The Cost of Shipping a Military POV with Military Car Shipping

In the realm of military life, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves are a common occurrence. These moves often entail transporting personal vehicles (POVs) to new duty stations, which can be a logistical challenge. Fortunately, military car shipping services exist to simplify this process, albeit at a cost. Understanding the factors influencing these costs and the benefits of utilizing military car shipping can help service members navigate their PCS transitions efficiently. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulates and enforces safety standards for commercial motor vehicles to enhance road safety.

Understanding Military Car Shipping

Military Car Shipping is a specialized service designed to transport service members’ vehicles during PCS moves. It is offered by various logistics companies that cater specifically to military personnel. These companies understand the unique requirements and constraints associated with military moves, providing tailored solutions to ease the burden on service members and their families.

Factors Influencing the Cost

Several factors contribute to the cost of shipping a military POV:

Distance: The distance between the origin and destination plays a significant role in determining shipping costs. Longer distances typically result in higher shipping fees due to increased fuel and labor expenses.

Vehicle Type: The size, weight, and dimensions of the vehicle influence shipping costs. Larger vehicles, such as trucks or SUVs, may incur higher fees compared to compact cars.

Shipping Method: Military car shipping companies offer various transportation methods, including open transport and enclosed transport. Enclosed transport provides greater protection but tends to be more expensive than open transport.

Seasonality: Peak moving seasons, such as summer months when many military families relocate, may lead to higher shipping costs due to increased demand for services.

Additional Services: Optional services, such as expedited shipping or vehicle tracking, can add to the overall cost of shipping a military POV.

Benefits of Military Car Shipping

Despite the associated costs, military car shipping offers several benefits:

Convenience: Coordinating a PCS move is already stressful, and having to drive a vehicle long distances only adds to the complexity. Military car shipping services alleviate this burden by handling the transportation process from start to finish.

Time Savings: Shipping a vehicle allows service members to focus on other aspects of their move, such as household goods packing and paperwork. It also eliminates the need for extended road trips, saving valuable time and minimizing travel-related fatigue.

Safety and Security: Military car shipping companies employ trained professionals who specialize in vehicle transportation. They use secure loading techniques and protective measures to ensure the safety of the vehicle during transit.

Insurance Coverage: Reputable military car shipping providers offer insurance coverage for transported vehicles, providing peace of mind in the event of unforeseen incidents or damages.

Cost Comparison: DIY vs. Military Car Shipping

While some service members may consider driving their vehicles to their new duty stations to save money, it’s essential to weigh the costs and benefits of this approach:

Fuel Costs: Long-distance drives entail significant fuel expenses, especially for larger vehicles with lower gas mileage.

Wear and Tear: Extended road trips put additional wear and tear on vehicles, potentially leading to maintenance and repair costs down the line.

Time Investment: Driving cross-country requires time away from work and family obligations, whereas shipping a vehicle allows service members to maintain their regular schedules.

Tips for Minimizing Shipping Costs

While military car shipping may entail expenses, service members can take steps to minimize these costs:

Plan Ahead: Booking shipping services well in advance can help secure lower rates and avoid peak season surcharges.

Compare Quotes: Obtain quotes from multiple military car shipping companies to compare prices and services offered.

Consider Flexible Dates: Flexible pickup and delivery dates may result in lower shipping costs, as companies can consolidate shipments more efficiently.

Opt for Open Transport: Unless the vehicle requires extra protection, choosing open transport over enclosed transport can lead to cost savings.

Government Reimbursement

It’s crucial for service members to be aware that some or all of the costs associated with shipping a military POV may be eligible for reimbursement through the military’s travel entitlements. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) provides detailed information on the entitlements related to PCS moves, including reimbursement for shipping a POV.

Service members should keep thorough records of their expenses, including quotes from shipping companies, receipts for any payments made, and documentation of the vehicle’s condition before and after shipping. These records will be essential when filing for reimbursement through the appropriate channels.

Tax Considerations

In addition to potential reimbursement from the military, service members may also be eligible for tax deductions related to their PCS moves. While the costs of shipping a POV itself may not be deductible, other expenses associated with the move, such as travel expenses and lodging, could qualify for tax deductions.

It’s advisable for service members to consult with a tax professional or utilize reputable tax preparation software to ensure they maximize their eligible deductions and minimize their tax liability related to their PCS move.


Shipping a military POV with military car shipping services offers convenience, time savings, and peace of mind during PCS moves. While costs vary depending on factors such as distance, vehicle type, and shipping method, the benefits often outweigh the expenses. By understanding the factors influencing shipping costs and exploring cost-saving strategies, service members can streamline their PCS transitions effectively. Ultimately, investing in professional car shipping can contribute to a smoother and less stressful relocation experience for military personnel and their families.