A ford going into enclosed carrier

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car Enclosed?


In the auto transport world, customers who want to ship their cars have two main options. One is open car transport and the other is enclosed car shipping. In this post, we will look at enclosed car shipping, focusing on how much it costs. We’ll save open car shipping for another day, so keep a lookout for the next post.  

What is enclosed car shipping?

Enclosed car shipping is a way of shipping one or more vehicles across the country with an extra layer of protection. 

The usual method of transportation is in a fully enclosed trailer. The sides and the roof offer total protection from the elements, road, and traffic grime, dust, and dirt. 

It’s the ideal mode of transport if you’re shipping high-value vehicles such as classic, custom, luxury, antique, or antique vehicles. However, when it comes to covered car transport cost, as it’s also known, is typically more expensive.

Types of vehicles that are better suited for covered car transport include:

  • Brand new dealership vehicles
  • Limousines
  • Military vehicles
  • Luxury cars
  • High-end sports cars
  • Stock cars
  • Off-road trucks
  • Race cars
  • Muscle cars

How much does enclosed car transport cost?

This is a difficult question to answer with one specific figure as various factors can affect enclosed auto transport costs. In general, you can expect it to cost from 30% to 40% more than the cost of open car shipping. 

For a more accurate figure, the following have to be taken into account:

Distance between the pick-up and delivery location

This is the most significant factor and the one that most people think about in terms of enclosed auto transport cost.

The longer the distance between the pick-up and delivery location, the greater the cost. Let’s make a comparison to give you an idea of how it works. If you want to ship your car from New Jersey on the West Coast to San Francisco on the East Coast, the cost will be higher compared to shipping a car from New Jersey to Los Angeles

Distance is not the only factor connected with location. If the collection or drop-off points are in a rural location, it will cost more than in metropolitan locations.   

The condition of your vehicle

If you’re the proud owner of a Model T and you need to get it to a garage for some repair work you may have to pay more. This applies if your car is inoperable because specialist equipment will be needed to load and unload your car. 

The size and weight of your vehicle

A reputable auto transport company like SGT Auto Transport is called upon to transport vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Both size, shape, and weight can affect the cost of enclosed car shipping. 

Carriers have to comply with stringent weight restrictions which means they can transport less cargo if the vehicles are heavy. 

If your car is on the small side, you can expect to pay less than someone who wants to ship a truck, van, or SUV. 

How your vehicle is delivered

The most common car shipping service is door-to-door, so much so that it is considered the industry standard. A carrier collects your vehicle from outside your home or another convenient location nearby. When it is delivered, it will be to your preferred final destination. That might be your home, a custom paint shop or garage, or a parking lot at the end of your street.

Another less common type of car shipping service is terminal-to-terminal auto transport. With this type of auto transport service, you have to deliver your car to a storage or terminal location. There it will wait until a carrier is ready to ship it. From there it will be transported to a terminal or storage facility near your preferred final location. You then arrange to collect it when it’s convenient for you. Terminal-to-terminal car shipping is not as convenient, but the cost tends to be lower.  

How quickly do you want your vehicle delivered?

In the auto transport world, the standard time it takes for a carrier to collect your car is between 1 and 5 business days. It then takes up to 10 days to transport your car, depending on the distance. 

If you happen to be in a rush and need the service to be a super quick one, you do have alternative options. 

You could choose express car shipping, in which case, your vehicle will be collected in 1-2 days. That makes a massive difference to the overall time frame. 

Another option is to choose guaranteed pick-up. Book this car shipping service and it’s possible to arrange a vehicle pick-up with a 24-hour window. 

Time of year

There are highs and lows in the auto transport industry, much the same as some other industries. Summer months tend to be the peak time for shipping a car. Other busy times include holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July. 

One of the cheapest times of the year is during the fall. 

The current cost of fuel

This is one factor that you have absolutely no control over. Fuel prices fall, but most of the time they rise. The price of fuel can also vary from one location to another. For carriers to maintain levels of profit, any fuel price changes are typically passed onto the customer. 


One final factor to bear in mind is the cost of insurance. If you book a reliable and trustworthy auto transport company to ship your car the company’s cargo insurance will cover the cost of any damage. 

However, it’s important to check that the cost of insurance is included in the enclosed trailer car shipping cost. Another thing to check is that the insurance coverage is sufficient for your high-value car.

If you want to know exactly how much it will cost to ship your car in an enclosed carrier, the best thing to do is request a quote. Right here on this website, we have an instant quote calculator for your convenience.

Get a free, instant quote today  

What are the benefits of enclosed car shipping?

If you’re wondering, “Should I ship my car enclosed?”, understanding the benefits might help you make up your mind.

Safety and security

Cars that are shipped using enclosed car transport tend to be worth a lot of money or are the owner’s pride and joy. When your vehicle is transported in an enclosed trailer it’s provided with the best possible security and safety. Your vehicle is securely locked inside the trailer and is also safe from prying eyes. 

Guaranteed protection

Enclosed car shipping also delivers guaranteed protection for fragile cars. A classic or antique car, for example, often stays locked inside a garage and is only brought out to be shown at a car show. 

If you ever need to move this kind of car over a long distance, you want it to be protected as much as possible.

If you choose enclosed car shipping, your precious classic is completely protected from rain, snow, hailstones, dust, and any traffic debris that could potentially damage your car. 

Special loading and unloading

For cars that have been modified or lowered in any way, covered car shipping is suitable because vehicles are commonly loaded using hydraulic lift gates or extended racing ramps. 

Multiple vehicle shipping

It’s possible to ship two, three, or more vehicles if you choose enclosed auto transport. This is perfect if you need to get your Shelby Cobra collection to the next car show. 

Increased insurance coverage

Carriers that can provide enclosed car transportation services usually have increased insurance coverage. 

Door-to-door auto transport

You can enjoy the convenience of having your car shipped directly to your door if you choose enclosed car shipping. Alternatively, it can be picked up and delivered to a location of your choosing. That might be a storage facility, a classic car show, or a specialist repair or custom paint shop. 

Experienced auto carriers

Specialist knowledge and experience are a must for any company offering covered car transportation. Choose SGT Auto Transport for your auto transport needs and you can be certain that they meet the highest safety standards, are well-trained, and are experienced in providing enclosed car transport. 

What is the difference between open and enclosed car shipping?

Now you know a little bit more about enclosed car transport, let’s finish up by explaining how open car shipping is different.

Open auto transport is the standard way to transport a car. It is the most convenient and usually the most affordable. 

An open car trailer is used to transport cars, which does mean your car is exposed to the elements during its journey. However, this is no different than driving it on the highway. Although, there is no wear and tear with any car shipping services. 

Cost is the other big difference. You can expect to pay between 30% and 40% less for open auto transport. 

Other benefits include:

  • Convenience: Your vehicle is moved from point A to point B without any hassle or stress.
  • Saves time: You don’t have to spend days driving your car long distances.
  • Multiple vehicle transport: It’s not a problem to ship more than one car

If you’d like to know a bit more about open car shipping, there’s a blog post coming up shortly. 

For those of you ready to make your booking, our shipping advisors are waiting to hear from you at (864) 546-5038 or via Live Chat

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