Car Insurance and the Overseas Military Move

Illustration by digitalart at

Moving overseas, or an OCONUS  move in military speak, is extremely stressful and requires a good deal of preparation. Before I spent time in Europe, I never even considered some of the necessary plans I would have to make. Car insurance is one of the things I rarely thought about. Car insurance for an OCONUS military PCS was definitely not even on my radar.

In the U.S., we might complain about the cost of insurance, but most of us don’t think much beyond that. An average driver has many companies that they can use to insure their cars. Unless you have some accidents or tickets, insurance is just another part of life.

Most people just don’t have to worry about car insurance when they leave the United States. For the military families heading overseas, though there are a few things they need to consider about car insurance.

  1. Plan ahead for your PCS. Call your insurance company and see what their policy is on insuring outside of the United States. Most companies don’t do cover anyone outside the U.S., but they may have a relationship with an insurer who does. You definitely need to let them know before you plan on shipping the car, because you will need an insurance statement before the military will accept your car for shipment.
  2. Learn about the companies that do insure cars overseas. In Europe, I know that two companies are the major insurers of military personnel. These two companies are Geico and USAA (United Services Auto Association.) We personally use USAA and have excellent customer service.
  3. Figure out what coverage you are required to have and how much coverage you want. Depending on the country you are moving to, you may have to carry a certain amount of coverage. Each country is different, so investigate that on your own. Many countries, including Italy, only require personal liability. We carry more. If you are driving a newer vehicle, the lien holder may require you to carry a policy that will cover the replacement of the vehicle in the event that your vehicle is totaled in an accident.
  4. Expect sticker shock. Insurance overseas is much more expensive than it is in the United States. Our bill more than tripled. There is a reason why you receive a cost of living adjustment when you are stationed outside the U.S. This is just one of the expenses that is higher than in the continental United States.
  5. Do you plan on storing your car instead of bringing it with you? Here is a word of advice. Don’t drop your car insurance. Although reforms in the insurance industry should prevent insurers from refusing to insure you when you come back to the United States, it won’t prevent the hassle it will take to re-insure your vehicle. Most companies will allow you to keep a base level of comprehensive insurance on your vehicle at a reasonable rate. This will keep your car covered in case of natural disasters. It also means with a call, you can get a higher level of insurance reinstated when you come home.

Most of us are accustomed to having a vehicle, so car insurance is essential. If you plan on shipping your vehicle, don’t forget to discuss your move with your insurance carrier! Preparing ahead of time will save you complications when it is time to drop your vehicle off for shipping!

About Peggy Crippen

I am a military wife, mom and writer. I love to help the military community by sharing my knowledge of life in a military family. I write, blog and spend time chasing my children around. In my spare time, I love to read and ride motorcycles.


  1. Gadi Binness says:

    Do you have any information regarding moving insurance for covering household goods for military moves?

  2. Peggy Crippen says:

    The military takes care of that for everyone. No need to worry about additional insurance for military folks.

  3. Christa says:

    I am interested in movement of a vehicle back to the states from OCONUS. I plan to PCS early from my active duty spouse, and am wondering how to car will need to be registered once stateside.

Leave a Reply