PCS Moves: How to Protect Your Vehicle and Property

Military Auto Insurance (Stock Image)

So it's time for the big move and the transportation service provider (TSP) arranges for all of your worldly possessions to be packed into a truck and sent to your new location. If you're overseas, this could mean having to move even your vehicle across the ocean. What could go wrong, right? Plenty.

There have been numerous reports over the years of PCS move nightmares: from black mold in cars to sentimental items being damaged to plain old theft. Military members have complained about water damage, broken shelving and even rodents in their moving boxes. How can you trust that things won't go haywire? The right insurance can bring at least a little peace of mind to your stressful move.

It's no secret that the military's process of moving families is complicated. It involves multiple parties; sometimes one company will pack up the belongings, one will move everything, and another company will unload at the final destination. It's not uncommon for moving dates to change two, even three times. If it's summertime, it can be even more unreliable, since according to the U.S. Transportation Command over 40% of all PCS moves happen within a 14-week period in the summer. The assigned moving companies become overbooked, workers are exhausted, items get lost or damaged and families can sometimes end up going without their personal belongings longer than anticipated.

While there isn't a lot that can be done to combat the ever-changing moving dates or theft, there are some things you can do to protect yourself during your move:

1. Insurance. Not only do many insurance companies offer military discounts, some will even help you with your military move, especially when it comes to car insurance. This can include assistance with shipping your vehicle and registration in the locality where you are moving to, even if that location is outside of the United States. Many car insurance companies have overseas policies custom-tailored for military members. Our situations are incredibly unique, it only makes sense that insurance companies cater to this segment of the population. Be sure to compare insurance company quotes to make sure you get great coverage at great price.

2. Document everything. Keep records of your valuable purchases. Make sure they are covered with your insurance policy, including the move. Oftentimes it is easier to visit your insurance company's local office to review your situation rather than the telephone. A little personal one-on-one service can go a long way in making sure you fully understand your insurance coverage.

3. Take video or photos of your valuables. Videos and photos have date stamps in their data, this is helpful in the event something of yours gets destroyed during the move. You'll have proof the item was in-tact right before it was loaded onto the truck. The more documentation you have, the easier it is to get your claim handled.

4. While many PCS moves involve a company to pack your belongings, try to pack your most important items personally, knowing that they will have a bumpy journey. Boxes get dropped, over-stacked and thrown. Use extra precautions to ensure your items are as protected as possible before they go into the moving truck.

What to Do If Your Car Is Damaged During Your PCS Move

If your vehicle arrives and it's damaged, in addition to contacting your auto insurance agency there are a few ways you can remedy the situation:

1. You can file a POV (privately owned vehicle) claim at the Vehicle Processing Center. This is for site settlements. The staff will use the Audatex Repair Guide as well as local labor rates to calculate the total cost to repair your vehicle.

2. You can file a loss and damage estimate claim with the IAL claims office. Their number is (855) 389-9499. They'll handle your claim within 90 days of receipt.

3. It is also possible to file a military claim with your branch of the Military Claims Office. More information about military claims is available here.

Steps to Take When Personal Property Is Damaged or Stolen During Your Pcs Relocation

1. For personal items, you can contact the Military Claims Office.

2. You can also file an inconvenience claim. These are for major inconveniences caused by a missed delivery date. These are a little trickier and require you to really have a solid grasp of all your receipts.

3. Contact the local branch of your insurance company for a comprehensive analysis of your individual situation. Remember your deductibles and make sure you bring along your documentation.

PCS moves can be stressful in more ways than one. Document your valuables, read up on your insurance policy, keep your receipts and know who to contact in the event your property is damaged, lost or stolen.


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