Car Shipping FAQs
If you don't have experience shipping a car, it may feel overwhelming and impossible to choose the best company to ship your car. We want to help you make an informed, confident choice when you're ready to book your auto transport order. Here you'll find frequently asked questions grouped under three sections:
Things to Know About Shipping Cars
Familiarize yourself with the industry
How much does it cost to ship a car?
Car transport cost is determined primarily by distance and the size of vehicle but there are other factors as well that ultimately determine the cost to ship a car.
See article: How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car?
How can I save money on shipping my car?
There are a lot of factors that determine the cost to ship a car, but there are some things you can do to help you save money on shipping your car including getting quotes from several auto transport companies, opt for an open trailer, and book your order 15-30 days in advance but no more.
What is the difference between a carrier and a broker?
A carrier is a company that has their own fleet of trucks. A carrier may also be an individual owner-operator with their own truck. A carrier will either work directly with you to ship your vehicle on their trucks or they'll work with a broker. As a customer, you'll be responsible to find these carriers yourself and to vet them out to verify they are a legitimate carrier.
Important Note on terminology: You will see terms such as “car transporter,” “auto transporter,” “auto hauler,” and “auto transport company” throughout our website and other transportation websites. They are all different terms for the same thing. They are all carriers which means they have their own trucks.
A broker does not own any trucks. A broker is a matchmaker, pairing customers with carriers. A broker is an expert in the industry that has access to a vast network of carriers to choose from when shipping your car. A broker does all the leg work for you to find a legitimate carrier to ship your car. A broker will make sure the carrier is reputable, reliable, and is licensed and fully insured.
Is J&S Transportation a carrier or a broker?
We're both! We're a licensed broker and a transport carrier with our own fleet of trucks. We always strive to ship your vehicle on our own trucks but if one of our trusted carrier partners can deliver your car quicker and cheaper then we can then we'll broker the shipping of your vehicle.
Whether we ship your vehicle on our own trucks or with a trusted carrier partner, we will always be your one point of contact throughout the entire process!
What is door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal delivery?
Door-to-door delivery is when your vehicle is picked up and delivered at locations that are convenient to you. At J&S Transportation, we only ship vehicles door-to-door. This delivery method is the most convenient for customers.
Terminal-to-terminal delivery is when your vehicle is picked up from one carrier terminal location and delivered to another carrier terminal location. The carrier you're working with may have a terminal yard that is conveniently close to you or it may be several hundred miles away! If your carrier requires terminal-to-terminal delivery, make sure you understand where the terminals are located. There may also be additional terminal storage fees that accumulate each day your vehicle is kept in the terminal yard.
What is open transport vs. enclosed transport?
An enclosed transport means your vehicle is transported in a trailer with secure, weather-proof walls on all sides. Imagine a large U-Haul moving truck but instead of moving boxes inside there are vehicles inside! That's an enclosed transport.
Open transport means it's not enclosed. There are no walls. These are the types of carriers you usually see on the highway as they are the most common. In fact, there are only a small percentage of enclosed carriers. Because of that, enclosed transport is very expensive, and it can take much longer to get your vehicle delivered.
Does J&S Transportation offer open or enclosed transport?
The quote you receive from us is for an open transport (as opposed to an enclosed transport). While we don’t have enclosed trucks, we do have the ability to transport via an enclosed truck with one of our trusted partners. It's important to know that all our carriers are completely safe and insured.
Things to Know to Begin the Car Shipping Process
1. Get an Instant Quote
What’s the first step in having J&S Transportation ship my car?
What’s included in the instant quote?
The instant quote is all inclusive. There are no sales tax, hidden fees, or additional charges of any kind. Insurance coverage is also included in the price you are given!
How does the quote compare to a broker’s?
When you get an auto transport quote from your average broker, they’ll usually quote you a very low price just to get your business. If they can’t find a carrier to ship your car for the quote they gave you, then they might not be able to fulfill your order! Cheap quotes can potentially give you the biggest headaches with hidden fees and unreliable service.
Given our experience and history, and the fact that we ship many vehicles on our own trucks, we can give you an accurate quote that we can stand by. Our quotes are all inclusive too. There are no sales tax, hidden fees, or additional charges of any kind and you can have the peace of mind that we will get your vehicle delivered smoothly and safely for the quote we give you.
Can I look up a quote I generated earlier?
Yes. All you have to do is head to our Quotes page and enter your quote ID and pick up city or postal zip code. Your quote will be shown with all your details.
How long is my instant quote good for?
Quotes are good for 7 days before they expire. Once your quote expires, you can simply request a new instant quote.
2. Factors that affect your instant quote
Do you ship to Alaska, Hawaii, and overseas?
Yes, we do! We ship vehicles in the continental USA, Hawaii, and Alaska. We do not ship to Canada or Mexico, however. The best we can do is transport to a border town if that helps. We just cannot bring anything over the border.
If you are requesting service to or from Alaska or Hawaii, or another place only accessible by boat, we can get you a custom quote. The Instant Quote feature on our website doesn't work for Alaska or Hawaii or places only accessible by boat as we have to factor in the price of the boat or ferry manually.
Can I get a quote for an enclosed transport?
Yes, we move vehicles in enclosed transport quite often. You may not really require an enclosed transport with approximately twice the cost. Damage claims on our trailers are rare and we have insurance. If you still believe that enclosed transport is your best option we encourage you to call one of our Transportation Specialists at (800) 656-7638 or contact us via email at email@example.com to discuss the specific of your vehicle and your delivery schedule.
What if my vehicle is oversized?
We can still ship your vehicle if it is oversized. We do it all the time. You do pay more to have an oversized vehicle shipped, however. This is true no matter what auto transporter you work with. The reason is oversized vehicles usually require a little more care and attention when loading and unloading and they take up more room on the trailer.
What is considered an oversized vehicle?
If you’re wondering what oversize vehicles are, we’re talking about cargo vans and XL trucks like 450s, 4500s, etc. but they also include vehicles with dual rear wheels, large grill guards, ladder racks, utility boxes, toppers, shells, small campers, lift kits (body or altered suspension) and oversized tires. When you book an order with us we’ll cover these details with you to confirm if your vehicle is oversized or not.
What if my truck has a topper or camper?
Accessories on trucks such as toppers, shells, and small campers may affect your quote as they may require additional room on the trailer. However, accessories such as bedliners and truck bed covers generally do not affect your quote. Please note, any of these accessories need to be firmly secured with nuts and bolts. C-clamps or straps will not suffice. These accessories can and will blow off when not secured properly. This is a must!
What if my vehicle is not operable?
If your vehicle is inoperable, we can still transport it if it meets these requirements:
- Working foot petal brake since a working emergency brake handle is not enough
- Air in all four tires
- Set of keys
- No obvious fluid leaks
Additional charges will occur for non-running vehicles, however, as a tow truck may be needed to load and unload your vehicle.
If your vehicle doesn't meet any of the requirements above or if you need to provide us with additional details about the specific condition of your vehicle, please call us at (800) 656-7638 and one of our Transportation Specialists will be able to help you.
3. Book your order
How does the booking process work?
After you generate your instant quote, you’ll see a big gold button titled, "Request Delivery Forecast." When you click on that button, you'll be asked to enter your contact information along with information about your transport. You'll also be asked to enter your credit card details. We authorize your card but do not charge it. Keep in mind, there is NO PAYMENT REQUIRED until phone confirmation from one of our Transport Specialists.
We will then provide you a personalized pick up and delivery forecast and follow up with a phone call to answer any questions you have and to see if you're ready to accept it and move forward. If you do, then we charge your card a 10% deposit. The deposit is non-refundable from the point we charge it as you are agreeing to the personalized forecast. The remaining balance is charged upon the pick up of your vehicle.
If it's more convenient for you, you can also call us at (800) 656-7638 and any one of our Transport Specialists will be able to help you book your order! If you call, please have your Quote ID handy.
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept the following forms of payment: Visa, MasterCard, Discovery, American Express, and debit cards. We do not accept check or cash.
When is the best time to book an order?
We encourage customers to book orders when they know their vehicle can be picked up within 14 days. Shipping rates fluctuate due to demand, gas prices, etc. so any order booked when the vehicle can't be picked up beyond 14 days will be readjusted to current market rates prior to pick up.
What is your refund policy if I have to cancel my order?
There are no refunds on orders booked with a pick up date greater than 30 days of the booking date.
How long does it take to ship my vehicle?
It depends on where you are shipping your vehicle. Some locations take longer than others due to routing and location. Other factors that can affect the shipping time include weather, traffic, construction along the route, and holidays. We will be able to give you an estimated time frame for pick up and delivery once you request a personalized delivery forecast.
See article: How Long Does it Take to Ship a Car?
Can I schedule an exact pick up and delivery date?
We do our best to meet your preferred pick up and delivery dates, but we cannot guarantee it. If you are unsatisfied with the pick up and delivery dates that we provide in the personalized delivery forecast we give you, you can decline it and you’re not obligated to move forward with the order.
Things to Know During and After the Car Shipping Process
4. Prepare vehicle and pick up
Do I need to be present at pick up and delivery?
Ideally you should be present because a vehicle condition inspection is completed by the driver and you, or a representative for you, when the vehicle is picked up and when it is delivered. As the owner of the vehicle, it would be best if you were there to sign off on the vehicle condition report at the pick up and delivery. If you’re unable to be there for the pick up and/or delivery, you can assign someone to be there on your behalf. Since your representative will be responsible for signing the vehicle condition report on your behalf, you’ll want to make sure it’s someone you know and trust!
What is a vehicle condition report?
This is an inspection done on the exterior of the vehicle by you, or a representative for you, and the driver at pick up and again at delivery. You (or your representative) will walk around the vehicle and document any and all damage to the vehicle. This includes chipped or broken glass. When you are finished with this condition report, you (or your representative) and the driver will sign it. At pick up, make sure you, or your representative, get a copy of the vehicle condition report from the driver.
Many companies have gone to a digital form of this report. If this is the case, make sure you have them send you a copy while you are present (generally by email). At delivery, the driver and you, or representative, will review the same condition report. If any new damage is discovered, make note of it on the condition report immediately. Make sure you get a copy of the final signed condition report that notes any potential damage from transport. Both the driver and you, or your representative, will have to sign the condition report again. It never hurts for you to take plenty of photos of your vehicle at pick up and delivery. We do not cover any mechanical problems with your vehicle.
How do I prepare my vehicle for transport?
There are a handful of things you can do to prepare a car for transport across the country (or even just a few states). By following these few simple steps, it’ll be an easier and less stressful experience.
See article: How to Prepare a Car for Transport
Can I ship personal items in my vehicle?
For land transports we allow one piece of luggage, such as a suitcase or duffle bag, of up to 100 lbs. It must be secure in the trunk or cargo area only. Please note, we are NOT responsible for any personal items left in the vehicle and they are NOT covered by insurance. You are shipping personal items at your own risk. For ocean shipments, the vehicle must be completely empty of personal belongings and have less than a quarter tank of fuel or the Port will reject it.
Can my vehicle be transported without keys?
No. The driver must have a key. If the vehicle starts with an electronic fob or remote device, the driver must have it.
Is my vehicle covered by insurance during transport?
Yes, all carriers must be fully insured to meet all State and Federal requirements. As an auto hauler we are required by law to carry liability and cargo insurance to cover your vehicle while it is being shipped. However, you MUST have your personal vehicle insurance in place for transport because we don’t cover acts of God.
5. Tracking and shipment updates
Can I track my vehicle during transit?
No, but we can give you general updates by phone, email or text during business hours at your request.
How will I get updates while my vehicle is in transit?
We feel it is important to keep our customers updated throughout the process. Our system automatically updates you throughout the transport process. In addition, you will receive a notice a day out and a couple hours prior to pick up and delivery.
6. Delivery and inspection
Will the driver call me before they arrive?
Yes. Our drivers will call you when they are a day out to let you know their approximate ETA. They will also call you a couple hours prior to their arrival to make arrangements.
Will I be able to inspect my vehicle upon delivery?
Yes. At delivery the driver and you, or a representative for you, will review the vehicle condition report that was done at pick up. If any new damage is discovered, make note of it on the condition report immediately. Make sure you get a copy of the final signed condition report that notes any potential damage from transport. Both the driver and you, or your representative, will have to sign the condition report again. It never hurts for you to take plenty of photos of your vehicle at pick up and delivery. We do not cover any mechanical problems with your vehicle.
What if my vehicle has damage upon delivery?
If you believe damage occurred during transit, you will need to call our dispatchers at (406) 500-2999. Please have your order# ready for them so they can reference your transport.
Next, you need to take detailed photos of the damage and email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This email must include your photos and order# and at that point it is considered a filed claim.
Once that is done you will be contacted by our Damage Claims Manager. Keep in mind that in most cases you only have three days to file the claim. You do not need a repair estimate at this early stage of the process.
If you have emailed your photos and order#, our Claims Manager will begin to process your claim. It is very important that you do not begin any repairs until you hear from our Claims Manager! As rarely as this happens, we do take damage seriously and your concerns will be addressed quickly.
See our detailed damage claim policy.