Enclosed car transport is one of the most reliable ways to secure your car across long distances. Often, classic and luxury car owners opt for enclosed car shipping to protect their vehicle’s paint, plastic, interior and parts. While used mostly for exotic, antique and vintage cars, enclosed car transport services can be used to protect day-to-day vehicles and auto auction cars.
How Does Enclosed Car Shipping Work?
Enclosed car shipping protects a licensed and insured automobile via a certified company vehicle. Once you place an order, your car’s delivery will be scheduled on a particular date. Typically, a great amount of flexibility is offered before services begin. An auto transport tracking file, too, is administered—giving you, the car owner, total visibility over the process. Closed car transportation is significantly safer than open-air transportation, making enclosed car transportation prices about 60 percent higher. The price raise is justified, however, as enclosed car transportation protects a vehicle’s paint from harsh temperatures, dust and other harsh materials. For this reason, car collectors and owners who’ve purchased new paint jobs frequently choose enclosed transportation options.
Both a pick-up and delivery time can be established before services begin, too. While some preparation will be needed before your car is transported, the pre-transportation process is relatively straightforward. Your car can be picked up at its delivery destination—well-protected by company safety guidelines while on the road.
How Do I Transport My Car?
If it’s your first time using enclosed car shipping, you’ll need to understand the basic processes surrounding quotes, placing orders, prepping your vehicle and managing a bill of landing. Once you’ve reviewed the many transportation options available, you’ll be settled to ship off, digitally follow and pick up your car at the delivery destination.
To secure a safe shipping process, purchase services wisely and protect your car, you’ll need to follow the steps below:
1. Provide Information and Get a Quote
First, you’ll need to determine which enclosed car shipping services best suit your needs. Enclosed car transportation costs depend on a few factors, including:
- Overall distance
- Travel time
- Vehicle type
- Vehicle condition
- Vehicle modifications
To get the best-possible quote, you should provide any relevant information. Again, many car owners who use closed car transportation own luxury vehicles. That said, your car deserves high-end service regardless. Give your provider information about the destination and travel time needs. Additionally, give them information about your automobile’s make and model. To make sure you’re getting what you’ve paid for, understand the following:
Distance and Location Costs
The distance your car is taken directly impacts transportation costs. In general: Longer distances require more money to cover. However, if you’re delivering a car to an area near a highway, you’ll likely save a little money. Conversely, delivery destinations in rural areas may require extra distance—thus requiring higher prices.
Vehicle Type Costs
Your vehicle’s make and model will substantially impact travel costs. Small cars cost less to transport. Bigger, heavier cars will require extra money. Direction, too, will impact the price of an enclosed car shipment. For example: A small sedan shipped from west coast to east coast will cost approximately $750. If the same sedan is shipped the opposite way, it will cost about $1,100.
Vehicle Condition Costs
Your car’s condition will impact the price as well. Your transport provider will require less money to transport an operable vehicle. Likewise, it’ll charge more if your car is inoperable. If your vehicle has difficulties running, your provider may charge more to load and unload it.
Vehicle Modification Costs
If your car has been altered—such as being raised or lowered—it may require more money to transport. Often, only modifications impacting a car’s weight or size are considered. However, any outstanding modifications significantly altering transportation protection needs will increase prices.
Every spring and winter, closed car shipping to Southern states costs more. As a rule of thumb: Any area receiving high traffic will require more money to ship your car to. The opposite is true, too, so shipping your car north during winter may save you money, in the long run.
2. Protect Your Car with Insurance
Next, you’ll need to protect your car’s journey with insurance. Your carrier will only cover for its own negligence, however, and will not remedy all damages or unseen circumstances. It’s important to obtain shipment coverage based upon your car’s value. Additionally, consider purchasing collector car insurance if your vehicle is either a show car or antique car.
Ask your provider for a copy of its insurance policy. Then, read it to understand coverage limits. These coverage limits will inform you of the damage amounts your provider is willing to compensate you for. Note the provider’s coverage amounts in the following areas:
- Loading damages
- Unloading damages
- Damages during transit
If your shipping company can’t provide you with direct answers, bring the policy to your own insurance provider. Then, double-check your provider’s coverage amounts. It is your right, as a customer, to view your provider’s policy before any contracts are signed.
On your end of the insurance spectrum, you should discuss property damage coverage options with your insurance provider. If a provider’s policy doesn’t cover accidents or uncontrollable events, your own policy will need to protect your wallet. Likely, you already have enough coverage. You should, however, re-check your personal property damage coverage limits.
3. Note Any Damages
Before sending off your car, you’ll need to make a detailed list of preexisting damages. Upon delivery, either you or a representative will make similar inspections. Any discrepancies, of course, will be determined. Before you sign off on any delivery, however, pay attention to the following areas:
Note any scratches, dings or dents. Particularly, write down any damages to your car’s bumper or fender. Because loaded cars sometimes make contact with barriers in these areas, you’ll need to adequately record any preexisting damages. Check your car’s paint, too, and mention any thinning areas to your provider.
Your dash, glove box, drink holders, seats, seatbelts and radio should all be accounted for. Any electronic displays, in particular, should be examined thoroughly. Navigate your radio’s menus, and note any connectivity issues. If your car’s journey results in temperature differences, your vehicle’s wiring may be damaged.
You should check for any leaks, too, as your transportation provider will not ship a leaking vehicle. Coolant, gasoline, oil and transmission fluid levels should be accounted for. Make sure any and all leaks are dealt with at least two weeks prior to service.
4. Drop Off Your Car
At this step, you’ll provide your transportation company with your car. Make sure your provider is informed about any unusual “quirks” your car may have, such as faulty windows, a tough ignition or break issues. Also, inform your provider about your car’s fuel level. Make sure your car’s battery is fully charged.
What Does Enclosed Car Transportation Include?
Closed car shipment offers far more than open container providers provide. Your car will be placed inside the closed carrying space via automatic lift. Enclosed car carriers contain soft-padded interior sides—to protect your car’s exterior while regulating temperature.
Specialized enclosed car shipping services also utilize powerful straps to secure your vehicle. When movement is reduced, your car is fully protected from sharp angles, quick turns and strained suspension. If your car is low-slung, a hydraulic lift gate may be provided to secure it further.
5. Pick-Up and the Domestic Bill of Landing
When your car reaches its destination, your provider will contact you. During this stage, your provider will give you pick-up details. Time, location and additional factors will be mentioned.
Then, a car inspection report is conducted through your car’s bill of landing. This bill of landing is incredibly important, as it covers any damages, difficulties and status updates about your car. Make sure you create a copy of the bill of landing. Or, if provided, acquire the bill of landing’s carbon copies. Once the inspection and bill of landing are completed, your car will be cleared for payment and pickup.
In many cases, you’ll be able to acquire your car from a pre-designated terminal. You may, however, opt to have your car delivered to your door. Door-to-door service options are often more convenient than terminal pick-up, yet they may cost more. Once obtaining your car, examine it once more for damages.
How Long Will the Process Take?
Closed car shipping times vary greatly, depending on distance. Cross-country deliveries often take about 10 to 14 days. Meanwhile, a transportation from the coast to the country’s center can take between five and 10 days. You’ll be notified about your car’s needed travel time upon receiving a quote.
Again, door-to-door services may alter time timeline significantly. Because delivery terminals are frequently situated near highways, selecting door-to-door transportation may warrant an extra travel day. Regardless, your service driver—or their dispatcher—will contact you before either pickup or delivery takes place.
It’s a good idea to book your car’s transportation at least three to four weeks in advance. While some months will be slower than others, it’s still important to give your car ample time for repairs and cleaning. Insurance coverage details, too, may be a factor. When in doubt: Contact your provider. In every instance, they’re available to help you.