Open vs Enclosed Transport 101

Open vs enclosed car shipping – how do you decide? We offer both. Read our brief guide for important considerations when making your decision on which type of auto transport to choose. Then give us a call for a free customized quote, 1 (888) 886-3456.

Open Auto Transport

You have probably seen hundreds of open car carriers on the highway in your lifetime. They range from single car flatbeds to 10 car haulers. Most vehicles are transported on 3, 7, or 10 car haulers. These are some of the most common trailers used in the auto transport industry. The major difference between having your vehicle on a car carrier versus having a car towed is whether the wheels are touching the ground or not. We do not ever transport a vehicle by tow truck. Having a vehicle transported with wheels on the ground greatly increases the chances of damage or suspension problems.

Enclosed Auto Transport

Enclosed, or sometimes shortened to just closed or covered, car carriers look like your typical box truck with 4 solid walls, adding another level of protection for your vehicle. Enclosed car carriers are generally the same size as a 10 car open carrier, but due to the restrictions created by the enclosed trailer they are in, cannot fit nearly as many vehicles. This is why this type of vehicle transport costs a great deal more than open car transport and make a great classic car transport option. Enclosed car transport will cost at least 50% more than moving your vehicle on an open trailer.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Open Transport Advantages

  • Perfect for every day vehicles
  • Faster due to more open carriers
  • Popular choice for dealers and private moves

Open Transport Disadvantages

  • Open to road hazards & elements
  • Contingent cargo insurance doesn’t cover road hazards
  • More stops can add on time to move

Enclosed Transport Advantages

covered car shipping
  • Ideal for luxury, exotic, rare or collector cars
  • No road hazards
  • Fewer stops means faster transport

Enclosed Transport Disadvantages

Enclosed car shipping
  • At least 50% more expensive
  • Fewer spots on enclosed carriers
  • Not economical for vehicles with lower market value
Fully Insured, Licensed & Bonded
In addition to being bonded with the DOT, Fisher Shipping is a licensed member of the FMCSA.

USDOT # 2235479
MC # 545077

Insurance matters to us. In addition to having lofty requirements for the trucking companies we partner with, we also carry a $500,000 contingent cargo insurance policy.

Fisher Shipping > Auto Transport FAQ > Open vs Enclosed Car Shipping

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