Military Car Shipping: Everything You Need to Know

Receiving a new duty station can be exciting and overwhelming. Instead of dreading the process, lighten the load by working with an experienced shipping company like Carvaygo to quickly and safely ship your vehicle to your new location:

What Is Military Car Shipping?

Military car shipping is often necessary when a member is assigned to a new duty station. These new assignments can be unexpected and stressful. After all, you have to figure out new housing arrangements, school assignments, and the shipment of your belongings and vehicles.

However, the relocation process can be made easier by working with an experienced military car shipping company like Carvaygo.

How Does Military Car Shipping Work?

Military shipping is the best and often only way to get your car from your old duty station to your new one. But how does the process work? Here’s what you need to know:

1. Do Your Research

You’re going to need to choose a car shipping company to transport your car. However, you shouldn’t just choose the first company you come across. Instead, you need to do your research to ensure that the company offers the type of shipping you’re looking for and operates in your area.

2. Read Company Reviews

Once you have a list of a few contenders, the best way to narrow it down is to read company reviews. Although most companies will have good reviews posted directly on their websites, it’s still essential for you to check third-party sources for any negative reviews.

Google is a great place to check out, as it’s intentionally challenging for companies to remove negative reviews from their Google business listing.

At the same time, you shouldn’t necessarily eliminate a company from contention due to one negative review. Multiple negative reviews, however, are a different story. Also, pay close attention to if and how the company responds to negative reviews.

3. Choose Transport Method

Based on the information you’ve gathered thus far, you need to choose your method of transport to move forward with the shipping process and receive an accurate quote. There are many options to consider, including open car transport, enclosed car transport, door-to-door service, and terminal-to-terminal service.

Keep reading for more information on these different options so that you can choose the right one for your vehicle and overall shipping needs.

4. Select a Trustworthy Shipping Company

Now it’s time for you to gather quotes from your final contenders and make your decision. While price should play a role in your final decision, it’s also important to consider reliability and reputation as well. When it comes to car shipping, you tend to get what you pay for.

5. Meet the Shipping Company for Car Pickup

Once you’ve made your final selection, you’re ready to ship your car! Make arrangements to meet the shipping company at a time and location convenient for you so that the driver can pick up your vehicle and hit the road.

How Can I Make Sure I Choose a Reliable Company?

When it comes to choosing a car shipping company, reliability is everything. But how can you determine the reliability of a company? Here are a few different sources to check out:

Verify Status with the FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal government agency responsible for regulating and ensuring the safety of commercial motor vehicles, including auto transportation vehicles.

Your auto transport company should be registered with the FMCSA and be in good standing. To verify this information, you can search the FMCSA carrier database.

Check With the BBB

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization that provides the public with business information. Through the BBB, customers can leave reviews and even file complaints. The BBB then verifies these reviews and investigates these complaints.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Car in the Military?

Depending on your situation, the military might ship your car for free. However, this is only the case if you’re an active-duty military member and have received a permanent change of station orders from your unit.

Additionally, the military only covers the shipping costs of one privately owned vehicle or POV.

Are There Military Discounts?

If you don’t meet this qualification or you need to ship more than one vehicle, you may be eligible for a military discount. Many car transport companies offer discounts for military veterans, military dependents, Reserve Members, and National Guard Members. Check with your shipping provider directly to see if you’re eligible for any discounts.

How Do I Know If My Costs Will Be Covered?

So long as you meet the requirements above, the government will cover the costs of shipping your car. If you have any questions about the details of your shipping coverage or your overall eligibility, then you should speak with your Transportation Office (TO).

How Long Does Military Car Shipping Take?

The overall time frame for military car shipping varies depending on the shipping distance. Naturally, it will take longer to ship your car long distances. Generally speaking, you add one extra day of transit time for every 500 miles traveled.

With this calculation in mind, here’s how long you can expect the shipment of your car to take:

  • 1 to 2 days for distances less than 500 miles
  • 2 to 3 days for distances between 500 and 1,000 miles
  • 3 to 4 days for distances between 1,000 and 1,500 miles
  • 4 to 5 days for distances between 1,500 and 2,000 miles
  • 5 to 6 days for distances between 2,000 and 2,500 miles
  • 6 to 7 days for distances greater than 2,500 miles

At the same time, it’s important to note that these are just estimates of transit time. You can usually expect to add a couple of days to transit time for pick-up and drop-off. Additionally, you need to be aware that weather and road issues can result in longer transit times.

Can I Ship My Car Overseas?

Shipping your car stateside is one thing, but shipping your car overseas is another thing entirely. If you receive OCONUS orders, you may need to ship your vehicle overseas.

This process can be more complicated since you can’t just place it on a truck and drive it to your new duty station. Instead, your shipment may require other modes of transportation, including rail, air, and sea.

Does Overseas Shipping Cost More?

As a result, overseas car shipping almost always costs more than domestic car shipping. The longer the shipping distance and the more modes of transportation translate into higher costs.

So if you’re responsible for covering the cost of shipping a second vehicle overseas for an OCONUS duty station, then you may want to consider selling your car or leaving it behind instead of paying thousands of dollars to ship it.

How Should I Prepare My Car for Shipping?

It’s not enough to choose the right shipping company and shipping method; you also need to properly prepare your vehicle and ensure that it’s shipped safely by following these five steps:

Step 1: Wash Your Car

To begin, give your car a good wash inside and out. While it may seem counterintuitive to wash your car before it’s shipped, it can help you reveal any existing flaws that may have been masked by dirt and debris. Also, make sure to vacuum out your car's interior as well.

Step 2: Inspect Your Car

Once your car is squeaky clean, you need to check over the whole thing for any existing damage, including but not limited to scratches, dents, paint transfers, etc. Document the current condition of your vehicle using photographs and videos.

Step 3: Remove Personal Items

Next, you need to remove any personal items from your vehicle. This step is key to preventing damage as items can get dislodged or move around during transport and end up damaging your vehicle. If this happens, your carrier’s insurance is not likely to cover the cost of repairing such damage.

Be sure to remove everything in the interior of your car, including but not limited to dash cams, phone mounts, air fresheners, trash cans, sun shades, etc.

Also, remove detachable exterior accessories like spoilers, tow hitches, bike racks, luggage racks, spare tires, etc.

Step 4: Get Any Necessary Maintenance Done

It’s also recommended that you get any necessary car maintenance done before your car is shipped. For example, you may need to change your oil and fluids topped off. You may also want to check the overall condition of your tires and brakes to make sure that they’re in good working condition.

Step 5: Empty Your Gas Tank

Finally, it’s recommended that you empty your gas tank before car shipment to avoid putting extra weight on the trailer. Most car shipping companies will ask that you have no more than a quarter of a tank of gas when your car is shipped.

That way, you still have enough gas to get around before pick-up and after drop-off, but you won’t be charged for putting extra weight on the trailer.

What Transport Options Can I Choose From?

Not all military car shipping is the same. In fact, there are several different options to choose from based on your vehicle, timeline, and budget.

Option 1: Open Car Transport

The first option is open car transport which involves placing your car on an open trailer. These trailers are typically double-deckers and can fit up to ten cars at a time. Since these trailers can fit many cars, this option comes with the lowest costs since you’re essentially splitting the cost with nine other vehicles.

However, open car transport doesn’t provide much protection to your vehicle during transport since it’s completely exposed. As a result, there’s a greater risk of damage from road debris and adverse weather conditions in addition to theft.

Option 2: Enclosed Car Transport

The second option is enclosed car transport which involves placing your car in an enclosed trailer. These trailers are typically designed only to hold a few vehicles at a time. As a result, this option costs more than open transport since you’re bearing more of the cost burden.

However, enclosed car transport is considered the safest option since your car is completely enclosed within a locked trailer. As a result, the risk of damage and theft is lower. Enclosed car transport is recommended for luxury vehicles and antique vehicles that require extra protection.

Option 3: Door-to-Door Car Transport

The third option is door-to-door car transport which involves choosing the pick-up and drop-off locations to meet the driver based on what’s convenient. Since this service is more convenient, it often comes with a slightly higher price tag.

Option 4: Terminal-to-Terminal Car Transport

The fourth option is terminal-to-terminal car transport which involves personally transporting your vehicle to and from an auto transport terminal where it’s then picked up and dropped off by a driver. You can save some money by choosing this option.

However, it may not be worthwhile depending on how much money you have to spend getting to and from the auto transport terminal.

How Can I Make Sure My Car Stays Safe?

Safety should be the number one priority when shipping your car. So how can you make sure that your car stays safe during shipment?

Here are three safety tips to follow:

Tip 1: Work With a Reliable Shipping Company

One way to ensure the safety of your car during shipping is to work with a reliable shipping company. The best auto transport companies will only work with experienced drivers with proven safety records. So before you make your final decision, be sure to check out each company’s safety record.

Tip 2: Prepare Your Car Properly

Another way to ensure the safety of your car during shipping is to prepare it beforehand properly. When you follow the preparation guidelines outlined above, you can have the peace of mind that you’ve done all you can to guarantee a safe and successful shipment.

Tip 3: Check Insurance Coverage

The final way to ensure the safety of your car during shipping is to check your shipping company’s insurance coverage. Your shipping company should have adequate insurance coverage to protect your vehicle during the shipping process.

It should be easy for you to make claims in the event of any damage during the shipping process.

What Do I Need To Do When My Car Arrives?

When your car arrives, here’s what you need to do to ensure that everything is as it should be:

Step 1: Inspect Your Vehicle

The moment your car arrives, you need to inspect it — inside and out thoroughly. Be on the lookout for any damage in the form of scratches, dents, and tears.

Step 2: Document the Condition of Your Vehicle

Next, document the condition of your vehicle by taking photos and videos. If you noticed any issues during your inspection, be sure to document these areas with multiple photographs and videos thoroughly.

Step 3: Address Any Issues With the Shipping Company

Based on the results of your inspection, you can then address any issues with the shipping company. They may refer you to their insurance company or work with you directly.

They will likely ask you to get a repair estimate from a mechanic, after which they will either pay for the repairs directly or reimburse you for the total cost.

Can I Track My Vehicle During Shipping?

Many auto transport services offer the ability to track your vehicle during shipping. This feature can help give you the peace of mind that your vehicle is safe and on its way. When considering different auto transport companies, ask if they offer this feature.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that military car shipping can be complicated — but it doesn’t have to be with Carvaygo! Carvaygo has simplified the process for our military heroes thanks to our Quick Quote system.

All you have to do is go to our website and enter some basic information for an instant quote in just three steps. After that, you can confirm your shipment and let us take it from there, thanks to our extensive and vetted network of experienced drivers!

Sources:
Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Shipment | DFAS.mil
Shipping a Car Overseas | Military.com
How to Prepare Your Car for Shipment | Move.org

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