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Upcoming PCS? Options & Average Moving Costs

June 4, 2022

It’s a part of life for members of the Coast Guard and their families: PCS relocation. Sometimes, a permanent change of station can be a welcome or exciting change. Other times, it may be bittersweet to move to a new location.

No matter the reasons behind the relocation or your feelings about it, you know that it will involve moving from point A to point B. So what’s the best way to do that?

A PCS move is often a way to make sure you are where you’re needed most. The American public relies on you, so getting to where your services are required should not eat into your duty time – or your well-earned time off.

Keep reading to learn more about PCS relocations and potential moving costs associated with doing it on your own. As always, SeaWest is here to help you along the way.

A family carries boxes and home furnishings into their new home after deciding on a DIY approach to save on moving costs.

PCS Relocation and Department of Defense

As active members of the Coast Guard, you are no doubt familiar with a PCS relocation backed by the Department of Defense. The DOD will pack up and move a military family through a government-contracted transportation service provider (TSP).

But there are some downsides to this option. The main obstacle is timing. The busiest time for transporting household goods (HHG) through the government is June 15 through July 31. Considering the number of relocations each year, it can be challenging to schedule a date that works for you and your family.

This is why many members of the Coast Guard look into a full or partial personal procured move (PPM). Of course, as with any move-related venture, there are many decisions to make.

Personally Procured Move

Before we delve into the specifics of a PPM, let’s take a look at why someone would want to go this route.

There are instances where you want to pack items on your own to ensure everything is done properly. Other times, you and your family may feel better and more organized with a more hands-on move.

Plus, with a do-it-yourself move, the government will reimburse you 95% of what it costs them to move you and supply $25,000 of insurance coverage. If you are on the fence about a PPM, this may help you steer the ship in one direction over the other.

If you do decide to go this route, the U.S. Coast Guard provides a helpful list to make sure you are doing everything according to schedule and regulations.

Moving Costs: Average Cross Country vs. Average Out-of-State

A PCS relocation can take you just across state lines or across the country. When using the moving services you procured, it’s helpful to know the average costs of these different types of relocation.

Cross Country Move

The cost to move across the country ranges from $4,000 to $10,000 or more. The price depends on the size and number of moving trucks, extra services, total weight, and other considerations. Most moving companies consider 400 miles or more to be a long-distance move.

Out-of-State Move

An out-of-state move costs $4,703 on average with a range between $2,620 and $6,817. Again, the cost of the move will depend on the number of trucks, the total weight of belongings, extra services, and other factors.

Additional Costs No Matter the Distance

There are costs of using a moving company that are applicable whether moving cross country or simply across state lines. These include:

  • Extra services: Moving companies will charge extra if you want them to pack and/or unpack your belongings. Most companies will include breaking down furniture (such as a bed) and assembling it at the new location in the overall fee.
  • Packing on your own: Packing on your own is not free! There is the cost of boxes, tape, bubble wrap, or packing paper for valuables, among others.
  • Moving insurance: If your homeowner’s or renter’s policy does not include protection for belongings during a move, you may want to consider moving insurance – especially for long-distance moves.
  • Hotel and food: You will be moving too! You should look into any federal allowance for moving you and your family and make sure you factor any additional costs into your overall budget.

PODS Moving and Storage Containers

Portable containers introduced a new option for moving families. Now, instead of going with a full-service moving company or driving your own truck, you can pay for container moves that get your stuff from here to there without putting you behind the wheel.

Renting and shipping a moving container can cost $700 to $5,000 depending on how many units you need and how far you’re going. 

Wondering how it works? A container company will drop a portable storage unit at your house and you pack it at your convenience. For PODS units, you rent the containers by the month. When scheduled, the company will pick it up again and bring it to your new home for you to unpack.

While it is less expensive, there are a few things to keep in mind. You will be doing the packing and loading yourself unless you hire movers, who usually will charge by the hour. PODS also require specific parking whether that be a driveway or parking space. 

If you’re interested in pursuing this option, you can get a quote directly from the PODS website.

Rental Trucks

You may think renting a moving truck is somewhere in the middle between professional movers and shipping containers. The cost is actually in the same ballpark as PODS but you’ll be doing the driving. 

Renting a truck to move can range from $1,200 to $2,100. Popular rental trucks include U-Haul and Penske. The cost covers rental plus mileage but does not include any loading or unloading services. Obviously, if you hire movers to assist with this, the cost will go up. The general price also does not include the cost of towing a vehicle.

Other Considerations

In addition to how you move, you will have to factor in other fees and expenses. These should be considered no matter how you make the move.


Shipping a vehicle can cost several hundred dollars. Even if you drive it yourself, you’ll have to pay for fuel. 

Fortunately, you can be reimbursed for one vehicle to be shipped, and if you drive yourself, you can expect to be reimbursed $0.50 per mile.


If you’re doing a move on your own, you may opt to ship a few pieces of furniture. You can often do this through a freight line, but it will cost a couple of hundred dollars.

Specialty Moving

What if you have something extremely valuable? Moving these items – such as artwork, grandfather clocks, hot tubs, musical instruments, and others – usually requires specific materials and packing. 

If using a full-service professional mover, account for this to be an added cost. Even if you’re moving these on your own, you’ll want to spend extra to ensure the protection of these items.

Let SeaWest Help With Your Move!

As the only credit union for Coast Guard members, SeaWest cares about you and your needs. We are here to help no matter the situation!

Even though Coast Guard members make PCS moves about every two to four years, it is no less stressful. And if you’ve opted to go out on your own, it adds an extra challenge.

Did you know you can use SeaWest personal loans and credit cards to help cover the cost of moving? If you are traveling to the next state or cross country, our financial services are here to lend a helping hand.

Plus, with PCS season in full swing, SeaWest is happy to offer special PCS loans with even lower rates for qualifying members. With these loans, you can borrow up to $2,500 for 12 to 14 months with an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) starting as low as 3%.*

Take the time today to learn how SeaWest can help you and your family no matter where your PCS move takes you!



* APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates quoted above are for the lowest possible rate available, which assumes excellent borrower credit history and the shortest term available for that loan program and includes a 0.25% rate reduction for direct deposit to a SeaWest checking account and automatic loan payments. Rates vary with term. Your actual APR will be determined at the time of disbursement and will be based on your application including loan amount and term, and credit information. Rates are subject to change without notice.

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