If you need to ship your car in the US, you may be wondering if you should ship your car using a standard, open-air car carrier, or if you should use enclosed car transport.
If you’re worried about the safety of your car, enclosed car transport is definitely a better choice. In this guide from A-1 Auto Transport, we’ll discuss the basics about enclosed car transport – and why it’s the safest method of car shipping. Read on to learn more.
What Is Enclosed Car Transport?
Enclosed car transport, as the name suggests, uses a specialized, enclosed trailer that is equipped to handle the transportation of multiple cars. Usually, these trailers can hold somewhere between 4-7 cars, though this depends on the length and weight of each vehicle.
This is in contrast to open-air car transport, the cheapest way to ship a car. These use a specialized “car carrier” consisting of metal racks onto which cars are loaded. In this type of transportation, cars are exposed and open to the elements. It’s often possible to transport 9+ cars at once using a car carrier, depending on the weight and size of each vehicle.
Why Is Enclosed Car Transport The Safest Way To Ship A Car?
Because with enclosed car transport, your car is safe from the elements, as well as prying eyes, theft, and vandalism. This makes it ideal for transporting luxury cars, or any car that’s high in value.
Open-air car carrier trailers expose your car to the elements like snow and rain, as well as dust, dirt, road debris from the highway, and more. Not only that, but your car will be in plain sight, and more susceptible to vandalism or theft. While both of these situations are rare when transporting a car, they do happen.
In contrast, an enclosed car transport trailer looks just like a standard trailer for a semi-truck – nobody will be able to see your car, and it will be completely protected from any damage done by the elements or road debris.
Is Enclosed Car Transport More Expensive Than Open Car Transport?
Yes. The price is usually about 40-50% higher than an open car carrier. Just like standard car transport, prices are determined per mile, and you can expect to pay about $1.00 per mile for a shorter trip, while prices per mile tend to fall for long-distance shipments. A 2,000 mile-shipment, for example, may be closer to $0.70 per mile, but this depends on the shipping company.
Why is the cost of enclosed car transport more expensive than open car transport? First, it’s a more specialized service, so there’s a natural surcharge for this reason.
But also, enclosed car carrier trailers cannot hold as many vehicles as an open-air carrier. As mentioned previously, they can usually accommodate 4-7 cars, while open-air car carrier trailers can hold 9 or more. Because of this, a higher rate must be charged for each vehicle to ensure the shipping company can continue to turn a profit.
Do I Need Enclosed Car Transport For My Vehicle?
There are a few reasons you may want to consider enclosed car transport for your vehicle. If your car is very valuable, you’re worried about weather conditions and wear & tear, your car has a custom paint job or is a “classic,” or you want extra theft protection, enclosed car transport is a good idea.
- Valuable, luxury vehicles – A luxury sports car or exotic vehicle like a Lamborghini, for example, should always be transported in an enclosed trailer to protect its appearance and bodywork.
- Protection from weather, wear & tear – You won’t have to worry about hail, snow, sleet, rain, or any other weather-related damage, or wear and tear from rocks and gravel kicked up on the highway.
- Custom or classic cars – A high-value custom car or classic car is ideal for enclosed car transport, since you’ll be able to protect your unique, one-of-a-kind investment.
- Theft protection – Enclosed car transport doesn’t just protect your car itself from theft, but also eliminates the risk of vandalism and theft of objects and items that may be left inside your car. Nobody but the driver will be able to get into the trailer and access your vehicle, providing you with unparalleled protection.
Should I Buy Additional Insurance When Shipping My Car With Enclosed Car Transport?
Enclosed car carriers provide insurance coverage on your vehicle, but the limit may vary depending on the carrier. If your car is worth more than $50,000, it’s a good idea to inquire about your carrier’s coverage limits, and see if you need more coverage.
Your car will benefit from additional protection when it’s shipped using an enclosed car carrier – but accidents can still happen, and you should make sure you’re protected. If your car is very valuable, it’s a good idea to purchase additional insurance coverage. This can usually be done through the shipping carrier you’re using to ship your vehicle.
Get The Help You Need To Ship Your Car From A-1 Auto Transport
At A-1 Auto Transport, we can provide you with an instant quote for enclosed car transport anywhere in America. Ready to get started and ship your vehicle? Contact us online or give us a call at (800) 452-2880. to get the help you need.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.