Open Auto Transport vs. Enclosed Car Shipping

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What is the difference between open vs. enclosed car shipping?

A great way to make your upcoming family move or job relocation less stressful is to have your car shipped — especially if you have extra vehicles, classic cars, or a particularly long distance to go.

There are a couple of different options you can choose from when shipping your vehicle. Please read our guide explaining the difference between open vs. enclosed car shipping so that you can make the best decision.

What is an open auto transport carrier?

Because it’s open to the elements, this transport vehicle is called an open carrier. This is what you most commonly see rolling down the highway or pulling into auto dealership lots. They are usually bi-layered and can carry up to 10 vehicles at a time.

Most open car carriers carry an insurance minimum of $100,000.

Being exposed to the elements means occasional transport through rain, snow, hail, or whatever dirt and debris are flying through the air, which means more chance of minor damage to your vehicle.

Still, one of the reasons so many car manufacturers are willing to ship their brand-new inventory on open carriers is because it’s truly safe. Rarely are there any damage complaints, and when it does happen, it’s usually something mild and easily covered by insurance.

Another pro for an open car carrier transport include:

  • Least expensive option
  • The driver has better visibility and can inspect the vehicles in transit.
  • This truck is lighter and uses less fuel, which is better for the environment.

Cons of open-air transport:

  • Your vehicle is exposed to the elements.
  • Less secure than a fully enclosed trailer

What is an enclosed auto transport carrier?

You probably don’t even notice these transports on the highway because the vehicles they carry are hidden from view — they look a lot like your average semi, though a little wider. Also, enclosed carriers can only accommodate 2 to 7 vehicles at a time.

Most enclosed carriers carry an insurance minimum of $250,000 and up to $1 million in coverage in some cases.

Other pros for enclosed carrier transport include:

  • Transit times are generally faster because they move fewer vehicles, so there are fewer stops
  • More insurance coverage per vehicle than open transport
  • Non-stack carriers are available for extra safety.

The biggest advantage is that they are enclosed. Your vehicle is protected from all the elements nature has to offer, so your vehicle arrives as clean and pristine as it was when it departed. This is usually the choice for transporting classic cars, antiques, or luxury/expensive sports cars, and we want the highest level of safety possible.

Still, you will be paying for that advantage: the biggest con for an enclosed carrier transport is that it typically costs 33% more than open carriers, anywhere between $300-$500 more per transport, depending on other factors situation.

Want more info on open vs. enclosed car shipping?

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options, but working with an experienced rep from Number 1 Auto Transport will help you figure out what’s best for your needs and your budget. Doing right by our customers is our top priority!

Have Questions or Need a Car Shipping Quote?

Number 1 Auto Transport is an auto transport service company specializing in transporting all vehicles door to door. We offer the highest quality customer service at the most reasonable and honest rates. Please email us or call 855-422-4141 for a FREE  CAR SHIPPING QUOTE to ship your car.

We look forward to giving you quick answers to any questions you may have!