Best enclosed auto transport companies & how to find them
If you’re the proud owner of a ‘64 Corvette, ‘66 Shelby 427 Cobra, Aston Martin DB5, or any other valuable vehicle you’re going to want an auto transport service that offers an additional level of protection. Open car transport is a very popular and safe way to ship a vehicle, but it exposes your vehicle to the elements. When you want to ship your precious vintage, custom, sports, luxury, or antique car to its first auto show or ensure it gets to the repair shop in pristine condition, only companies that offer enclosed auto transport and who specialize in classic car transport will do.
If you want to know more about enclosed auto transport and what makes it different to open car transport, this article is for you. We’ll also provide some tips to help you find top rated enclosed auto transport for the next time you want to ship your baby.
What’s the difference between open and enclosed auto transport?
We’ll start by comparing the two most common auto transport services, so you get a better understanding of which one is the right service for you and your vehicle.
Open car transport
Open car transport is far safer than many people think. And for most people, it’s a more than viable option.
What is open car shipping?
It is an auto transport service that moves vehicles across the country using an open car transport trailer. Vehicles transported in this way are not completely protected, but that doesn’t mean your vehicle isn’t going to be safe and secure.
What are the benefits of open car transport?
- Affordable: Because it is the industry standard there are more carriers offering this service which means the cost is much lower. It’s also easy to secure this service on short notice.
- Efficient: Open trailers can be used to transport several cars at the same time which saves on fuel and time. It also means the carrier can provide a low cost service.
- Speed: There are more open car transport carriers, which means the service is very efficient and fast.
- Inspection: The driver can easily inspect vehicles being transported in this way to make sure everything is in order.
- Insurance is included: They insure your vehicle throughout the shipping process and in many cases, they include the cost of insurance in your auto transport quote. Here at SGT Auto Transport, for example, our quotes include insurance.
- Top load placement: This is often an option you can request if you want to ensure there is no risk of fluids leaking onto your car. Your vehicle is also a little further away from the road surface.
Are there any downsides?
There is one disadvantage to using open car transport. It’s not a major issue for owners of standard vehicles, after all, open car transport is the option for most car dealers. However, for owners of prestigious, unusual, expensive, classic, and custom cars, this can be a crucial factor.
Less protection: compared to enclosed auto transport, open auto transport offers much less protection from the elements and no protection from weather such as rain, snow sleet, and hail. For owners of unique, expensive, and high end vehicles this can be a major disadvantage. Vehicles transported on an open car trailer are also less protected against dust and potentially damaging debris that may get kicked up from the road.
Enclosed car transport
Choose to hire an enclosed auto transport hauler and they will transport your vehicle in an enclosed auto trailer. This type of auto transport service is very popular with owners of classic, custom, antique, luxury, sports, and expensive vehicles.
What is enclosed or covered car transport?
Vehicles transported using enclosed auto transport are transported in a trailer that has a roof and four sides. This provides a safe and secure environment for vehicles during transportation. Trailers of this kind cannot fit as many vehicles as an open car trailer which means they can be used to transport fewer vehicles at a time.
What are the benefits of enclosed auto transport services?
For many people, the standard way to ship a car is more than suitable. However, owners of special types of vehicles require an extra level of care and attention. Owners of specialty, custom, classic, antique, or rare vehicles tend to choose enclosed car transport. The reason for this is that they know it completely protects their vehicle from debris, traffic grime, and the weather. When the vehicle arrives at its final destination it looks as shiny and new as when the carrier collected it from the owner.
Aside from this high level of protection, there are several other benefits of using covered car transport.
- Peace of mind: knowing your pride and joy is completely protected and secure throughout its journey has to be the biggest advantage.
- Low ground clearance: an auto transport enclosed hauler will use trailers with hydraulic lift gates and extended racing ramps which is essential when loading and unloading cars with low ground clearance.
- Multiple-vehicle shipping: if you’re the owner of a collection of custom or antique cars, an enclosed auto transport carrier will be able to transport more than one at a time.
- Increased insurance coverage: the insurance coverage is much higher when you choose enclosed car transport.
Are there any downsides?
Cost: enclosed auto transport rates are higher than open car transport. This is because they fit the trailers with specialized equipment, enclosed auto transport carriers can transport fewer vehicles, and there are fewer carriers that offer an enclosed car transport service.
How to find the best enclosed auto transport companies
Whether you need to get your classic car to the latest car show or to the garage for some repairs, finding top rated enclosed auto transport companies is crucial. There are many factors to bear in mind.
Several factors come into play when calculating enclosed auto transport rates. They include:
- Type and size of your car
- Condition of your vehicle
- How quickly you need to ship your car
- Time of year
This is possibly the most obvious factor you need to consider. The further the carrier has to transport your car the higher the price. You can use our instant online quote calculator if you want to know more about our enclosed auto transport rates.
Checking out a company’s reputation is a smart thing to do if you’re looking for a reliable enclosed car transport provider. There are several ways you can look for reviews:
- Google it: Google is a great place to start. In the search bar, simply type in the ‘covered car transport company + reviews’ and click enter. You’ll get several thousand results you can sift through.
- Facebook: to find out more about a company you can check out their Facebook page.
- Transportreviews.com: you’ll find reviews for hundreds of auto transport companies.
- Trustpilot: this is a consumer review site that has reviews for thousands of businesses worldwide, including US auto transport companies.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB): check out the database of reports that relate to a company’s management, complaints, and how the company resolved the complaints.
You are also entitled to ask a company to provide references and check with family members or friends if they can recommend a company. You can also find a company’s auto transport reviews on their website.
Licensed and authorized
The FMCSA has to license a carrier or broker before they can transport vehicles. Ask a company for their DOT and MC number) and check a company’s authorization by visiting the FMCSA website.
Years of experience
A bad company isn’t going to stick around for long. A reputable company, on the other hand, will stand the test of time.
All auto transport companies must provide cargo insurance. Always check the company you choose has valid insurance coverage. Ask for a copy of their cargo insurance policy and check whether the cost of the insurance is included in your enclosed auto transport quote.
Read the small print
Always choose a company that is totally transparent. They should inform you that there are no certainties in the auto transport industry and delays can happen at any time. Bad weather still happens, trucks can break down, and traffic delays can be very unpredictable. Check whether there’s any mention of delays in the small print of the contract before you sign on the dotted line.
Shipping personal items
Some, but not all, auto transport enclosed haulers allow you to ship personal items in your car. It can be a useful option because you can pack items you want to keep safe if you’re relocating. You can also make sure some items are close to hand when you arrive. The limit is typically 100lbs and you have to pack the items in a suitcase or box which you lock in the trunk.
If you want to know more about our enclosed auto transport service call and speak with our shipping advisors on (864) 546-5038, or use our Live Chat.