Military members with a PCS or OCONUS order undergo a range of procedures when it comes to shipping their belongings to a new destination. For car owners, this also includes auto relocation service for your privately owned vehicle (POV). Even though the overall steps aren’t complicated, vehicle owners need to pay attention in order to perform everything right and avoid unexpected problems.
If you’re wondering how you can benefit from a car relocation service for your new military journey, you’ve come to the right spot. In this article, we discuss what you need to know about relocating a car as a military member. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
The Beginning of the Journey
Before you even get to the point of booking a military car relocation service, you first have to go through a number of steps to start your moving process. It’s important to understand that those steps are to make sure the rest of the packing and vehicle shipping goes as planned. Your local Transportation Office (TO) should have even more information on all aspects of relocating, so you shouldn’t refrain from contacting them for additional info.
Here’s what the overall process looks like.
1. Get an assignment notification.
Military service starts in different ways. Most of the time, the member is notified in advance that they will be moved by receiving notification in some form (email, postal address mail, phone call, etc.). At this stage, you haven’t received an official order yet. This is simply the time when you should start to look for possible places to live and begin to organize the moving process.
2. Get an order.
The official moving process begins when you receive an order from your service. This is where the rank, job duration, location, and other important details are included. It’s where you can read what items (including vehicles) you are allowed to relocate.
A household goods move (HHG) is a government-organized move with predetermined transportation service providers (TSPs). The TSP takes care of packing and transporting belongings to a new location.
If you choose a personally procured move (PPM), you get to organize the relocation process yourself. You’ll handle the shipping, packing, and hiring of a personal moving company. You can transport household goods and just about any cargo in storage containers or rental trucks.
The important thing to remember if you want to have the expenses covered by the government is not to exceed the authorized weight allowance. The government has a specific “best value” cost they are ready to pay the military member for hiring their own moving company. You’re free to find a transportation solution for less money and keep the difference for yourself.
When it comes to privately owned vehicles (POV) shipment and storage, this option is available in specific instances. If you travel overseas or out of the continental United States, the government can pay for shipping of one POV to your new station. They may also store your POV while you’re on an OCONUS tour.
To get this process rolling, you should schedule an appointment with your vehicle processing center to select a contracted storage facility. The safest way to ensure POV transportation is to talk to your local Transportation Office representative.
3. Schedule the move.
Once you receive an order, you get to pick your preferred method for shipping your vehicle and other goods. Again, your local TO will have the best and most accurate information in this regard. You’re also free to search the internet for the best military car relocation service that operates in your area.
Military Car Shipping Overview
Military members that ship their vehicles from state to state or outside of the country can do so with the help of an auto relocation company of their choice. For shipments outside of the country or outside the continental United States (OCONUS), you can arrange with your local TO to have your car shipped for you with a carrier.
The great news is that you can get your car shipped for OCONUS orders for free; all expenses are covered by the government. You can have one privately owned vehicle (POV) for free on your international installation if allowed by the order. For a second vehicle shipment, the situation is a bit different. The vehicle owner needs to coordinate the process with a vehicle relocation service that can tailor their services to the unique needs of each military member.
How Vehicle Shipping Companies Work
PCS vehicle shipping is a straightforward process for booking vehicles for shipping. It can be used by entitled military members that have received a new order for a duty station somewhere else in the country or abroad.
The auto shipping companies can transport one person that operates the vehicle at a time, and the government covers all costs. Military members pay the company directly for out-of-pocket payments and this method assures the best possible safety for their vehicle during transit.
For cases where the government pays for the shipping, the sign-up procedure may be different. Military members may have to book their car for pickup and then receive the shipping charge estimate. When they receive the approval, the company picks up their vehicle and begins the shipping process. Many companies provide free quotes to make car relocation easier for owners, as well as some offering military discounts.
Documents Needed for Using Military Car Relocation Services
It’s essential to provide your transport agency with all the necessary details to avoid delays or disruptions in the preparation phase and during transport. Things you should keep on hand include the following.
- DITY Move application and Counseling Checklist
- Travel voucher
- PCS travel order copy
- Two weight tickets
- Paid rental agreement copy
- Common Operating Personal Expenses (OPE)
The list of necessary documents can differ slightly from one company to another. For this reason, it’s best to check with your relocation service of choice what papers you’ll need to provide.
Reasons to Use a Military Vehicle Relocation Service
There are plenty of reasons to rely on vehicle relocation companies to relocate your car to your new military station.
Save Your Sanity
If you’re moving state to state or across the country, you never know the circumstances you and your family will be in once the relocation time comes. Unexpected emergencies or delays can and do crop up.
Prevent Wear and Tear
Military relocation often includes places that are thousands of miles away from home. Spending days on the trip can cause added wear and tear on the car. Plus, gas is getting more expensive by the day. Hiring a vehicle relocation company lowers the risk of accidents or car damage.
It’s Convenient for Families With Small Kids
Families with small children are well aware that their kids won’t appreciate the great history of the American landscape. Those road trips can be saved for later, when the children can actually remember them.
Workers in auto relocation services have plenty of field experience and possess the latest information on the best and most affordable transport routes.
Compliance With Standards
Most car transportation companies follow all standards when it comes to vehicle shipments across the nation and overseas. They only work with qualified, professional, and trustworthy cargo captains and truckers that understand military families’ needs.
Families that own two cars can have one shipped and drive together in a single vehicle to enjoy the trip together.
Guaranteed Condition Reports
Most companies guarantee the vehicle owners a condition reporting, including documentation and pictures. There are also transit options for tracking the delivery.
Tips to Know When Choosing an Auto Relocation Company
Now that you’re aware of the benefits of shipping your car with a relocation company, we’ll share some tips to help you get the most out of the experience.
Research All Your Possible Options
The most important tip is also the very first one you should follow: take the time to research car relocation service companies before choosing one. You can check the Better Business Bureau rating or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standings of the company. You can also look for online reviews or test the customer service of the companies you think may be worth it with a phone call or chat. Ultimately, if you have a friend or a family member that recently relocated, word of mouth is usually the best way to pick a reliable relocation transport service.
Be Prepared for Delays
Car transportation services, much like any other transport and delivery service, isn’t an exact science. You can expect delays of up to five days (sometimes more) if weather conditions or other issues prevent the shipment from going as planned. This means you should always leave some wiggle room, just in case.
Park in an Open Space
If you decide to ship your vehicle with a truck, the truck driver will need a large space to maneuver around your vehicle during the pickup time. You can use a parking lot at a grocery store for this purpose.
Rely on Your Close Circle of People for Help
Some transport companies may allow friends or family members to drop off or receive the car instead of the owner. This way, you can hit the road sooner, or in some cases, arrive at the destination at a later date without worrying about car pickup.
Be Prepared for Inspections
The driver in charge of relocation vehicles will most likely perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s condition, both at the starting and ending points. If there’s existing damage, the vehicle owner may be asked to sign off on it, like they would during regular furniture transfer.
Explore Different Shipping Options
Most companies allow vehicle owners to ship their cars in open-air or enclosed semi-trucks. The former is more affordable. Depending on your location, you may also consider shipping your vehicle in intermodal containers. Most companies will recommend door-to-door transport for military PCS car shipping. This is where you provide a pickup and drop-off address, and the truck driver transports the vehicle legally and safely.
Auto shipping companies specialize in shipping most types of cars, including street-legal vehicles, modern passenger cars, pickup trucks, and oversize vehicles.
How Does Military Car Relocation Work?
The military car shipping programs work similarly to regular auto transport carriers. Some differences include that the vehicle owner should inform the shipper of their military status for possible discount options (which is a pretty great thing!)
Can a Military Car Relocation Service Deliver to My Military Base if I’m Not There?
Yes, many auto relocation services available to military members can deliver vehicles to their final destination even if the vehicle owner isn’t present at the site. This can be arranged before the shipment, and the vehicle owner can assign a power of attorney to the person in charge of picking up the vehicle on their behalf once it reaches its destination.
Can I Include Personal Items as Part of the Car Transportation Service?
Some military car transportation services will allow military members to bring up to a few hundred pounds of personal items. The belongings should be placed in the cargo area or the trunk during vehicle shipment. Vehicle owners are obliged to securely pack the items in a suitcase or a box to avoid damage during shipment. There may be exceptions and limitations to this rule, so make sure to check the details with your auto relocation service of choice.
Is My Car Insured During Relocation?
Yes, most car relocation services also include insurance for the vehicle in case any damage occurs during transport. This doesn’t mean the personal items in the car are covered by the insurance. Quite the opposite; companies don’t insure personal belongings in the car. That’s why vehicle owners are advised to remove all their valuables and documents before the vehicle departs or to pack them safely.
How Long Does Car Transfer Last?
The answer to this question depends on the distance traveled, and also the road and weather conditions during the transport. Vehicle owners will receive an estimate of the transit time for their shipment. This provides a delivery window that may be completed earlier, depending on transit conditions.
Do Modified Vehicles Cost More to Transport?
Some companies may charge an additional fee for PCS military vehicle transport for modified cars. These models tend to take up a lot of space in the truck and need to be accommodated with extra equipment, which costs more money.
Get the Most Out of Relocation Transport Services
Shipping a car overseas or to another state requires quite a lot of planning and preparation. The important thing to remember is to not underestimate the effort and time needed to organize the journey. Fortunately, military car relocation services can help make the process run smoother.
With proper guidance and help offered by these companies, you’ll reduce stress and have more time to prepare everyone in the family for the big trip. That’s why you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to cooperate with an auto relocation service if you get the chance. Military Car Shipping offers instant quotes and has outstanding customer service to answer all your questions.