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, book in the "off season," and much more.
See Article: 12 Tips for Cheap Car Shipping
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.
See Article: Pros & Cons of Auto Transport Brokers vs Carriers
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 our trucks aren't available on your route, or if one of our trusted carrier partners can deliver your car quicker 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!
See Article: Auto Transport Brokers vs Carriers
What is door-to-door vs. terminal-to-terminal shipping?
Door-to-door shipping 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 shipping 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.
See Article: Door to Door vs Terminal to Terminal Shipping
What is open transport vs. enclosed transport?
With an open transport your vehicle is shipped on an open trailer. The vehicle is fully exposed to the outside elements. These are the types of trailers you usually see on the roads as they are the most common.
With an enclosed transport your vehicle is transported in a trailer with secure, weather-proof walls on all sides. The vehicle is completely protected from the outside elements. There are only a small percentage of enclosed carriers. Because of that, enclosed transportation is very expensive and sometimes it can take a little longer to get your vehicle transported.
See Article: Open vs Enclosed Car Shipping
Does J&S Transportation offer open or enclosed transport?
The quote you receive from us is for an open transport. While we don’t have enclosed trucks, we do have the ability to transport vehicles on enclosed trailers by working with our trusted partner carriers. Whether you need an open or enclosed trailer, we can help!
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?
The first step in shipping a car with us is to get an instant quote.
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 quotes from other brokers?
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 (or they'll ask you for more money)! Cheap quotes can potentially give you the biggest headaches with hidden fees, surprise price increases, and unreliable service.
Given our experience and history, and the fact that we ship many vehicles on our own trucks, we know how to price our transports to move quickly and reliably. That often means our quotes will be slightly higher than most, but when you work with us you can have the peace of mind that we will get your vehicle delivered promptly 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.
Please note, currently our quotes expire in 14 days so your quote will only be saved in our system for 14 days. If you attempt to look up your quote after that you will get a message that your quote has expired and you'll have to generate a new one.
How long is my instant quote good for?
Quotes are good for 14 days before they expire. Once your quote expires, you can simply generate a new instant quote on our website or call us at (800) 656-7638.
2. Factors that affect your instant quote
Do you ship to Alaska, Hawaii, and overseas?
We currently only ship vehicles in the lower 48 and Alaska. We do not ship to Hawaii or overseas. We also don't ship to Canada or Mexico. The best we can do is transport to a border town if that helps. We just cannot ship vehicles over the Canadian or Mexican borders.
See Article: How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car to Alaska?
Can I get a quote for an enclosed transport?
Yes, you can! When you get an instant quote on our website you'll be given a quote for an open trailer. Below your quote you'll also see what the rate would be to transport your vehicle enclosed.
We move vehicles in enclosed trailers quite often but they are usually classic cars or highly valuable or exotic cars. You can expect to pay 60% more for enclosed transportation.
Damage claims on open trailers are rare and if something does happen you'll be covered by auto transport insurance. For the majority of vehicles, open transportation is the best (and most affordable) option. If you're not sure your vehicle needs open or enclosed transportation, reading our blog post on open vs enclosed car shipping might help.
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 trucks with dual rear wheels, long beds, large grill guards, ladder racks, utility boxes, 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.
What if my truck has a topper or camper?
Accessories on trucks such as toppers with extended roofs and small campers may affect your quote as they may require additional room on the trailer. However, toppers with standard roofs and 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. This is a must! C-clamps or straps will not suffice. These accessories can and will blow off when not secured properly.
What if my vehicle doesn't operate?
If your vehicle is inoperable, we still might be able to transport it as long as it rolls, steers, and brakes. There must also be a set of keys for the vehicle and it must not have any obvious fluid leaks.
Shipping inoperable vehicles costs considerably more, however. You can expect to pay double the price depending on the vehicle and the route of the transport. It costs more because shipping inoperable vehicles requires drivers that have experience handling these types of vehicles, and it also requires trailers that are equipped with winches. Some inoperable transports may also require a tow truck to load and unload the vehicle.
If you have an inoperable vehicle to ship we recommend you call us at (800) 656-7638 or email us details at email@example.com and we'll be able to tell you if we can ship your inoperable vehicle and if we can, how much it will cost.
3. Book your order
How does the booking process work?
After you generate an instant quote on our website, you’ll see a big green "Book Order" button on the page to book your order online. You can also call us at (800) 656-7638 and we can book an order for you over the phone. If you call us to book an order, please have your Quote ID handy.
When you book an order we charge a 10% deposit paid with a credit or debit card. The remaining balance on your order will be automatically charged to your card when we pick up your vehicle. No money is exchanged with the driver upon delivery!
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept 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 7-10 days. This gives us enough time to try to get your vehicle picked up as close to your earliest available pick up date as possible.
What is your refund policy if I have to cancel my order?
After you place an order, a dispatcher will call you to verify the details of your order and will let you know if there are any adjustments necessary to your transport rate. You may cancel your order and get a full refund of your 10% deposit up to the point of, and during, that verification call.
After the verification is completed and you agree to move forward with the transport, your 10% deposit becomes NON-REFUNDABLE.
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 provide an estimated time frame for pick up and delivery when you get an instant quote on our website.
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. When you get an instant quote on our website we provide estimated pick up and delivery dates for your route.
We encourage you to read our articles on this topic if you're wondering why we can't guarantee pick up and delivery dates:
Can I Choose a Pick Up Date for My Auto Transport?
Can I Choose a Delivery Date for My Auto Transport?
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?
You, or someone on your behalf that is at least 18 years of age, must be present at the pick up and delivery because a vehicle inspection will be done with the driver and then the vehicle condition report needs to be signed.
See Article: Do I Have to Be There at the Pick Up or Delivery?
What is a vehicle condition report?
The vehicle condition report is a document that details the condition of the vehicle being transported. It is ultimately used to determine if damage occurred to the vehicle during the transport.
See Article: What is the Vehicle Condition Report?
How do I prepare my vehicle for transport?
There are a handful of things you can do to prepare a car for transport. Please see our article below.
See article: How to Prepare a Car for Transport
Can I ship personal items in my vehicle?
We allow up to 100 lbs. of personal belongings. They 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 ship personal items at your own risk.
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! As a car carrier and licensed auto transport broker we provide liability and cargo insurance to cover your vehicle while it is being transported. However, you MUST have your personal vehicle insurance in place because we don’t cover Acts of God. Read our article about auto transport insurance for more details.
5. Tracking and shipment updates
Can I track my vehicle during transit?
No, but we can give you updates by phone, email or text during business hours at your request to let you know where your vehicle is while it's in transit.
Please note, you will get a 24-hour notice and a 1-2 hour notice prior to pick up. When we give you those pick up updates, we will also know how long the vehicle will be in transit and when it will be delivered so we'll share that information with you as well. We then provide a 24-hour notice and a 1-2 hour notice prior to delivery.
How will I get updates while my vehicle is in transit?
Our team provides regular updates to our customers from the beginning of the transport process to the very end! Most updates are given through texts or phone calls depending on our customers' preferences. Our customers are also free to call, text, or email us anytime.
6. Delivery and inspection
Will the driver call me before they arrive?
Yes. The driver will call you a couple hours prior to arrival for pick up and delivery to make arrangements.
You will also be given a 24-hour notice on pick up and delivery.
Will I be able to inspect my vehicle upon delivery?
Yes. At delivery, the driver and you, or a representative for you if you're not there, will review the vehicle condition report that was done at pick up. You, or your representative, will then have an opportunity to inspect the vehicle to ensure its condition matches the condition outlined in the report.
If any damage is discovered, you'll make a 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 the 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.
Please note: 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 within 3 days of delivery and provide detailed photos of the damage. You will then be contacted by our Damage Claims Manager. As rarely as damage happens, we do take damage claims seriously and your concerns will be addressed quickly!
Please see our detailed damage claim policy for the specific steps you need to take to file a claim.