Is Enclosed Auto Transport Worth the Extra Cost?

Harish Makam

15 Jun 2023 11 months ago

When transporting your prized vehicle, whether it’s a classic car, luxury automobile, or a cherished family heirloom, the last thing you want is to leave its journey to chance. That’s where enclosed auto transport enters the scene, offering a specialized solution that goes beyond the ordinary. When you need to move your wheels from point A to point B, there are different ways to do it, and one option is enclosed auto transport.

Enclosed auto transport is all about shipping vehicles in fully enclosed trailers, protecting your vehicle from elements like rain and road debris. It’s like giving your car a VIP treatment.

So, is it worth it? The answer is it depends. Some people are all about that extra peace of mind, knowing their vehicle is safe and sound in a cosy trailer. Others might be fine taking a gamble and saving cash with an open carrier.

To gain an in-depth understanding of this topic, read further to explore the intricacies and advantages of enclosed auto transport.

Exploring Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed auto transport means your car will be carried in a special trailer with walls and a roof, just like a little room. This trailer protects your car from bad weather, dirt, rocks, or any other stuff that could potentially damage it.

So, how does it work? Well, picture this: Instead of exposing your car to the elements and potential hazards of the road, it is loaded onto a fully enclosed trailer. These trailers shield your vehicle from external factors such as dust, dirt, rocks, and adverse weather conditions.

The process begins with carefully loading your vehicle onto the trailer, usually with the assistance of skilled and experienced professionals. The enclosed trailer is then sealed, creating a protective cocoon around your vehicle during the journey.

Enclosed auto transport caters to many vehicles, from classic and vintage cars to luxury and exotic models. It offers owners peace of mind, knowing that their cherished vehicles are shielded from potential damage or wear that can occur during long-distance transportation.

Open Vs. Enclosed auto transport

You have two options to ship your car: enclosed auto transport and open car transport. These two options have their unique features and perks. So, let’s take a closer look and see what makes them different.

  Enclosed Auto Transport

 Open Transport

  Uses fully enclosed trailers that provide a sealed and protected environment for your vehicle during transportation.

Utilizes open trailers, exposing vehicles to the elements and external factors.

  Offers the highest level of protection against dust, debris, adverse weather conditions, and potential damage during transit.

Exposes vehicles to road debris and weather conditions during transportation.

  Ideal for high-value, vintage, luxury, or sentimental vehicles that require maximum protection and peace of mind.

Suitable for regular vehicles and customers operating on a tighter budget.

  Preferred by owners who prioritize the preservation of their valuable and cherished vehicles.

Commonly chosen by customers shipping regular vehicles or seeking a more budget-friendly solution.

Benefits of choosing an enclosed auto transport

When shipping your vehicle, opting for enclosed vehicle shipping can offer several benefits and advantages. Here are some of the key benefits of choosing enclosed vehicle shipping:

  • Enhanced Protection: Fully enclosed trailers shield your vehicle from external elements such as dust, dirt, rocks, and adverse weather conditions. This helps to safeguard your vehicle’s exterior, interior, and overall condition throughout the journey.
  • Added Security: Enclosed trailers often have advanced security features, such as GPS tracking and alarm systems. These features provide an additional layer of security, ensuring that your vehicle remains safe and secure during transit.
  • Protection from Road Debris: When your vehicle is transported using an open carrier, it is exposed to road debris, including rocks, gravel, and other objects. Enclosed vehicle shipping eliminates this risk, as the vehicle is completely enclosed within the trailer, protecting it from such hazards.
  • Weather Protection: Inclement weather conditions can be a significant concern during transportation. Enclosed vehicle shipping protects your vehicle from exposure to rain, snow, hail, or harsh sunlight, minimizing the risk of weather-related hazards.
  • Ideal for Special Vehicles: If you own a classic car, luxury vehicle, vintage automobile, or any vehicle with high sentimental or monetary value, enclosed vehicle shipping is an ideal choice. It provides these special vehicles with the utmost care and protection, preserving their condition and value.
  • Peace of Mind: Choosing enclosed vehicle shipping gives you peace of mind, knowing your vehicle is receiving top-notch protection and care. This can be particularly important when transporting a vehicle with great personal or financial significance.
  • Professional Handling: This method of vehicle shipping is typically handled by experienced professionals specializing in transporting valuable vehicles. They understand the importance of careful handling and take extra precautions to ensure your vehicle arrives at its destination in pristine condition.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Enclosed Auto Transport

The cost of enclosed auto transport can vary based on several factors. Understanding these factors can help you estimate the expenses involved. Let’s delve into the key influencers:

  • Distance: The distance between the pickup and delivery locations plays a significant role in determining the cost. Longer distances generally incur higher transportation fees due to increased fuel consumption and time required.
  • Vehicle Size and Weight: Larger and heavier vehicles take up more space and require additional resources to transport. As a result, shipping a larger or heavier vehicle will be higher than smaller ones.
  • Route and Accessibility: The route and the accessibility of the pickup and delivery locations can impact the cost. Remote or hard-to-reach areas may require additional logistical arrangements or specialized equipment, increasing expenses.
  • Season and Demand: Like many industries, the car shipping business experiences fluctuations in demand throughout the year. During peak seasons, such as summer, when many people move or go on vacations, the demand for enclosed transport rises, potentially affecting the cost.
  • Vehicle Condition: The condition of your vehicle can also influence the cost. Non-running or inoperable vehicles may require additional effort and equipment for loading and unloading, leading to higher transportation charges.
  • Additional Services: If you require any extra services, such as expedited shipping, guaranteed pickup or delivery dates, or additional insurance coverage, these will likely result in higher costs. It’s essential to discuss and clarify any additional services required upfront.
  • Tools and Equipment: Professionals utilize specialized equipment such as hydraulic lift gates or ramps during loading and unloading. These tools ensure your car’s safe and efficient movement onto and off the trailer. The cost of using this equipment is usually included in the shipping price.
  • Market Rates: Market conditions, including fuel prices, labour costs, and industry competition, can impact the overall cost of enclosed auto transport. Remember that rates can vary among different transport companies, so it’s advisable to compare quotes from multiple providers.

Let’s understand with an example.

Let’s consider a numerical example to understand how the cost of enclosed auto shipping is determined. Suppose you have a classic sports car that needs to be transported from Los Angeles to New York City, approximately 2,800 miles.

  • Distance: Suppose the transportation company charges $2 per mile for enclosed auto shipping. Therefore, the base cost of shipping a car for the distance would be 2,800 miles x $2/mile = $5,600.
  • Vehicle Size and Weight: If your classic sports car is larger and heavier, it may require more space within the enclosed trailer. For instance, there is an additional 20% charge for larger vehicles. In this case, the cost would increase by 20% to $5,600, resulting in an additional $1,120. Therefore, the total cost would be $5,600 + $1,120 = $6,720.
  • Route and Accessibility: If the pickup or delivery locations are in remote or less accessible areas, it may require additional logistical arrangements. For example, if there is an extra fee of $300 for difficult-to-reach areas, the total cost would be $6,720 + $300 = $7,020.

In addition, many enclosed auto transport companies offer insurance coverage options to provide financial protection in case of any unlikely damage occurring during transit. The cost of insurance coverage may vary depending on your vehicle’s value and specific needs.

It’s important to note that the example provided is for illustrative purposes only, and the actual costs may vary depending on the specific circumstances, company rates, and additional services required. It’s recommended to consult with professional auto transport companies to get accurate quotes and discuss the details of your particular shipment.

When is Enclosed Auto Transport worth the Extra Cost?

Let’s explore specific scenarios where choosing enclosed auto transport is highly recommended:

#1. Harsh Weather Conditions:  Imagine you’re relocating from one state to another, and the journey will take you through regions with extreme weather conditions. If you own a vehicle sensitive to rain, snow, or hail, opting for enclosed auto transport is a wise decision. It ensures that your vehicle remains protected from the elements, preventing potential harm.

#2. Expensive or Rare Vehicles: Suppose you recently purchased a brand-new luxury car or a rare classic automobile. These vehicles often come with hefty price tags or are challenging to replace due to their rarity. Enclosed transport is highly recommended to safeguard your investment and ensure the vehicle’s impeccable condition during transportation.  

#3. Antique or Collector Cars: If you own an antique or collector car, you understand the significance of preserving its originality and condition. These vehicles often have delicate paintwork, unique parts, or historical value. Enclosed auto transport offers a controlled environment, giving your car all-around protection.

#4. High-Profile Events or Shows: Suppose you’re participating in a prestigious car event or showcasing your vehicle at a high-profile car show. In such cases, the presentation and condition of your vehicle are of utmost importance. Enclosed transport ensures that your car arrives flawless, free from dust, dirt, or other cosmetic imperfections. It provides an added level of professionalism and attention to detail that aligns with the expectations of these exclusive events.

#5. Customized or Modified Vehicles: If you’ve invested time, effort, and resources into customizing or modifying your vehicle, you want to preserve those enhancements during transportation. Enclosed auto transport offers protection against potential damage caused by exposure to external elements or road hazards. By choosing enclosed transport, you can ensure that your customized or modified vehicle reaches its destination intact, ready to showcase the unique features you’ve added.

What to consider before hiring enclosed auto transport?

Each person has unique circumstances and priorities when transporting their vehicle; understanding these factors helps make an informed decision. You can tailor your transportation decision to ensure the best possible outcome by assessing individual needs, preferences, and vehicle requirements. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind before hiring enclosed auto transport:

  • Reputation: Research the reputation and credibility of the transport company by checking reviews, testimonials, and ratings from previous customers.
  • Experience: Consider the experience and expertise of the transport company, as well as their track record in handling enclosed transport.
  • Transportation Schedule: Discuss the transportation schedule and estimated timelines with the company to ensure they align with your needs and any time constraints you may have.
  • Cost: Obtain detailed quotes from multiple transport companies, comparing prices and services offered. Keep in mind that enclosed transport generally comes at a higher cost.
  • Payment Terms: Review the payment terms, including any deposit requirements and accepted payment methods, to ensure they fit your budget and preferences.
  • Licensing and Certifications: Verify that the transport company holds the necessary licenses and certifications, ensuring compliance with industry regulations and safety standards.
  • Customer Support: Evaluate the quality of customer support and communication provided by the company, ensuring they are responsive, informative, and attentive to your needs and concerns.


Some vehicles have unique requirements due to their size, dimensions, or special features. For instance, oversized vehicles, custom-made automobiles, or those with modifications may require specialized transportation equipment. Assessing these specific requirements helps you choose a transport service provider to accommodate your vehicle’s needs. By understanding your preferences, you can choose to align with your comfort level and overall satisfaction.

Understanding the Risks of Open Transport

While open transport is a commonly used method for vehicle transportation, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved. Below are a few of them:

  • Exposure to the Elements: Open transport means your vehicle is exposed to weather conditions like rain, snow, and dust. While this may be a concern, professional transport companies plan routes carefully to minimize weather impact. They also use protective measures like coatings and covers to shield vehicles.
  • Road Debris: Open carriers can expose vehicles to road debris, such as rocks and debris kicked up by other vehicles.  
  • Minor Cosmetic Imperfections: Some vehicles may experience minor cosmetic imperfections like dust accumulation during open transport.  
  • Limited Privacy: With open transport, vehicles are visible to others on the road. While this might raise privacy concerns, professional transport companies prioritize the security and confidentiality of their client’s vehicles, adhering to strict privacy policies.
  • Vehicle Safety Measures: Reputable transport companies employ trained drivers who follow safety protocols and regulations. They ensure vehicles are properly secured on carriers, reducing the risk of accidents or damage.

Most Common Questions People Also Ask

Here are quick and concise answers to common queries related to enclosed auto transport. Consider this section as a handy reference to save time and effort in searching for answers elsewhere.

How much does enclosed auto transport cost?

 Enclosed auto transport typically costs more than open transport due to the added protection it offers. Prices vary depending on distance, vehicle size, and specific requirements. It’s best to obtain quotes from reputable transport companies for an accurate estimate based on your unique needs.

Is enclosed car shipping safer than open transport? 

Enclosed car shipping is generally considered safer than open transport. The enclosed carriers protect against weather conditions, road debris, and potential damage. While no transportation method is entirely risk-free, enclosed transport minimizes exposure and ensures enhanced security for your vehicle.

What types of vehicles should use enclosed auto transport?

Enclosed auto transport is recommended for various vehicles, including luxury cars, classic or vintage automobiles, exotic sports cars, collectable vehicles, and customized or modified cars. These vehicles often have higher value or require extra protection due to their unique features or historical significance. 

Are luxury car transport services worth the extra cost?

 Luxury car transport services are worth the extra cost for many owners. These services provide specialized handling, added security, and meticulous attention to detail. Investing in a reputable luxury car transport service is a wise choice if you own a luxury vehicle and prioritize its pristine condition and safety during transport.

How long does it take to transport a vehicle using enclosed auto transport? 

The duration of enclosed auto transport depends on factors such as distance, route, and specific requirements. It’s best to discuss the estimated timeline with the transport company, as they can provide you with a more accurate timeframe based on your specific transportation needs.

How do I prepare my vehicle for enclosed shipping? 

Preparing your vehicle for enclosed shipping involves a few key steps. Clean your vehicle thoroughly, remove personal belongings, secure loose parts, document the vehicle’s condition with photographs, and ensure the fuel level is low. It’s recommended to consult the transport company for detailed instructions tailored to your specific situation.

Does enclosed transport include insurance coverage?

 Yes, enclosed transport typically includes insurance coverage. Reputable transport companies provide insurance to protect your vehicle during transportation. Review the insurance policy carefully to understand the coverage limits, terms, and other available insurance options.

Can I track my vehicle during the enclosed shipping process?

 Many professional transport companies offer tracking services for enclosed shipping. They provide updates and real-time information about the location and status of your vehicle. You can inquire with the transport company to see if they offer tracking options and how to access them.

What happens if my vehicle gets damaged during enclosed transport? 

In the unlikely event of damage occurring during enclosed transport, reputable transport companies have insurance coverage to handle such situations. It’s crucial to thoroughly document the vehicle’s condition before transportation and report any damages promptly to the transport company. They will guide you through the claims process to address the situation effectively.

Are there any additional fees or hidden costs associated with enclosed auto transport? 

Transport companies aim for transparent pricing. Clarify potential additional fees like fuel surcharges, toll fees, or storage fees upfront to avoid surprises.

Harish Makam