What happens to your privately owned vehicle (POV) once you receive your orders to deploy to a new location?
In many cases, you can take your POV with you. The United States military even covers most of the costs of shipping your POV to your new duty base.
However, you may not want to bring your vehicle with you. For example, you may choose to leave your POV at home if you’re worried about it getting damaged in transit. Alternatively, you may decide you don’t need it because you’re going to use the public transport system to get around. Maybe you can’t take your vehicle because you’re deploying to a country that has prohibitive shipping costs that Uncle Sam won’t cover.
Whatever the case may be, you have to keep your POV safe while you’re away.
That’s where military POV storage comes in.
Military car storage services keep your vehicle safe and secure while you’re on active deployment. But you need to know more about the process before you choose a storage company. This article answers some of the most common questions people have about military car storage while overseas.
What Is Military Car Storage?
Military POV storage refers to any long-term vehicle storage option available to military personnel. It covers everything from storing your vehicle in a garage at home to hiring a private company to look after your POV for you.
Generally speaking, the term applies to using a professional service to store your vehicle while you’re away. These services operate like normal storage units, meaning your vehicle is placed in a sheltered location where it’s locked away until you return to collect it.
What Are the Main Types of Military Car Storage?
Assuming you wish to have your vehicle stored professionally, there are two main types of storage:
- Military base storage
- Covered vehicle storage units
The availability of military base storage depends on where you’re assigned. Some bases offer it while others don’t. Assuming your base offers storage, you must meet certain criteria for your POV to be accepted. Furthermore, space is limited to the point where you have to lodge an application for storage well ahead of moving to your new base.
Despite these complications, military base storage allows you to immediately access your POV once you return from deployment. It’s a cost-effective option that you may be able to get for free, assuming you meet certain criteria.
You can access covered vehicle storage units via independent vehicle storage companies. Though your vehicle is off-base, it’s likely safe with one of these companies because of the stringent security measures they put in place. Most storage facilities have security cameras, electronic gate access, patrolling security guards, and access restrictions.
Though it’s the more expensive option, military personnel may have access to discounts for private military car storage. Still, you have to deal with monthly rent costs for the duration of the storage period. Your car may also be stored a large distance from your home or base. Private military vehicle storage locations vary. Not all storage providers can offer units large enough for your vehicle. Check with your local transportation office to learn about any military units available to you.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Military Base Storage?
You may have access to free military base storage in the following circumstances:
- You’ve been ordered to make a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) in a country or state that doesn’t allow you to ship a POV.
- Your vehicle would require extensive modifications to pass through customs for PCS outside the continental United States (OCONUS).
- You’ve been ordered to go to a Temporary Duty Station (TDY) for over 30 days for a contingency, emergency, or humanitarian aid operation.
Furthermore, some service branches may fund military POV storage at a commercial facility. In these cases, the military may pay for storage fees up to the cost it would absorb if you stored your vehicle in a government-constructed facility. This offer is usually made if government-constructed storage isn’t available or if you’ve received instructions to secure private storage.
Finally, you may get your military car storage paid for in lieu of shipment. This usually occurs if your OCONUS PDS prohibits POV shipping.
Are There Any Restrictions for Military POV Storage?
Size is usually the key restriction for POV storage. Military bases have limited vehicle storage space. As such, your vehicle must stay within the maximum size stated within your Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) contract. You must pay the cost of any excess for vehicles that exceed the maximum size allowance in your SDDC.
It’s important to note that you can only store one POV at the government’s expense. That POV stays in storage, beyond any on-base use you’re permitted, during your entire tour of duty. Once the vehicle is removed from storage, it can’t go back into storage at the government’s expense under the same orders it was originally placed into storage under. You’ll have to wait until you’re issued new orders or pay for a private storage service.
Finally, the government won’t pay to store oversized or recreational vehicles.
How Do I Prepare My Vehicle for Military Car Storage?
You must deliver your POV to a vehicle processing center (VPC) before placing it in military storage. If you opt for the private route, you still need to prepare the vehicle for safe storage over an extended period. This handy checklist ensures your vehicle doesn’t experience any issues while it’s in storage.
- Arrive at the VPC with a current driver’s license, proof of vehicle ownership, and at least one copy of your orders. Your vehicle won’t be processed if you can’t prove ownership and if you don’t have orders stating that you’re eligible for military POV storage.
- Prepare an emergency contact for the vehicle, especially if you’re deployed to an OCONUS location.
- Check the vehicle to confirm it has no leaks.
- Top up relevant fluids.
- Drain the fuel if you anticipate storing the vehicle for more than six months.
- Install a fresh battery.
- Clean the vehicle from top to bottom. This gets rid of any potentially corrosive materials that could damage your POV while it’s in storage.
- Provide a complete set of keys to your storage company.
- Disconnect alarms and similar anti-theft devices.
You’ll likely work with an inspector to complete the “Vehicle Storage Checklist” and “Storage Accessory Condition and Declaration” forms before your POV goes into storage. You should receive copies of both forms, which act as receipts. You need these forms when you pick up your vehicle and if you have to file a claim for damages.
Aside from these steps, there are a few things you can do to offer your vehicle some extra protection. Waxing your car before it heads into storage creates a layer of protection against anything that might come into contact with it. You can also plug the tailpipe, which prevents small creatures from getting inside.
How Do I Handle Car Insurance for Military POV Storage?
You may feel like it’s a good idea to cancel your car insurance while your vehicle is in storage. After all, nobody’s going to be driving the vehicle and there’s an extremely low risk of any damage occurring to it. The problem here is that canceling your car insurance creates a lapse in your insurance history. Providers look at your history when determining how much risk you present as a client. Lapses suggest risk, leading to higher insurance premiums when you return from duty.
Unfortunately, there isn’t special storage insurance you can take out while you’re on assignment. However, you can reduce your policy so it covers the bare minimum. Contact your insurance provider and tell them about your situation. They may provide recommendations on what to keep and what you can remove from your policy, thus lowering your premiums. Doing this means you keep the policy active so you don’t have to worry about premium increases due to lapses.
You may be able to request a non-use certificate or a de-insured certificate, both of which allow you to avoid re-registration penalties and lapses.
How Much Does Military Car Storage Cost?
If you’re eligible to receive financial aid from the military for storing your vehicle, you may be able to store it for free. Even if that’s not the case, you’ll likely pay reduced rates compared to storing your vehicle with a private company.
Storing your vehicle with a private company costs between $45 and $450 per month, depending on several factors. The size of the vehicle plays a key role because costs go up for larger storage units. You get to choose between standard and climate-controlled storage units. A climate-controlled unit typically costs about $50 extra per month.
Can I Get a Discount on Military Car Storage?
It depends on the company you use.
Assuming you’re storing your vehicle privately, you might get a discount for military POV storage. Your provider may have a blanket discount for all personnel. Others may offer discounts on a case-by-case basis, with the likelihood of receiving a discount increasing the longer you keep your vehicle in storage.
What Can I Expect From a Military Car Storage Facility?
The level of service you can expect from a military POV storage facility varies depending on the facility. Still, there are some standard service features that the facility should guarantee:
- The facility will run checks on your vehicle to ensure it’s safe, leak-free, and operational. It may even carry out an inspection with you to document the condition the vehicle is in before it enters storage. You’ll refer to this document if you have to raise a dispute with the storage facility when you pick your vehicle up.
- Your vehicle should be stored in an enclosed unit per your manufacturer’s specifications. Storing a vehicle outdoors leaves it exposed to the elements, which results in wear and tear.
- Some facilities add a fuel stabilizer to your vehicle if that’s necessary. This is particularly the case if the facility offers to move your vehicle every 30 days. Moving the vehicle allows the facility to check that everything’s operational and ready for your return.
- The facility may cycle your vehicle’s heater and air conditioning unit every 30 days to keep its electronics operational.
- Barring any instances when employees need access to your vehicle for checks, your car should stay locked for the duration of its time in storage.
How Do I Find a Good Vehicle Storage Facility?
Choosing a private storage company comes with risks. You must ensure the company is capable of storing your vehicle safely before signing a contract.
Take a tour around the storage facility while keeping an eye on details. Does the facility look clean? Are there security measures in place? Can you see any signs of bugs, vermin, or other pests? It’s also worth examining the facility’s lighting system. Strong lights are theft deterrents.
Assuming your in-person checks are satisfactory, research the company online. Read reviews on social media and the facility’s Google Business page. You’re looking for evidence that previous clients are satisfied with the level of service they received. If you see any negative feedback, pay attention to how the company responds to it. Every company makes mistakes. If the facility you’re researching doesn’t own those mistakes and try to make things right with the person providing negative feedback, this is a sign that they may not provide the best customer service.
Finally, ask if the facility has an autopay option. This ensures your payment for the unit exits your account automatically so you don’t have to worry about it while on deployment.
Find Quality Military POV Storage
If you’re eligible to store your vehicle on a military base, your primary concern is preparing your vehicle for safe storage. But those using private storage facilities must research the company they’re considering before making a choice. Beyond finding appropriate storage, you must work with your insurance provider to reduce your premiums.
All that’s left is to find a storage service that’s right for your vehicle.
Military Car Shipping offers climate-controlled storage units that protect your vehicle from the elements. We offer temporary and permanent contracts, making it easy for you to find a storage option that suits your requirements. Contact us online or call us at 888-230-9894 if you’d like to learn more about our military car storage service.