Reimbursement When Your Car Is Late

You may have heard some news about the new contractor who is handling the shipping and storage of personally owned vehicles (POV).   International Auto Logistics took over the contract for POV transportation in May of this year, and reports of problems have been surfacing ever since.   Amy Bushatz is writing about the problems in the new program, but I’m going to tell you about what is supposed to happen if your vehicle doesn’t arrive at the destination Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) by its Required Delivery Date (RDD.)  This part of the process is called an inconvenience claim, and the provisions for handling these situations are set out in the contract.

Vehicle Rental

For the first seven days after a vehicle’s RDD, reimbursement for a rental car is provided by the service and is capped at $30 per day.  These claims are made through the same transportation office that handles your travel claims.  There are unsubstantiated reports that IAL will reimburse costs that exceed the $30  per day limit imposed by the services.  These reports have not yet been verified.

After the first seven days,  responsibility for costs reverts to the contractor, IAL.  There are two ways to handle this:  you can rent your own vehicle, and file a claim for reimbursement, or you can have the contractor organize a rental on your behalf.

Renting Your Own Vehicle

If you decide to rent your own vehicle, keep in mind that there are restrictions.

COVERED:

  • standard or intermediate vehicle rental,
  • Loss/Damage and liability insurance coverage,
  • infant car seats and/or booster seats,
  • any and all concession fees and taxes that are applied to the rental rates, and
  • one additional driver (spouse or family member).

NOT COVERED

  • upgrades,
  • satellite radio,
  • navigation systems/GPS,
  • bike racks or luggage carriers, or
  • fuel costs unless prior approval has been given.

The claims for self-rental can be found at the IAL website.  Claims may be made in person at the delivering VPC or via email at claims@ialpov.us.

Letting IAL Get You A Rental

The other option is to allow IAL to organize the rental for you, and pay for the rental directly.  This isn’t going to be as immediate as renting a vehicle yourself; IAL asks that you allow up to 48 hours to organize a rental.  If you want to proceed this way, you are instructed to email claims@ialpov.us with the details of your situation.  

The IAL representative Amy interviewed said this process would work, and I have confirmed three cases in which customers have (eventually) received rental cars being billed directly to IAL.  From all reports, the biggest hurdle seems to be getting through to the right people who can authorize a car.

If at all possible, I recommend that you pursue this way of getting your rental car.  Even if you’ve already rented a car yourself, I recommend that you continue trying to get through to someone to authorize a directly-billed rental car for you.  First, it means you’re not paying up front and not knowing when you’ll be reimbursed.  Second, it provides for the extra insurances that most of us decline to save money.  Third, it makes IAL more aware of just how big a problem they currently have.  You’ll probably have to return your current car to take the new car.  In most cases, I think the benefit outweighs the hassle.

Lodging

The contractor is also liable for lodging when a vehicle is not ready by its RDD.  Reimbursement begins one day after the RDD.  Reimbursement is made based upon the location’s per diem rates listed in the Joint Federal Travel Regulations.

Claims are made using the same claim form listed above, and can be submitted at the delivering VPC or via email claims@ialpov.us.

Questions Unresolved

There are quite a few questions that are not answered by the contract or the information that has been provided by IAL.  I have requested answers to the following questions:

I got answers, and you can see them here:  Answers From IAL

1.  In what circumstances would a larger car be authorized?  For example, I have four teenagers, plus my husband and me.  Obviously, we don’t fit into an intermediate sized vehicle.  (Heck, we don’t even fit comfortably in a large vehicle.)

2.  Are there provisions to make intermediate payments while families wait for their vehicles?  For many military families, even a week’s vehicle rental will strain their budget.  The military recognizes this with their program of paying for temporary lodging in 10 day increments.  Can you do this for rental vehicles?

3.  For whom are lodging expenses authorized?  A single representative for the family, or the whole family, or any combination?  The website states that lodging is reimbursed at the per diem rates.  Does that refer to the full per diem rates or just the lodging portion?  Does this reimbursement using the same family size calculations as the military, or is there some other system?

4.  What happens when servicemembers are required to proceed to their duty station without their vehicle?  If a service member’s car is not ready by its RDD, and they proceed to their duty station, who pays for that transportation?  How do they retrieve their vehicle if they are unable to return to the VPC?  Will the contractor pay to have it delivered to their duty station, or will the contractor pay to store the vehicle until they are able to retrieve it, and pay for vehicle rental for that entire time?  For many servicemembers, it might be months before they are able to return to a distance VPC and drive their POV to their duty station.

If you have additional questions, please list them in the comments, and I’ll post the responses as soon as I receive them.

The new contractor, IAL, appears to be significantly understaffed and is not responding to emails and telephone calls in a timely fashion.  However, this does not mean that they will not be fulfilling their obligations under this contract. From the stories I’ve heard, it seems you just have to keep calling and calling until you reach an actual person, and then act very forcefully and refuse to take no for an answer.

If your vehicle is not available at the VPC by its RDD, you have rights and are eligible for reimbursement for certain expenses incurred as a result of that delay.  I will continue to try to clear up parts of the rules that are confusing, and keep you updated on any developments as they occur.

Resource:  Chart for required transit times per the POV contract:   http://images-paycheck-chronicles.military.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Attachment-4-Transit-Times.pdf?5ececd

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Ashley

    Only other question that i can think of is what if the service member doesn’t have any more leave to take because they’ve waited for their vehicle while on PCS leave or whatever the situation may be what happens then? Shouldn’t the service members be able to get back SOME of that leave? Its not their fault that they’ve had to wait SOOOO long to get their vehicles and had to waste time to see family and friends as well as get a place for their family because the company doesn’t have their vehicle.

  • Steph

    This is all based on the RDD date. Families on our ship (doing a home port shift so it is a lot of people at once shipping cars) are being given delivery dates by the company that are 50-60 days out. To get around the claims, they are just extending the date. Is there any requirement in the contract that provides for a maximum allowable days the RDD can be from time of drop off?

    • 3hundredsixty5daysofdeployment

      Interesting. We were turned away at our local facility and told an estimated RDD of 33 days. In other words, drop off the car within 33 days of arrival at our new duty station. With all the horror stories surfacing, I’m tempted to drop off the car much much sooner to avoid not having a vehicle when we arrive.

    • Kate

      The contract contains maximum authorized shipping times for each transportation original and destination. You can see them here, but you’ll have to cut and past as I can’t make it into a link:

      http://images-paycheck-chronicles.military.com/wp

      I suspect that the contractor is moving all estimates to the longest available transport times in order to manage expectations and minimize the number of inconvenience claims. At least, that is what I would do in their situation.

      I hope that helps!

  • Roxanne

    What about reimbursement for a flight back to get the vehicle? Also I was told that we could get a comparable rentalto the size of vehicle we are waiting for.

    • Kate

      Roxanne, Doug Tipton from IAL assures me that they are authorizing larger vehicles for families who require them. Please continue to try to reach IAL’s customer service.

      As I understand it, airline tickets are being reimbursed by someone, but I haven’t figured out if it is the military or IAL. Does anyone know?

      I know this is super-frustrating for everyone, and I hope you are able to get through quickly.

  • Jaime

    So the travel office will cover the first 7 days, then you have to return vehicle and rent again, such a pain.

  • Ryan

    I am a civilian and just PCSd to Germany. The car was dropped off in Dallas on June 6th. It was shipped to Houston where it sat till July 6th or so. It was then dropped off in Bremerhaven on july 13th and that is where it has been in an “POV Awaiting Clearance & Inspections” status since. Since I am a civilian I don’t get the 7 days of rental reimbursement from the DOD. I am relying on IAL, whom I spoke to and was told they would, for reimbursement. One of my coworkers who arrived after me, but had shipped their POV with the old contractor received their vehicle ahead of schedule. IAL claims that they are back logged with the old contractor’s shipments seem to be false in this case. It is sad that when I called they couldn’t tell me a timeframe of when I might get my car. They said, “If you are lucky, maybe in a few days”. I am not a logistics expert, but is seems that there are ways of calculating how long a car will take to get from point A to point B.
    Just another IAL disappointed customer.

  • Sharon

    I PCS’d from Germany to South Carolina and shipped my car May 20th. My RDD was 2 July and after digging my claws into the Charleston VPC I finally got an answer on why my car was sitting in Savannah, Georgia for 3 weeks. They had a massive backup at customs and my car wasn’t visible to the transport carrier’s logs so it wasn’t shipped. I called the VPC DAILY and like the article said, was firm and adiment on getting information. I turned around their so called website claims on them and notified the SDDC of my situation. I received my POV on 21 July. Make sure you have complete receipts stating the class of rental, daily cost, etc because they kicked back my first receipt for my inconvenience claim

  • Amber

    Anyone have an idea how long cars sit in the “POV Awaiting Clearance & Inspections” status? Im 5 days past my RDD and over a week it has been in this Awaiting status….

  • Smitty

    I was told when i called 10-14 days with customs then up to a week to arrive at final location. My car is almost 2months past RDD and 11 days now in “POV Awaiting Clearance & Inspections” status.

  • Ty Dawson

    Hello everyone. I just received my car late. I was supposed to get it on Oct 25th but didn’t get it until the 6th of Nov. If you have a car that is coming from the savannah port then this is for you. First I did a lot of calling to the IAL customer service. When you call them you must be firm and specific with what you want. Ask them for your CONTAINER NUMBER. then call the people at this website http://www.cbp.gov. They will tell you what exactly is going on with your vehicle. (if it is already in savannah awaiting inspection and customs) I also had a problem with IAL not sending the customs people my release paperwork so that was another trouble ticket. I ended up calling the Atlanta VPC because that’s where my car waS going to get them to go get my car because savannah told me that my car was finished a week ago. You must know what your talking about when you call, because they are quick to tell you to be patient. Also while my car has been in possession I have YET to receive the email and my tracking still says that it is at the Savannah port awaiting transit. Call them, aggravate them.

  • Karen

    My POV has an RDD of 12 NOV. It has been in LA for 6 days now, and it says that it is waiting for clearance and inspections. With it being the weekend, and the VPC is closed on Tuesday for Veteran’s day, I know my car will not make it to Dallas from California in time. My concern is this. I just signed in to my unit two days ago, and now I am going through the inprocessing process. I don’t even link up with my gaining unit until next Thursday, and my unit is currently at NTC. Does anyone know if I will have to take additional leave to go and pick up my vehicle from Dallas? In order for it to be safe, I will have to drive one day, stay the night, and pick my vehicle up the next day, and then drive that night back to Colorado. Any advice or information will be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    #worriedSGT#

    • djradost

      Karen,

      By regulation, you are authorized non-chargeable leave to pick up your POV. Allowed travel time is calculated just like PCS/TDY travel by POV, based on 350 miles per day. You should be reimbursed mileage for the trip. According to the claim form linked in the article, IAL should reimburse lodging and, if it’s more than 7 days past your RDD, days 8 and beyond for a rental. Talk to your transportation and/or finance office about the reimbursement for mileage and the first 7 days.

      If your unit is at NTC, you’ll likely be dealing with a rear detachment commander to process the request. If you need to, show them the leave regulation (AR 600-8-10, para 5-39; I’m assuming you’re Army) and/or the JTR (Joint Travel Regulation, which replaced the JFTR this October – section 5434 covers POV transportation).

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

  • Kevin

    I am a civilian DOD employee about to turn my vehicle in to Dallas VPC for shipment to Germany. I have not gotten a warm and fuzzy feeling to date from the contractor as i have called the number several times left a message and to date have not received a response to any of the calls or had anyone answer the phone for that matter. With that said I am interested in what is being reported recently last week or two 7-21 Nov 14 by IAL as a length of time to receive your vehicle at new station RDD? I appreciate the information available on the IAL site but fins it very lacking and they seem to have been selected as the contractor by US TRANSCOM for a reason that is not immediately apparent I believe much of what is required is that the winning contractor has a demonstrated past performance and is solvent enough to assume the role for the US Government. I would be interested in the actual performance to date of timeliness and overall satisfaction of the soldiers and civilians that are the customer of IAL. Are there customer comment cards that are used to evaluate the contractor on performance I have seen those in the past used to provide for performance of contractor. Please remember those comment cards are very important if the contractor did not perform annotate it so that change can be effected.