Speed Reads:

  • Enclosed auto transport involves shipping your vehicle in an enclosed trailer instead of on an open trailer.
  • Owners of luxury or classic cars and those desiring protection against bad weather and road debris may want to choose enclosed auto transport.
  • Your vehicle’s size, the shipping distance, and your pickup and delivery locations may increase the cost of enclosed car shipping.

Shipping a car requires careful research into available auto transport options so that you choose the method that best fits your needs. If you’re worried about your car’s safety as it heads to its destination, enclosed auto transport may be worth looking into. Shipping your vehicle with enclosed shipping can offer the extra protection you need for luxury or classic cars.

Our team has spent over 300 hours conducting research on car transport providers to bring you up-to-date and unbiased information on the auto shipping process. In this article, we’ll define enclosed auto shipping, discuss whether it’s worth it, and offer recommendations on the industry’s best car shipping companies that offer enclosed car transport.

To learn more about Motor1 review standards, take a look at our full-length methodology.


What Is Enclosed Auto Transport?

Enclosed auto transport is a vehicle shipping service in which your car is transported in an enclosed trailer instead of an open trailer. As it’s considered the safest car shipping option, enclosed auto transport services are popular with owners of exotic cars, luxury vehicles, and classic models.

Enclosed carrier services typically come with higher insurance limits, making them ideal for transporting expensive cars. Vehicles with larger wheels or low ground clearance can also benefit from enclosed auto transport, as they often don’t fit properly on open transport carriers. Enclosed auto shipping also offers protection through the use of hydraulic liftgates and ramps.

Is Enclosed Auto Transport Worth It?

If you own a luxury or classic vehicle and want to protect it from cosmetic damage, enclosed auto transport could be worth it. “Enclosed transport provides a higher level of protection, shielding the vehicle from weather, debris, and other potential hazards during transit,” said Jack Savov, the CEO of SGT Auto Transport. Enclosed car transport companies usually provide more insurance coverage as well, giving drivers extra peace of mind as they ship their car.

Enclosed transport does offer less flexibility than open auto shipping. Enclosed car transport isn’t as popular as open car shipping, since it caters to a smaller customer base. It’s also tougher to find cheap car shipping for enclosed auto transport because it’s a rarer service that offers a greater level of protection.

Enclosed Auto Transport: Pros And Cons

While enclosed auto transport is great for high-value vehicles, it does have some drawbacks. See the table below for some pros and cons of enclosed car shipping:

Pros Offers higher insurance policy limits Safest choice for high-end vehicles Protects your car from debris and weather
Cons More costly than open shipping Less scheduling flexibility Transport can take longer

Enclosed Vs. Open Auto Transport

You’ll have to make a choice of enclosed vs. open car shipping when figuring out how to ship your vehicle. Open carrier transport involves either shipping a car out in the open or in a multicar trailer with no covering. This type of vehicle shipping allows more cars to be transported at once, lowering the costs associated with the move.

On the other hand, enclosed auto transport services limit the number of cars that can be moved at once due to the use of enclosed trailers. Open car shipping can accommodate up to 10 vehicles at a time, while enclosed car shipping can only take two or three. Unless you have a luxury car or are worried about your vehicle’s safety, learning how to ship a car with open transport may be better.

Venn diagram marking the major differences and similarities between open and enclosed auto shipping options



How Much Does Enclosed Auto Transport Cost?

Our team’s extensive research into auto transport costs found that the average rate to move a car with enclosed shipping is $1,776. This is almost 25 percent more than the average rate for open carrier transport services, which amounts to $1,425. These averages were calculated using quotes from the auto transport industry’s top companies and reflects a shipping distance of just over 1,500 miles.

Below are some enclosed vehicle transport quotes from five of our top auto shipping providers. Since these quotes reflect the shipment of an operable 2018 Toyota RAV4 from Los Angeles to Houston, you can expect your vehicle’s rates to vary.

Car Shipping CompanyTotal Cost
Montway Auto Transport$1,739
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,750
SGT Auto Transport$1,699

Car Shipping Cost Survey Data

In order to learn more about the average cost to ship a car, our research team conducted a customer satisfaction survey of 1,000 auto transport customers. The infographic below highlights the participant responses regarding how much they paid to ship their vehicle.

Bar graph based on our 2021 car shipping customer satisfaction survey, showing that the majority of the 1,000 participants paid between $1,500 and $1,999 to ship their car.

What Factors Affect Car Shipping Costs?

While enclosed auto transport is almost always pricier than open carrier shipping, there are other cost factors at play as well. Your vehicle’s size, the distance you’re shipping it, and various market factors can greatly impact car shipping rates.

Below are the key factors that affect enclosed car transport’s pricing:

  • Shipping distance: The farther you ship your car, the better rate you’ll receive per mile. However, your overall cost will be higher than if you shipped your car a shorter distance.
  • Pickup and delivery locations: Shipping to and from rural areas will cost more than between urban locations. Additionally, opting to ship to a terminal instead of using door-to-door services can save you money.
  • Extra features: Tacking on extra features such as expedited delivery and single-car shipping will ultimately cost more.
  • Time of year: Due to higher demand for auto shipping during the summer months and in January, the rate you pay to ship your vehicle will likely be higher at these times.
  • Vehicle condition: If your vehicle is fully operable, it will cost less to ship. Vehicles that are inoperable will need to be forklifted or winched, increasing your car shipping cost.
  • Vehicle size: Your vehicle’s dimensions will vary how much you pay for car transport. Ground clearance can also affect your costs, with vehicles lower to the ground being more expensive to ship.



Best Enclosed Auto Transport Companies

Drivers on the lookout for leading enclosed car carriers should consider Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, and SGT Auto Transport. All three providers offer superb customer service and typically come with competitive rates for enclosed auto transport.

Montway Auto Transport: Best Overall

With a 4.6-star rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site and over 17 years of experience, Montway Auto Transport has made a name for itself among car shipping companies. It works with over 15,000 auto carriers across the United States and only partners with insured truckers. In addition, Montway Auto Transport adds $250,000 of contingent cargo insurance on top of your car hauler’s policy in case it fails to fully cover a claim.

You can request either open or enclosed auto transport through Montway, along with options like door-to-door delivery and expedited shipping. Getting auto transport quotes from the company is simple due to the instant and free quote tool on Montway Auto Transport’s website.

Look below for a breakdown of our provider scoring for Montway Auto Transport:

Customer Experience4.6
Motor1 Rating4.7 / 5.0
Montway Auto Transport Our #1 Rated Provider
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-601-0286
Pros & Cons
Pros Zero upfront payment Network of over 15,000 car carriers Competitive prices Military, return customer, and pay-in-cash discounts available Strong customer reputation Cons No guaranteed pricing $249 cancellation fee

Montway Auto Transport tops our list of the best car transport companies in 2022. The company works with over 15,000 carriers across the nation and can ship a car to anywhere in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. According to our consumer vehicle shipping survey, Montway Auto Transport had the highest satisfaction rating of any major provider.

Sherpa Auto Transport: Locked-In Prices

Founded in 2017, Sherpa Auto Transport is a relative newcomer to the auto shipping business. It holds an A+ rating from the BBB and earns 4.9 out of 5.0 stars on the site. Sherpa Auto Transport guarantees its prices, meaning that your rates are unlikely to increase once you book enclosed auto transport services.

Sherpa Auto Transport offers enclosed and open shipping services across the U.S. with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. If your vehicle arrives at its destination dirty, you can take advantage of Sherpa’s Clean Car Guarantee and receive a free car wash.

Below are some of Sherpa Auto Transport’s category scores as well as its overall rating:

Customer Experience4.7
Motor1 Rating4.6 / 5.0
Sherpa Auto Transport Locked-In Prices
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 888-216-2214
Pros & Cons
Pros A+ rating from the BBB and very few customer complaints Easy-to-use booking process and quick shipper matching Price Lock Promise on every quote Cons Can be slightly more expensive Does not ship to Alaska or Hawaii

Your quoted price or lower is guaranteed with this car shipping company. Sherpa Auto Transport offers a price lock promise, clean car guarantee, and vets all its carriers.

SGT Auto Transport: Best Price-Matching Guarantee

SGT Auto Transport has an A rating and accreditation from the BBB, making it a strong pick for enclosed car shipping. It offers both open and enclosed auto transport and provides services everywhere in the U.S. except for Alaska. We appreciate how quickly potential customers can receive car shipping quotes online using SGT Auto Transport’s instant quote tool.

The provider ships standard vehicles as well as classic cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles (RVs). It also offers military car shipping services and discounts for those who are active-duty military members or veterans. SGT Auto Transport lets drivers pack up to 100 pounds of personal items in their cars at no extra charge, which is relatively rare in the auto shipping industry.

Below are the overall and category ratings that we give to SGT Auto Transport:

Customer Experience4.6
Motor1 Rating4.6 / 5.0
SGT Auto Transport Highly Rated
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : (864) 635-4879
Pros & Cons
Pros High customer satisfaction scores Easy online quotes process Huge selection of car shipping services Cons Initial quotes on the expensive side No Alaska shipping option

As a broker, SGT Auto Transport can find shipping options for nearly any need. However, the initial quotes we received from the company came in just about average in comparison to other providers on this list. SGT Auto Transport’s rates include full coverage insurance, however, so that’s something to take into consideration.



Enclosed Auto Transport: Conclusion

Enclosed car transport services provide extra protection for your vehicle by placing it inside of an enclosed container rather than on an open trailer. If you have a luxury vehicle, a sports car, or another pricey model that needs long-distance transport services, enclosed auto shipping could be worth the extra money.

We encourage you to shop around and ask for car shipping quotes online from various companies in order to find the best price for your enclosed auto transport service.



Enclosed Auto Transport: FAQ

Below are a few frequently asked questions relating to enclosed auto transport: