Frequent change of scenery is a common occurrence for military personnel. One of the primary reasons for such changes is a permanent change of station (PCS). During a PCS, military members and their families must uproot themselves and relocate. If a family has more than one car, it becomes necessary to ship at least one vehicle to ensure everyone can travel together during the move.
Typically, the military covers the cost of shipping one vehicle. However, if you’re a military member opting to fly instead of drive during a PCS, you will be responsible for shipping any additional vehicles after the first one.
Understanding the Process of Shipping a Military Car
The process of military car shipping closely resembles any other auto shipment. You select a reputable company, book your shipment, prepare your car for pickup, have it inspected by the driver, and finally, get it shipped and delivered.
It’s important to note that the driver may not be allowed to drop off your car on base. Instead, they will likely need to leave it at the gate or a nearby location. Therefore, make sure to discuss this arrangement with your car shipping company and the driver before the shipment takes place. It’s also advisable to coordinate with your commanding officer beforehand.
Shipping Your Car vs. Selling It
Shipping your car to your new base is not your only option. You can also consider selling your car and purchasing a new one or relying on public transportation, rentals, or ride shares. The main factors to consider are convenience and cost.
When selling or trading in your old car, its value will likely be significantly lower—around five thousand dollars less—compared to the cost of buying a new or used car. Unless you’re willing to purchase a much older and lower quality vehicle, which may compromise your safety, selling and buying a new car could result in a loss of over twenty thousand dollars or more.
If you and your family decide to sell your car and explore alternative transportation options, consider both convenience and long-term costs. While rideshares and rentals may seem convenient at first, the expenses can add up quickly. In comparison, shipping your car is a one-time expense that costs significantly less.
Can You Ship an Actual Military Vehicle?
If you have concerns about shipping military vehicles, it’s best to inquire with each auto transport company you contact. Most companies should be able to handle smaller military vehicles like jeeps. However, the transport of larger vehicles, such as Humvees, might depend on the discretion of each company. Nevertheless, many companies offer oversized vehicle shipping services, including tractors and RVs.
Preparing for Your Shipment
Preparing your car for shipment during a PCS move is a straightforward process that allows you to focus on other aspects of your move. Once you’ve booked your vehicle shipment, preparation involves cleaning your car, removing personal items, and arranging for your presence during both the pickup and delivery windows.
The only task that may require attention a few days in advance of the pickup date is ensuring someone you trust, over the age of eighteen, will be available to hand over the keys to the auto transport driver upon their arrival. Typically, the pickup window spans about two days, during which the driver will call before arriving. It’s crucial to have someone present with valid identification over the age of eighteen to hand over the keys.
Cleaning the car and removing personal items are self-explanatory and can be done the day before the pickup window if desired. Cleaning is necessary to allow the auto transport driver to conduct a visual inspection for preexisting damage, which is essential for insurance purposes. A dirty car will require more time for inspection, leading to delays in the shipment. Removing personal items is equally important, as any personal belongings, like sunglasses, damaged or lost during the shipment, will not be covered by insurance.
Military car shipping plays a crucial role in facilitating the relocation of military personnel and their families. By understanding the process, weighing the options between shipping and selling a vehicle, and adequately preparing for the shipment, military members can ensure a smooth transition while minimizing costs and inconveniences.