Prior to requesting quotes and booking a shipping company, you will first want to determine whether you need to ship in an open container or an enclosed carrier. This will be based on your vehicle’s value and condition, and is really a personal choice made by you, the vehicle owner.
Open container shipping is the most popular mode of transport and involves your vehicle being placed on a truck, often with a number of other vehicles, completely exposed to the elements. You will find that the cost is generally 25-40% cheaper than closed container shipping. The vast majority of the time, you can expect your vehicle to arrive in the exact same condition as when it was picked up, barring any unexpected and unavoidable circumstances. If it does suffer damage, a reputable auto transport company will be fully insured and able to cover any expenses needed to repair your vehicle. However, the insurance for the majority of open-container shipments is in the range of $250K-$350K, so if your vehicle is valued much higher than that, you may want to explore the possibilities of enclosed carrier shipping.
There are two main types of enclosed carriers available: a soft side carrier and a hard side carrier. Soft side carriers are most often composed of canvas, and may not be fully enclosed on all sides. For this reason, they tend to be less expensive than hard side carriers. Hard side carriers are totally enclosed and are a great bet for luxury and sport vehicles because they offer the highest level of protection. The insurance on enclosed carriers is often much higher, many times in excess of $3 million of coverage. If you do think your vehicle would better benefit from an enclosed carrier shipment, take your time to do the research and find a reputable auto transport company with a proven history of shipping luxury vehicles. The cost for enclosed carriers is almost more expensive because the container itself is more bulky and the shipping truck will likely be unable to carry multiple vehicles at once, which leads to higher shipping costs.
It really comes down to how much you value your vehicle, and whether or not standard insurance will cover any unavoidable contingencies. If you do drive a luxury or specialty vehicle, the increased cost can be totally justifiable, in which case enclosed carrier is the way to go. Otherwise, as long as you select a trustworthy auto transport company with a proven track record, most people will be perfectly satisfied with the more popular and more affordable open container method.