I always thought when you move that the military pays to transport 1 vehicle from your former duty station to your new military installation within the United States. Negative. The military is not responsible for the service member’s vehicle during a PCS within the United States. This is a common myth of military life.
When we were PCSing from Maryland to California, I kindly told my husband that we couldn’t drive both cars cross country with our 2 little ones, so just “ask the Navy to ship it for us.” He kindly explained that the Navy doesn’t ship our POVs. We pay for that. So I was stubborn and we drove both cars. Now my daughters HATE road trips. The younger one cries if she’s in the car for more than 90 minutes. Lesson learned.
For our next PCS, we arranged to ship one car and it was well worth the money. But again, it wasn’t without a few hiccups. Again, lessons learned.
Are you considering shipping your POV between CONUS duty stations? Here’s what you need to know for your next PCS.
You select your shipping company. You have the control, which is wonderful. But there are many options for car transport companies. Do you want closed or open carrier? Do you want door-to-door delivery? Or terminal-to-terminal delivery? If you’re like me and this is your first time shipping your POV, the options can be a little overwhelming.
Tip: Ask in a forum or military spouse Facebook group for recommendations. This research will save you a lot of time looking at different companies. Use this information to narrow down the choices to 3 companies that other service members have already used and been happy with the results.
You need to question the quotes. You will need to get shipping estimates from various companies before selecting one. We got one estimate that was WAY lower than the other ones. After asking a few targeted questions, we found out that we assumed this was a door-to-door delivery option, it wasn’t. Also this company had a reputation among military families for asking for an additional $300 at pick-up. Finally, verify their DOT and MC numbers to ensure they are properly licensed.
Tip: Once you agree to a quote with a selected company, do not give the driver any more money. Even if he asks for it, which he may. Even if you’re fearful that he won’t take your car. Have a name and a cellphone number of the company representative who agreed to your quote. Be prepared to call the company representative if there are any disagreements at any point in the process.
You need to follow the carrier’s rules. Every transportation company has their own guidelines for shipping vehicles. Your car may need to be completely empty and cleaned both inside and out before shipping. Other companies will let you fill the trunk with your belongings. Your service member may be need to show a copy of their orders. Military spouses may need to show a Power of Attorney authorizing you to ship the vehicle. You may need additional insurance to cover any damages occurred during the transportation process. Many companies ask that you pay the driver in cash. Be prepared to pay in cash or with a cashier’s check.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. It will save you a lot of headache when the day comes to ship your POV.
In the end, it was worth the money to ship our vehicle for our last PCS.