When it comes to choosing the right auto transport carrier, there are a lot of different things that you need to consider. For starters, what type of budget are you on? Are you working with limited resources and need the cheapest possible option, or is money no option? What type of car are you shipping? Is it a classic car, something rare or exotic, or is it your daily driver, the family wagon? These are questions that you need to ask yourself when you’re looking at the different options available to you in terms of which auto transport carrier you want to ship your vehicle. In this helpful article we’ll break down the main types of auto transport carrier available to ship with.

Open Auto Carriers: The Industry Standard

When it comes to auto transport, the majority of the carriers on the road today are of the open variety. Though open carriers come in all sizes, from local three-car haulers to massive ten-car interstate carriers, open auto transport is the cheapest and easiest form of auto transport to find. There are literally thousands of open auto carriers on the road, from giant fleets down to single owner-operators, but they all ship cars the same way. Open transport is best reserved for people who are shipping the vehicle they drive to work every day, or the one they take the kids to soccer practice in. It is cheapest of the options discussed in this article, but it does come with disadvantages.

For starters, open carriers expose the vehicles they’re hauling to the elements. While some people may not like this idea, it truthfully is safer than driving the vehicle on the road yourself, because you’re not putting all that wear and tear on the vehicle because it’s not being driven. Rocks and dirt do happen, and there have been instances of damage occurring during open transport, but on the whole damage only occurs in about 5% of all vehicles shipped per year. That’s a pretty low figure, and open car transporters carry plenty of insurance that will cover the vehicle in case of damage.

Enclosed Auto Transport: Traveling in Luxury

Enclosed auto transport services are much more expensive – but, if you’re shipping an expensive or hard-to-find vehicle that can’t suffer the risk of damage, enclosed transport services are probably right up you’re alley. Enclosed carriers will charge more per load than open carriers, mainly because enclosed carriers can only handle three to four cars at a time, as opposed to the eight-to-ten car carriers, but they still have the same costs as open carriers in terms of maintaining their trucks and keeping them fueled. So enclosed transport will typically be between 35 and 50% more expensive than an open carrier on the same route. But if you feel your vehicle is worth it, then it definitely is.

Flatbed Auto Transport: The Road Less Traveled

Flatbed auto transport services are typically reserved for larger-than-normal vehicles, especially huge pickup trucks or SUV’s, construction equipment, recreational vehicles and other large vehicles. Flatbed auto transport typically has to be arranged by your auto transport representative, and is definitely one of those things that’s avoided if possible simply because it’s expensive and hard to find. There are few flatbed carriers that run cross-country, and convincing those that do to ship a vehicle for a decent price can be a challenge. This will also mean that your pickup times may be increased simply because they can be difficult to find, so be sure to factor that into your budgeting and schedule ahead of time.

There are other methods, such as transport by rail and transport by boat, but these are the main overland auto carrier options, and overland transport is by far the most popular and easiest form of auto transport when it comes to shipping state-to-state. And as always, you can contact us by e-mail or phone and speak to one of our live auto transport representatives should you have any further questions or comments regarding the different types of carriers traveling on the road today.