Cheap military cross country car shipping

Cheap military cross country car shipping

It’s one thing that’s going to be on your mind if you’ve just received your PCS orders and have to move your family to the other side of the country, wondering what you’re going to do about your car is going to be on your mind.

You’ll be happy to know that the US Armed Forces is sometimes willing to cover the cost of shipping one family car, especially if it’s overseas. Unfortunately, there are hoops you have to jump through, the process can be quite a rigmarole, and what if your family owns more than one car?

You want the best but also the cheapest way to ship a car across country, and in this article we’re going to lay out all the options.

What are your entitlements when you receive a PCS?

When you’re a member of the military, whether you’re in the army, air force, navy, marines, or the coastguard, there are certain concessions you’re entitled to. If you need cross country car shipping you’ll be interested to learn that you can claim the cost of transportation for your POV (Privately Owned Vehicle). However, this only applies in certain circumstances. These include when the vehicle owner is medically unable to drive, there is not enough time to drive, or it’s a homeport change.

In certain cases, a DoD civilian employee can also transport their vehicle and have the cost covered by the military.

If a military service member is separated or they retire, it might also cover the cost of POV transportation.

When you need to ship a POV to a new duty station, the first thing you should do, whether you’re a service member or DoD employee, is contact your local personal property office. They will be able to answer any questions you have about your entitlements. Send an email to one of the following:

  • Army: usarmy.ria.asc.list.oco-personal-property@mail.mil
  • Air Force: ppahq.ppec.customerservice@us.af.mil
  • Navy: householdgoods@navy.mil
  • Marines: usmcpersonalproperty@usmc.mil
  • Coast Guard:  HQS-DG-LST-CG-1332-TRAVEL@uscg.mil

The option of a PPM

There are two options when you receive a PCS order with regard to your belongings and your car. You can use a military contracted carrier or you can make your own arrangements. This might involve hiring a truck so you can drive your belongings to your new location. You’ve also got to organize the shipping of your car across country,

There are many benefits to choosing the second option. They include:

  • You minimize the risk of damage or loss of your household goods
  • You get to choose the best and most convenient time to move
  • Every aspect of your relocation is under your control
  • If you can produce the necessary receipts and paperwork, you could get a reimbursement for the cost of your relocation
  • If you’re faced with moving your own belongings, it could prompt you to declutter

If you decide to make all the arrangements yourself, you can opt into a PPM program (Personally Procured Move). That’s all well and good but what are the options when you want to ship a car across country?  

What are the cheapest ways to ship a car across country?

Cheapest ways to ship a car across country

Moving a car can be a challenge, especially if you need to move it from a duty station on the east coast to one on the west coast. When the journey is a long one, the cost for shipping a car across country can be expensive. We’re here to show you that you can do it without breaking your budget.  

Military car shipping with an auto transport management company

One of the best ways to ship a car across country is with an auto transport management company. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • It’s costs much less than any other option
  • You can make the arrangements quickly and simply
  • The company picks up and delivers your vehicle to a location of your choice
  • They can customize the service to meet your needs
  • You can ship more than one vehicle
  • Military discounts are available

What is an auto transport management company?

An auto transport management company will manage the whole shipping process for you, from start to finish. The service they provide includes many elements such as the coordination of the shipping process, making sure clients are updated, sorting out any hiccups, and making sure your vehicle is delivered according to the pre-arranged schedule.

An auto transport management company like SGT Auto Transport will take care of your vehicle, from the moment you get in touch to request a quote to when you receive delivery of your vehicle.

Why is auto transport the best way to ship my car across country?

We are going to list a number of other options for shipping a car across country. However, they all pale in comparison with cheap car shipping for the military with an auto transport provider. Let’s look at the reasons why.

Relocating can be a very stressful thing to do, especially when you’ve got a budget you need to stick to. Choose cross country car transport for the military and you don’t have to stress about any other expenses because the price you get is inclusive of all costs. There are no extra taxes, additional gas, or insurance. Something else you don’t have to worry about is the hidden cost of wear and tear.

Choose cross country car shipping and you’re not going to be sitting behind the wheel for hours at a time, stuck in traffic, or run the risk of being involved in a car accident. You don’t have to worry about the weather holding up your progress either.

Quite a significant advantage, when you ship a car across country, is that the service is door-to-door, or in the case of military personnel, just outside a duty base or perhaps a nearby business.

What is the cost for shipping a car across country?

Price is a very important factor for military members considering shipping a car across country. It’s very difficult to put an exact price on the cost for shipping a car across country, without all the relevant details. This is because they take several factors into consideration when calculating a quote.

Two key details are the pick-up and delivery location, and from that, the distance between them. Shorter distances cost less than longer ones. For example, shipping a car across country from a duty base in Philadelphia to a duty base in San Francisco will cost you more than from Kansas City to Dallas.

The type of car you want to ship is another fundamental factor. You will pay more to ship a large and heavy SUV than a standard sedan.

What military car shipping discounts are available?

Active duty and veteran are entitled to a discount on the military car shipping service. Expect to receive a price break whether you’re an active or retired member of the Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy, or Coast Guard. How you apply for the discount and what discount is available varies from company to company.

We can, however, give you an example. Let’s look at what SGT Auto Transport can offer you.

First, you should get an instant quote using the online calculator. It’s also possible to call and speak directly with a shipping advisor or communicate via Live Chat. Don’t be put off by the calculator because it is very easy to use. Input a few basic details, such as the make and model of the vehicle, pick-up and delivery locations, whether it’s running or not, and when you’ll have it ready for pick-up.

Once you’ve received your online quote, contact a shipping advisor and ask about the military discount. They’ll tell you whether you’re eligible for a military discount of up to 10%, based on current market fluctuations and the total mileage of the shipment. 

We do have a word of warning. Be wary of companies that offer a price that’s too good to be true. Bait and switch is a very common type of auto transport scam. An auto transport company provides you with a very low price to ship your car. Then they try to get more money when it comes to moving your car.     

How long will it take?

The time it takes for the delivery of your car depends on the distance the auto transport company has to travel. On average, an auto transport truck and trailer can cover several hundred miles in one day. Depending on the distance, it could take anything from a couple of days to more than a week.

If you want to ship your car quickly, there are services available that speed up the process, such as an express auto transport service or a guaranteed pick-up service. The cost of these services, however, is higher.  

What auto transport services are available?

When you first get in touch with an auto transport company they will want to know what type of service you prefer. The options will most definitely include:

  • Open car transport
  • Enclosed auto transport
Open vs. enclosed auto transport

Open car transport is the most affordable auto transport service and is also the most popular option for car dealerships. They transport your vehicle in a trailer that is open on all sides. This does mean they expose your vehicle to the elements, but it’s a perfectly safe and secure option.

The cost of enclosed auto transport is a little higher. On average, you pay 30% to 40% more. They transport your vehicle in a trailer that is enclosed on all sides and provides total protection for your vehicle. We typically recommend this service for owners of custom, antique, unique, luxury, and expensive cars.

How the shipping process works

All it takes is three easy steps.

1. Get a quote and book your order

Get your instant free quote using our online quote calculator. Alternatively, call or use Live Chat to speak directly with our shipping advisors. When you’re happy with the price, it’s time to make your booking. Confirm the details with the company and they make the booking.

At this point, you also get to choose how to pay. Typically, you’ll pay in full with your credit or debit card, once we assign a carrier to your shipment. The other option is to make a small partial payment when we dispatch your vehicle and pay the balance when you receive your vehicle. We call this a discounted cash rate.

2. We pick up your vehicle

The transport company will contact you before the pick-up date to schedule a convenient location and time. When they arrive, you and the driver inspect the vehicle and note its condition on the Bill of Lading. You’ll get a copy of this document that you need to keep safe.

3. You receive your vehicle

The transport company will contact you a few hours before the carrier is due to deliver your vehicle. They do this to make sure you’re available to receive the delivery. You carefully inspect the car when it arrives and compare it with the condition you recorded on the Bill of Lading. If you’re happy that everything is in order, you’ll sign the Bill of Lading to accept delivery of your car. If you opted for a discounted cash rate, this is when you’ll pay the balance that you owe.  

Drive it yourself

Ship a car across country or drive it

It’s bound to be very tempting to drive your car yourself. If you’ve got plenty of time it could be the answer, but time is not always on your side when you receive your PCS order. There are a number of other reasons why it’s not the best or cheapest idea.

There are a lot of costs to consider. Not only will you have to pay for all that extra gas, there’s also accommodation to pay for, food and drinks, and maybe even road tolls.

Other disadvantages include:

  • There’s the hidden cost of wear and tear to consider
  • It can be very dangerous to drive long distances
  • It can be very stressful when you drive for long periods of time
  • The timeframe for your journey will depend on traffic conditions and the weather

Transport your vehicle using a dolly or trailer

If you need to transport more than one vehicle you might consider using a dolly or trailer. For one of your cars there will be no extra mileage and you might also be able to carry extra cargo. There is, however, a huge downside. Towing a car is not for the inexperienced driver or the uninitiated. It can be quite an experience and takes a lot of practice if you want to do it safely. You need a certain amount of skill when it comes to maneuvering and reversing.

Hire a driver

You can hire a professional driver to drive your car across the country. There are companies that specialize in such a service or you could hire someone directly. This type of service can be fast, but compared with military car shipping it’s actually more expensive. You have to take into account the added wear and tear on your vehicle. And then there’s the problem of finding a reputable company or individual driver to trust with your car.  

Get a friend or family member to drive it for you

Do you have a friend or family member that might be willing to drive your car for you? If you know they’re a safe driver and are trustworthy, it’s certainly an option you might consider. There are, however, a few disadvantages:

  • Additional insurance may be required
  • Unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle
  • Finding a driver you trust to drive your car safely may be difficult

Ship it by rail

Not many people realize they can ship a car by rail. It’s a very cheap option, but not when compared with cross country car transport. The process is simple, but you do have to get your vehicle to the station and collect it at the other end. Both these extra journeys are going to add to the final cost. There are a number of other disadvantages to shipping by rail:

  • The service is not door-to-door
  • Shipping by rail takes much longer
  • Additional costs make this option more expensive
  • It’s not a very flexible service
  • You can ship no personal items in the car

Use a terminal to terminal carrier

This is not as popular an option as it used to be. Terminals are used by auto transport carriers for the collection and delivery of vehicles. When they use a central terminal it means they can save time, effort, and money because they don’t have to drive around making collections and deliveries. The downsides of terminal to terminal shipping are plenty:

  • Terminals are usually located outside city limited which means you have to travel to get there when you deliver or collect your car
  • There are additional costs involved which add to the total price
  • You may have to pay storage fees
  • The service takes much longer

If you’re in the military and ever need to ship a car please contact our shipping advisors here at SGT Auto Transport. You can reach them by phone or Live Chat and they’ll happily answer any questions you might have.

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