Preparing for PCS moves - (POV) Shipments

Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Shipments

Shipping a privately owned vehicle (POV) can be a crucial part of a PCS move, particularly for international or long-distance moves. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Eligibility: The government will typically pay to ship one POV for OCONUS moves. However, the rules can vary, so it’s important to check your specific entitlements. For CONUS moves, (POV) shipments are usually not covered.
  2. Preparation: Before shipping your vehicle, it needs to be prepared. This includes cleaning the interior and exterior, removing personal items (except for standard items that came with the vehicle), and ensuring it is in good running condition. The fuel tank should be no more than 1/4 full.
  3. Documentation: You will need to provide documentation such as proof of ownership (or written authorization from the lienholder), valid registration, and proof of insurance. Make sure to check the specific documentation requirements well in advance.
  4. Delivery and Pickup: You’ll need to drop off your vehicle at a Vehicle Processing Center (VPC). Upon arrival at your new location, you’ll pick up your vehicle at the designated VPC. Ensure you have transportation arranged for getting to and from these locations.
  5. Vehicle Inspection: Upon dropping off and picking up your vehicle, a thorough inspection will be conducted and documented on a vehicle shipping form. Ensure all damage or issues are accurately reported.
  6. Temporary Storage: If needed, the government will pay for a certain amount of storage for your vehicle at the destination VPC if you’re not able to pick it up immediately.

Remember, it’s important to verify the specific rules and procedures for your particular move. Your installation’s Transportation Office can provide guidance and answer any questions you may have about (POV) shipments. With proper preparation and understanding of the process, shipping your vehicle can be a smooth aspect of your PCS move.

Introduction to Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Shipments

A PCS move often involves relocating not just your household goods, but also your privately owned vehicle (POV). This is particularly relevant for moves outside the continental United States (OCONUS), although it can also apply to certain long-distance moves within the continental United States (CONUS). Understanding the basics of POV shipment can help you navigate this part of your move more smoothly.

(POV) shipments are a complex process, and the U.S. government has specific guidelines and procedures in place to assist military members and their families. Typically, the government will pay to ship one POV to your new location for an OCONUS move. This is generally a door-to-door process, beginning with you dropping off your vehicle at a designated Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) and ending with you picking up your vehicle at a VPC near your new location.

Several key considerations come into play, including your entitlements, the preparation of your vehicle for shipment, documentation required, drop-off and pick-up procedures, and potential for temporary storage of your vehicle at your new location.

It’s important to note that while the process is designed to be as streamlined as possible, it does require advance planning and careful attention to detail. Early preparation is crucial to avoid last-minute surprises or delays. Your installation’s Transportation Office is an excellent resource to provide guidance and answer any questions you may have about shipping a POV.

As we delve further into this topic, we will explore each aspect of POV shipment, providing you with a comprehensive guide to facilitate your PCS move.

Understanding the Importance of (POV) Shipments

When undertaking a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, especially to an overseas or long-distance location, shipping your privately owned vehicle (POV) can be an essential part of the process. Understanding the importance of POV shipment in PCS moves helps to illustrate why the military offers this support, and how it contributes to a smoother transition for service members and their families.

  1. Comfort and Convenience: Having your own vehicle at your new duty station can provide a level of comfort and familiarity amid all the new changes. It allows for easier navigation around the new area, commutes to work, and can be especially helpful for families with children engaged in off-base activities.
  2. Financial Considerations: Purchasing a new vehicle at your new location can be a significant expense, and may not be feasible or desirable, especially for a temporary assignment. While some locations do offer government vehicles or rental options, having your own vehicle is often the more economically sound choice.
  3. International Moves: For OCONUS moves, local public transportation or car rental options might not be as readily available or convenient as in the U.S. Additionally, if you’re moving to a country where vehicles are considerably more expensive, or where driving standards and vehicle models are vastly different, having your own vehicle can be a significant advantage.
  4. Transportation of Goods: Your vehicle can also aid in the transportation of personal goods, especially essential items you’ll need immediately upon arrival. While shipping household goods is part of the PCS process, having additional transportation space in your vehicle can be helpful.
  5. Integration into the Community: Having your own vehicle can also facilitate quicker integration into the local community, as it gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore your new surroundings at your own pace.

Understanding these benefits helps underscore why the military provides assistance and support for POV shipments during PCS moves. It is a complex process but planning in advance, understanding the procedures, and utilizing the resources available can make POV shipment a seamless part of your PCS move.

Choosing the Right Service for Your (POV) Shipments

Choosing the right shipment service for your Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) is crucial when planning a PCS move. It’s important to know that the U.S. Government contracts with private companies to manage POV shipments for military members. The contracted companies are responsible for processing, handling, and shipping your POV.

When you receive your PCS orders, your first step will be to visit the official Department of Defense (DoD) website for POV shipment. At, you’ll find detailed information on the current contracted companies, their services, and the procedures for scheduling a shipment.

Remember, for OCONUS moves, the government will typically pay to ship one POV. For moves within the continental U.S. (CONUS), you’ll generally need to transport your vehicle yourself or pay for a private vehicle shipment service if you choose not to drive.

While the choice of shipment services for your POV may be limited due to government contracts, there are few things you can consider to ensure a smooth process:

1. Understand the Process: Make sure you’re familiar with the process of preparing your vehicle for shipment, the necessary paperwork, drop-off and pick-up points, and the estimated transit times. The official DoD website and your installation’s Transportation Office can be valuable resources for this information.

2. Schedule Early: As soon as you receive your PCS orders, schedule your POV shipment. This helps ensure availability and gives you time to arrange other aspects of your move.

3. Insurance: Check with your car insurance provider to understand your coverage during the shipment. Although the shipment service provides certain protections, you want to ensure your vehicle is fully covered in the event of damage.

4. Customer Service: Good customer service is crucial. The company should provide clear communication about the process, be responsive to your queries, and promptly address any issues or concerns.

While the process may seem daunting, remember that thousands of military families successfully ship their vehicles every year. With advance preparation and the right resources, you can navigate this part of your PCS move successfully.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Shipment

Preparing your privately owned vehicle (POV) for shipment during a PCS move involves several important steps. Following these guidelines will ensure your vehicle is ready for a smooth, safe journey to your new duty station.

1. Cleaning Your Vehicle: Your vehicle should be clean both inside and out. This not only helps to identify any pre-existing damage but it’s also a requirement of most shipping companies. The undercarriage must be cleaned to remove any dirt or mud.

2. Removing Personal Items: Your vehicle should be empty of all personal items, including any electronic devices, important documents, or valuables. Standard items that came with the vehicle, like the jack and spare tire, can stay.

3. Maintenance and Repairs: Make sure your vehicle is in good running condition. All fluid levels should be checked and topped off if necessary. All leaks must be repaired, as they can cause damage to other vehicles in transit. If your vehicle is not operable, you should notify the shipping company in advance as special arrangements might need to be made.

4. Fuel Level: Your fuel tank should be no more than 1/4 full. This reduces the weight for shipping and decreases the risk of fire hazards during transit.

5. Disabling Alarms: If your vehicle has an alarm system, ensure it is disabled. If the alarm goes off during transit, the battery may be disconnected.

6. Removing Toll Tags and Parking Passes: Any toll tags or parking passes should be removed to prevent unintended charges.

7. Removing or Securing Loose Parts: Loose parts or specialty items such as spoilers, fog lights, or bike racks, if not removed, should be securely fastened. Non-retractable antennas should be lowered or removed.

8. Preparing for Different Climates: If your vehicle is moving to a location with a drastically different climate, you may need to prepare it accordingly. For instance, if moving to a colder climate, you might need antifreeze.

Remember, you’ll need to provide a set of keys for the shipping company. It’s also a good idea to take photos of your vehicle from all angles before handing it over, for reference in case of any damage claims. Lastly, all of these preparations should ideally be completed a few days before the drop-off date, to avoid any last-minute rush. By taking these steps, you can ensure your vehicle is well-prepared for its journey.

Costs and Insurance Considerations for POV Shipment

When you’re preparing for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, understanding the costs and insurance considerations for shipping your privately owned vehicle (POV) is crucial. This will help you budget accurately and ensure that your vehicle is adequately protected during transit.

1. Shipment Costs: For an OCONUS move, the government will typically pay to ship one POV. This includes the costs of transportation from a designated drop-off point (Vehicle Processing Center or VPC) in the origin country to a designated pickup point (VPC) in the destination country. However, any costs related to getting the vehicle to and from these points will be out-of-pocket expenses. For moves within the continental U.S. (CONUS), the government typically does not cover the cost of shipping your vehicle. If you choose to use a private shipping service instead of driving the vehicle yourself, you will need to cover these costs.

2. Insurance Coverage: The government-contracted shipping service will have certain liability coverage for any damage that occurs to your vehicle during transit. However, it’s important to understand the specifics of this coverage, including any limits or exclusions.

3. Personal Vehicle Insurance: Check with your personal vehicle insurance provider to understand your coverage during the shipment. This is particularly important because the coverage from the shipping service may not fully cover all potential damage. Make sure to notify your insurer about the move, especially if you are moving overseas, as you may need to adjust your policy accordingly.

4. Damage Claims: If your vehicle is damaged during transit, you will need to file a claim with the shipping company. This is where the pre-shipment inspection and photos of your vehicle can be helpful. Claims should be filed as soon as possible after picking up the vehicle.

5. Other Costs: Remember to budget for other vehicle-related costs at your new location, such as registration fees, local insurance requirements, or potential modifications to meet local regulations for overseas moves.

By understanding these costs and insurance considerations, you can make informed decisions and plans for your POV shipment during your PCS move. As always, for the most accurate and updated information, refer to the official Department of Defense (DoD) website for POV shipment and your installation’s Transportation Office.

Domestic vs. International POV Shipment

When making a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, whether you’re moving within the continental United States (CONUS) or outside the continental United States (OCONUS), the process for shipping your privately owned vehicle (POV) can vary significantly. Understanding these differences is essential for planning and executing a successful move.

Domestic (CONUS) POV Shipment:

In the case of domestic moves, the government typically does not cover the cost of shipping your vehicle. Most military members choose to drive their vehicles to their new location. If the new station is far away and you’d prefer not to drive, you’ll need to cover the cost of a private shipping service yourself. Keep in mind, the government does provide a mileage reimbursement rate for personally procured moves (PPM), commonly referred to as a DITY move.

International (OCONUS) POV Shipment:

For international or OCONUS moves, the government will generally pay to ship one POV. This includes the cost of transportation from a designated drop-off point (Vehicle Processing Center or VPC) in the origin country to a designated pickup point (VPC) in the destination country.

In addition to the differences in shipment coverage, other factors vary between domestic and international shipments:

  1. Regulations: For OCONUS moves, there might be specific local regulations to consider. These can include emission standards, driving side conventions (right-hand drive vs. left-hand drive), and more. Your vehicle may require modifications to be compliant.
  2. Insurance: The requirements for auto insurance can be different and potentially more expensive in other countries. You’ll need to understand and plan for these changes.
  3. Licensing: Depending on your new location, you may need to obtain a new driver’s license and vehicle registration.
  4. Time: Shipping a vehicle overseas can take significantly longer than domestic transport, so planning for alternative transportation in the interim is necessary.

The decision to ship your POV, whether domestically or internationally, is an important one. By understanding the key differences and requirements between domestic and international POV shipments, you can make the best decision for your situation and ensure a smooth transition to your new duty station.

Regulations and Compliance for Shipping Your Vehicle

When shipping your privately owned vehicle (POV) during a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, especially to a destination outside the continental United States (OCONUS), it’s important to be aware of and comply with certain regulations. Understanding these can help avoid potential issues or delays.

1. Vehicle Eligibility: For an OCONUS move, the government typically pays to ship one POV that is owned or leased by you for your personal use. It must be self-propelled, legal for use on public streets, highways, and includes cars, minivans, sport utility vehicles, motorcycles, and pickup trucks. Recreational vehicles, utility trailers, and other types of vehicles are generally not eligible for shipment at government expense.

2. Environmental and Safety Regulations: Different countries have different environmental and safety regulations for vehicles. For instance, some countries have strict emission standards that your vehicle must meet. Your vehicle may require modifications to be compliant, and it’s crucial to understand these requirements well in advance of your move.

3. Vehicle Inspection: Before shipping, your vehicle will be inspected. It should be in good running condition with no fluid leaks. The vehicle should be clean, both inside and out, including the undercarriage. Any loose parts or specialty items should be securely fastened or removed.

4. Prohibited Items: Personal items should not be left in the vehicle, with the exception of those tools and accessories that were factory installed or those tools and equipment that are ordinarily attached to the vehicle, such as a jack or spare tire. Prohibited items include flammable or hazardous substances.

5. Documentation: Proper documentation is crucial. This includes a copy of your PCS orders, proof of ownership or authorization to ship the vehicle, and a valid ID. The specific documents required can vary, so be sure to check the current requirements on the official Department of Defense (DoD) website for POV shipment.

Remember, failure to comply with these regulations can result in your vehicle being denied for shipment, or in delays and additional costs. It’s always a good idea to reach out to your installation’s Transportation Office for the most accurate and updated information. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, you can ensure a smooth process for shipping your vehicle during your PCS move.

Tracking and Receiving Your Vehicle at the New Location

After you’ve handed over your vehicle for shipment during a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, the next crucial steps are tracking its progress and receiving it at your new location. Having a clear understanding of this process will help to alleviate any anxieties and ensure a smoother transition.

1. Tracking Your Vehicle: Upon drop-off, you’ll receive a shipping document with a unique tracking number. Most shipping services offer online tracking that you can access using this number. This will give you an idea of your vehicle’s current location and the estimated time of arrival.

2. Pickup at the Destination: The destination Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) will notify you when your vehicle has arrived and is ready for pick-up. Note that you generally have a certain number of days (usually about a week) to pick up your vehicle before you start accruing storage fees. If you cannot pick up your vehicle yourself, you may be able to designate an agent to do so on your behalf. This individual will need to be named in your shipping documents and have a valid ID.

3. Inspecting Your Vehicle: Upon receiving your vehicle, inspect it carefully for any damage that may have occurred during transit. This is where the photographs taken during the pre-shipment inspection can be helpful. Any new damage should be noted in the shipping documents. Remember, claims for damage must typically be filed within a certain period (often 75 days) after delivery.

4. Reporting Delays or Issues: If your vehicle is delayed or if there are other issues, contact the shipping service’s customer support. Keep all your documentation on hand in case it is needed.

Remember to also plan for your transportation needs between your arrival at the new location and when you can pick up your vehicle. Depending on the length of the transit time, you may need to arrange for a rental car or other transportation alternatives.

Navigating the process of receiving your vehicle at your new location can seem daunting, but with a bit of preparation and understanding of the steps involved, it can be managed effectively.

Dealing with Damages or Issues in POV Shipments

While most privately owned vehicle (POV) shipments during a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move go smoothly, there can occasionally be damages or issues that arise during transit. Understanding how to deal with these potential complications will help you navigate the process more efficiently and effectively.

1. Inspect Your Vehicle at Pickup: Once your vehicle arrives at the destination Vehicle Processing Center (VPC), you or your designated agent should conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle. Compare its condition to the photos you took and the inspection report you received when you dropped it off. Any new damage or discrepancies should be noted on the shipping documents before you leave the VPC.

2. Report the Damage Immediately: If you discover damage, report it to the VPC personnel immediately. The VPC will give you a form to submit a claim. If you discover damage after you’ve already left the VPC, contact them as soon as possible. Generally, damage must be reported within 75 days of delivery.

3. Document the Damage: Take photos of the damage from multiple angles. These will be crucial when filing your claim. If the damage has made your vehicle unsafe to drive, this should also be documented.

4. File a Claim: Follow the instructions provided by the VPC to file a damage claim. You’ll typically need to provide the damage report, any photos of the damage, and potentially obtain a repair estimate.

5. Follow Up: After you submit your claim, make sure to follow up regularly. Claims can sometimes take a while to process, but regular follow-ups can help to ensure that your claim is being handled in a timely manner.

Remember, your personal auto insurance may also play a role in this process, especially if the damage exceeds the shipping service’s maximum liability. It’s always a good idea to contact your insurance company as soon as you discover the damage.

Dealing with damages or issues in POV shipment can be frustrating, but by promptly and proactively addressing these situations, you can facilitate the resolution process and ensure that you’re fairly compensated for any damage that occurs during transit.

Special Considerations for Motorcycles or Unusual Vehicles

When planning a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, special considerations come into play if you’re shipping a motorcycle or an unusual vehicle. Each type of vehicle has its specific requirements and guidelines to ensure safe transportation.


Motorcycles can be shipped as part of your PCS move, although the process differs slightly from standard automobiles:

  1. Preparation: Prior to shipping, motorcycles should be cleaned and serviced. Remove any accessories not permanently attached to the motorcycle, and ensure that the fuel level is a quarter tank or less.
  2. Inspection: As with all vehicles, a detailed inspection will be performed, and any existing damage will be noted. Taking pictures before shipping is advisable for comparison upon arrival.
  3. Crate: In most cases, motorcycles are crated for shipping to provide extra protection. Make sure to understand how your specific shipping company handles motorcycle shipping.

Unusual Vehicles:

Unusual vehicles, such as recreational vehicles (RVs), all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), or oversized trucks, require special arrangements for shipping:

  1. Eligibility: In many cases, the government will not cover the cost of shipping these vehicles. Consult with your Transportation Office to understand what is covered under your PCS orders.
  2. Size Restrictions: Each shipping company may have size restrictions for vehicles. If your vehicle exceeds these limits, you may need to seek a specialized shipping service.
  3. Cost: Shipping unusual or oversized vehicles can be more expensive due to the additional resources and handling they require. This can significantly impact your PCS budget.
  4. Insurance: Insurance coverage for these types of vehicles can also be different. Ensure you have appropriate coverage in place before shipping.

As always, consult with your installation’s Transportation Office for guidance on shipping motorcycles and unusual vehicles. Understanding these special considerations will help you ensure that all your vehicles are safely and efficiently transported to your new location.

Tips for a Smooth POV Shipment Process

Successfully navigating a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move involves many moving parts, and the shipment of your privately owned vehicle (POV) is one significant piece of that puzzle. Here are some tips to help ensure a smooth POV shipment process:

1. Start Early: Begin the planning process as soon as you receive your PCS orders. This includes researching and choosing your vehicle shipping service, understanding the associated costs, and scheduling your vehicle’s pick-up and drop-off dates.

2. Clean Your Vehicle: Prior to shipment, give your vehicle a thorough cleaning, inside and out. This not only helps prevent potential quarantine delays for international shipments but also ensures that any damage is clearly visible during the pre-shipment inspection.

3. Document the Vehicle’s Condition: Take detailed photographs of your vehicle from multiple angles before shipping. Also, make sure you receive a copy of the inspection report. This documentation is crucial if you need to file a claim for damages after shipment.

4. Remove Personal Items: Personal belongings left in the vehicle are not typically covered by insurance, and they could shift during transport, causing damage. It’s best to remove all personal items before shipment.

5. Have Proper Documentation: Ensure you have all necessary documentation for the shipment, including a copy of your PCS orders, proof of vehicle ownership, and identification. If you’re shipping internationally, you may also need additional documents, like a customs form.

6. Prepare for Pickup: Have a plan for picking up your vehicle at the destination, whether it’s you or a designated agent doing the pickup. Remember to also arrange alternative transportation if necessary until your vehicle arrives.

7. Inspect Upon Arrival: At pickup, inspect your vehicle carefully and compare its condition to your pre-shipment photographs and inspection report. Report any new damage immediately.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can help ensure a smooth POV shipment process during your PCS move, mitigating potential stress and complications along the way.

Resources and Support for Military POV Shipment

Navigating the complexities of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, including the shipment of your privately owned vehicle (POV), can be a daunting task. However, you’re not alone in this journey. There are numerous resources and support mechanisms available to make the process easier:

1. Installation Transportation Office (ITO): Your local ITO or Personal Property Shipping Office can be an invaluable resource. They provide information on everything from scheduling your vehicle’s pick-up and drop-off dates to preparing for inspection and understanding the necessary documentation.

2. Department of Defense (DoD) Official Website: The official DoD website has a wealth of information on PCS moves, including comprehensive details on POV shipment. The site also provides an array of checklists, FAQs, and step-by-step guides to assist with the process.

3. Vehicle Processing Centers (VPC): VPCs, located worldwide, are the pick-up and drop-off points for your POV. VPC personnel can help with vehicle inspections, shipping documents, and understanding what to expect in the shipping process.

4. Online Shipment Tracking: Most vehicle shipping companies offer online tracking services, enabling you to monitor your vehicle’s location and estimated time of arrival.

5. Military Community Support Websites: Websites such as Military OneSource offer a variety of articles, tips, and resources to help military families navigate PCS moves. They also offer support hotlines and counseling services.

6. Social Media and Online Forums: Online communities, like those found on Facebook or Reddit, can be a great place to connect with other military families who have gone through similar experiences. You can find advice, tips, and personal anecdotes that may not be available in official guides.

Remember, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help or clarification if you’re unsure about something. These resources are here to assist you, ensuring your PCS move and POV shipment go as smoothly as possible.

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