Juggling the needs of pets and kids while organizing household goods and multiple cars before PCSing to your next installation can be very overwhelming. Once you begin planning your military move, you may discover it isn’t practical to drive two (or more) cars several hours to their new home.
Even military families with one vehicle often choose to fly to their next destination while having their car shipped alongside the rest of their household goods. Take some of the stress out of your PCS by planning to ship your vehicle across the country for your CONUS move.
Choose a Cross Country Car Shipping Company
There is more research on shipping your vehicle across the country than you may think! From choosing a cross country car shipping company to understanding the insurance involved with the process, it is worth it to take some time to sit down and look over the details.
Here are the steps we would suggest to get started!
1. Determine What You Need
Your first step should be to call local car shipping companies and ask about the services they offer. With some research and calling around, you can figure out the best car transporter for your needs and preferences.
You could opt for a closed or open carrier, keeping in mind that an open carrier is the typical semi-truck you see where cars are visible on the trailer. Closed carriers transport fewer vehicles on each trip, so the cost is typically higher.
Additionally, you will choose between door-to-door delivery and terminal-to-terminal delivery. When the government pays for OCONUS auto transport, it is typically a terminal-to-terminal system where the service member is responsible for getting the car to and from the terminal.
With front-door delivery, the carrier service picks up the vehicle and drops it off from your location of choice. Understandably, this is a more expensive option but could save travel time and expenses if your duty station is in a more rural area.
More Like This: Is this your first Permanent Change of Station (PCS)? Come prepared by learning more about the military PCS process!
2. Verify DOT & MC Numbers
You wouldn’t want just anyone shipping your car! Therefore, it is vital that you ask for or find and verify cross-country car shipping company DOT and MC numbers. This is to ensure they are properly certified and insured.
When searching for Transporters, consider using uShip.com’s listing service. The pertinent numbers are conveniently displayed in each carrier’s profile. While it may be tempting to go with a cheaper, uninsured, or unlicensed company, this mistake could cost you thousands in the long run if an incident occurs during the transportation process.
3. Research Insurance Details
Most personal auto policies do not provide coverage for a vehicle during shipment. As such, it is best to be prepared and educate yourself about the various types of insurance held by the companies you are considering for shipping your vehicle.
While there is a minimum required level of insurance for licensed carriers, the exact amount and extent can vary between companies. A reputable carrier should have no problem furnishing proof of insurance and explaining the coverage.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipping
There’s more to preparing your vehicle for shipping than just passing along the keys to the transporter. Make sure you set your vehicle and car shipping company up for success by taking these precautions before you drop off your car.
1. Take Care of Current Repairs and Damage
Before shipment, your vehicle should be repaired if needed and free of any drips or leaks. You will also want to repair any damage to the windshield, windshield wipers and other external parts that are compromised.
If the vehicle is damaged in any way, you will want to let your carrier know that before they arrive so they can plan accordingly. The car should also be empty of belongings, and to make the inspection and drop-off easier, a quick rinse or trip through the car wash is helpful!
2. Conduct a Thorough Inspection
Before your car is loaded for transport, you and the driver will complete a thorough inspection to detail the condition of the car on the Bill of Lading. It is vital that the car is clean enough that they are able to clearly see and record any scrapes or dings as well as the overall condition of the vehicle.
Snapping a few pictures of the outside, interior and odometer for your own records is always a good idea. This way, you and the driver have a clear understanding of the condition of the vehicle when it was left in their hands.
At the receiving end, you will be expected to do a similar inspection. Ensuring good documentation from beginning to end makes it much easier to recoup expenses if there is any damage to your vehicle.
3. Sort Out Pick-Up & Drop-Off Details
If the military paid for your car’s transport, it is likely that you will have to pick up your vehicle at a landing station. For those that paid extra to have the vehicle brought to their new home, keep in mind that cross country transport is typically done via semi trucks that may not be able to access your residential neighborhood.
To mitigate any inconveniences, plan ahead and have a backup location at a large shopping center or similar parking lot for the final drop-off. Please note that if you live on your installation in military housing, the transport companies will typically ask for you to load or unload off the post.
Your Partner in PCS Moves
From helping service members connect with exceptional military housing to providing helpful moving insights, there is a reason AHRN is a celebrated resource for military members across the country and world. Sign up at AHRN to view homes for rent or for purchase near your next installation!