Open Vs. Enclosed Car Shipping - Which is the Best Way to Ship a Car Across The Country?

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There are two common kinds of car shipping in the auto transport industry. One is open transport, (also known as open carrier or open-air transport) and the other is enclosed car shipping (also known as covered car shipping or enclosed car transport) for your vehicle. This method provides extra protection when shipping across the country and to another state.

What is Open Car Shipping?

Open car transport is the most common and cost effective method for shipping a car. It utilizes an open-air trailer that can accommodate up to 10 cars at once, allowing for considerable savings on delivery expenses.

During transit, your vehicle is being shipped "out in the open", which means it is exposed to the elements.

However, it is very safe for most vehicles. Open car shipping is best suited for vehicles that are in good condition. And don't think that just because you didn't choose enclosed auto transport does it mean your car will absolutely see some kind of damage.

Open car shipping does have a small risk of scratches or damage that is minimal. It is possible for the occasional rock chip or nicks and scratches along the way. However, it's not the usual outcome.

What is Enclosed Car Shipping?

Enclosed car shipping offers additional protection from the elements while traveling. It utilizes a fully enclosed interior that guards your car against dust, dirt, weather exposure, and even prying eyes.

Enclosed car shipping is the safest way to ship a car, and it ensures that your special vehicle arrives in its original condition.

Enclosed trailers come in different shapes and sizes. There are the larger 6-8 car enclosed carriers and there are also single car enclosed trucks.

It is more expensive to ship enclosed rather than open car transport. The difference is usually between 40-60% more. So, it may not be suitable for all budgets.

What is the Difference Between Open Vs Enclosed Car Shipping?

Each car shipping method will provide travel, however enclosed car shipping ultimately is more secure. Even features the capacity for fewer cars which means delivery with this type of vehicle transport is faster with less need to move your car around while loading and unloading vehicles.

Overall, when deciding whether to ship a car using open transport or enclosed car transport, you should consider both desired level or security and the price you expect to pay for your particular vehicle.

Ultimately, the basic cost to ship a car is determined by factors like distance travelled, fuel costs, type of transport chosen, and size/weight of the vehicle. The rest is dependent on your chosen method.

Both options offer reliable service and can get your car safely to its destination; it just depends on what works best for you.

Researching both open transport and enclosed car transport options can help you choose the right one for your needs. With careful consideration and research into both methods, you can find the perfect shipping solution that fits your budget while providing dependable service.

No matter which option you decide on, rest assured that your car will arrive in its original condition at its destination.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car to Another State Open?

The easiest way to get your quote for open car shipping to another state is via our car shipping calculator. It does all the work in providing you with all the applicable fees for transport services across the US, Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

As of 2023 to ship a car 100-200 miles will be $2.00 per mile. Shipping 200-300 miles will typically be $1.50 per mile. If you take a trip that is over 500 miles, you will then look at a rate of about $0.90 per mile.

Does the Lesser Cost Mean Less Service?

Not at all! It literally is just the shipping method. You are simply paying less because it is the most common and therefore making it the cheapest shipping method. Nearly all auto shipping is done on open air carriers!

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car with Enclosed Transport?

The quote for transporting your vehicle in an enclosed trailer will likely go up by 40-60% higher for this method.

You can easily use our car shipping calculator to get yourself a free instant estimate which will take this into account. Just select the enclosed trailer method when putting in the details on the quoter.

Why Does it Cost More?

Enclosed auto transport carriers can take less cars than open carrier. So, to account for the increased cost of transport they charge more. Along with that, enclosed car shipping drivers have additional expertise when handling rare, exotic, or high-priced vehicles.

Insurance coverage is much more expensive, as one high end vehicle could cost as much as a full load on regular car shipping.

Some vehicle transport must be on enclosed car carriers, as the carrier insurance may not cover all the vehicles onboard if your is of extremely high value or you are shipping various very high end vehicles.

Enclosed vs. Open: Which is the Best for Shipping a Car Across Country or to Another State?

For the majority of car owners, open transport is by far the best choice and most economical choice. It's not just inexpensive but your typical vehicle will not necessitate enclosed transport. Plus, as there are more available open carriers than enclosed trucks which usually means a faster pick up window.

Admittedly, the one drawback of open car transport is that your vehicle is exposed to elements and road debris. However, the risk of damage and issues due to wear and tear are far less as your vehicle is on a trailer than driving it to another state.

Now, if you are looking to ensure your car is completely shielded from the elements, enclosed auto transport is the way to go. Whether it’s rare, valuable, old or immensely precious - choosing this option will provide total protection and peace of mind as it heads to the destination.

One major downside of this option is the price tag. This could be an absolute deal-breaker for many people as it may cost up to 60% more than other services. Additionally, there are limited enclosed carriers available meaning that the duration of your shipment could take longer too.

Needless to say if you own an rare vehicle, high-end luxury car, classic car, valuable exotic, or any other special vehicle, you will want to extra protection provided by enclosed auto transport. Examples of these vehicles are those with a low ground clearance, original vintage paint, race cars, and more. And since is the norm for enclosed carrriers, they are usually are outfitted with special lifting tools that can safely raise vehicles with only four inches or less of clearance.

Are you ready to transport your vehicle? Let National Express Auto Transport be the safe, reliable and experienced auto transport company that will assist in shipping it safely. With our enclosed or open trailer services, we give peace of mind with every transport. Don't wait, call 800-284-7177 to get started.

Choosing the Right Auto Transport Company

Choosing the right auto transport company is step one before anything else. Regardless of whether open auto transport or enclosed auto transport, third party reviews are ultimately the most important first step in getting your vehicle shipped.

The auto transport companies that make your shortlist for both open air and enclosed shipping should be rated at minimum above 4 stars on platforms like Google or Transport Reviews.

Always look at the comments for each car shipping company. Look at the negative reviews and focus on reports of damage or lack of communication on both open car shipping and enclosed car shipping.

In Conclusion

Open air auto transport offers cost savings but may cause minor scratches on the vehicle, while enclosed car shipping provides extra protection from debris and theft.

Ultimately, no matter which option you choose, open air car shipping or enclosed auto transport, rest assured that your vehicle will arrive in its original condition at its destination.