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What are the options for shipping a luxury car?

Published by Joe Webster.

What are the options for shipping a luxury car?

When shipping a luxury car, the stakes are understandably higher than with standard vehicles. These cars are not only expensive but often hold sentimental value, making the choice of transport method a crucial decision. Selecting the right shipping option ensures that your luxury vehicle is transported safely, arrives on time, and remains in pristine condition, protecting your investment. Safety, cost, and reliability are the primary considerations. Each transport method offers different levels of protection and speed, affecting the overall cost and the experience of shipping. Understanding these options helps car owners make informed choices that align with their needs and expectations for their high-value vehicles.


Options for Shipping a Luxury Car

  • Enclosed Auto Transport: Enclosed auto transport provides the highest level of security and protection for shipping luxury cars. Vehicles are transported in a fully enclosed trailer, shielding them from external elements and road debris that could cause damage. This method is particularly beneficial for high-end, vintage, or exotic cars that necessitate protection against weather, dust, and grime during transit. Enclosed transport is typically recommended for owners who desire complete peace of mind, ensuring that their valuable assets arrive in showroom condition without the risk of external damage.
  • Open Auto Transport: Open auto transport means the vehicle is shipped on an open trailer, making it more exposed to the environment than the enclosed option. This method is generally less expensive and is a viable option for luxury cars when budget constraints are tighter, or the vehicle is less susceptible to damage. However, for high-value vehicles, it's often only considered for shorter distances where the likelihood of damage is reduced. While this method offers less protection, it still provides reliable and safe delivery, particularly when handled by reputable transporters who specialize in luxury vehicles.
  • Expedited Shipping: For luxury car owners with time constraints, expedited shipping is the optimal choice. This service ensures that your car is shipped quickly, often with guaranteed delivery dates. Expedited shipping is especially valuable when attending time-sensitive events, such as car shows or races, where it is crucial that your vehicle arrives on time. The additional cost associated with this shipping method is often justified by the speed and convenience it offers, ensuring that your schedule remains uninterrupted and your needs are prioritized.
  • Air Freight: Air freight offers the fastest shipping method for luxury cars, ideal for international transport or urgent delivery needs. While it is the most expensive option, the speed and level of security provided are unmatched. Air freight minimizes handling risks and reduces the time your car spends in transit, significantly lowering the potential for damage. However, the high cost and logistical complexities make it less suitable for less urgent needs. This method is often reserved for extremely high-value vehicles or situations where time is of the essence.
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Detailed Examination of Each Shipping Option

Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed auto transport is the gold standard for luxury car transport services. This method involves transporting the luxury car within a fully enclosed trailer, which provides protection from harsh weather conditions and road debris that could otherwise damage the vehicle’s exterior or mechanical components. The security features of enclosed transport often include padded walls, secured chains, and wheel straps that prevent any movement during transit, ensuring that the car remains stationary and safe. However, these premium services come at a higher cost. The price for enclosed transport is typically higher than open transport due to the specialized equipment and decreased load capacity, making it a premium shipping method. But for those needing the utmost care for their luxury cars, this cost is often seen as a worthwhile investment to protect a valuable asset.

Open Auto Transport

Open auto transport offers a more cost-effective solution for shipping a luxury car. This service involves transporting vehicles on an open trailer, exposing them to environmental elements. While this method can be less protective compared to enclosed transport, modern car shipping companies employ safety measures such as harnessing systems and careful loading practices to mitigate risks. Open transport is typically viable for shorter distances or for luxury vehicles that are less susceptible to minor cosmetic damage. The primary benefit here is cost savings, making it a popular choice for owners who prioritize budget but still require reliable luxury car transport.

Expedited Shipping

Expedited shipping is tailored for situations where time is a critical factor. Owners of luxury vehicles might opt for this service when they need their car at a new location on a tight schedule, such as for a car show, a relocation, or an auction. This shipping method involves faster pickup and priority delivery, which naturally incurs additional costs. Planning for expedited shipping requires coordination with the shipping company to ensure that all timings are strictly adhered to, often making it one of the more complex services offered by luxury car transport companies.

Air Freight

Air freight is the pinnacle of luxury car shipping, reserved for the most expedient and secure transportation. Ideal for international shipping or extremely valuable luxury cars, air freight minimizes handling and reduces transit time drastically. Specific preparations for air transport include securing the car within a custom crate or using manufacturer-approved straps. However, due to its high cost, it's used selectively when the situation justifies the expense, such as for transporting high-value collectors' items or for urgent delivery needs.


Additional Services and Considerations

Insurance Coverage for Luxury Cars

When planning to ship a luxury car, securing the right insurance coverage is paramount. Transport companies typically offer a range of insurance options that cover potential damage during transit. Owners should opt for a comprehensive policy that reflects the car’s value and the chosen shipping method. Luxury car transport companies often recommend full coverage policies that protect against all risks, ensuring peace of mind for the vehicle owner.

Preparing Your Luxury Car for Shipping

Preparation is key to ensuring that your luxury car arrives in the same condition it was sent. Start by thoroughly cleaning the car to easily spot any post-shipment damages. Document the car's condition with photos and remove personal items and any loose parts. Ensure that the fuel level is low but adequate for loading and unloading. Prepare a checklist to review with the carrier during the pickup, ensuring all parties are aware of the car’s state before transit.

Choosing the Right Auto Transport Company

Selecting a reputable auto transport company is crucial. Research potential companies, focusing on those specializing in luxury car transportation. Assess the company’s credentials, insurance policies, and read customer reviews to gauge reliability and service quality. A trustworthy company should offer transparent communication, robust insurance coverage, and a proven track record of handling luxury vehicles effectively.

Cost Analysis

The cost of shipping a luxury car varies widely based on the shipping method, distance, and luxury car transport services used. Enclosed transport generally costs more than open transport, and expedited services add a premium. Compare quotes from various car shipping companies, and consider factors like pickup and delivery locations, service levels, and additional fees. Look for value-added services such as door to door service to potentially enhance convenience and overall service satisfaction.



Choosing the right service for shipping your luxury vehicle involves balancing cost, speed, and safety. Whether opting for enclosed or open transport, expedited shipping, or even air freight, it’s vital to understand each option’s benefits and limitations. By carefully selecting the right shipping company and adequately preparing your vehicle for transport, you ensure that your luxury car reaches its destination safely, maintaining its condition and value.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

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Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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