Shipping Your POV (Personally Owned Vehicle) to Germany
When shipping a vehicle, timing is important. Shipping of a vehicle can take six weeks or longer. Only one vehicle may be shipped at government expense. There is no authorization for reimbursement of rental vehicles to replace the shipped vehicle. However, for individuals wishing to rent a car at their own expense, it is usually cheaper to rent in the States. Individuals interested in renting a car in the overseas area, should ask their sponsor about rental cars and rental requirements for that specific area. Sponsors are generally willing to help with transportation needs, but be considerate—they are merely being helpful.
There are restrictions on shipment of autos to some overseas areas. Individuals who want to ship vehicles overseas must present an original certificate of title or a certified copy of the title, according to U.S. Customs Service regulations. If the vehicle is leased or has a lien, the shipper must also present a letter from the lien-holder authorizing shipment. Shippers are encouraged to review the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) pamphlet, "Shipping Your POV". This is also attached to this message for easy downloading. For general questions, telephone the SDDC at 1-800-843-8755, DSN 328-3333, or Commercial (703) 428-3333.
Individuals must have their overseas driver's license (which is obtained after arrival at the overseas duty location) and proof of purchase along with a warning triangle, a first aid kit, and, in some countries, a fire extinguisher before picking up and registering their vehicle. The triangles, kits, and extinguishers may be bought at the Post Exchange (PX). The vehicle will have to pass a safety inspection to be registered. Vehicles must be able to accommodate license plates on both the front and back.
Car repair, even at a PX, is expensive abroad. Parts and tires, especially for American cars, may not be readily available. Although anything can be ordered, it is generally wiser to have all repairs done before shipping.
There are a number of large cars, even in Europe, but handling and parking them can be more than a little challenging as roads, parking spaces, and areas in general tend to be much smaller than in the States. Leaded gas is impossible to find in many European countries so it is no longer necessary to remove the catalytic converter before shipping. Car insurance is very expensive overseas, especially for some specialty automobiles or sports utility vehicles with large engines. Try to get a quote before shipping to get an idea of what to expect.
Individuals who ship a car should keep and bring their stateside vehicle registration. Also, KEEP the shipping documents for the duration of the overseas tour, even if the vehicle is replaced.
Individuals who do not ship a car can arrange to purchase a new or used vehicle pretty easily, once overseas. Remember that any car purchased or brought overseas has to pass a basic safety and emission vehicle inspection to be registered.
As always, check with the sponsor for any special requirements.
THERE IS MORE THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
What a lot of people don't know, and then have trouble getting at the last minute, is that if the car is financed, the bank you pay your car loan to has to give you permission to take the financed vehicle out of the country. You need to call the bank holding the car loan and have them send you a letter giving you permission to take your vehicle out of The U.S. It is also best to ask the bank to make the letter valid for the duration of your loan if you are going to be stationed outside of the U.S. for longer than your loan period. Otherwise, you have to get permission from your bank again when the original permission expires if you are staying outside of The U.S.
One thing that I really wish I had known, that is written about above, that ended up costing me a ton of money, is to ship my car from the U.S. early. Had I done so, I could have rented a car to use in the U.S. for the weeks before leaving rather than shipping my POV only days before leaving and having to rent a car in Germany while waiting for my POV to arrive. Renting a car in Germany was very expensive. I rented from Hertz, which was a good deal at the time considering, but it was still upwards of 700 Euro per month. At the time of my rental this was over $1,000 per month to rent a car in Germany after converting Euro to U.S. Dollars. I could have saved upwards of 75% by shipping my car to Germany early and renting in the U.S. while waiting to leave. Don't make the same mistake. Get your car out of the U.S. and on its way to Germany as soon as you can.
What they left out in the information above is where to get your warning triangle and first aid kit. And, they also did not mention that there is a specific first aid kit that you will need to get, as well as criteria for the warning triangle.
The KMCC as well as 24 Hour Shoppette usually has the first aid kit and triangle in stock.
Back to the first aid kit and triangle. If you buy the first aid kit and triangle at the KMCC (Kaiserslautern Military Community Center), also known as the BX/PX, or the 24 Hour Shoppette, you won't have a problem with making sure you have the right stuff.
I have also been told that you need an emergency vest for each passenger in case you have to stop on the side of the road. The vests are bright orange. When I had my vehicle inspected the inspector did not look for, nor ask me about any vests. They did, however, look for my emergency first aid kit and warning triangle.
For information on picking up your POV or tracking your POV, look here.
Pretty much everything you need to know about shipping your POV can be found in the PDF attached to this post, below.