Military Car Shipping: How Does it Work?

Mercury Auto Transport, Auto Shipping, Car Shipping

Shipping your car when you are relocated as part of your military service can be slightly different than when you ship your car as a civilian. You might never have been in the position to keep your current car and have it shipped to your new location while you were serving. If you are able to move your car with you to your new location where you will be serving, you will need to know how the process works.

Shipping a car over a long distance is a complex process that requires careful consideration. It is always helpful to be well-informed before starting the process. Military car shipping can help you relocate your car quickly and easily but there are some things you need to know before you choose this method.

If you are ready to learn more about military car shipping, you need to read on!

Not Every Company Offers Military Vehicle Shipping Services

You will need to know that not every car shipping company offers military shipping services. If you need to have your car picked up at a military base location or if you are trying to ship to a military base in another country, you need to ask if the company that you are thinking of working with can take care of this need. Just asking this question will rule out companies that cannot take care of you on this basis.

Once you have found a company that does offer this kind of service, you might still be limited to certain base locations or the company might not be able to help you ship your car to another military base in another country. These are all good questions to ask when shopping for the right shipping company for your needs.

What Do the Acronyms Mean?

Shipping a car when you are in the military requires that you understand a lot of different acronyms. This is a big part of military life in general and these acronyms follow you into the car shipping reality as well.

  •         CONUS – Continental United States
  •         OCNUS – Outside Continental United States
  •         PCS – Permanent Change of Station
  •         PDS – Permanent Duty Station
  •         POV- Privately Owned Vehicle
  •         TO- Transportation Office

All of these acronyms might come into play when you are planning to move your car to your new location while you are in the military so you will need to be prepared to see them and know what they mean.

Steps to Shipping a Car When you Are in the Military

There are some steps that must be followed to arrange for your car to be shipped when you are an active duty member. You will need to take care that you follow these steps as you are navigating the car shipping process. Surprises to do with the shipping process can be very difficult to attend to when you have a set date that you need to report to your new post and you will want to avoid this kind of trouble at all costs.

1.       Get Your Orders

The first step of this process is always getting your orders. You will know when to relocate and the entitlements that you might qualify for once you have your orders. You will need to take your orders to meet with your TO counselor to try to plan your shipping needs right away.

military car shipping


There can be delays that you might not know about that are due to backlogs and you might need your TO to assist in getting the funds that the government might be able to provide for your move. Not all moves will qualify for these funds and this is where your TO can help.

2.       See if You Can Get POV Entitlements

The federal government can help with your move-in some cases. You might be able to ship one POV CONUS at government expense. In a lot of cases, this is not available for CONUS moves, but there are exceptions. PCSing CONUS is often not covered but it is always worth verifying if you can get this extra help with your move.

POV shipping might be covered if you are not physically able to drive, if you do not have time to report to your PDS, or if there is a change to the ship’s homeport for those who are serving aboard a Naval vessel. Your TO should be able to help with all of these questions. Your TO should also be able to see if you qualify for CONUS-CONUS POV entitlements of any kind.

3.       Select a Car Shipping Company That Works With Military Members

If you do qualify for government funding, the military will handle the logistics of your car’s shipping needs for you. If that is not something that is available to you, you will need to find a military shipping company to work with on your own. As stated before, not every company can work with military members and you will need to find out that detail before you ask about anything else to do with your shipping needs.

There are many companies that can cover your car’s shipping needs. Nevertheless, you’ll want to make sure to look at military discounts, where they can deliver. Also, ask whether you’ll be able to arrange a drop-off and understand any type of unique considerations involved. Transfers from one base to another are often entirely on the whim of the military. Moreover, shipping companies are accustomed to doing this type of transportation with service personnel and they can handle unique requests.

Some Tips and Tricks for Transporting Your Car to Your Military Assignment

There are some ways that you can make your military shipping process less frustrating and worrisome. These tips and tricks can come in very handy when you are in a hurry to make a decision. Especially if you are not sure which of the companies that you have spoken with will be the right fit for your needs.

· Take Advantage of Your TO

This is often the best way to make sure that your shipping experience is easy and painless and they have an inside track on details that you will not be privy to about your move. TO help can also alleviate some considerations that might impact where you can pick up or drop off your car for shipping and issues related to overseas moves that can involve lots of governmental paperwork and customs and import taxes and processes.


car transport for the military

Using the help of your TO is very beneficial, so do not do it alone if you don’t need to. The TO will be more knowledgeable about shipping than you. This is why waste time trying to figure it out on your own? Getting your shipping arranged properly will save you time and hassle down the road.

·  Take Care of Recalls

One of the benefits of using POV shipping assistance is that you cannot have any open recalls on your vehicle for the government to cover. Before arranging shipments to your new service location, remember everything you might need for your vehicle.

You will want to make sure you take care of small things like a factory recall for a taillight. There is no tolerance for open recalls and POV shipping that is covered by the government. Make sure you have all of your documentation on hand to prove that you took care of all recalls.

· Use Word of Mouth

If you know someone who has had good luck with a shipping company when they moved to a new base, you can use this information to help make an informed decision. Word of mouth is a good way to find quality shipping services. You probably do know other people who have used these services before. This can be a great help if you’re new to moving and haven’t owned a car before.

car shipping for military members

· Plan for Delays

Car shipping when you are moving your vehicle to a military base can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Delays and issues with documentation and arrival dates can be quite common. Try to be patient with these issues and be pleasantly surprised if you do not run into them. If you have been in the service for a while, you are probably fairly familiar with the delays that can arise when relocating and your car shipping process can be impacted in the same way.

· Look Into Moving Grants

You might not be able to get assistance from the government with your car relocation. Nevertheless, you may be able to qualify for other grants. There are many other grants and financing programs that can help with your moving expenses in general. This can make it much easier to bear the cost of moving your vehicle yourself. Professional movers and other people who may need to be involved in your move may also offer military discounts that you need to ask about to help cover your costs.


Military Auto Transport FAQ

Is ETS shipping covered?

Be aware that if you have an ETS designation (Expiration- Term of Service), you will not get help with the costs of shipping your car. Your shipping will have to come from your own pocket if this is your designation. This can come as a bit of a surprise in some cases, so be aware of this limitation.

Can You Get a Rental Car?

If your car is not arriving at your new base as expected, you may receive rental car coverage. Some rental car companies will give you a free rental if your POV does not arrive within two weeks. If your car arrives late and it is difficult to work at the base, please contact the TO.

There are military shipping companies that offer this service as part of each contract. You can decide to work with them if this is a concern of yours. Bases in places like Hawaii can be very difficult to get to work every day without driving a private car. This is the type of transfer that may require a rental car due to the delayed arrival of the POV.


Military Auto Shipping Can be Fairly Easy to Arrange

military auto shipping

If you are concerned about getting your car transferred to your new location after you are reassigned, this information will make a significant difference in your whole shipping experience. There are many inquiries concerning your military shipping needs that your TO can address. Moreso, being informed of the process of shipping your car when in the military is good to avoid confusion.

If you exercise some advance planning by reaching out to your TO as soon as you have your orders and make sure that you have looked into recalls and other issues that might lead to problems relocating your car, you should have a smooth shipping experience. Make sure that you are prepared to be patient with the process of getting your car delivered to you. Also, look into rental car coverage if you are worried about getting to work on your new base.

Shipping your car when you are in the military can be easy if you know what your options are.


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What Our Customrs Are Saying


We feel it’s important for you to know how we determined your quote. Quotes are based on what the market demands for cars to be moved at a given time. Each quote is compared with the current rates on the National Load Board before being sent to our customers and will be reviewed periodically through the process.

Other companies might offer you a lower price to obtain your business. This method is ineffective because if the car does not pay the correct amount of money, it will run the probability of not getting loaded or transported on time. You will not get this information from our competitors. Truck drivers always take the loads that pay the most first, leaving the loads that are mispriced to be moved last or not at all. We try very hard to avoid this with our customers by quoting a fair but realistic quote up front. Visit our How we determine your quote page for more information.

Understanding auto transport insurance is important and we think it’s valuable to explain how it works. As part of providing a great car transport service, it is our job to guarantee that the carrier we assign to pickup your vehicle is licensed and insured. Click here to check out our license.

When you go with Mercury to ship your vehicle, you can rest assured that the carrier assigned to move your car is fully insured and licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier and Saftey Administration).

Your vehicle is covered by the carrier’s insurance policy that is doing the shipping. Depending on the type and size of the truck/trailer that is shipping your car, the insurance policy can cover from $100,000 to $1,000,000 of damage.

We have also provided a checklist to explain what you need to do at both pickup and delivery in case there are any issues so, you can file a claim and know that everything will be taken care of.

It is rare but, time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit and it is good to know that your carrier’s insurance will protect your auto shipment in that event.

To view a sample BOL (Bill of Lading) and learn what to do in case of accidental damage, please check out our Condition Report and Procedure checklist.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible.  

We feel it’s important for you to know how we determine your quote.

When you’re looking for a car shipping rate, you want to understand how auto transport works. Prices are based on seasonal market demands for cars to be moved at any given time. Each quote is prepared based on the season and the current national rates.

When comparing auto transport companies, keep in mind that low-priced quotes often result in delays in getting your vehicle loaded. Choosing the right broker is vital to getting a reputable carrier for the lowest price possible. Not all brokers are created equal in this talent.

Mercury does a thorough background check with each carrier for every shipment. We verify their ratings, references, and in addition, we obtain a certified copy of their insurance certificate, directly from the government agency that it is on file with.

You can have peace of mind knowing that the carrier shipping your vehicle is the very best and that there are no surprises guaranteed.

Mercury Auto Transport is licensed, Bonded and Insured. Our FMSCA Motor Carrier Number is MC647319.

While we do our best match your auto shipping needs with the most responsible carriers with the best track records, from time-to-time there may be accidental damage while in transit, it is good to know that the insurance of the carrier we locate for you will protect your auto shipment in that event.

Shipping a vehicle can be stressful if you don’t know what to do.  This is why we believe it is paramount to have our highly trained agents be your main point of contact from start to finish.

They will go over everything you need to know so you can relax.  In the meanwhile, we prepared this checklist.  This includes everything from pickup to delivery and how to make sure your car is ready for pickup.

When it comes to car moving, we want you to be ahead of the game!  For any questions and further assistance our agents are standing by, (800) 553-1828.  Please read our checklist to prepare your vehicle to learn more.

There are several ways you can ship a car.  The options include enclosed trailer, open carrier transport, flatbed truck, door-to-door shipping services, and to or from a terminal as well.  The most popular of the options is a 7 to 10 car open carrier.  These large trucks can accommodate almost any size vehicle including carsSUVstrucksjeeps, and vans.

Open car transport, door to door is also the best way to get the cheapest auto transport rate possible.  To learn more and see what transport method is best for you, please fill out our free quote form and one of our representatives will respond to you within minutes.  You can also call us at (800) 553-1828.

We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service, and 100% bumper-to-bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.