Affiliate Disclosure

Content on Jalopnik Advisor is commercial in nature and independent of Jalopnik Editorial and Advertising. Jalopnik Advisor content is free to consumers and always will be, however we and our partners may be compensated if you purchase a product or service through the links on this website.

When researching how to ship a car, it’s best to learn about the various options available to find what suits your needs. If you’re concerned about the safety of your vehicle during the shipping process, you may want to learn more about enclosed auto transport. Companies that specialize in shipping luxury or classic cars, as well as alternative vehicles like ATVs, offer enclosed trailers to give your car extra protection.

Once you determine your specific shipping needs, our team of experts suggests requesting free quotes from a few of the top car shipping companies.

18+
COMPANIES REVIEWED
2,000
CUSTOMERS SURVEYED
344
RESEARCH HOURS
532
DATA POINTS
1,000
REVIEWS ANALYZED

Enclosed Auto Transport Pros And Cons

Pros Safest shipping option Best for exotic and luxury vehicles Higher insurance policy limits
Cons More expensive Less flexibility in scheduling

Enclosed Auto Transport Overview

Enclosed auto transport, considered the safest car shipping option, protects both your vehicle and your peace of mind. Open carrier shipping leaves your car exposed to road hazards and the elements, whereas shipping it in a fully enclosed trailer significantly minimizes any potential damage.

When transporting cars that need extra protection, enclosed auto shipping can be a great option. These shipments come with higher insurance policy limits, offering more coverage for high-value vehicles. Owners of upmarket vehicles, like classic or luxury cars, often prefer covered car shipping to keep their vehicles clean and free of cosmetic damage.

Alternative vehicles with larger wheels or low ground clearance often can’t fit onto standard open carrier trailers, so enclosed vehicle shipping is the best option to accommodate unique requirements.

You should keep in mind, however, that shipping your car in an enclosed trailer will give you less scheduling flexibility than open auto shipping. Enclosed carriers make up a smaller market and thus cater to a smaller customer base. It’s recommended that you leave as much lead time as possible when booking enclosed auto transport.

How Does Enclosed Auto Transport Work?

Enclosed auto transport trailers are fully enclosed shipping compartments with hard-sided or soft-sided walls and soft straps. There are several different types of enclosed car carriers:

  • 5-6 car enclosed carriers: These look like semi trucks and operate similarly to open auto carriers. The trucks have two tiers of vehicle storage surrounded by hard sides.
  • 2-3 car enclosed carriers: Also known as a hotshot carrier, these are single-tier trailers that only hold a couple of cars.
  • Soft-sided covered trailers: These enclosed trailers can transport seven to eight vehicles at a time.
  • Oversize enclosed trailers: These covered transport trailers are often used to ship alternative vehicles that are too tall or wide to fit in a regular enclosed trailer.

Enclosed Car Transport Cost

Most auto shipping companies consider enclosed vehicle transport a premium service, generally used to ship sports cars, high-end vehicles, and classic cars. Enclosed car trailers aren’t able to carry as many vehicles as open car haulers, so the service does cost more on average.

To give you a better idea of the price difference between open and enclosed auto transport, our team requested car shipping quotes from a few of the top shipping companies.

Here’s what we found for an operable 2018 Toyota RAV4 traveling from Los Angeles to Houston, a distance of 1,556 miles:

Shipping ProviderOpen Transport CostEnclosed Transport Cost
Montway Auto Transport$929$1,339
Sherpa Auto Transport$1,300$1,800
Easy Auto Ship$1,117$1,724

You should expect to pay between 40 and 60 percent more for enclosed car shipping over open auto transport.

What Affects Open Car Shipping Prices

Enclosed auto transport is the safest method for transporting a vehicle, but it’s not always the best option for cheap car shipping. When budgeting for your covered transport, keep in mind that there are other factors that affect car shipping costs:

  • Type of vehicle: High-end vehicles and classic cars require more insurance coverage to ship.
  • Hard- or soft-sided enclosed trailer: Soft-sided enclosed carriers are often able to ship more cars at once, lowering your costs.
  • Overall shipping distance: Shorter shipping distances have lower overall costs but longer distances cost less per mile.
  • Operable vs. inoperable vehicle: Inoperable vehicles may require a winch to load onto the trailer, which costs more in labor.
  • Time frame: Enclosed auto transport serves a smaller customer base, so to save money, it’s recommended you book your transport as far out as possible. However, most carriers will offer expedited shipping for an additional charge.
  • Season: Summertime and January are typically the busiest times of year in the car shipping industry.

Top Rated Enclosed Auto Transport Companies

Our team researched and rated the major car shipping service providers based on reputation, cost, services, and customer reviews. Each of these companies provides options for enclosed auto transport.

Top Car Shipping CompaniesOur Overall RatingReputationPriceServicesCustomer Experience
Montway Auto Transport4.64.94.34.84.6
AmeriFreight4.54.84.34.94.2
Easy Auto Ship4.54.83.84.94.6
Sherpa Auto Transport4.54.34.64.54.6
uShip4.44.54.04.54.6

Montway Auto Transport: 4.6 Stars

Our team selected Montway Auto Transport as the Best Overall shipping company in the country. The auto shipping broker provides affordable shipping options by working with over 15,000 carriers across the nation and provides enclosed car transport to all 50 states–including Alaska and Hawaii.

The Better Business Bureau gives the company an A+ rating and the reviews section of the BBB’s website has customers giving Montway an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.0.

Explore the company’s pricing and services with our full Montway Auto Transport review.

Montway Auto Transport Best Overall
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 888-210-2021 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Strong reputation, customer satisfaction, and industry ratings Carrier vetting Large network of 15,000+ carriers Offers expedited delivery Competitive pricing Cons No real-time tracking or mobile-app; must contact company for tracking info No guaranteed pricing $199 cancellation fee No specialty shipping services for recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, trailers, or other watercraft Intrusive Pop-up Ads
Summary

Montway Auto Transport is a reputable auto transport broker offering several car shipping services and cheap car shipping rates. We named it the Best Overall car shipping company for 2022.

AmeriFreight: 4.5 Stars

AmeriFreight is an auto shipping broker that works with a wide network of fully vetted car carriers. The broker offers enclosed auto transport to all 50 states. We consider AmeriFreight the shipping company Best for Discounts, as it offers reduced rates for service members, college students, first responders, and more.

AmeriFreight holds an A+ rating from the BBB and nearly 1,200 customers on the BBB’s consumer reviews section agree, giving the shipping broker an average rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 stars.

Read more in our full AmeriFreight review.

AmeriFreight Best for Discounts
4.4
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 855-460-6609 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Affordable rates and several discount opportunities available Thorough carrier vetting process Excellent reviews on BBB; A+ rating and accreditation Offers a guaranteed price option Delivers coast to coast Cons No real-time GPS tracking or mobile app Charges extra for insurance No locked-in rates No international shipping
Summary

AmeriFreight is a leading car shipping broker that partners with over 10,000 car carriers to deliver a wide range of auto transport services. The company also works with government agencies, vehicle manufacturers, and retailers to deliver outsourced logistics services and shipping on a large scale.

Sherpa Auto Transport: 4.5 Stars

Our team considers Sherpa Auto Transport Best for Locked-In Rates. The transport broker offers a Price Lock Promise which says the price quoted by Sherpa is the final price you’ll pay. Though it doesn’t ship internationally or to Hawaii and Alaska, Sherpa Auto Transport offers enclosed car shipping across the lower 48 states.

Sherpa has a top-notch reputation with the industry and customers alike. The BBB rates the shipping company with an A+ and customers give Sherpa a near-perfect rating of 4.9 stars out of 5.0.

Read our complete Sherpa Auto Transport review to learn more details on locked-in pricing and services.

Sherpa Auto Transport Best For Locked-In Prices
4.6
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 888-202-7706 Coverage : 48 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Locked-in shipping rates through the Price Lock Promise Vetted network of reliable and friendly carriers Strong customer service ratings on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Offers a Clean Car Guarantee Cons Slightly higher prices than competitors Does not provide terminal-to-terminal shipping
Summary

Sherpa Auto Transport has many strengths, from excellent customer service to the added security of the Price Lock Promise. We name Sherpa the Best for Locked-In Rates in the auto transport industry, though the company’s benefits go far beyond that.

Easy Auto Ship: 4.5 Stars

Because Easy Auto Ship prides itself on going the extra mile, we consider it to be the auto transport company with the Best Added Benefits. Beyond providing enclosed car transport services to all 50 states and international destinations, Easy Auto Ship offers amenities like paying for your car wash and rental car reimbursements.

The broker holds an A+ rating from the BBB and a 4.6-star average customer rating across over 750 reviews.

You can learn more about the broker’s added benefits in our complete Easy Auto Ship review.

Easy Auto Ship Best Added Benefits
4.3
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-825-6207 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Guaranteed pricing from quotes Inexpensive car shipping rates Simple and streamlined booking process Free rental car if shipment takes more than two weeks Cons No 24/7 customer assistance No way to track shipments
Summary

Our team rates Easy Auto Ship 4.3 out of 5.0 stars and recognizes it for having the Best Added Benefits for 2022. The company is highly rated, and customers consistently praise Easy Auto Ship for its affordability, guaranteed car shipping quotes, and easy shipping process.

uShip: 4.4 Stars

uShip is a car shipping marketplace where customers post shipment requests and carriers offer bids. Because this puts the power to choose pricing in the customer’s hand, our team finds uShip to be the Best Shipping Marketplace. With uShip, you’ll be able to find the best pricing from a provider for enclosed car shipping.

The BBB gives uShip an A+ rating and customers rate the marketplace with 4.6 out of 5.0 stars.

Discover more about the shipping marketplace with our complete uShip review.

uShip Best Shipping Marketplace
4.4
BBB Rating : A+ Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Offers complimentary vehicle tracking Affordable rates and pricing control Available in 50 states Provides a “Ship with Confidence” guarantee Extra insurance Cons No carrier or broker vetting process Customer service review below average Instant quotes may be more pricy than final rate (no guaranteed quotes). Not a direct shipping provider
Summary

Because of this marketplace structure, uShip is less accountable than brokers because its contracts aren’t standardized across carriers and the company doesn’t vet drivers’ backgrounds or insurance status. For marketplace listings, we recommend reviewing all shipment details, and vetting carriers for customer ratings and insurance status.

Frequently Asked Questions

How We Rate Auto Shippers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car shipping companies. While there are multiple qualities that make an auto transport provider successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact auto shipping rates. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and routes.
  • Services: Our team of experts looks at the types of services available, as well as insurance coverage and the ability to guarantee pickup and drop-off dates. Ratings also take into account whether the transport company is a broker or a carrier.
  • Reputation: It’s important that a car shipping provider is able to deliver your vehicle in a safe and timely manner. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Customer Experience: We comb through consumer reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Car transport companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area.

*Data accurate at time of publication.

Get a Quote From Our Best Overall Provider - Montway

Montway works with over 15,000 carriers nationwide with an A+ BBB rating.

Get Price