How to Choose the Right Auto Transport Carrier for Your Vehicle

Whether you are relocating, purchasing a car from out of state, or need your vehicle transported to an event, finding the right auto transport carrier can be a daunting task. The process of choosing the right company plays a crucial role in guaranteeing the safety and timely delivery of your vehicle. In this guide, we will discuss essential factors you should consider when selecting an auto transport carrier.

Choosing between Open and Enclosed Carriers

One of the primary decisions you will need to make is whether to use open or enclosed auto carriers. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of before making your decision.

Open Carriers

Open carriers are the most common and cost-effective option in auto transport. They typically accommodate 8-10 vehicles secured on an open trailer with two levels. However, it is vital to know that open carriers provide less protection against weather elements and road debris since they do not have sidewalls or a roof. If you have an average-priced vehicle without sentimental value, this might be a good choice for you.


  • Cost-effective: Open carriers are cheaper than enclosed alternatives.
  • Availability: There are more open carriers available which means it is easier to find one on short notice.
  • Faster transit time: Due to their availability and higher demand, open carrier shipments typically have faster transit times.


  • Lower protection: Vehicles are exposed to weather and road hazards while on open carriers.

Enclosed Carriers

Enclosed carriers offer more protection for your vehicle as they feature fully enclosed trailers. These carriers are ideal for individuals transporting high-value, exotic, or classic automobiles that require additional shielding from potential damage. However, their benefits come at a higher price and less availability than open carriers.


  • Increased protection: Enclosed carriers protect vehicles from adverse weather conditions and road hazards.
  • More privacy: Since the cars are not visible to the public during transport, enclosed trailers provide additional security and privacy for your vehicle.


  • Higher costs: Enclosed carrier transport is typically 35-50% more expensive than open carriers.
  • Lower availability: Enclosed carriers may be harder to find and book compared to open alternatives.
  • Slower transit time: Due to the reduced quantity of vehicles enclosed trailers can accommodate, transit times might be longer than open carrier shipping.

Considering your budget and how much protection you desire for your car will help guide you in choosing between open or enclosed carriers.

Evaluating Carrier Reputation and Experience

Carefully evaluate a companys reputation before hiring them. Online reviews can be an excellent starting point; check websites like BBB (Better Business Bureau), Yelp or Google Reviews to assess customer experiences with potential auto transport companies. Take note of consistent complaints regarding delays or damages to decide whether it is worth trusting a specific carrier with your vehicle. Experience is another factor that plays a significant role in selecting the right auto transport carrier. An experienced company with a track record of managing various shipping requests is more likely to understand the intricacies of the process and handle any unexpected issues that may arise during transit.

Verifying Insurance Coverage and License

Before settling for a particular auto transport company, ensure they have adequate insurance coverage to protect your vehicle in case of damage or accidents during transit. Request copies of their insurance documents and verify them with the insurance provider if necessary. Additionally, check that they have a valid DOT (Department of Transportation) number and MC (Motor Carrier) license by visiting FMCSAs (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website. Transporting cars without proper licensure could lead to legal complications and unreliability when it comes to deadlines.

Comparing Quotes and Services

The cost is always an essential factor when selecting an auto transport carrier. However, do not base your decision solely on cheap rates – ensure you consider other important aspects such as reputation, experience, and insurance coverage before making your final choice. Request quotes from at least three different carriers to compare services provided, time frame estimates, costs, and terms & conditions. This will enable you to make an informed decision that aligns with both your budget and transportation needs. Be sure also to ask about additional fees or charges not included in the initial quote. Lastly, remember that cheaper does not always mean better – choosing a carrier based on their low price alone might result in hidden fees or compromised quality.

Communication and Customer Service

When entrusting a company with your valuable vehicle, it is crucial to receive timely updates on its whereabouts during transit. Evaluate how responsive each potential carrier is before booking – are they easy to reach via phone or email? Do they provide prompt and clear answers to your questions? A companys responsiveness and communication skills not only reflect their professionalism but can also be reassuring during the process, as you’ll want to remain informed on everything from pick-up arrangements to delivery timelines. In conclusion, carefully considering the type of carrier (open or enclosed), verifying reputation and experience, ensuring proper insurance coverage and licensing, comparing quotes and assessing customer service will contribute significantly to selecting the right auto transport company for your vehicle. With ample research and preparedness, you can feel confident in your choice and trust that your automobile is in good hands.