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- Those who are moving luxury vehicles and classic cars often pick enclosed transport.
- Enclosed auto transport keeps vehicles safe from road hazards and severe weather, but it can be expensive.
- Montway Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, and American Auto Shipping are top choices for enclosed car shipping.
If you want maximum protection and peace of mind when shipping a car, enclosed auto transport is the way to go. Although it’s more expensive than open auto transport, shipping in an enclosed hauler is the ideal option for owners of luxury vehicles, classic cars, sports cars, and other high-end automobiles.
In this article, we’ll examine enclosed car shipping and estimate how much you can expect to pay for the added protection it brings. We’ve also researched and ranked the best car shipping companies to help you make the right decision for your budget.
What Is Enclosed Auto Transport?
Enclosed auto transport involves shipping a car in an enclosed container rather than the more common open shipping method. Instead of having your vehicle shipped on an open carrier that’s exposed to the elements, enclosed vehicle transport provides extra security against road hazards and bad weather conditions.
Additionally, enclosed auto transport services often feature added protections such as hydraulic lift gates and ramps. These two measures make sure that your vehicle will be safe and level for its entire journey, from pickup to delivery.
Enclosed car carriers come in many shapes and sizes. Some are designed to ship two or three cars at a time, while others have two tiers and can accommodate five or more. You’ll also find oversize enclosed car trailers made for larger specialty vehicles.
Is Enclosed Auto Transport Worth It?
The additional protection offered by enclosed auto shipping comes with higher costs. However, paying a bit more is worthwhile for owners of exotic cars, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and cars with low ground clearance.
Companies typically provide more insurance coverage for enclosed auto transport than for open car shipping service. This affords even more peace of mind for owners of luxury cars and specialty vehicles.
Enclosed Auto Transport Pros & Cons
While it offers enhanced protection for high-value cars, enclosed auto transport does have a few drawbacks. Here are a few pros and cons of shipping your vehicle in an enclosed trailer:
|Enclosed Auto Transport Pros||Enclosed Auto Transport Cons|
|Protection from road debris and bad weather||Pricier than open transport|
|Added security for high-end vehicles||Less fuel-efficient|
|Generous insurance policy limits||Harder to schedule|
Enclosed Auto Transport Cost
The average cost of enclosed car transport services is significantly higher than what you’ll pay for open carrier shipping. To give you a clearer idea of the price difference between these shipping methods, we reached out to a few enclosed auto transport companies for free quotes.
The following enclosed and open shipping estimates are for a 2018 Nissan Rogue going from San Francisco to Austin, Texas, which is a distance of around 1,500 miles.
|Shipping Provider||Open Transport Estimated Cost||Enclosed Transport Estimated Cost|
|Montway Auto Transport||$1,459||$1,829|
|SGT Auto Transport||$1,385||$2,079|
|American Auto Shipping||$1,559||$2,079|
Factors That Affect Car Shipping Costs
Along with the type of transport you choose, there are other variables that determine how much you’ll pay for car shipping services. Here are a few factors that affect auto transport costs:
- Delivery time frame: If you have a flexible schedule and can avoid expedited shipping, you’ll pay far less overall.
- Vehicle size: Heavier vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs almost always cost more to ship than smaller cars.
- Vehicle condition: Inoperable vehicles are charged more because they require extra time and effort to load onto auto transport carriers.
- Time of year: Demand for car shipping services is typically highest in January and during the summer months, which means steeper rates.
- Shipping distance: Long-distance car shipments such as Los Angeles to Florida have lower per-mile rates but higher overall car shipping costs.
- Shipping method: Door-to-door transport, which involves delivery from one home address to another, is more expensive than using shipping terminals.
How To Save on Enclosed Auto Transport Costs
There are a few simple ways to find cheap car shipping services. Comparing car shipping quotes online from multiple providers is the best place to start. Booking your transport far in advance is also important, as it allows more carriers to submit bids for your job.
Going with terminal-to-terminal shipping is another cost-effective strategy, as the convenience of door-to-door shipping comes with a higher cost.
Enclosed Auto Transport: Conclusion
Many drivers find that enclosed car shipping is the right choice for their needs. This is especially true of owners who need to ship a luxury car or a specialized type of vehicle. Motorists who compare auto transport quotes from various providers are more likely to find reasonable rates, even if they opt for enclosed auto transport.
Our Top Picks for Enclosed Auto Transport
Our team has analyzed and ranked the best enclosed car transport companies to make your decision a bit easier. These are our top-ranked providers in the auto transport industry:
|Shipping Company||Overall Rating||Price Rating||Services Rating|
|Montway Auto Transport||4.7||4.5||4.8|
|SGT Auto Transport||4.6||4.4||5.0|
|American Auto Shipping||4.6||4.4||5.0|
*Ratings are determined by our editorial review team. Learn more about our scoring methodology below.
#1 Montway Auto Transport: Best Service
Guaranteed pickup dates and a wide network of vetted shippers help Montway Auto Transport take top honors in the auto shipping industry. The company transports vehicles to all 50 states and to international locations, all while offering competitive rates.
Montway Auto Transport receives solid reviews on various online platforms. The company has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and holds a 4.6- out of 5.0-star rating on Trustpilot from more than 1,100 customer reviews.
Further reading: Montway Auto Transport review
#2 SGT Auto Transport: Best Shipping Options
SGT Auto Transport claims a high spot in our rankings due to its many vehicle shipping services. The company moves all kinds of cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles to the 48 contiguous states, to Hawaii, and to international destinations.
SGT Auto Transport’s reputation for excellent customer service is reflected by its online reviews. The company has an A+ grade and a 4.7- out of 5.0-star rating from over 200 customers on the BBB. SGT Auto Transport also carries a 4.8- out of 5.0-star rating on Trustpilot, with reviews mentioning easy and fast scheduling.
#3 American Auto Shipping: Best Customer Service
American Auto Shipping offers locked-in pricing, which means that your instant quote won’t be increased due to additional fees or surcharges. The company ships to all 50 states as well as to U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico. Founded in 1999, American Auto Shipping boasts over 20 years of experience with the shipping process.
On the BBB website, American Auto Shipping has an A+ rating and receives 4.7 out of 5.0 stars from customers. The company also sees relatively strong reviews on Google, with a 4.6- out of 5.0-star rating.
Enclosed Auto Transport: FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions about enclosed auto transport.
Is enclosed car transport worth it?
Enclosed auto transport is worth it for drivers who want peace of mind. It’s also a good choice for those who are shipping specialty cars, luxury models, or race cars.
Is it better to ship a car open or enclosed?
The answer to this question depends on your budget and how much protection you think your vehicle needs. If you’re shipping an antique car, sports car, or any kind of exotic vehicle, enclosed auto transport offers extra protection against road hazards and bad weather.
How many cars can fit in an enclosed car hauler?
Enclosed car haulers can’t accommodate as many vehicles as open transport trailers, but they can still fit multiple cars at a time. Depending on how much you’re willing to pay, you can have your car shipped in an enclosed hauler that carries only two or three vehicles.
Our expert review team takes satisfaction in providing accurate and unbiased information. We identified the following rating categories based on consumer survey data and conducted extensive research to formulate rankings of the best car shipping companies.
- Prices: A variety of factors influence cost, so it can be difficult to compare quotes between providers. Our team performs ongoing secret shopper analyses for different vehicles, services, and shipping routes to give this rating.
- Services: Because each consumer has unique needs, it’s essential that an auto transport company offers an array of services. We take into account the availability of services, ability to guarantee pickup and drop-off dates, and insurance coverage options.
- Reputation: Our team considers Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, a company’s history of service, and years in business when giving this score.
- Customer Service: Reputable car shippers operate with a certain degree of care for consumers. We take into account customer reviews, BBB complaints, and the responsiveness of the customer service team.