Shipping Military Vehicles: Requirements & Discounts

    If you are in the US Armed Forces—the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard—and your permanent change of station (PCS) may involve shipping your privately owned vehicle (POV) to your new location.

    If your PCS is on the continental US, then the US government does not reimburse you for shipping your POV. However, for shipping your POV to and from Hawaii, you will need to check with your transportation office (TO) for details. Members of the Coast Guard would have to check out with their officials as their rules are slightly different.

    Read on for more details on shipping a car from Hawaii to the mainland.

    POV Transport Within Continental US

    The military does not reimburse you for POV transport within the continental US. For a posting within the continental US, you will have to handle the shipping on your own POV. However, there are some exceptions. So please do check with the local personal property office.

    Do not worry if your local personal property office cannot help. Many companies handle auto transport. Reach out to them for a quote. Also, most of these companies offer discounts to active servicemen. The discount may not be very big, but it will help.

    Transporting a vehicle does cost quite a bit. So even with a serviceman discount, it may still be quite expensive. We suggest that you ask around and get some quotes from auto transporters so you have an idea about the cost involved.

    Driving Your POV to your PSC

    In case you feel that you cannot afford the high cost of transporting your POV, you can drive it to your PCS. This will save you a lot of money in transporting your POV. All you will need is to pay for fuel, food, and hotel stays as you drive to your new location. 

    However, it is advisable to check with your TO as they may reimburse part of the costs involved. Also, talk to the personal property office in case your date of joining the military will be affected by your driving to the new location.

    POV Transport to and from Areas Outside Continental USA

    However, if you are posted to a location that is not in the continental US, like Hawaii, then the military ships one POV for free. Check with your TO on how you can do this. You will have to book the transport of your POV through military channels. 

    You are allowed to ship a POV if:

    • You are an active member of the armed forces
    • You are a Department of Defense (DOD) civilian authorized to transport a POV
    • You are a retired serviceman authorized to transport a POV.

    To ship a car to Hawaii or back, the military will book the auto transport for you. This will work for those who are in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or the Marines. The procedure is slightly different for those in the Coast Guard.

    POV Transport To and From Areas Outside Continental USA—For Coast Guard Personnel

    The government will reimburse POV transport for an active member of the Coast Guard only if the following conditions are met:

    • If the member has dependents.
    • The member has to select transport service on their own.
    • The member owns more than one POV.
    • The member and dependents travel in another POV.
    • The member is unable to drive the vehicle themselves due to physical inability or insufficient time.

    Only if you meet the criteria will you be reimbursed. Otherwise, you will have to bear the cost of vehicle transportation.

    So, do military personnel get reimbursed for vehicle transport to Hawaii? Well, all the others get free transport for one POV except for active Coast Guard personnel. The transport is arranged by the military. If members of the Coast Guard meet certain conditions, they also get reimbursed for the transport of one POV, provided they arrange for the transporter on their own.

    Military Discounts

    A common question is whether military personnel get discounts if they want to transport a POV on their own. The simple answer to this is that transporters are only too happy to give discounts to serving and retired personnel for the transport of a POV.

    While the discounts may not be too much, there is no denying that it comes in handy. 

    To shipping a car to Hawaii you need to keep the following things in mind: 

    What Can Be Kept in Your POV That is Being Transported

    Here are some of the things that can be allowed in your POV during shipping:

    • Luggage racks
    • Essential tools not more than $200 in value
    • Fire extinguishers, jacks, jumper cables, tire chains, tire, first aid kits, trouble lights/warning triangle, irons, and non-flammable tire inflators.
    • Two snow tires with wheels
    • One spare tire
    • Items like bottle warmers, car cushions, and thermos bottles. Just ensure to pack them in one carton

    What Cannot Be Kept in Your POV That is Being Transported

    Do not store the following items in your POV during transportation:

    • Any electronics, except permanently installed or factory ones
    • Accessories that are not permanently installed
    • Hazardous or flammable substances
    • Citizen Band (CB) radios which may be prohibited in most overseas areas

    For US Army personnel, shipping a car to Hawaii or back is no big deal if they have PCS. For more details, visit this site. Of course, you will need to check with the local personal property office or their TO.