Story by: Legal Administrator Parry S. Preuc
When you ship your automobile, there are things you should know to protect yourself and to avoid a loss. Cancellation of automobile insurance during shipment is not recommended. Your bank or other lien holder may not allow you to cancel your insurance. Some lenders may attempt to repossess your car at the port when they learn you cancelled the insurance. The Government will not provide proof of insurance documentation for lien holders during Government sponsored shipment.
Congress did not intend that the Personnel Claims Act be used as total compensation for highly individualized and expensive personal tastes. The statute is intended to provide compensation for the depreciated value of items that serve a reasonable and useful purpose. You may want to remove very expensive accessory equipment prior to shipment.
Further, there are maximum amounts allowable that apply to both the privately owned vehicle and to any property inside. As a consequence, you may wish to consider additional insurance coverage. The following limitations apply:
* $20,000 for loss or damage to the vehicle.
* $750 for all audio equipment. This is a very restrictive limitation. It includes AM/FM radio cassette player, CD player, speakers, amplifier, antenna, telephone, theft alarm systems and all accessory wiring.
* $200 for tools and toolbox.
* Customization and beautification accessories may not be paid for at full replacement value.
During shipment, many individuals will operate your automobile during both loading and unloading. Each of them will have access to any property left in your car. You may want to have some auto accessories shipped with your household goods. Additionally, Claims Service regulations prohibit payment for:
* Radar detectors
* VCRs and television sets, even if permanently mounted
* CB radios
* Audio equipment mounted on a slide for portable use
* Cellular telephones, compact discs (CDs) and audiocassettes
* Any household goods or camping equipment left in a vehicle
PICKING UP YOUR POV
When you arrive at the Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) the contractor's agent will meet you. You and the contractor's agent are to jointly inspect the POV to note any loss or damage during shipment. Take your time, be careful and be thorough. Any loss or damage not noted during the joint inspection will require additional written notification and a detailed explanation to the contractor as to why the damages were not noted at delivery. Be aware that obvious external damage not listed is not payable. Your responsibilities at the VPC are:
* Carefully and completely list any loss and all damages to your vehicle on your vehicle shipping document (DD Form 788, in item #13, column 1). The contractor's agent will record his agreement or disagreement with the findings (item #13, column 2).
* Do not rely on the contractor's agent to list loss or damage to your vehicle for you.
* Make sure you have listed all loss, or damages to your vehicle before you leave the VPC .
* Carefully inventory items shipped in the vehicle such as jumper cables, first aid kit, warning triangle, baby car seat, tools, jack, tire iron, small convenience items, stereo components, telephones, antennas and other audio equipment mounted to or shipped in the vehicle.
* Check the interior of your vehicle for any transit damage such as rips in upholstery and headliner.
* Check your tires and under carriage to ensure they were not damaged by improper tie down.
When you sign the DD Form 788 (item #15), you acknowledge that this is the actual condition of the vehicle when you received it. If you feel the contractor's agent has interfered, or your ability to enter exceptions on the DD Form 788 was frustrated, immediately report the matter to the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) at the VPC. DO NOT DEPART FROM THE VPC . The COR is a Government employee who manages the VPC and is responsible for the POV shipment program. If you depart the VPC, then the COR cannot resolve your problem with the agent; reporting it to the Claims Office may be too late.
If you discover any hidden damage after you leave the VPC, YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE CLAIMS OFFICE AND THE COMPANY THAT SHIPPED YOUR VEHICLE IN WRITING! Be sure to describe in detail the damage discovered and why it was not discovered during the inspection at the pickup point. Contact our office as soon as possible to receive instructions and forms for filing your claim.