How Much Does Enclosed Car Shipping Cost?

In the realm of auto shipping. Customers have two options when it comes to how they want to ship a car. One is open car transport, and the other is enclosed car shipping. Today's article is about enclosed car shipping rates.

What is Enclosed Car Shipping?

First, what is enclosed car shipping? Also known as enclosed car transport, or covered transport, it is a method of car shipping that offers a higher level of protection for vehicles when being moved from one location to another.

With this method, the vehicle is transported by an auto transport company in a fully sealed trailer, which provides many advantages over the more common open transport.

Tip: Although we mention it briefly here, if want to read about open carrier transport, you can do so on our open carrier service page.

So what's so great about enclosed auto transport?

Protection from Weather

The vehicle is shielded from rain, snow, hail, and other elements that could potentially cause damage along the way with enclosed auto transport.

Shielding from Road Debris

The enclosed auto transport trailer protects the car from dirt, dust, and road debris like rocks or other harmful objects that could be kicked up during the transport. This is very ideal for high-end, luxury, classic, or vintage cars where maintaining the exterior condition is crucial.

Security and Privacy

Enclosed auto transport offers good security against theft or even vandalism, as your vehicle is not visible or too easily accessible. This privacy aspect is often favored by owners of expensive or rare vehicles.

Reduced Risk of Damage

Since your vehicle is not exposed to the open air or the elements, a risk of damage is significantly reduced with enclosed auto transport. Like that road debris we just mentioned.

Special Equipment

Many enclosed auto transport trailers are equipped with lift gates for safe loading and unloading. This is great for low clearance vehicles as well, as they won't scrape the ground.

Personalized Service

Enclosed car shipping often comes with more personalized service options, like single-car enclosed transport, which is a request we see often.

paying truck driver for auto shipping

How Much Does Enclosed Car Shipping Cost?

Because of these benefits, enclosed car transport cost is more expensive than open-car transport. Usually 40-60% more. It is often worth it for transporting:

  • Luxury Cars
  • Expensive Sports Cars
  • Classic Cars
  • Race Cars
  • Stock Cars
  • Muscle Cars

Or any vehicle where the owner wants to make sure their vehicle receives the best care and protection during transport.

The cost of enclosed car shipping rates can vary widely depending on a range of factors. Generally, it is more expensive than open transport due to the increased protection and specialized services it offers. Here are some key factors that influence enclosed shipping rates:


The primary factor in determining car transport costs is the shipping distance the vehicle needs to be shipped. Longer distances will cost more overall but may be cheaper on a per-mile basis.

Vehicle Type and Size

Larger vehicles, such as SUVs or trucks, typically cost more to ship than smaller cars due to their size and weight. Additionally, if the vehicle requires special handling (like vintage or luxury cars), it might increase the cost.

Condition of the Vehicle

Operational vehicles are easier and cheaper to load and unload. In contrast, non-operational vehicles require extra equipment and labor, which can increase the cost.

Transport Type

The level of service within enclosed transport can vary. Options like single-vehicle transport, offering the highest level of protection, will be more costly compared to a multi-car enclosed transport.

Pickup and Delivery Locations

Door-to-door service offers convenience but is typically more expensive than terminal-to-terminal services, where the vehicle is dropped off and picked up at designated locations.

Time of Year

Shipping rates can fluctuate in the auto transport industry with demand, often increasing during peak seasons like summer or during snowbird season when people transport their vehicles to warmer climates.

Insurance Coverage

While basic transport insurance is included, additional coverage for high-value vehicles will add to the cost to ship a car.

Average Car Shipping Costs For Enclosed Auto Transport

As a rough estimate, enclosed average car shipping costs range from approximately $1.00 to $3.00 cost per mile for shorter distances (under 500 miles) and between $0.75 to $1.25 cost per mile for longer distances. Keep in mind, these are general estimates, and the actual cost can vary based on the specifics of the shipment. Using a car shipping cost calculator will provide a more accurate price.

what is enclosed transport

What Makes Enclosed Car Shipping A Good Option?

Enclosed car shipping services offer several benefits, particularly for owners of high-value, classic, luxury, or sensitive vehicles. These advantages include:

Multiple Cars on One Enclosed Auto Transport

One of the main benefits of enclosed car shipping is the protection it offers from weather conditions like rain, snow, hail, and extreme temperatures. This is crucial for preserving the condition of the vehicle, especially for classic or luxury cars.

Door to Door Auto Transport

Since enclosed auto transport usually can be as small as single car transports and just large enough for up to six in most cases, it means these trucks can fit in tight neighborhoods making so door-to-door shipping is possible when it would not in open transport.

Increased Insurance Limits

Since enclosed carriers are accustomed to moving usually very expensive vehicles, thus type of provider will have higher insurance limits. Especially when carrying multiple higher value vehicles.

Safer Loading and Unloading

Auto transport companies that provide enclosed vehicle shipping, use special equipment for safe loading and unloading, such as lift gates make it safer to move high end vehicles. Since there are less cars on the trailer, sometimes as little as only a single car, there is much more focus on your vehicle.

Personalized Service

Enclosed car transport can often offer more personalized service. For instance, some services provide single-car enclosed trailers for the ultimate protection and individual attention.

Peace of Mind

For owners of high-end, antique, or sentimental vehicles, enclosed shipping offers peace of mind knowing that their vehicle is getting the highest level of care and protection during shipping whether it's down the street or across the country.

Experienced Auto Transporters

Transporters handling enclosed shipments are often more experienced with high-value vehicles. They know what these owners want and what they don't. They cater to cars like these day in and day out. The car shipping broker that deals with enclosed auto transport on a regular basis will likely have a trusted list of carriers.

The carriers we use at National Express are the highly trained, experienced, and adhere to the highest possible standards for safety and quality. That's part of being one of the best car shipping companies.

enclosed or open which one

What is the Difference Between Open and Enclosed Transport?

When choosing between auto transport services you'll run into open and enclosed car shipping are the two primary ways for transporting vehicles, each with its own set of specifics and advantages. Here's a comparison of the two:

Open Car Shipping

Vehicles transported on an open auto transport carrier, are exposed to the outdoor elements. Car shipping companies use these often as these trailers can typically carry multiple cars at once, often stacked in two levels.

Generally less expensive than enclosed shipping, making it a more economical choice for standard vehicles to transport.

Cars are visible and exposed to weather conditions such as rain, snow, and sunlight, as well as road debris like dust and rocks.

This is the most common and widely available form of car transport, used frequently for new car deliveries to dealerships and standard auto transport needs.

While safe, open transport offers less security compared to enclosed shipping due to the vehicle’s exposure.

Enclosed Car Shipping

Vehicles are shipped in an enclosed trailer, providing complete coverage and protection from the environment. This is also known as covered car transport.

Using an enclosed carrier will have higher shipping costs than open shipping. The additional cost to transport vehicles is due to the higher level of protection and often more personalized service.

Enclosed auto transport services offer superior protection from weather elements, road debris, and potential damages. Ideal for high-value, luxury, classic, or sensitive vehicles.

Often chosen as the car shipping service for transporting luxury cars, sports cars, classic cars, or any vehicle where maximum protection and care are desired.

Enhanced security and privacy during the car shipping process, as the vehicle is not visible during transport. This is important for owners of rare or high-profile vehicles.

Enclosed carriers often provide better loading equipment and are typically operated by drivers with plenty of experience handling high-value vehicles.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.