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Before beginning this guide, our team here at Direct Express Auto Transport would like to say thank you to all military readers for your service. You help protect our country; the least we can do is to help make it easier for you and your vehicle as you prepare for your next deployment.
If you’re reading this blog post, it may not be your first deployment but it may be the first time your family is moving while you’re deployed. That adds a whole layer of complexity to what is already a major moment in your life. Luckily for you, our experts are here to help ease the burden by walking you through all the steps to transport your vehicle when you are not physically there to drive it across the country yourself.
Moving is a big deal for anyone. It becomes a bigger deal when you have to do it in between deployments, and an even bigger when it occurs while you are stationed abroad and your family must handle most of the move without you. This guide will cover two things. First, it will provide an overview of any vehicle-related loose ends you will need to do in preparation for a normal deployment. Second, it will help guide you through the tricky waters of how to go about moving your car while you are deployed.
Prepping Your Vehicle for a “Normal” Deployment
No deployment is ever going to be normal in a real-world sense of the word, but we use “normal” here to contrast with the later section that covers what to do with your vehicle when moving during a deployment. If you’ve been deployed many times and know all the steps you need to prepare your car for your time away, skip this section and jump right down to the section about moving. If not, read the following steps to learn how to get your car ready for your deployment.
- Change your car insurance for the period while you are deployed. Call your insurance provider and speak to your agent rather than a machine. Handling something like this is easier when speaking to a human being rather than trying to do everything via an automated route. Sadly, you can’t just cancel your car insurance when you are gone and turn it back on when you get back stateside, but you can get the bare minimum insurance necessary required in your state. Be sure to ask your insurance provider about an active military discount when changing your insurance pre-deployment.
- Service your vehicle(s). There is nothing worse than getting home from months abroad to a vehicle that is running improperly or doesn’t run at all. When leaving for deployment, you should always get your vehicle(s) serviced before you leave rather than after you return. This will help prevent any potential problems from worsening.
- Find a safe place back home for your insurance card, title, and registration. As you can probably guess, there is absolutely no reason to bring your vehicle’s important documents abroad with you. Keep them in or near your vehicle. If you need to do something with or to the vehicle, you’ll be able to keep both things (vehicle and documents) together. Some people like to store their vehicle documents in the car when they are deployed, while others prefer a lockbox or filing cabinet. Decide what’s best for you and your family on this front, stow the documents away accordingly, and then sleep soundly knowing that you aren’t going to run into any problems with misplacing your car’s title or registration.
- Decide on the right storage option for your car. If you are one of the lucky ones who own a garage, this step is simple. If not, explore the various car storage options in your area, whether that be a friend or family member’s garage, a covered storage lot, a storage unit, or any other place that a car can be safely stowed away for a long stretch of time. Do your research. You don’t want to leave an item as valuable as a car in a place you are unsure about safety-wise.
- Make duplicate sets of keys. You will go into your deployment with a solid game plan for what is going to happen with your vehicle during your time out of the country. But plans change, and you have to be open to that change. Maybe your spouse’s car dies and he/she needs to start using yours. Maybe the lot you are storing your car in has gone belly-up and someone needs to move your car ASAP. You can’t adapt to these changes nearly as easily if you only have one set of keys. Make a duplicate set of car keys and give them to someone you trust. That person might not have to use them, but it’s far better for them to have a set of keys that they don’t need to use, rather than need a set of keys they need and don’t have.
Tips for Shipping Your Car to Your New Home While on Deployment
You are away on deployment and your family is moving while you are gone. What do you do about shipping your car (and possibly your spouse/kids’ cars) to your new home? Fifteen years ago, when auto transportation was run by brokers and intimidating binding contracts, this process would have been a major nightmare. In this day and age, things are much easier. In fact, you can do a lot of the process while you’re overseas. Here’s your step-by-step guide for shipping your car while on deployment.
- Step 1: Get shipment quotes. Most interstate car shipping companies have online quote calculators. Be sure to only use the ones that don’t ask you for any of your personal information! When asked if you want enclosed shipping or open-air shipping, go with open-air. Less than 3 percent of vehicles are shipped in enclosed trailers. Those vehicles are typically ultra-expensive collector’s cars.
- Step Two: Research shipping companies. Some car shipping companies are all talk and no follow-through. The logistics of hauling multiple vehicles to and from all sorts of destinations can get very complicated very fast. Be sure to thoroughly research all shipping companies you’re considering before choosing one. Read Trustpilot reviews to see what others are saying. Saving a few extra bucks or minutes is not worth the extra headache you may incur with a subpar company.
- Step Three: Get your documents together. If you have followed the steps in the previous section, this step will already be pretty much completed for you. In order to ship your car in the United States, you need almost no documentation. Nobody will ask to see your title, registration or insurance. It is downright scary how easy it is transport a vehicle. Basically, anybody standing there with the keys in one hand and a pen in the other can send it on its way.
- Step Four: Ship your car. Unfortunately, because of the risk of terrorism, no military base ever allows an auto transport trailer onto its premises, so if you are moving to or from a military base, someone on your end is going to have to get the car outside of the gate. But once that is accomplished, your spouse or buddy can give them the car keys, and voila! Your car is ready to be shipped. Be sure to leave the tank a quarter full so that the trailer isn’t carrying a bunch of extra weight but your family has some gas to work with when your car is delivered.
Ship Your Car with Direct Express Auto Transport Today!
For more than 16 years, our team here at Direct Express Auto Transport has led the auto shipment industry in customer satisfaction and car shipping performance. Back in 2004, when all of the other auto shipment companies were still using brokers, fax machines, and intimidating contracts, we launched the Original Auto Transport Quote Calculator. This allowed customers to obtain a no-strings-attached auto quote in a matter of seconds (rather than hours or days) without collecting a single bit of personal information. It revolutionized the auto transportation industry and made things easier and more transparent for the customers from there on out.
In the military, your mission is to protect and serve. In auto transportation, our mission is serving our customers and saving them money. We do a pretty good job. But don’t take our word for it — read our nearly 500 5-star reviews on Trustpilot from our satisfied customers. When you are on deployment and need a dependable company to ship your car, trust our experts here at Direct Express Auto Transport. We will pick up and deliver your car to its new home safely, efficiently, and affordably. Secure your quote with us today!