is yes, they will. Plus, they’ll handle a lot of the complicated stuff on your behalf.
With that in mind, you’re now wondering “why should I do it myself when I want to ship my vehicle? Military shipping is much easier.”
There are a few reasons.
The first is that the shipping process takes longer with a military move. That’s especially the case for HHGs, as the military takes everything to warehouses before shipping your items to your new location. In addition to creating delays, this process increases the chances of your goods getting lost or damaged during transit. With a PPM, you have full control over the process so you can guarantee door-to-door delivery of your vehicle and HHGs.
Second, you may have multiple POVs to ship. While military PCS vehicle shipping is free (more on that in a moment), it has strings attached. You can only ship a single vehicle and that POV has to weigh less than 20 metric tons. You may find that using your own vehicle transportation company is cheaper, especially once you apply car shipping military discounts.
That brings us to our final reason – the 100% reimbursement.
As mentioned, the military may reimburse 100% of what it would have paid to ship your HHGs and vehicle for a PPM. Note that this is different from the military paying the amount your movers and vehicle shippers charge. As such, if you can use car shipping military discounts to pull your PPM costs below what the military would pay to handle the move, you get to pocket the difference. That’s because you still receive the 100% reimbursement. Many choose the PPM route because they can make a few dollars by doing it themselves.
Question No. 4 – Does the Military Ship Your Car for Free?
The answer depends on your situation.
Let’s assume you’re shipping a vehicle outside the continental United States (OCONUS). In these situations, the military usually pays to ship a single POV for you. This assumes the POV weighs less than 20 metric tons and your orders specify that you can ship a POV to your new duty station. Speak to your TSP if you’re not sure about your entitlement. As a quick note, the average vehicle weighs about 15 metric tons, meaning you don’t have to worry about exceeding the limit unless you have an oversized vehicle. If you want to ship a second POV to an OCONUS location, you’re responsible for handling the full costs of the shipping.
The rules for military PCS vehicle shipping change if you’re moving from a station in the continental United States (CONUS) to another CONUS station.
For these moves, you likely won’t qualify for single-car POV entitlements because the military assumes you can drive your vehicle to your PCS. Even if you don’t drive, you’ll likely have to pay for shipping, which is why car shipping military discounts are so important.
Thankfully, there are some exceptions.
The military may ship your POV for free to another CONUS location if you can show that you’re physically unable to drive your vehicle. It may also cover the costs if you won’t be able to reach your PCS in time to begin your new orders by driving your POV to your new duty station. Some navy personnel can get their vehicle shipping paid for if there’s a change in their ship’s home port.
Question No. 5 – Will the Military Ship My Car for an Expiration – Term of Service?
An Expiration – Term of Service (ETS) is granted when you complete your military duty. Think of it as the official signing off of your service, which triggers your return to civilian life. Unfortunately, the military doesn’t ship your car for you when you receive your ETS. Instead, you’ll have to drive or ship your POV home from your base at your own expense.
Question No. 6 – Are There Restrictions When Shipping a POV Overseas via the Military?
There are several restrictions to keep in mind when taking advantage of the military’s POV shipping services for overseas moves:
- The military only pays for shipping vehicles up to 20 metric tons. Thankfully, you’re not stuck if your vehicle goes above that limit. You simply have to pay any additional charges incurred for transporting an oversized vehicle. In most cases, the military still covers the bulk of military PCS vehicle shipping.
- Licensing laws vary from country to country. You may have to deal with deadlines for registering your vehicle and may even find that your U.S. driver’s license isn’t valid at your new PCS. Handle these issues as early as possible so you don’t face delays in receiving your POV.
- Just as there are variances in licensing laws, you may also find that your new country doesn’t accept certain vehicle modifications. Any modifications you make must comply with local laws or you won’t be able to use your POV. Speak to your TSP to find out if any restrictions apply and what you can do about them.
Furthermore, you may be tempted to load your vehicle with HHGs to get them shipped to your new duty station faster. Unfortunately, you can’t do this with military vehicle shipping. You’re restricted to storing the following types of items in your POV:
- Operational items for your vehicle, such as tire irons, tire chains, and jacks.
- Transporting items used in your car, such as luggage racks, children’s car seats, strollers, and first aid kits.
- Hand tools, though these can’t exceed $200 in value.
Everything else you own has to be shipped alongside your HHGs rather than inside your vehicle.
Question No. 7 – What Documents Do I Need for Military PCS Vehicle Shipping
As convenient as it would be for your new duty station to accept your POV with no questions asked, it wouldn’t be the most secure approach to the vehicle shipping challenge. You’ll need to provide several documents to demonstrate that you own the vehicle and have permission to bring it with you:
- Proof of your identity, which can be any form of valid government or state-issued ID. A passport or driver’s license should suffice, assuming it hasn’t expired.
- Your vehicle’s title and registration to demonstrate that the POV is in your name.
- A copy of your official orders and any amendments made to them that demonstrate your proof of entitlement to military PCS vehicle shipping.
- A letter authorizing the exportation of your vehicle if you’re shipping a leaded POV overseas.
- Your destination address, notification address, and emergency contact information.
You may have to provide additional documents if your vehicle has a lien applied to it or if it’s transported by anybody other than the service member it’s registered to. In the case of a lien, you’ll need a lien holder authorization letter to go along with your vehicle registration documents. If somebody else transports the vehicle on your behalf, they’ll require a signed and officially certified power of attorney to do so.
Question No. 8 – How Should I Prepare My Vehicle for Shipping?
Beyond the standard documentation required for military PCS vehicle shipping, you’ll need to prepare the POV itself. These preparations may vary depending on where you’re sending the vehicle. For example, let’s say you’re shipping your POV from an overseas base back into the United States. In this situation, the car needs approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, and the United States Department of Agriculture before it can enter the country. You may find you have to seek similar approvals from organizations inside an OCONUS location.
Assuming you have the appropriate permissions, turn your attention to cleaning your POV. Wash the exterior and interior as thoroughly as possible. POVs may get held up in customs if they’re dirty, especially if the country you’re shipping to has strict rules about allowing foreign fauna and flora into the country.
Remove any accessories that aren’t permanently installed in the vehicle. Not only does this prevent damage from occurring to unsecured personal items, but it ensures that these items can’t damage your POV’s interior.
Finally, vacuum the interior. You could fully shampoo your vehicle’s fabrics, though you’ll have to do this at least 14 days before shipping to ensure the fabrics have time to dry properly.
Trust Military Car Shipping to Answer Your Questions
Now that you have the answers to some of the most common questions about military PCS vehicle shipping, you’re ready to start your search for a carrier. Remember that the best vehicle shipping companies tend to offer car shipping military discounts, which save you money and may even help you keep a percentage of your POV transportation reimbursement.
Military Car Shipping is available to help you access discounts and ship your vehicle. Our team has over 30 years of experience serving the men and women who fight to keep our country safe.
If you have any questions about the topics covered or any further questions that we haven’t answered, give us a call at 888-230-9894. You can also speak to our team online, or get a free quote for vehicle shipping, from our website.